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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!

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!…

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!

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!!

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.”

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.

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!

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!

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!

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!

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.


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