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    Seetal Solanki’s Bookshelf

Fashion

Bookshelf: Textile designer Seetal Solanki revelas her five most inspiring books

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Seetal has come a long way since being an exceptional Central Saint Martins grad. She now runs her very own studio which does everything from styling to screenprinting workshops, from menswear design to creative direction. What they really specialise in however is textile design – and what textile designs! Seetal has a serious talent when it comes to designing some of the most beautiful, well-informed repeat pattern you may ever have come across. No wonder she’s got the entire fashion world queueing up to collaborate with her. Her bookshelf is, unsurprisingly, injected with fashion, style and a big ol’ dose of craft. Enjoy!

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    Larry Towell: The World from My Front Porch

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    Larry Towell: The World from My Front Porch

Larry Towell: The World from My Front Porch

This book in its pure simplicity is about the "everyday. Everything that has happened outside and inside of Towell’s front porch. Objects he’s found, kittens being born, fishing, swimming and life being created. There is such beauty in life and living.

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    Kodansha: Tools. Real Stuff for Future Classics. Users Guide Book/Includes 282 Items

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    Kodansha: Tools. Real Stuff for Future Classics. Users Guide Book/Includes 282 Items

Kodansha: Tools. Real Stuff for Future Classics. Users Guide Book/Includes 282 Items

This book to me captures this quote from Charles Eames perfectly: “The uncommon beauty in common things…” This book captures the love I have for design, craft and products. The Japanese really know how to get it right when it comes to craft. From the layout, paper, the graphic design and product selection is so perfect you just want to own everything that appears in this wonderful gem of a book.

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    Weltkulturen Museum – Trading Style

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    Weltkulturen Museum – Trading Style

Weltkulturen Museum – Trading Style

Travel and people are a big part of my hobbies and inspirations. I love the transition between indigenous tribes/people and style. Whatever tribe it may be there is something to be said for how they create their own identity through dress and for it all having a purpose. Saying this, the influence these tribes have had within modern society is something that can’t be missed. As they say, they don’t make them like they used to.

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    Rin Tanaka: No.1 Heller’s Cafe. Featuring Americana Clothing from Larry’s Collection

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    Rin Tanaka: No.1 Heller’s Cafe. Featuring Americana Clothing from Larry’s Collection

Rin Tanaka: No.1 Heller’s Cafe. Featuring Americana Clothing from Larry’s Collection

This was a rare find and a true gem for my collection of books. Rin Tanaka is a genius, especially when it comes to the past and menswear. I am on a mission to get the rest of the Freedamn books to complete my collection. Menswear is a huge passion of mine and Tanaka captures it in the best way possible. He refers to the past and tradition, and what a past it has been.

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    Patti Smith: Just Kids

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    Patti Smith: Just Kids

Patti Smith: Just Kids

Music is a big part of my inspiration and really couldn’t live without it. Patti Smith is someone I have always loved and reading her bio just made me love her even more. Her journey, her life, her lack of self belief and so much more. One of my most favourite books I’ve read in a very long time.

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    Seetal Solanki’s Bookshelf

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    Seetal Solanki’s Bookshelf

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    Last week Clive Martin from Vice called him “the David Bailey of grime” which sums up Ewen Spencer’s oeuvre beautifully, really. The documentary photographer has made British youth and subculture his bread and butter, photographing the UK garage scene in all of its gritty glory as well as working for the NME, photographing The White Stripes, making the very brilliant Brandy & Coke and producing a host of books and exhibitions as well. As far as perspectives on Britishness go, Ewen’s is basically unrivalled.

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    Yesterday marked the launch of the brand new issue of bi-annual hardback Twin magazine, the defiantly substantial glossy publication that clubs fashion, art and culture together through interviews and gorgeous imagery. This issue includes photographs by Petra Collins, an archive of childhood shots of Kate Bush taken by her older brother and an interview with the remarkable Neneh Cherry, so to celebrate we thought we’d have founder Becky Smith show us the five books which have inspired and influenced her. In the process, we learned who her favourite photographers are, whose rare books she’s lucky to have laid her hands on and the unlikely inspiration behind the name “Twin”. Read on!

