Friday, 5 September 2014

Article for

July 2014
I  contributed the up and coming fashion website where  I wrote a piece on a unisex label from the band Early morning rebel.

Click here for article

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Vintage fashion

Article on vintage fashion for a journalism assignment as part of my Access to HE diploma in Fashion media and communication at LCF 17/05/10

 It is impossible to turn back time; sadly time machines do not exist and the idea of time travelling is all but just a myth. As much as some of us wish we could go back in time to re- live the days gone by it will never happen, in fact you have more chance of winning the lottery then you do going back in time, although fashion can’t exactly transport you back to Carnaby street in the sixties the wonder that is vintage fashion can at least get you closer to that era.

We’ve all heard about vintage fashion before, it’s not the new black and it’s not a new trend masterminded by some fabulously fashion forward designer. It has been around for years , in fact before Kate Moss became the successful  supermodel she is today she used to shop in charity shops and hunt down vintage finds at Portobello Market to create a look all of her own. Agyness Deyn, Sienna Miller, Daisy Lowe, Alexa Chung and Fearne Cotton are just a few of the trend setting celebs who also add vintage clothing to their wardrobes. But with all these celebrities and fashionistas buying into vintage fashion the word vintage seems to be added to just about everything. So what actually classes as vintage?  “Vintage is anything from the 90’s down wards” says Jenny Anderson a sales assistant at Absolute vintage.
“It’s the unique feeling of it all, knowing that you have a one of piece from the 50’s or the 60’s is something special, especially if it is something that is past down to you from a family member” states 26 year old freelance fashion stylist Natalie Hope. The unique quality is what keeps collectors coming back to vintage stores and fairs around the country, spending hours trawling the rails looking for classic pieces and finding something truly spectacular is a great achievement, it gives you a buzz and its no wonder people come back for more and why the number of vintage shops has increased over the last ten years, you only have to walk around Shoreditch to see that. But with added interest comes added pricing as Jenny Anderson from Absolute vintage states “It’s always the way when there is a demand for something, we pay more to get vintage so we charge more”. So your one of piece might now cost you a small fortune but that still wont take away from the fact you have a complete original item of clothing none of your friends will have.

Some people have been collecting vintage fashion for years and some people, like me are new to it. So if you are new to the world of shopping for vintage fashion then here are a few things you need to know. There are two types of collectors, there are the ones who love a one off piece and will spend hour’s looking for something just right. They will be frequent visitors to the vintage stores and fairs and will spend a reasonable amount of money on their finds. Then there are those who invest in their buys. They spend big on the odd garment but are not frequent to the vintage shops as the other collector. As well as looking around shops try vintage fairs like Frock me  its one of the best  and biggest in London, fairs are like an Aladdin’s cave filled to the brim with clothes, accessorise and even the odd bit of furniture, they are definitely worth having a look around. Visit your local charity shops as you never know what you could find and as it’s a charity shop you know your money is well spent. “Charity shops are the best, they’re cheaper then vintage stores and money want for a lower price or spend a Saturday afternoon at a car boot sale and pick up a bargain along goes to a good cause, its guilt free bargain buying” says freelance stylist Natalie Hope. Oxfam have been around for over sixty years and have their own vintage fashion website and with the help of celebrity experts you’re sure to find something special. Other places to look are at Markets such as Portobello Market, the internet try eBay and practice those haggling skills to get what you the way.
Now shopping for vintage fashion can be all fun and games but even the most experienced shoppers can still find it hard sometimes so here are a few things to remember when shopping. ” Try it on before you buy it, often once you get home and try and fit it on you it will start tearing or will not fit you. Most vintage places they won’t give you a full refund.” Is the advice of 26 year old fashion blogger Anna Nuttall so make sure you check the returns policy, or you could end up with an unwanted item of clothing? You should go for what you like and buy it before someone else does. However you should be careful of what you buy and investigate the materials it is made out first and the era it is from. The older the clothing the more care it needs, some clothes may not be suitable for hanging up in your wardrobe so buy some boxes and wrap the clothing up in tissues paper to keep them safe, when shopping at a vintage fair there is a lot to see as there will no doubt be a lot of stalls there so get there early, and stay to the end if you want a real bargain. And lastly to keep your look modern and to stop you from looking like either your Grandmother or your mother try and incorporate some old with new by mixing your vintage in with something more contemporary.

