Dissertation

22 Jun

If you would like to view my dissertation project please click on the following links:

Dissertation Business Plan

Dissertation Marketing & Promotional Strategy

Dissertation Styled Photoshoot Lookbook

Dissertation Profit & Loss and Costings

You can also see what I’ve been up to since university by clicking here and visiting my vintage fashion auction website!

Thank you for viewing my portfolio

Claire

The End

16 Jun

Last night was the friends and family evening of the BIAD show.

My family and closest friends accompanied me to the evening and mingled with my uni’ friends.

The evening commenced with a presentation by Alison, the course director about the past three years, followed by an awards ceremony for students who had particularly well at certain things.

1st year memories of styling hair for a fashion show at House of Fraser

I was astonished when my name was called for the final award: Fashion Retail Management Scholarship Prize 2011.

Accepting my prize

The Prize!

As well as a glorifying certificate I won a lovely bottle of Harvey Nichols champagne and some vouchers to spend in the Birmingham store! I can’t thank my tutors Alison, Julia and Ellie enough for giving me this award!

What a wonderful send off from a fantastic journey!

Thank you

x

Mod’s Top Tips for Buying FABULOUS Vintage!

14 Jun

Nowadays there are so many vintage stores, warehouses, markets and fairs that it is hard to distinguish the good from the bad! Well fear not, as I am here to help.

I have been shopping for vintage clothing and accessories since I was about 14 (11 years), plus, by researching, studying and writing about it (not far off from living and breathing the stuff) I am able to spot the good from the bad in the blink of an eye.

I understand though, that not everyone finds it so easy, so let me give you some basic tips to help you out when you’re next at a vintage fair or in a store trying to work out your Balenciaga from your BHS!

1. MIX AND MATCH

Vintage is all about individuality and uniqueness. Use your imagination and try not to think about it TOO much. With so many trends flying around it’s a great idea to mix eras together as well as incorporating vintage into your modern wardrobe. It’s easiest to start with a vintage bag, shoes or perhaps some jewellery and go from there!

2. SIZING

Don’t be put off if you find something you love but it’s not the right size for you. As decades have passed body shapes have changed, so the chance of finding the perfect fit from something you adore is rare. What I often do is buy something that is a little too big, then alter it (or go to a professional tailor if you don’t sew) to fit me perfectly.
Think of this as an investment. Vintage is usually timeless and classic, and great quality, so once that garment fits you perfectly, it will last forever, instead of high street clothes which look out-dated very quickly.
You could also customise a garment with a belt!

3. BARGAINS

Don’t be afraid to haggle. vintage sellers are used to this and usually love a bit of banter! From my experience of selling vintage myself, it is an equation of how much that garment is worth as a ball-park amount, plus ensuring that gorgeous garment is going to a good home where someone will love it forever!

4. TAKE NOTE OF HIGH STREET TRENDS

Catwalk and high street trends are more often than not inspired by past eras of fashion. Make sure you know what is hot this season and source that must-have buy from a vintage collection instead. You will still be ticking all the right trend boxes whilst knowing you won’t end up the same thing as your best mate!

5. KNOW YOUR STUFF

Try doing a spot of research before you set out on your vintage adventure. Find out about popular designers and decades. That way you will know when you have found a real gem and investment piece. you never know, you may even find a piece by Ossie Clark, Mary Quant or Biba if you keep your eyes peeled!

As I am currently in the process of setting up my own business dealing with vintage fashion, I am constantly adding to my collection of beautiful garments from all eras.
If you would like any more information, to arrange an appointment to see the collection, or to talk further about vintage please contact me. I would love to hear from you.

Me? On Elle?…

13 Jun

If you remember I told you I’d been photographed for street style at graduate fashion week!?

Well I just found it!! On the Elle website!

claire robinson

Another Vintage Fair

13 Jun

If one vintage fair in one weekend wasn’t enough, I am now holding a stall at the Pavilions Vintage Fair on Sunday 26th June.

This fair will be a lot different to the one at Stan’s cafe as it is on a much larger scale, with a £15k marketing budget.

I can imagine they will attract a different type of clientele, due to the size and location, so it will also be an educational experience, understanding people’s responses to my collection, price point and how my garments compare to other stall holders!

This will be a great way of establishing a client base when I set up something more permanant.
What it will be though, you have have to wait and see!

Meanwhile…

11 Jun

I’ve been thinking a lot more about my own business idea since meeting so many vintage retailers that are so passionate about what they do for a living.

one concept that intrigues me is that of Harry Smiles, as they are part of the Meanwhile Space programme.

Meanwhile Space are a Community Interest Company that started in July 2009. They combine knowledge and experience to:

  • Make the concept of meanwhile more mainstream
  • Support people to access space that is less exclusive
  • Advise the public and private sector to initiate schemes
  • Directly deliver space animation projects

“‘Meanwhile use’ is the temporary use of vacant buildings or land for a socially beneficial purpose until such a time that they can be brought back into commercial use again. It makes practical use of the ‘pauses’ in property processes, giving the space over to uses that can contribute to quality of life and better places whilst the search for a commercial use is ongoing.”

If this could take off in Birmingham it could be a great idea to begin with a pop-up shop, supported by Meanwhile to establish my brand and company and develop a healthy client base.

This way there is no risk of being tied down to a contract before finding out if it is a viable business idea or not.

From observing other business it is evident you can do all the market research in the world to ensure your idea is desirable but it’s a completely different thing when you’re up and running!

This would be a great way to test the water with minimum commitment though!

BIAD Show Finishing Touches

10 Jun

I’ve just been in to uni to put the finishing touches to my exhibition stand for the BIAD show which is being held next week!

Here’s a few pic’s of my final display…

My booth!

Marketing material

Pieces from my photoshoot and branding

Salon cape and towel

I’m a Crafty Kitten!

10 Jun

Yesterday evening, before hopping on the train home at Euston I managed to go back to Harry Smiles for an evening of craft they were hosting. We were making cute lavender bags in shape of hearts, owls or birds.

It was great to get to know Kelly and Emma a little better, plus meet some other lovely lady and get creative…

Lots of vintage fabric and buttons to choose from!

 

Yummy cake and vino!

Crafty Kittens!

 

A/W 12-13 Trends

9 Jun


I’ve just come out of the Mudpie trend seminar for A/W 12-13 which was held at London College of Fashion.

The information and experience gained from an event like this is invaluable.

The theme for the season is called Nations Rising. It is taking into account the world economy with a particular nod to the Far East.

The season is then broken up into three sub-categories which make up the different trends for the season…

REMIX: Is influenced by ethnic diversity with particular reference to Brazil, as this is the most ethically diverse country in the world. Acknowledgements were also made to the Rio Olympics for 2016.

Remix also has some strong African influences and an emphasis on eco-materials.


The women’s colour pallette is very earthy, rich and exotic, and prints are tribal inspired.
Layering,volume, mixed prints and textures are big for this trend.

SYNTHESISE: This trend has a much more sythetic, engineered, structured and futuristic look. For me, it made particular references to 1960s trends as technology, innovation and the future were huge influences. Korean pop culture is another source of inspiration with a vivid colour pallette of zingy, sweet colours mixed with metallics to create a digital vision.

Prints are inpired by £D imagery and fragmented light. Key shapes are sleek, panelled and utilitarian (influenced by the idea of protective clothing).

