Thursday, 31 March 2011

Unfair Rejection

Are you ever in one of those frame of minds when all you want to do is have a really good rant? Well that's the kind of mood I'm in right now!

Lately I've been reassessing life, especially career wise, because I want to do something amazing with my life; its just getting there that will prove difficult.

To give you a quick low down, I've worked in retail now for five years, passed my A Levels with high grades and turned down a sought after place at the prestigious London College of Fashion and why? Because I wanted to learn from scratch.

I've wanted to be a visual merchandiser since dressing a mannequin on  a school work experience placement in a ladies retailer. I decided against going to a LCF simply because I wanted the challenge of throwing myself right in at the deep end into a career in vm learning everything - good and bad - and actually doing the job rather than learning about it in a lecture room.

But now after two years as a vm, I'm ready for a new challenge. I love styling and have a passion for magazines and writing. But any jobs remotely linked to this kind of work either asks for a degree and any internship is offered to people studying for a degree. How is this fair? Retailers are saying to have a passion for their brand, or have a keen eye for fashion and creative vision you must have a degree?

What about the fashionistas who have slogged it on the shop floor and worked their way through the ranks? That not only takes passion but determination too. Applicants with core experience and who can prove they can commit to a career and work hard and show determination to succeed should be just as sought after, or even more so, than a graduate.

I think it would be fantastic if retailers encouraged employees to work their way up the business or offer internships and higher jobs to those of us who have the real experience of working in retail. Otherwise how is anyone supposed to make a career for themselves? Just because you don't go to university does not mean you don't have the determination to succeed.

Work experience is vital, but what gives a graduate the right to experience things that a retail employee cannot? There are so many discrimination legislations for employment, well surely this should fall under the same category?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Fashion Faux Pas

Rife in the fashion  news this week are two stories that caught my eye; both similar in subject but different in matter.

The first of that is the fact that Jessica Simpson is sitting on a fashion empire set to profit one billion dollars this year. The singer turned reality star turned yo yo dieter has turned her perfectly manicured hand to the likes of fashion design. The range is obviously extremely successful in the US but how on earth did she go from the ditsy blonde who was made a divorcee thanks to crooner Nick Lachey to high end fashionista? With a lot of help from her management team I am predicting. You can't fault a woman who has dipped her fingers in more pies (quiet literally on some occassions) than a baker; but is it really fair that just because a person is awarded celebrity status they can give their hand to such a creative and well sought after career that many spend years just trying to get their foot into the door?

Take todays story as another example; Sylvester Stallone wants his own fashion line too! This being the guy who has spent most of his life  lying on a plastic  surgeons table trying to make himself be someone that he isn't, whereas fashion to me allows you to portray your true self through creative dressing and styling and experience many different selfs in a non permanent state.
So is Stallone really the right person to be able to just snap his fingers and launch a fashion label of his own?

Don't get me wrong, celebrities do get it right take Victoria Beckham for example. She was mocked by the whole of the fashion industry as the ex Spice Girl trying to make a career in fashion successful. But she did it and now the likes of Elle and Vogue are pawing at her chic dresses and lusting after her handbags. But that's my point exactly; she did it. VB does the designs, material sourcing, press calls etc etc proving that she really is the now the Queen of Fashion as opposed to Queen of Pop.

I just think it must be so frustrating to see celebs who have nothing to do with fashion can set up a range over night whereas so many talented budding designers never even get close to that opportunity. Surely the fashion world should be attempting to embrace the real designer talent of the world amongst the ordinary folk who have sketched until their wrists ached, stitched until their fingers bled and pushed so many times to be noticed just for the doors to be slammed back in their faces...?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Viva la Vintage

For all those vintage lovers out there this is an ode to you. For all the times you have received strange looks whilst sat on the bus, or your boyfriend has said "woah that new dress of yours smells like death" Tnot just my boyfriend is it?!) and for when your confused Topshop obsessed friends ask you the unanswerable question "why vintage?"

