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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!

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!

 

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!

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…

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?!

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!

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!

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!!

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