Meet London’s Latest dress-up generation (ZEE, baby)

This article was originally featured in ASBO MAGAZINE; Issue 11

Images by Max Auberon

Hello Hello Hazel Bannister, spiritual style sister to the ”’Drag”’ man himself (Shane right here). Eighteen years old, art college, rolling around North London. We went for dress up + walkies. Whole time the girl’s looking for smokable butts off the floor, one gets bunned, others got lost. Everything made sense after five looks. For Hazel, garment recycling goes beyond the fad. It’s an absolute, way of life.

“I come from many different places, right? Firstly, the forest. I feel like I was born in fields like I was raised in fields. Then I come from the gutter of London. I come from the rats and the sewage and then I also just, I just, I’m just birthed from all the people around me. I come from Corsica. I’m also Irish, and my Dad’s half Indian.”

First look in red; detached raincoat hood, kimono-looking dressing gown from the ex and various street acquisitions. The singular croc was a quick pick from the lost kids’ shoes collection, which includes a Peppa Pig wellington boot found in a tree at Epping Forest. Spikes from a basic-bitch baseball cap and a runaway earring mate the forehead with glue. Everything else is stapled together.

“I love the reactions it’s so funny. Last year me and Shane would always get people coming up to us and being like ‘Can I take a picture with you?’ And usually it’d be like geezers coming up to us with their girlfriends and you could tell they were gonna send them to their friends and laugh at us, but they kind of respect it. One time we were on Brighton Beach we got rocks chucked at us by some kids.”

Next, black belted armbands from a mysterious box in Tottenham. Neither of us are sure what they’re for, some form of tightening, I’m sure. Broach about the navel was stolen, various other details came from ‘Olio’ free stuff pickups. Look it up this isn’t an ad. The skirt was saved from the fabric bin at school, the orange wig came with sentimental baggage and it’s real cute don’t you just love the hippies?

“I had the nicest night, it was beautiful. With these friends and like they’d rented a little canal boat. My friend Inka had a rule that everyone in the boat had to wear a wig because it was fun and she had these synthetic flashy wigs of all different colours. And she let me keep the orange one.”

All in white now wow look at that head piece! Tall as hoochie and homemade, based on the brain of one Lee Scratch Perry, Bob Marley’s mentor. “He just went insane. But there was something so pure about him, especially when you see his interviews and stuff. He wears these caps that he makes himself. There’s always mirrors on them. And all these kinds of like trinkets and shit. He seems like he’s making himself into a beacon.” Accent feathers to the side came from pigeons, corset cost two quid. The multi-layered skirt is a well pinned piece of trash, it stabs the wearer regularly.

“All of those skirts are found in in bin bags. And I just like layering all of them on top of each other. People always think you have to spend loads of money to like, dress interestingly, or have your own style, but it’s just the way I put them together. … I always want to have like, big things on my head because I feel like It connects you to higher things. And it just makes me feel like a bit stupid, which I like about myself. I don’t want things to be too serious.”

There’s a funny duality in fashion today; two kinds of big dressers, some in the Gucci and Gabbana, some dressed out the garbage. All these tropes of folks spend time and money (and time is money) on their outfits. Giggle at one, she spit on you, giggle at the other and she giggle back. Hazel’s quest to look larger than life has left her well humoured, surrounded by like-minded comrades.

A young woman without eyebrows appeared during the shoot. She wore satin home décor and something that was once a carpet. The lady looks technically ridiculous, but the outfit serves a deeper purpose.

“I think I am serious. I like how my dress is serious to me. I like it to be overtly, like slightly rude. I like it to be ridiculous. But that excites me as well. Like, I’ll meet up with Shane, for example. And he’ll see me coming down the street and will just laugh. It just it just invokes like happiness and laughter and joy. That’s what I want.”

BUT ALSO

“I’m a pretentious art student. People need to know when I’m around the corner. People in college come up to me; ‘I can hear you from a mile away’ because I was wearing my jingly scarf thing. … It makes me feel powerful. I think I’m obsessed with having power and wanting to be like extreme, wanting to shock people. I think I’m a massive attention seeker as well. Like, I just want attention.”

The original spirit of fashion is not lost to Hazel and Co. They dress for themselves, one another and whoever turns up to look. Let them be remembered in this thin flappy book.

Words and images by Max Auberon

Styled and modelled by Hazel Bannister


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