I say unanswerable because when you are put on the spot to answer why your wearing something that is so normal to you, it can be quiet difficult to find the reason why. It's like asking a fashion victim why they shop at their local Topshop haunt?

I adore vintage, for me it's the excitement of hunting through rails and rails of clobber to find a gem - a diamond in amongst the rough. It's the most exhilerating feeling and you actually feel special when you wear it as it's different and unique to you rather than feeling anxious incase you see someone in the exact same thing as yourself - which is my biggest dread.

Personally I think it takes a very creative and open minded individual to have a passion for vintage clothing. You need a broader imaginative range in order to piece together looks as vintage opens up a more in depth variation of trends dating right back to the 1920s, not just those that fashion magazines tell you what to wear and how to wear it. In addition to this, of people who don't particularly realise that because fashion comes around again and again, todays retail stores just reinvent our vintage finds. But the beauty of having the original pieces just puts that 'special'  aspect back into fashion.

The biggest appeal to vintage, however, has got to be the history behind the garment. Just the thought of wearing a beautiful dress, for example, that another woman has worn and had so many wonderful memories in; was she attending a glamorous event in the dress, did she fall in love whilst wearing it or was it in fact a family heirloom - passed down through the years and now in your hands or mine. But that's another beauty of vintage clothing, they can be pieces of your own family history. I have a dress passed down from my mother with a seriously cool pattern of black music notes on a vivid pallette of turquoise silk - just gorgeous, and one day I will pass it on to my own children. This is thanks to the amazing quality of the materials used on garments and how well made they are. Adding to the individuality of the piece is the rare detailing such as hand finishing, embroidery techniques including crochet and beading.

The appreciation of the past and the respected skills of designers gone by, for me, just overrides the aspect of cheap and disposable fashion of today. It is exceptionally sad to think that because of the poorly made clothes of today provided by fast fashion chains such as Primark and mass produced products from Topshop, future generations won't get to experience the beauty of vintage that we all take for granted today.

(Image 1 Image 2

Saturday, 26 March 2011

All hail the longer length

Right, first things first. You must promise not to judge me and not be utterly appalled by my following statement but ... I hate summer!

Yes I know what you're sat there thinking - "but it's summer! The ability to not have to wear tights, the not having to bother with cleverly layered outfits and, most importantly, no hat hair!" And I'll reply with "all very good points but give me those things any day over the fashion horrors that summer brings!"

Aside from the sweat marks and shiny face (yes Yorkshire gets hot too sometimes!) and my perculiar phobia of moths (yes I'm rather strange but they eat your clothes people!) summer is more of a pain than a gain.

I mean first up it's the mad panic diet - who really wants to live off cabbage soup for weeks on end; it does not smell good. Then there's the tanning as your new floral dress won't look good without bronzed skin and talk about being the illuminating beacon of light when your on the beach in a two piece (who needs the sun for light, eh?) Damn the day when opened toed shoes were designed as now I have to keep my nail varnish chipless. And the biggest bain of all - shaving your legs.

Yes yes I know I should be on top of all this anyway but, in all honesty I'm not and I bet you're not  either! But this summer, fashion designers have mercy on us - bringing maxi dresses and skirts into collections making them bang on trend. So not only do we get away with slightly (ahem!) hairy legs but also less areas to fake tan. So thank you Jil Sander for embracing the longer length. And another thought, if your lucky enough to be petite (or, like me, short) then that maxi dress you have just purchased will be so long it should in fact cover your toes meaning you don't have to paint your toe nails.

So forget what I said earlier, I love summer! Well summer of 2011 anyway. We can incorporate our beauty regime from winter ie no tanning or leg shaving and truly embrace the maxi dress and skirt trend. All hail the maxi dress!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Matalan's Floral Epiphany

Marc Jacobs, Dolce and Gabbana, Erdem and Matalan....The latter doesn't neccessarily roll off the tongue like the others does it? But the connotations of how the brand is perceived by the fashion industry is evolving rapidly. No longer is Matalan the embarassing shop your mum used to drag you around in search of elasticated school trousers or sandshoes - it is now one of the pinnacle destinations for designer influenced fashion on a budget.