MYRIAD: Combines luxury with sustainability with the use of sumptuous, flowing, naural yarns such as silk. Art and culture are strong influences for Myriad, as well as Abu Dhabi becoming a luxurious place but also an eco-city where the elements are used to power it.

Colours are subdued and rich, with an emphasis on classic hues such as camel and gold. Prints have a Persian influence and ornated embellishment feaures heavily in a mixed media style.

Shapes are fluid, sophisticated and refined with draping and waterfall effects.

Although I am consdering entering the vintage clothingmarket trends are still very important. Current and future trends and designers are always influenced by the past so styles continue to be recycled. It is important to keep an eye on trends to understand what shapes, colours and eras will be desirable for the future so I can choose stock that people will want to buy!

Putting a Face to the Tweets!…

9 Jun

While the sun is out I thought I would sit outside of a cafe in Exmouth Market before I head to the Mudpie seminar to tell you about my latest vintage find!

exmouth market

I first found out about Harry Smiles when the owners contacted me via Twitter, over a certain ‘Tweet’ regarding sandblasted jeans.

After exchanging a number of messages I thought, while I’m in London I’ll check out this new vintage store.

Harry Smiles is a vintage store with a difference…

Both originally from Australia, owners Kelly and Emma came to a turning point in their careers at the same time. Coincidentally they found that they had similar ambitions, prompting them to go into business together!

harry smiles vintage

Through painstakingly extensive research into the market place the girls found a gap in the market that they felt confident they could occupy.

“We felt vintage could at times be confusing, daunting and feel a little exclusive.”

They feel flea markets and jumble sales can be difficult to purchase from as it’s impossible to know if something will fit and it’s rare you are able to try things on.

Kelly and Emma also state that many vintage shops can make people feel uncomfortable if they don’t already look the part. Products are displayed by category e.g. dresses, shirts & shoes, so It’s hard to see what goes together unless you have an eye for it. 

This isn’t the case at Harry Smiles, where things are categorised into different trends or looks such as ‘Festival Frolick’ and ‘Cowboy Chic’.

harry smiles vintage
harry smiles vintage

Harry Smiles has collaborated with Ruth from Superstyling style consultancy, who is on-hand to offer styling advice for people unsure of vintage. This reminds me of my concept for ‘Covet’, my dissertation business plan, and re-affirms that I have a viable business idea!

 “We want to make vintage more accessible by offering high quality products and services at an affordable price. We want to give people the confidence to embrace vintage. To provide a stylist to help them understand what suits their body shape and style. Offer group sessions to put the fun into exploring vintage with friends and give advice and tips on how to use vintage.
Our aim is to turn a little bit of vintage fun into everyday style and for vintage to be at the forefront of the mind in future purchase consideration.”

harry smiles vintage

What else makes Harry Smiles special is the concept of the store. Harry Smiles is involved with Meanwhile Space, a community interest company working to activate vacant property and sites with uses that benefit the community, while something else is waiting to happen.

The idea is the girls will stay in their current unit (an ex-Subway!!) for a month, then move to a new unit, creating a pop-up shop frenzy!
This seems like a great way to develop  a loyal customer base who will follow them wherever they go!

harry smiles vintage

I was already VERY intrigued at this point, then Kelly starts telling me some of the tales behind the garments they have in store…

The cute dress is from the 1940s and has unusual side hook and eye fastenings!

This jacket is fully reversible. It belonged to a German lady who escaped the australia during the war. this was the first item of clothing she had made after leaving all of her belongings behind!

harry smiles vintage

This beautiful handmade 1950s dress and matching jacket was the graduation piece of a fashion designer. The inside label reads 'Miss Mitzou'.

Kelly and Emma really see to know what they are doing when it comes to community spirit too! Tonight they are hosting a craft workshop which I am very tempted to come back for before I catch my train back to Birmingham!

Anyway, off to the seminar for some new fashion!…

Lovely Farringdon!…

9 Jun

I just got off the tube at Farringdon, not somewhere I have been before, despite my many visits to London, AND despite this place being amazing!

As I headed up Farringdon Rd towards my destination: Exmouth Market (following my pre-prepared Google map) I could not help but be distracted by the quant cafes, cool bars, pokey galleries and quirky shops that lined the pavement.

exmouth market

exmouth market
family business

salon liv

cafe kick

grills and martinis

I also managed to find a charity shop where I  bagged a vintage mod dress for £5.99!

After chatting to the man in the charity shop about how we love vintage clothes but hardly find them in charity shops anymore I also saw this AMAZING Vespa…


I’m just off to Exmouth Market now so catch up with you a bit later…

London Town

9 Jun

So I’ve come to London for the day. The main reason is that I have a ticket to a Mudpie seminar about trends for autumn/winter 2012/13.

However, there are always weird and wonderful things that manage to distract me along the way.

The first of today being the Lost Property Office at Baker Street tube station!

I have walked past here many times so I haven’t got a clue how I have missed this!

I didn’t even go inside as it didn’t look very inspiring, but the window is full of things that were lost and never claimed…

Massive phones!

Does this look like something you carry around?

How would you ever lose this?!

Have you seen my iron?! No? What about my Oliver soundtrack?!

What makes these things so interesting to me is wondering about how they got there in the first place? Whose were they? How old were they? And where were they going when they lost them?…

Feeling Cultured…

8 Jun

This afternoon I found myself passing through Birmingham City Centre with some time to kill, so slipped into the Ikon contemporary art gallery.

The beautiful Ikon building

The first exhibit I saw was by Tadasu Takamine, who is said to be one of the most thought-provoking Japanese artists.

Ikon’s exhibition is Takamine’s first in Europe and includes a selection of videos touching on sex, politics and sexual politics.

One piece that caught my attention was God Bless America, made in 2002.It is an acknowledgement of the global intrusion of American culture in the post-9/11 world.

“For eighteen days Takamine and his female partner lived in an entirely red room, filming themselves as they worked, ate, slept and had sex. In the resulting time-lapse footage we see them kick and punch a sculpture into being: a giant head, resembling George W. Bush, which continually sings God Bless America.

Another exhibit at Ikon was a series of paintings by John Salt. Salt was one of the first artists to exhibit at the original Ikon at the Bullring in 1965. Cars feature heavily in salt’s work, rooted from his upbringing in Birmingham, which is a city of car manufacture.

Many pieces in this exhibit are inspired by abandoned cars.

“Instead of reproducing images that promised a future of happy motoring, his works embodied the jolting violence of wrecked vehicles.The now redundant cars are symptomatic of a marginalised lifestyle, a world of shacks and trailer homes, locations far from the affluent metropolis. The overall effect jars, especially in an American landscape, which is also prone to idealisation in the popular imagination.


After walking through the exhibition I wondered into the resource room which is full of books and other reference material. The room is furnished with tables chairs and a window seat so people can sit, read and be inspired.

There is also a black board for people to leave their comments. I saw this as an opportunity to do a spot of guerilla marketing…

Micro Mini mod

I could be the next Banksy!

 

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

7 Jun

I’ve just got home from an evening at the theatre. My great friend Paul Brotherton was part of the cast of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham.

The play is  set in Sidley Park, an English country house, in both the times of 1809–1812 and the present day. The activities of two modern scholars and the house’s current residents are juxtaposed with the lives of the characters who lived there 200 years ago.

