Kin Woo has been writing his Insiders column since 2009, delving behind the scenes and into the corners of the fashion industry, discovering the people who make the wheels turn. He has met photographers, filmmakers and stylists, agents, perfumiers and artisans. He has spoken to tattooists and milliners, the people who source for vintage stores and those who stock the best shops in the world. He has been inside the workshops of Chanel’s infamously exclusive Metiers d’Arts. A treasure trove of insights and joys, today we look back on the 2013 crop of columns and celebrate our highlights, ranging from a chat with Wah Nails founder Sharmadean Reid to a full career retrospective of punk innovator Judy Blame.
1. Judy Blame
In a special column marking his inclusion in the V&A’s Punk retrospective, Insiders spoke to Judy Blame in an interview that meandered through his extraordinarily varied career, remembering the icons he met and collaborated with, as well as considering the 21st century attitude to the fashion and music movement that made his name. "People aren’t encouraged to be different anymore," he railed. "Everything now is so safe! You go to the shows now and where’s the spark? Where’s the dream?"
2. Bob Recine
“One of the many kids” who hung out with Warhol in 60s New York, Bob Recine started out a punk musician but soon morphed into one of fashion’s great hair stylists, sculpting looks for publications including American and French Vogue, AnOther Magazine and Dazed & Confused. "The thing I got from Andy Warhol was there is only originality,’ he says, “good or bad didn't matter, originality did.”
3. Dick Page
Extraordinarily, Dick Page started out as a butcher’s boy in Bristol, before making the move to London, ganging up with the likes of Juergen Teller and Corinne Day in the late 80s and breaking into the magazine world. Working as a make up artist at the Face, and helping hone the cheekbones of a 15-year-old Kate Moss on the cover must have helped, and he is now one of the key make up artists working today. Highlights include a neon shaded Bjork for Dazed & Confused to an elegantly clownish Glen Luchford story in AnOther Magazine A/W10.
4. Sharmadean Reid
Frustration at not being able to get a decent manicure near her house was the provocation for Sharmadean Reid to found WAH Nails, the anarchic Dalston salon that is the only place in London to get your nails done properly. With outlets in Topshop, MIA as a client and two books out, the empire is only getting bigger, but Reid has a strong ethos for why she’s doing what she’s doing: “I feel like we’ve created the feel of a clubhouse here – WAH is for girls so that they can feel part of the community.”
5. Andreas Fornell
There are few 21st century brands that have fashioned an identity so definitive as Swedish design house Acne. Reconstituting the notion of “effortlessly cool”, with a blend of the sleek and the extraordinary, they are at the vanguard of the modern shopping experience. Indeed, no two Acne stores are the same, and the first Insiders of the year met Andreas Fornell, Acne’s in-house architect and the man tasked with designing the new Tokyo store. He told Insiders. “Our thought was to achieve a sort of honesty, an almost but not quite total openness.”