Archive | June, 2011

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!

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