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    When we get in touch with the people whose work we admire to ask if they’d like to be involved in the Bookshelf feature, we ask them to pick books which have been particularly inspiring or influential to them in their lives, and this brief might never been more closely followed than by Jessica Svendsen. Jessica is a graphic designer at Pentagram and teaches Typography at both Parsons and Pratt in New York, as well as working on a number of freelance projects which are as remarkable for the degree of research which informs them as for their bold, impactful imagery.

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    Longtime fans of Toro Y Moi will already know Chaz Bundick to be a man with impeccable visual stylings, and a portfolio which stretches way beyond logos and album covers to include album launches turned art exhibitions, screen-printed posters and a heavy involvement with the concepts behind his music videos as well. Today marks the launch of Chaz’s debut album Michael under the name of his dancier side project Les Sins, which we decided made for an ample excuse to get a look at his Bookshelf. And my god it’s a good one.

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    Where some printed publications shy away from British culture as it exists beyond Union Jack flags and Yorkshire tea in floral china, LAW Magazine, which stands for Lives and Works is already knee-deep in the grit and the grime. Now in its fifth issue, the staple-bound bi-annual describes itself as a platform for “the beautiful everyday… A window into the world of the current undercurrent that nobody is catching and which is therefore of greater importance to document.” It’s a kind of Britishness so ubiquitous that you’d have to be wandering the streets with your head in a bag to miss it – one defined by full-suspension mountain bikes, Sunday League referees, Hackney estate maps and Vauxhall Novas.

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    Having founded London-based design studio Build in 2001, creative director Michael C. Place has amassed his fair share of books in his time, with a healthy combination of design knowledge to be found tucked between the spines on the studios (admirably well-organised) shelf. We’ve been championing Build’s work on the site for some time now, so what better way to get an insight into the inspirations behind their snazzy work than by hearing from the creative director himself about his favourite reading material? Between Letraset catalogues, reflections on legend Wim Crouwel and Michael’s mate Blam (who has excellent taste in books) we were not disappointed.

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    “In February 2013, 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.” That’s the opening statement on the website of graphic novelist Matilda Tristram, who channeled this painful chapter of her life into a bestselling comic entitled Probably Nothing. We interviewed Matilda a while back on the site and were so intrigued by her story, we had to know more. In this revealing, insightful Bookshelf, Matilda shows us the fantastic books that have inspired her to be one of the most important and engaging graphic novelists working today. Here she is…

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    Yay! Hato Press! We love them. A lot. Neighbours of ours, Hato have spent the last five years collaborating with some of the coolest young creatives and oldest institutions to create impeccably beautiful printed matter and design solutions. A number of the publications these guys have produced are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding/smelling, and it seems that every single thing they do or work on is covered in a glimmering magic dust that is exclusive to only them. Before you go and wet your pants over their multi-disciplinary work on their very nice websites (here and here) check out the books that have inspired them over the years below. Enjoy!

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    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

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    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

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    Want to know a surprising secret about self-proclaimed “book obsessive” and Dazed & Confused editor Isabella Burley? She can’t stand big coffee-table-sized fashion books. “I’ve always taken my references from art, pop culture, photography and sex zines rather than fashion,” she told us. “That’s really come to shape the way I approach our fashion content within Dazed.”

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    With 25 years experience in magazine design, not to mention eight years of covering the extensive subject under the title magCulture, it’s a wonder we haven’t already metaphorically burst into Jeremy Leslie’s house and insisted he share his five favourite examples of printed matter right then and there. Instead, we caught him in the build up to The Modern Magazine 2014, the conference which takes place annually in the midst of London Design Festival to shine a torch on the current state of editorial creativity, as well as new directions for the industry.

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    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.