In particular the UK will have eyes from across the globe focusing on it as host of the 2012 Olympics. Where I live in East London, we have been upheaved by all the preparations, its exciting and frustrating all at the same time. The road closures, the building works, the chaos on the one hand but then the town centre has improved no end for its new traders, bars, restaurants and Westfield Mall. I'm no shopper but I really enjoy wondering through the mall, it has a very American feel, reminding me of happy trips abroad, and yet it is very multi-cultural with its food courts and shops from around the world. And so clean. It's sparkling new and bright and clean, so refreshing in London!
2012 also sees the return of the V-Day Festival returning to London, a celebration of women around the world centering around the Eve Ensler collections of The Vagina Monolgues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer. The byline for the festival is more hard-hitting with a clear message that should not fail to make any woman (or man) stop and think: "Until the Violence Stops". I was very privileged to work on V-Day in 2010, when we were raising funds for the City of Joy in the Congo Republic. City of Joy is not a refuge for battered, raped and mutilated women, it is a home where they receive security, medical attention, education, access to the world through phone and internet and most importantly love and friendship which empowers them to overcome their experiences and reclaim their futures for themselves. You can find out more about the City of Joy here, the global V-Day campaign here and about the fab entertainment line-up for London's 2012 V-Day Festival here (and you may just spot a slightly over-wired me holding a much smaller Mango in the archives!).
And I have branded 2012 as a Year of Greatness for me personally too. A year when I open my wings and soar, following on from a few false starts. Becoming a parent in 2009 really put a kibosh on my career as a theatre wardrobe mistress. It was no longer an option to spend 60 to 90 hours a week in dank theatre backstage areas, working late into the night 6 days a week. But it brought me a new dawn in which to look at the world. I love the daily adventures of my daughter, the things we adults take for granted seen as a milestone breakthrough, something to be celebrated. In the snow this week, we stomped around, comparing footprints and making shapes with our feet, I had forgotten how much fun the snow could be. My two-year old is teaching me a lot.
And she is inspiring, Molly and Mango would not exist without her. All along, Molly and Mango was intended to be something else too, it was the start of a new direction, one that brought together my love for sewing, making, creativity, vintage aesthetics and my daughter. All along Molly and Mango was the seed for something I would never have even considered before my daughter arrived in my world.
2012 will be the year I finally launch the Molly and Mango - Vintage Styled Clothing Range. I've been preparing for this for over two years, I had hoped to launch before now but parenthood, well I'm sure any parent will tell you its a full-time job on its own. So the project has crept along, ever on my mind, snatches of preparation time taken here and there in between kitchen runs for food, snacks, milk, water, juice, tea (for me), bathroom runs for nappy changes, baths, hand-washing and bedroom runs for toys, books, changes of clothes, and of course play sessions, song sessions, music sessions, cuddling up on sofa watching tv sessions, laundry and tidying up the chaos that a toddzilla wreaks (aka the "baby bomb")....
The initial ranges will be for children - boys and girls from birth to 6 years. I hope to later add adults clothes into the mix and if there is a market, older children. I have so many exciting design ideas and cute touches in mind, I ache to get them out, now I am nearing that with the first items for sale online by late spring.
This new direction doesn't mean I will be abandoning my old career entirely, I have found new ways to move forward with that, ways that build and expand on what I do in costume design without taking me too far from home or my passion for costume making.
2012 will also be a Year of Greatness for Mango too, she is starting nursery very shortly. She will be setting out into the world, ready for new adventures and explorations. She will make new friends, learn and develop new knowledge and skills that I have not imbued in her, she will start to learn about independence, social interaction, how to get along with others and the rules of negotiation... its so scary and so exciting all at the same time...
Yup, 2012 is going to be busy... and great!