In 1809, Thomasina Coverly, the daughter of the house, is a precocious teenager with ideas about mathematics well ahead of her time. She studies with her tutor, Septimus Hodge, a friend of Lord Byron (who is an unseen guest in the house).

In the present, Hannah, a writer investigating a hermit who once lived on the grounds, and Bernard, a professor of literature investigating a mysterious chapter in the life of Byron work together and together reveal  the truth about what happened in Thomasina’s lifetime is gradually revealed.

The set featured a large table, which is used by the characters in both past and present. Props are not removed when the play switches time period, so that the books, turtle, coffee mugs, quill pens, plastic trays, and laptop computers appear alongside each other as the two scenes blur together.

Paul Brotherton Arcadia

Hi Paul!

When I read the synopsis, prior to attending the play I was uncertain as to whether I would be able to follow such a complex story line. Some of the talk of science and maths flew over my head, but this was somewhat irrelevant to the overall outcome and plot of the play and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Rising Talent…

7 Jun

One designer that instantly caught my eye at Graduate Fashion Week was Samantha Giles who has just completed BA degree in Fashion Design from the University of Wales, Newport.
Here is her stand at GFW which featured garments from the collection and some props which further emphasise the feel and theme of the pieces…

The reason I contacted Samantha about her work is that, it reminded me of 1960’s styles, especially with the simple block colours, Peter Pan collars and strong cut of the garments.
Although Graduate Fashion Week is all about new designers, for me, loving vintage so much, Samantha’s work caught my eye in an instant.

I was so glad when Samantha replied to my email. And here is her description of her collection…

“Seamlessly combining the old with the new, this blend of retro 1960’s design with a richly deep and regal colour palette, brings youthful revolution and British eccentricity together with a sophisticated edge.

Samantha’s collection is inspired by 1960s style but still looks fresh and modern in 2011. This could be a combination of Samantha terrific talent and skill, and the fact that the 60s produced a classic, timeless look which manages to surpass any newer trend.

Here are some images from Samantha’s photoshoot…

Plus, to further emphasise the image she has created, Samantha has also made a lovely film of her final collection. Enjoy…

Graduate Fashion Week is Here!

6 Jun

Today I’m at Graduate Fashion Week with some classmates, on the Birmingham City University stand ready to meet potential employers and anyone else who even looks like they MIGHT be interested in my work!

Our stand comprised of chicken coops as the theme was ‘Incubation’, as if our time at uni had been our time of incubation and now we have “hatched” into graduates?…

Our work was nicely presented on top of the chicken coops…

fashion retail management

Chicken Coop!

My dissertation

My Final Presentation


Within minutes of being here I was in front of three judges as my work had been entered into the ‘New Business Idea Award’ category. They aksed me a set of questions about my work such as, what gave me the idea for Covet, why I think it is a viable business idea for today’s consumer, why I think vintage is so popular…

I believe I gave confident and informed answers which demonstrated my expertise and research from the project.

As the afternoon has passed a few people have already looked through my work and taken my business cards, including a very dapper looking an who, when I approached him, told me he is looking for business minded people from graduate level to bring in the marketing department of his new company which works with new designers. this sounded very excited so I proceeded to talk him through the marketing strategy I had developed for Covet and explained how I had tailored it so it was specific to my product and target consumer.

I’ve just had a walk around the rest of the show, here are some pictures of the stands, unis and projects that caught my eye…

Demontford

Bournemouth

Milan

Business cards hanging from flowers!

Excuse me? Have you got the time?!

As I just sat outside, getting some fresh air and reflecting on the  day so far a lady approched me asking to take my photograph for a street style blog. Her explanation was a bit vague but she took town my name and where my outfit was from and took a couple of shots.

I’ll let you know if my picture makes it online!

The Finer Details

5 Jun

 

Sourcing the Collection…

5 Jun

As I discovered through my dissertation research, there are a great number of ways and places to source desirable vintage clothing.

It needs to be cheap enough to then be marked up to a, still, reasonable price that is affordable for my target market.

I am sourcing a number of higher-end pieces from private sellers in America, plus I will be visiting a vintage wholesaler in the UK next week.

Wholesalers usually make you buy in bulk and there is a minimum spend, but I’ve managed to find one who is based on quality rather than quantity, so I’m keen to check it out!

I already have a small collection which I am currently valuing and pricing up. It is partly things I have collected and worn myself over a number of years, as well as things I have sourced from markets and charity shops, although, finding a vintage piece in a charity shop nowadays is a rare treat!

I can’t wait to see what I will end up buying and starting my business with.

Barboot: A Nice Little Earner!!

4 Jun

Today I carted some pre-loved clothing and accessories to the Hare & Hounds Pub in Kings Heath to pitch a stall at the weekly Barboot Bazaar!

Like a Carboot, without the early mornings and risk of bad weather, people come together with clothing, crafts, homeware, books and other misceleaneor every Saturday between 11 and 3.

Here is my stall of clothing and accessories that I no longer want or wear…

But what better way to pass them on?

Today’s society has a real mix of attitudes towards throwing things away!

Many people think it is better value to buy cheap and in bulk, throwing things in the bin when they break or the condition deteriroates, or the product goes out of fashion.

However, everything just ends up in land-fill polluting the earth! Plus, many people in poorer countries continue to be exploited and abused due to thehigh demand for more of what has just been thrown out!

On the other hand, many people have embraced reusing and recycling as a way of life. Not just with paper and other household materials but with their wardrobes.

Vintage is not a new concept but the attitudes of wearing something old and hand-me-down culture are becoming more widespread.

Today I was not only lucky enough to have many customers with these attitudes, but also to make some great new friends (and useful future contacts).

One lovely girl (who was also selling her old things)  in particular noticed my eclectic style and was at my table like a shot. After chatting all day we agreed to have a swap of anything we liked of each others at the end of a day.

So now I have:

a) Earnt some pennies

b) Got rid of some things I no longer wanted

c) Done a good deed (in recycling)

d) Got some new clothes (recycled)

e) Made some great friends

A thumbs up all round!

Mod on Cosmo!

3 Jun

A couple of days ago, whilst at uni’, I noticed a pile of free magazines. As i’m always on the look out for something new to write about I picked it up without thinking twice.

Cosmo on Campus is produced by Cosmopolitan but a lot smaller and with content aimed specifically to students.

It features such things on ‘Fashion on a Shoestring, saving money, internships and how to deal with stress.

What caught my eye first (partly because it was on one of the first pages) was a short ad entitled ‘Cosmo on Campus Needs Your talent Now’.

Cosmo on Campus features content written by readers in every issue and are looking for people who have interesting stores, hobbies and a flair for writing.

As I am considering starting my own business with vintage fashion I thought it would be a good idea to try to get my name out there as somewhat of an expert so I have just emailed them telling them about my dissertation, passion for vintage fashion and goals to set up my own business.

I also told them how I’d written a few articles for our own student magazine ‘Spaghetti Junction’, one in particular being about fashion…

Everyone keep everything crossed for them to get back to me!

I’ll keep you posted.

Pick a Pocket or Two!

2 Jun

It’s day 4 of the Killer Jeans campaign against sandblasting and we’re stepping out of the virtual world and into reality…

Day Four Action:

Put a message in a pocket…

This involves printing out the downloadable PDF of a pocket slip and putting it into a pocket! It informs the finder of the campaign and the dangers of sandblasting!