But what if you don’t want to spend hours looking for something someone wore 25 years before you did?, well a true vintage  might well be at least 25 years old but  vintages styles from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s have inspired many fashion designers and High street stores. High-street Giants Topshop has a vintage section in their oxford street flagship store and have even collaborated with some of the most influential people in fashion from the sixties working with both Celia Birtwell and founder of legendary boutique Biba Barbara Hulanicki, and designers from Dior to Chanel are delving into their achieves and looking at long forgotten designs to help inspire them. Celebrities are taking inspiration from vintage fashion to create their own fashion lines like Nicole Ritchie whose vintage inspired fashion line House of Harlow 1960 has just launched over here in the UK and Lilley Allen who is taking time out from her musical career to launch her new vintage inspired line. So you can’t travel back in time to yesterday but we can hold dear memories of past eras through fashion and as the saying goes one man’s trash is another man’s treasure or you could simply think of it as having old school glamour with a new school twist. 

Friday, 22 June 2012

First freelance article for Rebel magazine

First freelance article, published in issue 3 of Rebel magazine March 2012

The British fashion industry is a dazzling ocean of talented young designers bursting with creative originality and lots of edge. Many of them start creating their signature look whilst at university, studying the best courses at the most prestigious fashion schools, like Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion. However the real hard work comes after graduation, introducing themselves to the fashion industry is no easy task but luckily these young designers have help getting started. Vauxhall Fashion Scout, Fashion East, Fashion Fringe and Graduate fashion week are just some of the many initiatives set up to help give  young designers a launch pad for their fledgling careers.  

Graduate fashion Week was the first of its kind, setting up in 1991 founded by Jeff Banks CBE, Vanessa Denza MBE and John Walford. Graduate fashion week is where it all begins; it’s where the fashion world gets a first glimpse of what’s to come. Nine years after Graduate fashion week was founded Lulu Kennedy set up Fashion East, a non profit initiative that gives young designers the opportunity present  a catwalk collection the international press  and buyers at London Fashion Week. In the years after Fashion East launched other initiatives like Vauxhall fashion scout, Fashion fringe and most recently ELLE/ BFC talent launch pad were set up. They all have same aims of finding unique and amazing talent and giving them a platform to launch their careers, through funding, mentoring, press, buying and marketing contacts.  
Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Bailey and Matthew Williamson are all former applicants and shining examples of these initiatives and the success that they can lead to. “These initiatives are really important to help you launch, as it’s so important to get support and mentorship from people already in the industry. It can be daunting doing it alone” says Kirsty Ward a young British designer who starting to make a name for herself having showcased for Vauxhall fashion scout with a catwalk presentation and an exhibition in London and a showroom in Paris. With her unusual mix of wires, washers, draw pulls and other bits and pieces normally associated with DIY all fused together  beautifully with beads, fine silk and Swarovski crystals Kirsty is a great example of the creative originality in British fashion.  

Each season is filled with excitement as the never ending stream of talented young designers showcase their collections for the entire fashion world to see. Their visually stunning collections are food for the eyes; they captivate their audiences drawing them in and leaving them wanting more and leaving fashion’s elite to predict they are to become the next big thing. The bar is set high when it comes to the standards of design; you only need look at the shows during Graduate fashion week to see that “The fashion industry in London is very tough and competition is just absolutely the highest standard, which is not a bad thing as it makes you want to try harder” says Victoria Rangayah a young designer who uses eco friendly materials to create beautiful dresses for her flourishing label Z-Mode, a label that is already getting the attention of  press and celebrities.  
Young British designers are rule breaking, risk taking boundary pushing creatives, sometimes controversial and unconventional but never boring  nor unexciting, “British fashion has a twinkle in its eye that is seldom seen elsewhere” says Debra Hepburn one of four founders of the online store Young British Designers. Maybe it’s that twinkle, the freedom of expression and constant competition that sets us apart from the other fashion capitals in Europe and the US.  
Whilst young designers may take risks and throw away the rule book at times they do take their work seriously too. “This is not a business for the faint hearted” says Debra and she is right too, the industry is tough and fast paced you have to keep up or risk falling behind not an easy thing to do for young or even aspiring designers with the country in such a tight financial situation and course fees on the rise it does make for some difficult times. “It’s a shame but I always have to think about money, but being creative is being resourceful and using your strengths” says Kirsty, in a time of financial difficulty and the world becoming more aware of our limited resources maybe the silver lining in this situation is that the path maybe made clear for a new generation of young designers. Maybe now it’s the time Young labels like Z mode who are using more sustainable materials to produce their collections to make an even bigger mark on the industry “We could do with an Eco fashion platform for young designers” says Victoria founder of Z mode.  

