A TOWER of profiteroles teetering on your head. Candy floss and sugar crystals balancing, jauntily off-centre, like a snow queen’s crown. Lying back in a paddling pool filled with warm milk
If Dawn Marie Jones ever approaches you on the street, telling you you have what it takes to be a model, be prepared to be more than just a clothes horse. One of her most recent shoots was a collaboration with Vogue-featured cake designer David Duncan, who created bespoke buns to be worn as headpieces. But, yes, they did get to eat them.
But she doesn’t tend to use agency models. Instead, she is much more likely to feature friends in her work, or recruit random people on Princes Street. You have been warned.
Now the property developer turned fashion photographer is taking a lead role in the first Edinburgh Online Fashion Week, five days of 15 scheduled online catwalk shows, backstage interviews with models and designers and detailed features on hair, make-up and clothing.
Originally from north Wales, the 31-year-old travelled to Greece in 2001 on holiday and to visit her father, who was working there. She ended up staying for five years. She met a Greek partner and the pair set up a property development business together. “It was a really good time,” she says. “We dealt mainly with land and renovation of old properties, and built a few villas. But we broke up, so I went up to Bulgaria because I’d heard the property market there was really buoyant at the time.”
Eighteen more months of profitable work in the sun followed. “It was amazing,” she smiles. “But in 2008 the market came to a standstill. Even if people still wanted to buy, they couldn’t get the finance. It was almost instantaneous – over just a couple of months – and suddenly I started to think maybe property wasn’t the long-term option I’d thought it was.”
Jones had to take a long, hard look at what she wanted to do with her life. Her dreamed-of career was crumbling and she hadn’t lived in the UK for eight years. But she figured it would be the perfect opportunity to try and make a career out of something she loved. “Ever since my dad gave me his little second-hand camera just before I went out to Greece, it had been everywhere with me.
“Then I bought my first semi-professional camera when I was about 25, which was when I started to get a bit more creative.”
She was living with a friend from Scotland at the time, so ended up in Edinburgh, where the photography BA degree course at Stevenson College came highly recommended. “They teach you all areas of photography – advertising, commercial, everything – which is how I’ve ended up doing fashion. I was never into fashion before.It’s something that has just happened since I took this course.”
However, her vision is fashion with a twist. Her photography idols are Mert and Marcus, a Welsh/Turkish duo “who do pretty much everything that’s high fashion right now – they’re really creative”. She adds, “I like the idea of collaborating with people who aren’t directly connected with the industry. When you bring people with opposite ideas to the table you end up with something quite different.”
Which is how her work with the Edinburgh cake designer David Duncan came about. “One thing I have always been good at is coming up with ideas. So one day I was having a cup of tea and a cake and thought, ‘Why don’t I make headpieces out of cake?’
“I went on the internet and started looking at cake designers. I found David, who had been featured in Vogue and all sorts of things, so thought he wouldn’t be interested in speaking to me. But I pinched myself and phoned him, explained my idea and he said, ‘Yes, we can do something.’” The elaborate shoot appeared in a Scottish weddings magazine.
Now looking forward to Edinburgh Online Fashion Week, she says, “It’s really exciting. It’s bringing a bit more of a fashion focus to Edinburgh, and it’s accessible to everyone.”
After she graduates in July, she will exhibit in London. Then she’s “free to try to make it in this industry”. And while she misses the sun, she says, “I’m just excited to see what happens next.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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