So earlier today I sneaked into *a retailer of sandblasted jeans* at the Bullring, to slip the message into the back pocket of a pair of jeans. I wasn’t quite rebellious enough to stick around for a photo though!

“Fact of the Day: The first two workers to be diagnosed with silicosis from textile sandblasting had been in the job since they were 13 and 14; they died before they were 20 years old.

Tweet Back at Ya!

2 Jun

Last night I had a good response from London vintage retailer Harry Smiles on my Tweet about the Killer Jeans campaign!

Here’s what happened…

It’s great that people are noticing the campaign and are concerned by the cause!

However, my opinon is that vintage clothing is already the purist form of ethical clothing. it has already been made and it is being reused.

Plus, old fashioned methods of making clothing were alot more ethical, with alot of garments being made by hand in the the country where they were sold.

My opinion on fur and other skins is true for the same reasons. It’s already been used, and by buying vintage fure, leather, or other skins you are prolonging the life of that garment as opposed to buying a new, mass produced coat/bag/pair of shoes/hat etc that ultimately won’t last as long!

On another note, feel free to follow me on Twitter, that is if you haven’t had enough of my ramblings here!! @Tweet_Dolly

Killer Tweets!

1 Jun

Facebook is already awash with pics and posts about Killer Jeans and Diesel have already responded to all the comments, saying that they’re putting a ban into effect as of now (they had originally told us they would keep sandblasting until summer 2012).

Today the campaign is taking on Twitter!

Day 3 Action:

Today’s action is to create a storm on twitter by messaging @dolcegabbana @ARMANIdotcom to ask the Killer Question.

Here’s me in action:

“Fact of the Day: Jeans with the faded or worn out look achieved by sandblasting often retail for as much as 180% of the price of an untreated pair of jeans.

I wonder what Labour Behind the Label will have in store for me tomorrow!!

A Lick of Paint…

1 Jun

I’ve just got back from spending a couple of hours at uni with my friends Katy and Sarah. We were helping out painting the Fashion Retail Management room in preparation for work on the BIAD show to begin.

The show will exhibit our dissertation projects and there is the opportunity to show our industry contacts what we’ve been up to, as well as our friends and family.

So we want to room to look spic and span, just incase Stella McCartney pops in for a cup of tea!

Hard at work

Attention to detail

I'm too busy to even look at the camera!

Asking the Killer Question

31 May

It is day two of the campaign against sandblasting jeans lead by Labour Behind the Label.

Today my mission is again, using Facebook to raise the issue of Killer Jeans with three top luxury fashion brands who are yet to ban or illiminate sandblasting from their supply chains!

Looks like I’m not the only one!

“Fact of the Day: Over 50 fatalities from Silicosis in turkey have been directly link to denim sandblasting.

Taking Action!!

30 May

Campaigners around the country are taking action this week to tell the fashion industry that sandblasting kills, and it MUST BE BANNED.

I am actively supporting the campaign and will receive an email from Labour Behind the Label everyday instructing me on how to act on getting the message across about this brutal and unnecessary method.

Day 1

Tell friends on facebook that you think killer jeans are wrong by making this picture your profile image:


They also encourage you reinforce the picture with a status update!
Here is a screenshot of my Facebook profile taking action today:

If you want to find out about sandblasting and the fatal effects of distressed denim on workers, click this link www.killerjeans.org.

Fact of the Day: Sandblasting is one of more than 5 techniques that can be used to distress denim, but it is often over 5 times cheaper than its alternatives.”

Funding…

29 May

Although I plan to get my business idea off the ground on a small scale by attending vintage fairs and visiting people at home with my collection I need to consider the future and what will be the most profitable business.

I am aiming to start working on a thorough business plan in the next few weeks, using the skills and experience I gained through writing my dissertation business plan.

With this I will be able to apply for funding. To do this I will need to convince a bank or investor that I have a viable business idea.

I have been looking into funding already and there are many different types that will obviously have different outcomes.

I have already researched The Prince’s Trust, Birmingham City Council, and business loans, as well as an article I read in the Birmingham Post about Deloitte backing a funding scheme for local independent businesses.

There is also plenty of mentoring and guidance which will be very helpful.

One article in the June issue of Marie Claire was all about applying for mentors who run successful businesses, such as the make-up brand Ruby and Millie,  feel I am making good progress with my business ideas, I just need to start making things happen!

Chelsea Flower Fashion!!

28 May

Although I am yet to go myself, the Chelsea Flower Show looks utterly breathtaking.

Looking through past coverage, this year has been no exception.

As the show ended today I have been looking through photos online of what the event involved and I was surprised to see so much fashion!

However, I can actually imagine fashion designers being inspired by the sights; the colour palletts, arrangements, sculptures… No wonder Zandra Rhodes and Stephen Jones were spotted there!

Here’s some of the most fashionable moments…

This also got me thinking about my love of 1960s and 70s fashion, which heavily featured floral prints and motifs…

Furthering My Knowledge

27 May

So, even though I’m thinking of setting up my own vintage fashion business, it can’t hurt to gain some more experience.

I was juts looking at the Beyond Retro website and they are currently looking for an intern to work in their product department. So guess who is about to send her CV and cover letter?

That’s right! ME!

Here’s the job description…

This would give me a great insight into sourcing and valuing vintage clothing as well as how to spot what will be desirable and on trend in the vintage world!

I believe the knowledge I gained from my dissertation project, as well as the years of passion and interest in vintage clothing would make a great contribution to the internship already.

If anything, every internship I have done so far has increased my knowledge of the fashion industry and improved my confidence with working with new people and facing new challenges.

In the past I have completed a three-month internship at Fluorescent PR in Soho, London, one month in the fashion department at Good Housekeeping Magazine and 1 week at Kerry Taylor Auctions.

Hopefully my past experience and existing skills will catch their attention and clinch me the internship!

Wish me luck!

Intelligent Reading!

26 May

Today I want to share a fantastic article I just read about model turned stylist, Grace Coddington.

I think anyone who watched The September Issue could not fail to be charmed by her personality, northern accent and genius creative talent.

The article is from Inteligent Life, The Economist’s lifestyle and culture magazine, and Coddington is currently the cover star.

The story is a memoir by acclaimed biographer Julie Kavanagh, who has been friends with Coddington since working with her as an assistant at UK Vogue in the 1970’s. Coddington has led an amazing and inspiring life working in fashion the fashion industry with many great names touching her world. She is very influential in what she does for Vogue, as Anna wintour said in the September Issue “No one can do what Grace does”





You can read the full piece here, if you like.

Entrepreneurial Spirit…

25 May

I’ve just got home from a fantastic new event held at Urban Coffee Company on Church Street in Birmingham.

The Birmingham Entrepreneur Meetup group is held on a monthly basis and allows you to network with local entrepreneurs, and other people who want to start their own business, over a friendly cup of coffee.

As I am currently looking into starting my own business I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get some advice, talk to people who have been in my situation and pick up some useful contacts! It’s also a chance for me to hand out some of my brand new business cards!!

The group was small and a broad mix of people to say the least.

I spoke to a number of people there, which helped me realise that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t currently running a business, which put me at ease!I quickly got chatting to Rickie, who incidentally is the organiser of the group. I realised I was definitely chatting with the right person as Rickie told me about an exciting new vintage fair she is organising in Birmingham!