In order for these young designers to survive and make a mark they must make money and in order to do that they need to be able to attract the right people. The right people like online fashion retailers Young British Designers, having been around for just over a year it’s the first retailer to focus purely on young designers in Britain like Z Mode and Kirsty Ward, a website that has proven to be more then just an online retailer, the designers that they sell will tell you that they are completely supportive and wonderful to work with. So what it is that they look for? “We look for the collections that send a shiver down our spine; we look for designers who have a unique and consistently “them” signature. We look for the stand out but that doesn’t always mean the outrageous.” Other retailers are also giving young designers a chance to sell their earlier collections Topshop works with emerging designers giving them a space during London Fashion Week for catwalk shows and collaborating with them for in store and online collections and department store Selfridges set up a ‘Bright young things’ initiative, a window installation and a chance for designers to sell pieces from their collections. “It was such a success that they are doing the same this year too with a new batch of young talented designers” says Kirsty  

It’s a dazzling ocean of talent in British fashion, but the competition is tough and standards are high. The initiatives are a launching pad but every young designer knows that that beyond these initiatives only the maximum effort will do and those who have the drive will succeed, the fashion world is waiting for the next big thing, the future creative directors and game changers and it will only be a matter of time before they arrive.  

UCA interview writing sample

A piece written for an interview at UCA 

On a desert Island a pigeon post will bring you one publication each month, which one will it be and why? 

Been on a desert island with pure white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue sea is a dream come true in itself . There are clear skies above me with no one around for miles, and other then the sound of the waves crashing upon the sand it’s peaceful it almost feels as if time has stood still. But each month a pigeon post and my only real companion returns to deliver me my one publication. 
I choose ELLE magazine because for me if a magazine could be classed as a style icon then ELLE would be just that. It has the class and elegance of Audrey Hepburn, the style of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in Sex and the city Carrie Bradshaw and the strong confidence and intelligence of Coco Chanel all merged into each page of the magazine. Other than the loyal pigeon who returns each month ELLE is my only link to western civilisation, as I light a fire on the edge of the beach I  turn the pages of ELLE and it feeds  my mind ,my soul and my passions for style and  fashion as well as music and art. It’s not an unattainable fantasy and like any style icon it speaks the modern woman.  
I am million miles away from home, with no phone; no laptop (how does one cope without Twitter or Facebook?)  And lonely on a desert island but each month I am in company of a style icon, a style icon that gets better with age, each issue been better than the last. With no shops or other amenities around I can only imagine wearing a beautiful dress by Felicity Brown and a fabulous pair of Louboutins. One day I will figure out how to make it off this island (ELLE doesn’t contain instructions for this) but for now with my copies of ELLE I can at least live by Chanel’s quote “a girl should be two things classy and fabulous”.

Ones to watch... Imogen Belfield interview

Interview with jewellery designer Imogen Belfield 16/6/11

There are a number of amazingly talented young designers in Britain,London Fashion Week turns them out season after season. They are nurtured and cared for by the British fashion Council and showcases like Vauxhall Fashion Scout, Fashion Fringe, Estethica,NEWGEN, Fashion East and On/Off/  offer them a platform to the fashion industry on a global scale.Jewellery designer Imogen Belfield is just one of the many talented designers to have showcased at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout exhibition during London Fashion Week in February of this year and is already making her mark on the industry having been named 'Best new talent' by during fashion week and her work has been featured in a number of publications like The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph and UK ELLE. But It doesn't stop there Imogen has recently shown at London Jewellery week and has been nominated for the Professional jeweller's Hot 100 2011.I see total world domination from Miss Belfield in years to come. I had the pleasure of finding out more about Imogen and now you can read all about her inspirations behind her collections in the exclusive interview below xoxo

Name: Imogen Belfield

Age: 26

where do you come from? Ditchling – a tiny quintessentially English village near Brighton

Where did you study? Sir John Cass School of Art - London

What made you decide that you wanted to design jewellery and how old were you?
It began with some short silver-smithing and jewellery courses with Pruden and Smith when I was about 16. I then went on to focus on fashion and then metal work at the Falmouth College of Art during my Foundation Course there.

Where does your inspiration for your collections come from as you do use alot of unsual materials?

A real mixture, anything from London’s city scape and architecture, to the work of Zara Hadid, Gaudi and Anoush Kapoor. I also try to emulate the natural formations I see in raw minerals, in the metal I work with.

What has been the biggest moment of your career so far?
Showing with Vauxhall Fashion Scout in London and in Paris during the Fashion weeks last season.

You showcased your collection during London fashion week at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout exhibition, just how important are innovations like VFS to young designers such as yourself and do you think it makes it any easier to break into this industry?
Yes hugely so. It was amazing to have the opportunity to show with such a prestigious and professional organization as Vauxhall Fashion Scout. As a designer it is so important to expose and have your work seen by as many people as possible – this can be done in many ways – but it’s about finding the one that is right for you and your product.

You spent sometime in Paris after London fashion Week, how was it and did it give you more inspiration?
Paris was fantastical – bright sunshine everyday, and the VFS showroom in the Marais was simply stunning. To be able to get around the city by foot was great as it was the best way to discover new and exciting places – plus of course – their copious array of magnificent vintage shops – yes shopping was done too!!
Vauxhall Fashion Scout exhibition AW 2011

What can we expect from your next collection?
Luxurious and organic sculptures for the body.

