Travel: City Exploration and Inspiration

I love to travel. As a Design Student, this has always been a great source of inspiration of mine that allows me to expand my knowledge and explore new ways to be inspired by cultural references. In preparation for our final year at University, we were given the task over the summer to research our chosen area of specialism within fashion. In addition, we were required to conduct a large amount of research in a city by exploring and visiting shops, retailers, galleries etc. and documenting our journey through visuals and brief written descriptions. Whether it was a city’s architecture, culture, landscape/scenery museums, zoos, exhibitions etc, each place I visited over the summer had various exciting things to offer:

Camden:
During the first half of my summer vacation, I spent some time in Camden. Known for being a London hot spot and multicultural melting pot, I occasionally found myself exploring and wondering around the markets, where a diverse range of food, fashion, people and music created the vibrant atmosphere the lock is known for.
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From goth, indie, vintage, urban etc., the clothing stalls within the market showcased a variety of styles that truly represented Camden as the mecca of street fashion.
My culinary taste buds were taken to a whole new level, where food stands prepared vibrant cuisines from all around the world. There was Jamaican jerk chicken, French confit duck burger, Polish sausages, American mac and cheese, Japanese sushi, Spanish paella and so much more!
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Despite being located in the big city full of people, traffic, noise and the usual hustle and bustle, the area provided some quiet escapes. During the sunny days, I took walks and had quiet lunch breaks at these gorgeous spacious parks to wined down and appreciate the laidback outdoor/nature scenery. One of my favourite places that did stereotypical green and spacious English parks justice was Primrose Hill. Overlooking the concrete jungle of central London, this place provided a great escape for city folks to chill with their friends, walk their dogs and have family picnics.
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Over the years I have been to London many times, but never have I experience the city quite like this. What was once a gritty rural industrial area, this unique and distinctive part of the English capital has become a cradle of creativity for artists, designers and food enthusiasts of all kind.
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Zurich:
I flew back to my hometown Zurich over the second half of my summer to visit my friends and family. Growing up, I got to appreciate picturesque sceneries overlooking the elongated lake and Swiss mountains. During my visit, I explored a lot of places that were closely connected to nature and felt rather nostalgic whilst rediscovering the place I grew up in.
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During my visit, some friends and I decided to take a day trip to the local zoo. Exploring this enclosed wildlife provided an inspirational encounter with the natural world that consists of plants and animals. I was able to gather ideas for print designs, textures and colors. With these different areas such as the rainforest, elephant park, aquarium, the arctic section etc, it was like travelling to different countries that simulated their appropriate climate conditions. This made me consider what type of fabrics I should use whilst designing my garments that would sustain certain weather conditions.
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At a garden centre near the town where my family lives, they had a temporary real life butterfly exhibition. Their wings had all these stunning different colors, shapes and designs, which inspired me on how I would create print designs onto fabric. The ever so delicate butterflies were really all over the place that when you walked into the room, it was like stepping into this natural magical fairytale.
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Located at the heart of the city and next to the Prime Tower (the cities only skyscraper), Frau Gerolds Garten has become Zurich’s hidden gem. Over the summer months since 2012, city dwellers have been able to escape to this Garden of Eden like complex that offers a range of intriguing restaurants, bars, vintages shops, and even an herb/fruit/vegetable garden. This eco friendly lifestyle complex in the middle of the city reminded me how crucial it was to preserve the environment. Eco conscious fashion and textile manufacturing is a topic that I’ve been exploring throughout my studies and a component that I would like to incorporate for my final third year collection.
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Lisbon:
Sometime around August, I decided to get away from the lack of Summer Switzerland had to offer and flew down to Sunny Lisbon, Portugal. I was intrigued to explore a country with so much history with the Age of Discovery. During this European global exploration that started in the early 15th century, Portuguese explorers discovered places such as Africa, Brazil, and Asia. One of the most notable discoveries was lead by Vasco da Gama, who sailed around Africa from Portugal to get to India.

Another notable Portuguese historical moment is the 25 April 1974 Carnation Revolution. Street art on buildings all around the city including the 25 de Abril Bridge (that resembles the Golden Gate Bridge), were reminders of this monumental event that marked the end of an authoritarian dictatorship.
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I was genuinely fascinated with a broad range of Architectural styles Lisbon had to offer. From Romanesque, Gothic, Neoclassical, to innovative modern architecture, the city was able to blend modern and traditional elements creating an overall unique aesthetic.
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Whenever I get a chance to travel into a new city, I make sure to visit at least one of their local museums. The MUDE (Museu Do Design e Da Moda) otherwise known as the Design and Fashion Museum showcased a range of works from local and international artists/designers. During my visit, I saw some exciting installations and collections including the Made in Portugal-Surf, a temporary exhibition that showcased local surfer brands. Another temporary exhibition was by Portuguese artist André Saraiva, showcasing his street art style work and contemporary instillation art.
Its permanent exhibition, the Unique and Multiple showcased furniture pieces and garments from different decades created by notable designers including Christian Dior and Chanel.
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I felt kinda bad for neglecting this blog over the summer even though I said I wouldn’t. However I think that this long post will make up for it!! Enjoy!