‘Birmingham Vintage’ is a vintage fair with a difference, as the nostalgic mood will be elevated with a 1970s theme throughout with live music, refreshments and a great mixture of stalls including homeware, clothing, art, crafts and hair and makeup sessions.

The fair is being held on Saturday 25th June at Stan’s Cafe in the creative hub which is the Jewellery Quarter.

It was lovely to meet Rickie and talk about vintage in a more business sense. I am definitely going to hold a stall at the fair and start spreading the word about my business and myself (so come down and see me).

Better get some stock!!

All in all the meetup was a great night and a fab idea, I’ll be back for the next one! Plus, the artists at Urban Coffee made my cappuccino look like a bear!

Professional Me!

23 May

My business cards came in the post today!

I designed them myself and added a spot of colour to make them noticeable and attractive!

Front

Back

Matching nail polish!

I can use them at Graduate Fashion Week and the BIAD show, and I’ll be keeping some in my purse incase I ever run into Vivienne Westwood (as I so often do!)

I am actually going to an ‘entrepreneur meetup’ in a couple of days; where local business owners and people wanting to start up their own business can meet up to talk shop. So I am hoping these will be very useful!

Heroica

22 May

Last night I went to the Flapper & Firkin in Birmingham to see my good friends, Heroica play their last gig!

Founded in 2005, Heroica are a four-piece who met while studying at Aston University through the ‘Live Music Society’.

The guys describe their music as “Alcohol-fuelled hard pub-rock” and are influenced by classic rock and blues such as Thin Lizzy, Cream and Free.

Over the past couple of years I have had the privilege of (sort of) working with Heroica, in a somewhat “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ way.

I was organising ‘Get Your Rocks Off’ with a group of classmates. A huge event at Birmingham’s Custard Factory which involved live bands, DJs and a fashion show, combining vintage and River Island clothing.

Heroica volunteered their musical services and played a fantastic set at the event (in exchange for free haircuts!).

A few months later I found myself writing a few features for Spaghetti junction, the Birmingham City University student magazine.

The editors wanted a profile of a local band, and, instantly thinking of Heroica, I volunteered myself for the piece!

Click image to enlarge

You can still hear a selection of their songs via Facebook and My Space.

Would My Business be a ‘Super Business’?

20 May

This morning I started reading ‘Super Business’ by Fraser Doherty, the young boy who started the business Super Jam.

I first saw this book at the airport when I was going to Barcelona and had a quick flick through before boarding! the only reason I picked it up is because I’ve had that jam a number of times.

However, I quickly realised the book is not only about Fraser’s business, but also how he transformed a hobby into the brand we see in the supermarket.

“Nothing in my life has compared to the sense of achievement that I felt when I first saw my products on the supermarket shelf.”

He explains how he did it and offers very encouraging business advice for everyone thinking of setting up their own business. The tips, ideas and advice can be applied to any business idea and I can definitely relate to much of the content from writing Covet’s business plan for my dissertation.

It is mainly an inspiration, reading about someone so young and what they went through to do what they are passionate about.

“It’s a lot easier to follow your passion when you’re young.”

“Evolve your hobby into a career, so you can make a living from something you love”

I am definitely in the frame of mind to want to set up my own business, or give it a really good go at least!

“Great ideas solve some kind of problem that lots of people relate to.”

Have I got a great idea? Well I think so, so it’s up to me to find out for sure. Now my time at university is drawing to a close I feel I have more time to focus my energies on creating a ‘great idea’ and putting it into action.

The Queen of Punk Endorses Upcycling…

19 May

I have just finished reading this article in the June issue of Marie Claire about Vivienne Westwood‘s mission to save the world!

Renowned as the ‘Queen of Punk’, Viv is now developing a reputation as an eco-pioneer, and using her status and influential character to promote her thoughts and hopes for the future.

In the article she talks about how she has always been concerned about climate change and is inspired by James Lovelock‘s Gaia theory. The name Gaia was chosen so people would think of the earth of a human being. His theory revolves around the idea that it’s going to get so hot within one or two generations that nearly all the earth will be uninhabitable for human beings.

“Lovelock hoped humans would evolve into something more wonderful. The history of the human race is punctuated by our cleverness: we create one invention after the other.”

Westwood questions why humans cut down trees when they provide us with oxygen and food…

“So why are we, humans, so intent on destroying the thing that gives us life?”

Marie Claire Vivienne Westwood

Westwood is also promoting more sustainable ideas for the fashion industry and its’ consumers…

“The first thing I’ve been doing is promoting the idea of ‘do it yourself’. Make your own T-shirt by putting a picture in a plastic sleeve and pinning it on. Whatever!”

She is also hot on the idea of encouraging consumers to buy less but choose well, opting for investment pieces that will last longer…

“Nearly everyone in the fashion industry is on a train, producing too much stuff. I would like quality, not quantity. I don’t believe in growth if it means one man’s advantage is another man’s disadvantage.”

Marie Claire

As someone who also supports the idea of ethical and sustainable fashion I agree with Westwood’s views very strongly.

I believe my fondness for vintage fashion has a lot to do with this. To me, vintage is the most sustainable form of fashion as nothing new is being produced. Plus the methods of making clothing used to be a lot more energy-efficient, especially back in the 1940s and 50s when everything was made by hand! The styles have already remained desirable for this long and will continue to look timeless and cool no matter how many trends come and go, or last season’s garments are tossed out to make room for next season!

However, how can someone whose business is producing new clothing have conflicting views on the subject?

“The only thing I have the power to do is to close my business down, but I’ve never seriously considered it. If people bought fewer clothes and made better choices they would start to understand value for money.”

Vivienne Westwood

An extreme example of upcycling!

The article continues to dig deeper into ways of consuming differently to help fight global warming, e.g. apparantly one of the most efficient ways to save energy woudl be to change our diets. Paul McCartney has started a ‘Meat-Free Monday’ campaign, which could make an amazing difference.

Westwood goes on to say she’d like to make a TV series called ‘Get a Life!’ about making the world more habitable for humans. She also wants to encourage people to ‘get a life’ in more mind-opening ways such as visiting galleries or listening to different types of music…

“Every time I look up a word in the dictionary I get a real sense of satisfaction at learning something.”

Ending on a good note, Viv’ concludes the interview with a few words of wisdom…

“Your time is precious, so don’t just sit around and suck things up. Invest in things, fight for something.
My motto is, ‘You get out what you put in‘.”

To voice her views further, Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with ethical fashion label People Tree to produce this limited edition dress. Made from 100% fair-trade organic cotton, £7 of every sale will also be donated to the Society for Human Development, which supports the women of the Garo tribe who love in the Madhupur forest region of Bangladesh.

90% of their native forest land has been destroyed by logging- placing them and their livelihood, at risk.

The cotton used to produce these dresses is made in Gujarat, India so sales will also help the workers there earn a fair wage.

I love a good deed or two!

Knit-Wit!

18 May

I have recently taken up knitting. My good friend Sarah and I have already been to a couple of knitting groups, Stitches & Hos at Hare & Hounds pub in Kings Heath, as well as Urban Coffee Company.




Going to the knitting groups is also a great way to meet new people. There’s nothing to worry about as you already have a common interest and everyone is also there to socialise!

When I feel like doing some extra work on my knitting practise I also look to the internet as there are thousands of tutorials, such as this one, available on You Tube…

And what’s even better are the proven health benefits of knitting!