Other then your self what other young designers should people be aware of?
Francesca Marotta – an amazing fashion designer.

You're a young designer, but where would you like to see yourself and the label in five years from now?
Growing, growing and growing some more. Expanding on a global scale.

In five words describe your jewellery?
Raw, bling, organic, sumptuous, bold.

Would you like to do a collaboration with another designer or high street store, if so who and why?
I am currently working on some very exciting collaborations as we speak. I would also love to collaborate with a fashion house such as Balmain.

Outside of designing jewellery what else do you like to do?
At the moment there is not much time for anything else other than the business, but given the luxury of some spare time, it is spent hanging out with my friends, and Quincy the cat, going to galleries and soaking up the London vibe.

Where are you stocked?

U.K Stockists;
Kabiri; Selfridges concession, London, England.
Kabiri; Marylebone High Street, London, England.
Kabiri; Covent Garden, London, England.
Harrods; Knightsbridge, London, England.
Harvey Nichols; Knightsbridge, London, England.
Harvey Nichols; Manchester, England.
Luna & Curious; Shoreditch, London England.
The W Collection; Manchester, England.
Young British Designers;
Fox and Squirrel;
Not Just a Label;

International Stockists;
Pixie Market; New York, U.S.A
Bullets & Butterflies; Dubai, U.A.E
Russell Street; Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

To nominate Imongen for Professional Jewellers HOT 100 go to

Fashion Radar...Young designers at London Fashion Week A/W 2011 part two

Review of exhibitions at London Fashion Week AW '11 part two 

The UK fashion industry is worth a whopping £21 billion and London Fashion Week contributes £100 million to the UK economy alone. With fashion putting in so much to support the growth and development of the UK the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is doing the same with the fashion industry. He is working together with The British Fashion Council to secure public and private funding to help with the support and growth of London Fashion Week. London is full of such amazing and talented designers and with the government backing the fashion industry young British designers will continue to thrive and be among the best in the world.Yesterday I gave you part one of my ones to watch this year and today I give you part two. Now remember these names, Felicity Brown,Alice Lee, Edward Finney, Tze Goh and Eudon Choi.You may write them down if it helps.Just to note that due to me been unorganised I wasn't able to get any images from Eudon Choi's AW 11/12 collection. I offer you and Eudon a thousand apologies but fear not you can check out his SS11 collection at go and check him out if you haven't done so already, I promise you wont be disappointed xoxo

Alice Lee

Alice Lee, A/W2011 showcased at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout exhibition
Edward Finney

Edward Finney's stunning AW 2011 collection inspired by English Heritage and showcased at the Vauxhall fashion Scout exhibition

Felicity Brown

Felicity Brown was part of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout and Fashion East showcases last year.

Tze Goh

Tze Goh AW2011 showcasing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout

 keep an eye out for these rising fashion superstars, they are not only driving on the uk fashion industry but the Uk economy as well, now that really is a good excuse to shop. xoxo

Fashion Radar...Young designers at London Fashion Week A/W 2011 part one

Review of the exhibitions at London Fashion Week AW '11

Over the last two days I have been excited,overwhelmed, fascinated and super happy.I have fallen in love at first sight a thousand times over, smiled away quietly to myself  and dreamed of beauty and unearthed hidden treasures. If my life was a musical then the last two days would have been filled with people spontaneously breaking out into a song and dance. No this was not an affect of drinking too much champagne but it is the only way I can really describe how the young designers showcasing at London Fashion Week made me feel. If it wasn't for the fact that I can't sing would have literally sang their praises.I spent Monday and Tuesday taking in the exhibitions and meeting a few designers like Eudon Choi, David Longshaw, Kirsty Ward, Georgia Hardinge, Edward Finney and Imogen Belfield.The mainstream designers may have made all the headlines this week, but with innovatives like Vauxhall fashion scout, Fashion East and BFC/ELLE talent launch pad these young designers are making the fashion world sit up and take notice and it surely won't be long for they are making front page news themselves.Below is part one my ones to watch this year. xoxo

David Longshaw

David Longshaw AW 2011/12 A winner of the BFC/ELLE talent Launch pad
Kirsty Ward
Kirsty Ward AW 2011. Kirsty is a winnner of Vauxhall Fashion Scout's ones to watch
Georgia Hardinge
Georgina Hardinge AW 2011. Georgina is the winner of Vauxhall Fashion Scout's Merit Award for AW11

Imogen Belfield

Imogen's stunning  jewellery was on exhibition at  Freemasons Hall for Vauxhall Fashion Scout.