I knew that this was a blogpost I would write, way before I even attended the Oxford Conference of Corsetry (OCOC). However, I wanted to leave it late so that it didn't get mixed up in the chaos around the event, meaning that it could be dragged out for as long as possible.
Now I am a really social person. I am the kind of person that if I have been working all day on my own I will take any opportunity to pounce on possible company. I even had quite a long conversation with a man coming to sell fish at the door the other day, until he realised I was vegetarian and that no sale would be made. But in all seriousness, my social life is a key part to my happiness. The reason I say this is because my social life barely ever includes talk of corsets and corsetry construction. I am the friend with the 'corset stuff', and maybe the slight oddball...
But OCOC changed all of that and flipped it on it's head. I remember saying that it felt as though you had taken every slightly eccentric/kooky character and popped us all in one venue to discuss the super geeky aspects of corsetry. And this was the bit that I enjoyed the most. All of these names that I had seen on Facebook and through social media were here, and real physical people (who would've thunked it). My disappointment was that I didn't have the chance to meet everyone properly, but there is always the future.
Oxford is my hometown, and despite seeing inside some of the colleges, Jesus College where this was set, was one I had never been in. In fact I had to embarrassingly google maps where it was. Unlike some of the other colleges it is super central, so an ideal venue. It felt very Harry-Potter-esque which is always the best feeling possible. Particularly eating at long wooden tables and benches, facing a top table and being stared down by portraits hung on the walls, I was slightly surprised they didn't start moving...
This was my first experience of OCOC, as it falls on the bank holiday in August which is traditionally a busy weekend in the year for me with family birthdays, and an annual meet-up with long distance friends. I would happily recommend it to anyone. Prior to going I wondered if I would be prepared enough, if I would fall below par and basically not be ready. But, this was not the case and I would recommend the experience to anyone interested in corsetry as a fabulous networking event. Maybe you're a photographer, a model, a hair and MUA or perhaps you just are really passionate about corsets, this event would be entirely suitable for you if you fancy an alternative to your summer vacation. I was able to 'network' and exchange contacts with some fabulous people, and can now confirm I will be doing a collaborative piece with model Evie Wolfe very soon. On top of this meeting Threnody in Velvet in the flesh felt huge for me. The image of her wearing Miss Katie's bridal corset was the one that set the ball rolling for me, and lead me to my first internship all that time ago. It's an image that has stuck with me, and she is just as flawless and beautiful in the flesh. It's almost quite unbelievable.
Julia Bremble the Organiser, and Mother of the whole event is a dear friend and I am in awe at how she was able to arrange this, run her business and make corsets alongside. And we can't forget that she is an actual mother as well as wife and owner of the most adorable Marley. Multitasking superwoman comes to mind.
As much as I can't fully say what the future will hold I feel that I will know I have really made it if I get invited back as a motivational dinner speaker, let's give it 5-10 years ;) ❤
To see the official website: http://www.conferenceofcorsetry.com/
Photo Credits for Laurie Tavan Photography.
See some of Laurie's work at: https://www.facebook.com/LTlaurietavan