Ethical fashion brand

OUR FIRST SAMPLES

It was very exciting and very, very nerve wracking. As I was waiting for Ana, our sample maker, anxiety was taking my brain hostage.  Has she understood my vision? And if so- will others believe my vision enough to want to be dressed by me?

Ana finally arrived and when she took out all three samples from her bag, I relaxed. Things were good. Samples she produced were exactly what I imagined. Yes, there are things to change but this was obvious- after all this was our first fitting.  Sleeves will be more t-shirt like rather than cap sleeves, and waist in two dresses will go slightly up. Sleeves in a third dress (not on the photo) will be little more dramatic. A lining under a skirt will create a slightly exaggerated, yet still wearable shape.

I wanted to create a small collection of desk to dinner dresses with clean, strong lines. Dresses for women who don’t wear frills or flowers. A woman on Instagram said she loved calmness of my line. I loved the comment so much-  for me it meant the she understood what I set out to create.

There is still a way to go for me. I’m waiting for a delivery of bamboo silk for final samples. I need to organise production, a website, packaging, promotion…But things are moving forward and it makes me very happy.

MY COATS PET PEEVE

September chill in London made me think about a new coat. Our first line of coats will be released in time for next winter so this time around I will have to think about buying one. I’m very picky when it comes to my coats- they have to have big enough collars (fast fashion brands always produce coats with narrow collars), which are stiff enough to stay up (very, very rare).  Fabric must be dense and hold shape and the cut must be slightly exaggerated (limp fabric and stingy cut are the biggest giveaways of a cheap looking coat). Isabel Marant has been my favourite for some time. I managed to buy her coats on The Outnet with some great discounts.

I get really annoyed when brands try to pull a fast one on me. Take Zara for example. Their women coats have OK cuts but awful quality fabric. For the same price their men coats are much better quality, fabric wise. Why??? And most importantly- why are allowing this to happen? My other pet peeve is when a premium brand charges £500 for a coat when I can see from a mile off there are problems with quality- for example there is pulling at the seems (LK Bennet, I’m looking at you). In general, there seem to be very little thought going into the designs (I’ve already had a rant about it in one post below :)). And you know what- the customers sometimes have very little choice so they shell out their hard earned cash to buy this trash.

There seem to be very little in between, good quality coats that don’t cost £2,000 and are ethically produced. Do you know any? Share them with me!

Unbuttoned shirt

UNBUTTONED SHIRT

I have a conundrum every time I try on a shirt I’d like to buy. Do I leave the third button undone and have my breasts fully on show or do I do it up and look like a secretary on the way to the office?  I swear that not many brands actually consider where they place a third button. Mostly, I get that run of the mill, same cut, same old, sam old  which I don’t like because doing up the third button makes me look a little frumpy. I have one perfect shirt from St Lauren where the button in placed slightly lower and it creates that sexy, nonchalant look I covet on Instagram- and it’s actually wearable IRL (and I’m able to skirt the bra, too!).  It feels such a small but significant detail to attend to. Does anyone else have this problem or am I just being picky?

gold bangle

SINGLE GOLD BANGLE

My favourite piece of jewellery is a single gold bangle. It goes with everything- a white t-shirt, oatmeal cashmere jumper ro grey marl sweatshirt (sleeves always rolled up) and of course, a black dress. I love to wear mine on its own to make it more stand out. The Cartier “stack” has been all over Instagram in the last year yet I think it’s the single piece that whispers of understated luxury and chic.

silk shirt

SILK SHIRT

Doesn’t this shirt look just fabulous? It’s lustrous and luxuries yet utterly wearable. You could pair it with a nude skirt in luxurious suede for added sophistication or with jeans for more relaxed yet polished style.