Did you know, that the repetitive actions used when knitting can bring the mind and body to a state called a “relaxation response” that is quite similar to what people experience during prayer, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other relaxation disciplines.

Also, research at Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute found that when someone is knitting her heart rate can drop 11 beats a minute and her blood pressure drops as well. These results can have significant health benefits for people who knit.

It is also a great way to stimulate the mind and escape from the hustle and bustle of my usual everyday life, by focussing on knitting.

Finally, being a creative person, it encourages me to make something, as I feel the more I knit, I am getting closer to creating a garment.

Here are some great pictures of knitting that I can but aspire to at the moment…



I’m Now ‘Linked In’

17 May

As part of my new-found business enthusiasm I just joined Linked In (the business version of Facebook if you will).

It is a great way of connecting with your existing industry contacts as well as networking and building new professional relationships.

You can see a person’s employment and education history as part of their profile, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate my achievements, skills and strengths.

I have expanded on relevant internships, previous employment and university modules in order to showcase these attributes…

 

You can see my full profile here, feel free to add me to your network!

I’m in Heaven!

16 May

After leaving Wilde (vintage sunglasses) Cao directed us to Reira Baixa, a street literally two minutes walk from his own shop. He said we would find many vintage shops there! And boy did we! This was definitely the vintage destination we had hoped for!

To me it completely makes sense for vintage retailers to group together. From my research for my dissertation I gathered that the attitude of many shopkeepers is that they are not competitive with other stores as they are all selling something completely different and special, but they attract a similar clientele.

My favourite store on Reira Baixa was ‘Lullaby Vintage’– a cute, narrow vintage boutique run by a lovely married couple.



Lullaby has a very distinct retro, mod atmosphere, although it offers clothing and accessories for women, men and kids from the 1950s-1980s.

After talking to Cao at Wilde and being instilled with passion for opening my own store, I was on a role. As soon as the shopkeeper greeted me I started chatting to him.

I cannot express how much I love talking to people who are passionate about vintage! He was asking where I’m from and commented on my 1960s shift dress. He laughed when we told him we were actually about to catch our plane and were lugging our suitcase round with us in the name of vintage shopping!

I told him how much I love vintage but there isn’t a great deal in Birmingham and I order most of my clothes off etsy.com.
He also had a mod look about him and we both agreed the 1960s was the best era!

Lullaby Vintage has been open just over two years but the owners have been collecting vintage clothing for a great number of years.
What is great to see is when each piece is authentic vintage, which it definitely was at Lullaby!

Stock is broken up into eras, which is great for customers who are unsure about vintage and what is from which decade!

Accessories and other trinkets are dotted around the store, making it a fascinating treasure trove to look round and discover things!

After a long, polite chat with the man we left to carry on our homage down Reira Baixa, at which point my boyfriend turned to me and said…

“This is amazing! Doesn’t this inspire you to open your own vintage shop?!”

I could not have agreed more!

Did you really expect me NOT to buy anything?!

Going Wilde!

16 May

Well its our final day in Barcelona and we’ve managed to fit in a vintage shopping trip before getting on the plane.

Currently we are sat in a quaint cafe in the Raval area of Barcelona, sipping on freshly squeezed orange juice after visiting a number of cool and quirky stores, including Wilde.

A new generation vintage shop where we were attended to by the owner Cao, who told me that everything started with his passion to collect Vintage Sunglasses.

For several years he was collecting models in different auctions, flea markets, private collections and a variety of secret sources all over the world.

Some pieces in the collection ares unsold stock from Paris, London and United States and everything is hand-picked and in mint condition, dating from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

He treats every single item they choose as the treasure it really is because he believes there is nothing better than Vintage stuff!

Cao’s passion has lead to his latest project; the launch of his own line of sunglasses ”  The Black Oscar Sunglasses”.

It’s so inspiring meeting someone with true passion and expertise for what they do everyday!

Thank you Cao!

Nooks and Crannies!

15 May

We are currently sat in the beautifully quaint courtyard at the Museum of the History of Barcelona, surrounded by orange trees and the faint sound of the bustling city below us.

I wonder if this is where my freshly squeezed orange juice came from?

Exploring the nooks and crannies of the city is one of the most interesting ways of seeing the real Barcelona. The Gothic Quarter is home to a stunning collection of buildings and side streets…

Delicious!

I always wanted to be called Clara!

Barcelona Cathedral

Cheap tat!

Pretty!

Eclectic window display!

Eclectic window display!

Must dash! A tour bus has just pulled up and we want to bag ourselves some top deck seats!

Parc de la Ciutadella

15 May

A more conventional park thank Parc Guell, the Ciutadella is located in the city centre of Barcelona. We visited the park this morning and now feel thoroughly relaxed

There is a very calm atmosphere; although the park is busy with families, runners, sunbathers and musicians alike, everyone is relaxing on the grass, strolling round the footpaths or rowing a boat on the gentle lake.

The park is also home to the zoo, botanical gardens and parliament.

The focal point of the park is the Cascades Fountain; a stunning structure of archways, golden statues and water. However, when the fountain was first built it did not have any of the beautiful details we saw this morning. After being slated in the press for this, a further 6 years were spent on making it into the magnificent sight seen by hundreds of people everyday, including us…

barcelona park

Barcelona Park

I love how there is no actual function or need for this fountain, it was built purely for the sake of creating something beautiful.

Park Güell and Back!

14 May

This morning we took the metro to the nearest stop to Park Güell.

I have been to this beautiful site a number of times in the past but every time am even more awe-struck by its beauty and uniqueness!

Park Güell was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. From 1906 to 1926 Gaudí  lived in one of the houses in park himself, but not one that he had designed!

Park Güell’s complex design means paths can take you off route and you end up discovering a different part than you had planned! This is all part of the beauty of the park and although it’s very busy with tourists, there is a very peaceful and calm atmosphere.

The two buildings at the entrance, though very original and remarkable with fantastically shaped roofs with unusual pinnacles, fit in well with the use of the park as pleasure gardens and seem relatively inconspicuous in the landscape when you compare them to other buildings designed by Gaudí.


We eventually made our way to the large cross at the Park’s highest point, which offers the most complete view of Barcelona and the bay.


We got a fabulous panorama of the city, with the Sagrada Família and the Montjuïc area visible in the distance.


Finally, we made our way to the central focal point of Park Güell; the main terrace which is surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. This is covered in broken ceramic pieces, to form a wonderful mosaic effect.


Apparently, to design the curvature of the bench surface Gaudí used the shape of buttocks left by a naked workman sitting in wet clay!

Underneath the terrace a small orchestra play music, which is amplified by the fantastic acoustics supplied by the shape and height of the terrace above! This added further ambience to the park and I actually took a moment to sit there with my eyes closed to take in the beautiful music; Bach, Air

… which was quickly interrupted by all the illegitimate souvenir merchants being chased off by the police!!

Here they are playing Pachelbel’s Canon…

After leaving the park we casually walked into the surrounding neighbourhood in the direction of the city. After stumbling upon a number of quaint, tree-lined streets the famous Sagrada Família appeared at the end! So we sat outside a cafe directly opposite and ate some paella while taking in the magnificent site!

Not sure what we’ll do tomorrow (take it as it comes) so check back and see!

W… W… WOW!

14 May

So last night after a lovely dinner at a Barceloneta restaurant we strolled to the W Hotel, stated as “The best hotel in Barcelona” by Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer on ‘Vacation, Vacation, Vacation’!