The Spring/Summer 2011 catwalks saw an array of clasing florals from D&G, bold prints from Erdem and vivid staples from Marc Jacobs. With these designers obviously influencing Matalan's buyers this season, the kind people in the Matalan Head Office sent me a few photographs for my article.

First up we have a gorgeous multicoloured jumpsuit in such fabulously vivid colours - you will be sure to make an immediate style statement. Style it with a flouro pink skinny belt and yellow chunky stacked bangles.

Next is this adorable cotton day dress - very Erdem don't you think? Try adding a cream silk shirt with billowing sleeves underneath and accessorize with an oversized straw hat - so 2011!

Last but not least is my absolute favourite item hot off the Matalan SS11 collection! The ruffled shoulder detail and beautiful print hits two trends in one - prima ballerina and florals. The cut of the playsuit is extremely flattering and the colours just ooze the essence of summer. I'm clashing mine with a ditsy print Gatsby bag and tan brogues.

With pieces from just £22 the race is on to snap up these must have items. I'll see you in the queue to the till point...

(I would like to say a huge thank you to Katie Boorman for supplying me with some really cool images for my article)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Waity Katie is out of datey

The whole of the fashion world is royally buzzing about the royal wedding in April. the question on most fashionistas and style savvy ladies lips is what will kate wear?! But I'm going to put myself out there right now and say I really really don't care.

I'm fed up of all the fashion mags wondering who will design the "dress of the decade" and what colour it will be or what fabric it will be made of and blah blah blah...

I think my issue began on the announcement of the engagement when every man and his handbag raved over the blue dress kate wore. what an earth was the big fascination with that dress? it was incredibly boring and drab and it wasn't even accessorised well! if it was me having to wear It I  would have added a coral bag and maybe  a pair of Erdem inspired printed heels. But no it was just dull, dull, dull!

Since the engagement, like most of you out there, have had to endure the numerous 'style' shots of drab dresses, poor shoe choices and terrible tresses! come on all you fashion journalists,  LOOK at what your praising here - you should be sent to the royal dungeon!

This is one of the most awful ensembles I have ever seen! what is that print and don't get me started on the footwear...

Sunday, 20 March 2011


So spring has now sprung and all the high street stores are filled with lovely pieces to get you into the summer mood. Now I am a vintage girl at heart so I am constantly on the look out for what brands are really pushing the boundaries and not copying looks directly from the catwalk but still creating some iconic and timeless pieces.

On my recent shopping expedition came across some beautiful pieces from Warehouse ss11 collection. I could see they had been especially inspired by Marc Jacobs 70s collection with lots of retro printed blouses and super wide flares in gorgeous materials such as silk and linen. I think that has been one of Warehouse's strongest ethos
Their ability to source unique fabrics and textures.

Below are a few photos I managed to take of my current favourite piece ~ I have my eye on the retro print blouse which is just lush. I'm planning on clashing it with some vintage ditsy floral flares that I have!

This adorable lace dress is Natalie Portman in black swan. I have added an oversized pocket vest (also by Warehouse) to add another dimension of texture and accessorized with a very cute bow detail belt.

So get yourself to your Warehouse store today to pick up some key on trend items from the latest collection or take a look online at

Thursday, 17 March 2011

From Fashion House to Guard House

I've been considering writing an article about John Galliano since his racism scandal hit the tabloids a few weeks ago. Galliano, such an innovative, creative and talented individual, has been branded a racist after making offensive and naive comments to Italian punters in a bar he was also in.

The tabloids have stuck to the old hate campaign against a celebrity (they did it with Naomi Campbell on her assault charges, even the likes of Katie Price are still tarnished with the evil brush).

Now, just to clear things up here, I do not in any way condole abusive or racist behaviour, but I do believe in two sides. I'm not saying the stories in the papers and magazines are false; we've all viewed the videos after all. But what I am trying to say is that we all think celebrities and people in high power are inculpable, when in fact they are just that - people.