I’d love to make a shirt in bamboo silk I saw the other day. Lustrously white, like a marshmallow or sophisticated in a luxurious hue of toffee or cappuccino.

tweed suit

TWEED SUIT

In a previous post I was talking about a tweed suit as part of capsule wardrobe, which would go with different separates. A skirt would look amazing with bare, bronzed legs and Hermes style sandals or 90’s style dainty heels and simple t-shirt, or black, men’s cashmere jumper with rolled up sleeves. A jacket would be great with both jeans or leather  trousers.

overdressed at a party? Here is what to do

OVERDRESSED AT A PARTY? HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO IN SECONDS

You’ve been thinking what to wear to this party for the past two weeks. It’s a big one, the one who got away is going to be there and you want to look your best.  Your outfit from Net a Porter arrived on Friday and your friends all agreed you are going to look just fabulous. On the day you get a blow dry and manicure. You spend an hour priming and contouring until you have Kate Moss cheekbones. You know you are looking gorgeous and you are discreetly surveying the crowd, checking if your ex has noticed you yet when suddenly you see her…

She is leaning casually against the piano,  holding a glass of champagne. She is wearing a tuxedo jacket, her hair look as if she’d lost her hairbrush three months ago and her red lipstick goes a dream with a subtle, golden tan. You spy a single ring on her finger. She looks like she has someplace better to go afterwards and you suddenly wish you could swap places with her.

What do do if you find yourself overdressed at an event or simply want to look more effortless (not casual)? There are three things you can do immediately:

  1. Take off your make up. I mean, sure you want to leave the foundation and perhaps swipe a bit of bronzer on your cheekbones but I would leave Kardashian inspired make up well alone. A red lippy and maybe a tiny bit of bronzer is all you need.
  2. Muss up your hair. Glossy, bouncy blow dry a la Kate Middleton says “I’ve been getting ready for the past 8 hours”. Batiste dry shampoo from your corner drug store is your friend- gives your hair volume and texture, and that bedhead, nonchalant look.
  3. Swap your stilettos for flats. Whether they are sneakers, ballet pumps or Hermes flats (especially Hermes flats), they have the ability to make your outfit look  little more nonchalant and carefree than a pair of killer heels.

And if you can, grab your man’s jacket and roll up the sleeves. Ready to party? 🙂

 

Sustainable fashion

THE REAL COST OF A £30 DRESS

I have a guilty pleasure- I follow an account on Instagram where the creator often shows her mood boards and fashion finds on Instagram stories. She does it very well- you first see a well put together, inspirational mooboard and then, once you feel sufficiently inspired,  you can simply swipe up to purchase an outfit you’ve just seen on the board. An added bonus- the clothes are rarely more than £30.

Despite watching her Instagram stories almost religiously, I’ve never bought any of her recommendations and I never will.  I simply cannot buy a £30 dress because I know that the cost- to everyone else but me, would be much, much greater.

First of all, there is a human cost. We all remember Rana Plaza disaster yet do you know that after a while, things came back to almost the same way they were before the death of over a 1,000 of people? The main factor driving this is a price. Everyone says things like “fair trade”, “fair pay” and “sustainable” and then go to a fast fashion chain and purchase trousers for a few pounds. When customers demand cheap fashion, the simple equation is that to keep the proces down, the workers must earn a pittance.

The other factor is the fabric.  Polyester is cheap to manufacture so if you check garments from fast fashion companies, 98% of their clothes will consist of 100 % polyester. Here, the cost to us is twofold. Firstly producing polyester uses a tremendous amount of fossil fuel. Secondly, polyester is just plastic, heated and forced through spinnerets into fibres. Not only is not biodegradable but when washed, it released tiny microfibres which are too small to be bought by any filters, and travel straight to our rivers and oceans.

I cannot get on board with this and I think we have no right to use the planets resources in this way.  My dad is a politician and he had always thought of himself as a “keeper” of the town he governs. He plans (along with others), invests, thinks about the future of the town and next the next generations of inhabitants. I think we should think of ourselves in the same way- we are keepers of the planet for people who come after us. We can use the resources responsible but we cannot mindlessly plunder everything in sight and abuse others in the process.

shopping style

WHAT KIND OF SHOPPER ARE YOU?