It isn’t hard to spot as the building is 26 floors high and a distinctive modern structure, set apart from the many other fabulous pieces of architecture in the city.

w hotel barcelona

So we followed the big lit up ‘W’ along the Barcelona sea front.

I was immediately impressed from the instant I walked through the main doors into the lobby.

The walls are covered in shimmering plastic discs, making me feel like I was at Studio 54! I almost expected Andy Warhol to be sat at the lobby bar!!

w hotel barcelona

w hotel barcelona

It reminds me very much of a 1960s Paco Rabanne disc dress, which later influenced architect Jan Kaplicky when designing Selfridges in Birmingham.

paco rabanne

selfridges birmingham

What we really went to W for is a cocktail in the ultra-cool Eclipse bar which is on the very top floor and offers panoramic views of the entire city!

However, there was rather a long queue when we arrived so nonchalantly ordered a drink from the lobby bar and sat (or should I say lay, as we were on a double  sun lounger/bed, complete with canopy) by the pool.

w hotel barcelona

When we went back inside the queue had gone so we eagerly went to the front! We were taken up in the lift by the door attendant who complimented me on my vintage clutch as we left the lift and entered Eclipse!

The bar was buzzing and rammed with young, fashionable people, both tourists and locals.

w hotel barcelona

w hotel barcelona

After ordering two (delicious) watermelon martinis we managed to bag ourselves a seat in the window so we could take in the amazing view of Barcelona by night.

eclipse bar

w hotel

barcelona view

Needless to say, the whole experience was perfect and definitely added some luxury to our trip!

w hotel barcelona

Cheers!

Must go… we’re off to Parc Guell, will tell you all about that later!

Getting from A to B…

13 May

What I have quickly picked up on in Barcelona is the number of alternative ways people choose to travel around the city, instead of driving.

Of course there are cars, however modes of transport such as motorbikes and mopeds seem to be a favoured, perhaps because it is free to park them. They are all over the place!

As I don’t drive myself I have to find other methods of transport in my everyday life. Although I love riding my bike, Birmingham roads aren’t the best equipped for cyclists. However, in Barcelona, there sometimes seems to be more push bikes on the road than cars!
Bikes are available to hire from various places on the street or shops that hire them out for a day or half day!

This isn’t my first trip to Barcelona, but it is the first time I have used to metro here and I have to say I’m very impressed. It is never delayed and trains arrive within 5 minutes of each other, making it really easy to get from one side of the city to the other very quickly (perfect for super-keen tourists who want to see EVERYTHING).

Barcelona by Night…

12 May

I just want to acknowledge how beautiful this city is at night as well as during the day!

Here are a few pictures I just took whilst walking around aimlessly after dinner…

 

On Barcelona Time!

12 May

I have just got up mega early as I am about to jet off to beautiful Barcelona to soak up sun, sea and culture! I won’t be neglecting my blogging duties so watch this space for what I get up to while I’m there!

So it’s ‘Hasta Luego’ from me!…

BIAD Show Preparation Begins…

10 May

Today I had a tutorial with Joe Miles to discuss the poster that will be hung above my dissertation project at our end of year show.

As well as a few lines about myself I also need to come up with a layout and wording that complement and explain my project quickly and interestingly.

First I have sketched out a few possible layouts to see what works best, then I started putting the layouts into In Design.

Here is my final poster…fashion retail management
I chose this one as the alignment and width of the text complements the content of my dissertation. I have also used the same font.

I wanted to avoid this looking like a collage so have selected one image which I believe is the strongest from the photoshoot I produced to support the project.

Finally adding the ‘Covet’ logo demonstrates the brand image which is consistent throughout my work.

The poster will also feature a short statement about myself, and here is what I have come up with…

Arriving at university with a strong creative flair and an organisational nature I have been able to develop these qualities throughout my degree.

Through a diverse range of modules and high profile internships at Fluorescent PR, Good Housekeeping Magazine and Kerry Taylor Auctions, I am equipped with the experience and skills for a flourishing career in the fashion industry.

My love of fashion amplifies my drive and ambition to succeed.

Shop-In’ell!

10 May

Ok ok! I know I bought a pair of sandal-type shoes last week,  but COME ON! River Island just held a student shop-in evening for “one night only” with 20% off everything in store. what am I expected to do!? It would be a crime NOT to go!

I don’t even usually bother with promotions like this as I know there’s going to be a queue but I only actually waited around 20 minutes to go in, arriving promptly at 5.20pm (doors opened at 5.30pm) valid student card in-hand! I pretty much located the shoes, paid and left before my new shoes and I got trampled to death(worse-case scenario)!

Anyway, I only bought one thing, and that’s the shoes!

I think they look vintage in a 1970s, ethnic/boho way but I’m going to team them with all sorts of styles and looks.

Here I’ve put them with some oh-so-cute gold socks, to complement the stud detail! Ankle socks are right on-trend for this summer and give the whole look a quirky, preppy look!

Style Generation…

9 May

Further to Friday’s post about my Mom’s bygone style I really think my grandparents should also get a mention too!

These photos were taken during the 1940s and 50s when everyone was immaculately dressed all the time, no matter the occassion.

Here is my mother’s mother, Mary! Can you see the beautiful resemblense?!

I’m a huge fan of her victory rolls, and the tea dress is so cute.
This entire photo is adorable, she looks so happy and carefree!

Here is another one with my mother’s father, David who looks like a very dapper gentleman…

I have also found some photographs of my Father’s parents looking beautifully chic…

My grandma Peggy is a blonde bombshell and so glamourous!

And here she is with my grandfather, Colin, and my dad, Peter, as a baby!

I adore Peggy’s neat floral dress and Colin looks very handsome and proud!

I can sit and listen to them talk about their memories as a young couple for hours, and seeing beautiful photographs of them lets me imagine how much fun they really must have had!

Blogging Etiquette…

9 May

This morning’s lecture at uni’ was hosted by Chris Unitt who, among other things, set up Created in Birmingham, a promotional platform for Birmingham’s creative community.

This began life as a blog in 2006 with two aims:

  1. To find out what’s going on around Birmingham and promote it
  2. To show that blogging is a simple and effective way of engaging with audiences online

And this was also the aim of Chris’ informative lecture.

He explained the many reasons people use social media including, not just blogs, but Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Tumblr… the list is now endless as this has become a very effective and popular way of self-promotion.

Chris also brought to our attention the fact that prospective employers or customers will “Google” people’s names to find as much information about them as possible!

It definately taught me the many ways I can expand on my use of social media both in the near and distant future.

In My Element!

9 May

I have just bought tickets for this years “Vintage” festival hosted by Wayne Hemingway.

Last year’s festival at Goodwood in Chichester was phenomenal with almost everyone adorning vintage outfits! It really was a wonderful scene.

There was plenty to keep me occupied including a cocktail bar, sewing workshops, fashion  shows, a fairground, live music and endless stalls of VINTAGE FASHION!

As well as the countless activities, what made this festival unique was the glam factor! ‘Glamping’ being the operative form of camping (glam + camping = glamping), which is far more preferable when dressing to impress!

This year the ‘Vintage’ is being brought to London’s Southbank centre with all the attractions of last year plus much more!

I have opted for a Friday pass which gives me full access to all of the day’s attractions including bars, diners, clubs, salons, tea rooms, craft workshops and boutiques + entry to the Electronic Future Revue dance hall… What a day!