That's right, Galliano; mega super-dooper fashion designer that he is; is just a person like you, me and that guy sat right next to you on the bus to work. He is human. And we all know a human that is rude, obnoxious, opinionated and outspoken. How about when your Uncle makes an inappropriate comment about the black guy who lives next door, or a work colleague emails you the latest tasteless Tsunami joke - how do you react? We all know it's wrong and it's taboo but sometimes in this day and age it's just the kind of banter you hear and get used to, which is really sad.

Please don't read this in the wrong way, I am in no way racist or discriminatory, I am merely trying to portray another side of the story. I must say though I am in no way overly surprised with Galliano's outcry. He is an extremely controversial personality, think back to his Derelicte 2000 collection which infuriated many and was the starting point for the rest of his over the top shows...

What I am trying to get at here is, although we saw Galliano as this amazing and fruitful designer who inspired so many of us whether it be through what we wore or what we began designing our very selves. But he is still a person with a personality and negative traits just like we all have. Just because he is well thought of doesn't mean he is all good, he may very well be a racist but so may be the nurse who you visited the other week at the hospital, or the woman who served you in Asda the other day.

I just think certain magazines who have wrote articles on Galliano the past few weeks have been too busy writing about how shocked they are, or how dismayed they have been, or how he has let the fashion world down rather than why he has said these things and whether there is something deeper than just being a discriminating bigit. Has anyone stopped to think why he was drinking alone in a pub? Why he was so drunk he was slurring his words? Especially after presenting such a successful collection in front of the likes of Anna Wintour and other high fashion calibre.

It is such a loss to the fashion world, his mistakes have cost him a successful career and he has probably lost many friends because of this. But why have Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss remained close to him? He may be being portrayed as a racist, but then answer me this, why are two of the most influential fashion icons standing by him?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Fabulous Vintage Finds

Just to show that charity shops in Hull do stock some amazing pieces - It just takes time to look and find them, but thats all part of the fun of hunting through masses of clothes - it's one of my favourite past times and so worth the while when you find a beautiful vintage item.

A beautiful silk shirt from Oxfam, Hessle

Long cardigan from Oxfam, Newland Avenue
Check out the gorgeous fringing - very S/S11
Cute 70's style waistcoat with embroidery
Barnardos, City Centre, Hull

To fashion or not to fashion....

I have been meaning to start a blog for some time now - unfortunately my limited access to the internet has caused me to struggle to do this! But here I am, on a rare day off from the buzzing world of  visual merchandising, sat at a borrowed laptop ready to begin...

I guess I wanted to start a blog since the day I saw an image in a magazine that infuriated me. It was from a well known weekly fashion magazine on a feautre called Style Hunter. The so called 'fashion expert' has the most fabulous job of hunting down style worthy individuals in London to find out what and, more importantly, who they are wearing. But on this occassion I couldn't believe what they picked out. A woman with her coat half on and half off. She had her right arm in her Burberry inspired mac (such a staple piece!) and her left arm hanging out - as though she couldn't decide whether she wanted it on or off. And this to Style Hunter was FASHION?! This isn't even style, its try hard at its very worst. Out of all the arty and fashion forward people there are on the streets of London this is what this supposed 'expert' came up with? And it is not the first time I have disproved of what "style savvy" individuals appeared in this feature...

That got me thinking. If someone who is paid to do such an important and influential job can pick someone so unfashionable for their feature then why can't an average 20 something girl like me do it too (and better, may I add). So I've taken up the challenge of hunting down some wonderfully stylish individuals in my home county of Yorkshire, so I'll be heading from Leeds to Hull, from York to Sheffield and beyond on the hunt to prove that us Yorkshire folk can do an even better job in the fashion stakes than the professionals do in London. I'll be staking out people at vintage fairs, on shopping trips and wherever else the fashion forward Yorkshire folk may be. I'll also be reporting on my own vintage finds from local charity shops, vintage fashion fairs and unique boutiques.

I hope you find the blog inspiring, both to show that fashion provokes opinion and argument -which is why I love it so much.