All in all it sounds like this year is going to be even bigger and better! I can’t wait!

Here’s the curator, Wayne Hemmingway with all the gossip!

Calm Before the Storm

8 May

I just had to stop and take a picture of the sunsetting over my neighbourhood on my walk home today!

It reminded me of how I love the summer months for beautiful weather and late sunsets!

Needless to say this stunning picture didn’t last long before the rain clouds descended and I got SOAKED!

I ‘Hasbeen’ Shopping!

7 May

Pun definately intended! Today I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of Swedish Hasbeens clogs for H&M!

Established in 2006, Swedish Hasbeens produces shoes and accessories but are best known for their extensive range of clogs. Their ambition is to “continue to release more incoherent and fun shoes and stuff inspired by Hasbeens that once ruled the planet”.

Swedish Hasbeens for H&M

Anything mildy suggestive of nostalgia is fine by me!

I plumped for the red pair and am so keen to wear them I have called on some friends for an impromptue meet up so I can parade my purchase!

I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re so comfortable and I do like a shoe that I can walk – and run – in (as I’ll probably have to run for the bus in a minute!), as the wooden heel is surprisingly light for a clog.

I love the retro 1970s vibe of the entire collection and the image of librarian chic my shoes conjure up.

At £34.99 a pop it almost seemed too good to be true, plus, a surprise bonus is the cute organic-cotton tote bag  that your shoes come in. Swedish Hasbeens for H&M
There is also a note from Swedish Hasbeens, detailing all you need to know about your new shoes and how to care from them.
For example, did you know that as Swedish Hasbeens are handmade from natural materials, you could pretty much bury your shoes in the garden? Should you wish.

No chance here – they’re for wearing on my feet…

There’s no place like H&M 😉

My Mom: A Heyday Style Icon

6 May

Due to my love of vintage fashion and nostalgia in general, one of my favourite blogs is “My Mom, the Style Icon”.
Just for fun, people email old photographs of their moms looking particularly stylish, epochal and covetable. It is a celebration of the very first—and most important—style icon in every girl’s life!
The blog became so popular that the author, Piper Weiss, published a book of the same name.

Here is a trailer of Piper with her mother talking about the book and blog…

I love the bit where her mom says “I still have the skirt”, proving true vintage never ages!

Here are a few photos of my Mom, Elizabeth, at various ages.

Loving the Peter Pan collar and knee socks combo!

Do you think they planned their outfits together?

FLARES!!

Love the bangs!

My Mom continues to look immaculate everyday. She is a natural beauty and always wears gorgeous clothes.
Hi Mom!!

What a Surprise!

5 May

Just a quick post to say how flattered I am…

My lecturer just told me my dissertation has been entered into the ‘New Business Idea’ competition at Graduate Fashion Week!!

Keep all your fingers and toes crossed for me! How exciting!!

Curiouser and Curiouser…

5 May

I have always loved charity shops and frequently used to hunt for vintage clothes in them when I was a teenager.
As well as the obvious, giving money to charity there are so many other reasons for shopping at them…

a. Donating clothing and various other miscellanea is preventing the increase of land fill.

b. Quite often people will buy a second-hand item instead of a brand-new one, therefore recycling that object and cutting down on the need for mass-production. Nothing new is being produced.

c. Buying second-hand clothes is the purist form of ethical fashion, plus it inspires a unique, creative and distinct look for the wearer, making them more conscious of what they are wearing.

d. It raises awareness of the work charities do.

One charity I admire is Oxfam. They are leading the way when it comes to contemporary and interesting ways of encouraging people to shop at their stores.

During my recent Easter holiday I took a trip to London and was lucky enough to catch the last day of the Oxfam Curiosity Shop: a pop-up concession in Selfridges‘ Ultra Lounge…

A host of A-list stars joined forces with Annie Lennox, Oxfam and Selfridges to create Britain’s biggest charity pop-up shop – and twenty-four of the most special pieces were selected for our exclusive online auction too.

The huge space was packed with celebrity donations, sought after samples and vintage clothing that had been hand-picked from Oxfam stores across the country.

Here’s a film, presented by the lovely Annie Lennox and other celebs who probably explain it better than me!

And some photos of the inside of the (Curiosity) shop…


Now I bet you’re wondering if I bought something?

Actually, that’s a stupid question!… Of course I did!!!

I bought these amazing novelty culottes with pineapples on them for £16! I think I was hungry at the time, but I think they’re fab and I hope the weather stays sunny so I can wear them!!

Collectively the store and auction raised £280, 000 during the 10 days it was open, which is an AMAZING contribution to the work Oxfam do. 100% of the money raised will go to Oxfam Circle projects; helping to provide essential healthcare, schooling and much more, to women living in poverty.


Life’s a Picnic

4 May

Or at least it was for a day last weekend for my friend, Sophie’s birthday!

We were blessed with gorgeously warm, sunny weather as we gathered in Highbury Park, Moseley, with blankets, cushions and bean bags.  It was a quintessentially English afternoon of Pimm’s, sandwiches, cheese boards and most importantly, cake (SPECIAL cupcakes made to look like a vegetable patch!).

Here’s some of the photos from the day…

P.S. Guess who just learnt how to make a retro-style slide show!!

My Dissertation… My Life!

4 May

The main challenge I have faced in my final year was producing a dissertation to be (more than) proud of!

I began researching a year ago to ensure I chose a topic I was so interested in, I wouldn’t get bored with it in a hurry!

I quickly decided to base the project around vintage clothing, as this is something that is very dear to my heart.

At the age of 14 I was rummaging through charity shops and Birmingham’s two vintage shops (“Grandma Takes a Trip” and “Gladrags”) with every scrap of pocket-money I received!

I can still hear my mom’s reaction when I returned home from a shopping trip; “I had one like that!!”

‘Vintage’ was not nearly as popular as it has prolifically grown to be today, with high street retailers and couture designers now using vintage as inspiration for current collections.

However, being the pedantic individual I am, I managed to uncover a gap in the, already, vast and extensive vintage clothing market!

While shopping one day at Spitalfields Market, my good friend Sara said to me…

“I always love your vintage clothes. You have to show me what good vintage is because I have no idea but I’d love to start wearing it”

And that’s when it clicked!

Show people ‘good’ vintage and how to wear it!

That’s how Covet was born: An exclusive vintage styling consultancy/boutique/salon/beauty parlour/social hub.

Photoshoot I did! Click on this to see Covet's very own blog!

Covet’s aim is to provide a personal service to assist ladies in achieving an entire vintage look, or introduce vintage to them in a way that suits their personality and lifestyle.

As I document the build up to Graduate Fashion Week and my final show, where this piece of work will be displayed, you will get to know Covet more.

Micro-Mini has landed…

3 May

Hi!

If you are reading this then you have undoubtedly found my blog! Congratulations!!

This is simply a collection of stories, experiences, inspirations, observations and general titbits from my daily life.

I will also document the final stage of my journey as a Fashion Retail Management student, as I prepare to graduate and enter the world as an aspiring career woman.

At the moment the majority of my time is spent researching, consuming, admiring, wearing and pondering fashion.

However, I also have diverse and distinct tastes, hobbies and opinions, therefore this blog provides a true insight into my world.

I hope you are as interested as I am excited and curious as to what the forthcoming weeks have in store!

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