Last Sunday my friend and I went on a shopping expedition. Nothing out of ordinary- girls exchanging plastic for clothes. Weekend reality. But it got me thinking about what kind of shopper am I? What kind of shopper is my best friend?

We don’t shop together much because our shopping habits are completly different. Apart from occassional impulse shoe purchase, my friend approaches shopping like a woman on a mission. If she needs a pair of shoes or a dress, she consults me and a few glossies, draws up a plan (or demands I do it since I tend to know the layout of most shops inside out) and then executes it with military precision. By the end of the day she will have bought exactly what she was looking for.

I’m used to be an eternal wanderer. Save from a few specific purchases, I used to go in to the store to see what’s new in the name of research. I hardly ever planned to buy anything yet if there was an item that was calling me name, it went home with me. I was that girl who was excited about upcoming “buy it” Instagram feature whilst simultaneously reassuing my bank mamager it was going to be all right. My habits have changed in the last couple of years and from eternal wanderer I also became a women on a mission. I must admit that it saves me tons of money (but I miss my afternoon at Selfridges :))

I’ve identified a few different kinds of shoppers based on girls I know and myself. Do you recognise yourself in one of them?

@ Loyal shopper– she’ll buy anything from a brand or a store. If they sell it it means it’s cool. Here a brand or a store takes on a role of celebrity on social media. You know, if X, Y or Z (insert your own one because de gustibus…) is wearing it’s enough validation on the cool front. I must admit I’m guilty as charged. Why, Selfridges of course followed closely by Liberty are the offenders…They provoked me, Your Honour.

@ Impulse shopper– she’s just got paid and the money’s burning a hole in her pocket. She went to get a t-shirt and returned home with a pair of sunnies, a bracelet and a key ring. She didn’t really need them but they are fun and that bracelet will fit perfectly with the boho trend. Anyway, it was cheap. Only, she just realised that she just spent £50, in addition to another £50 she spent two days ago but she already forgot what she had bought.

@ Bargain hunter– if somewhere, anywhere in the entire digital sphere that pair of shoes she wants can be bought with 3% discount, she will find it. She’s a queen of vouchers and a die hard fan of Groupon. In her eyes value of an item is inversly proportional to it’s bargain price.

@ Woman on a mission– she will plan her shopping trip and execute it with military precision. Like a remote- guided missile, she will ignore distractions and go in straight for the target. She keeps her eyes on a prize.

@ The researcher– she needs a bag. An investment bag and that means she won’t rush out an buy it before debating pros and cons of a particular model, comparing the hardware and checking internal compartments. She’s became a regular on Net-a-Porter where she conducts her research. After a few months she might buy the bag. Possibly. But if she buys it, what on Earth is she going to do on the train to work or at lunch in the office?

And you- what kind of shopper are you?

 

EFFORTLESS STYLE- THE SECRET

Or rather- effortless style secrets 🙂 If you ever wonder how do they do this, those girls who seem to pick up a first thing from their closer (pile of a chair ;)) and look amazing. Oh, and they seem to have lost a hair brush some time ago…

I’ve always wanted to know, ever since I went to Paris and for the first time, consciously noticed what the women were wearing. They seemed to have an easiness abut them, effortlessness and certain nonchalance.  The outfits didn’t look laboured. What was their secret? Of course, the grass is alway greener on the other side fo the fence and it took me a a long time to notice that women in London were cool and effortless just as much.

The eureca moment happened to me one day when I was getting ready to go out. I put on a pair of favourite trousers, a silk St Laurent shirt (I was hankering after it for ages and one day found it massively reduced on  The Outnet :)), grabbed a bag and put on my favourite mules on the way out. I was ready. Deciding on an outfit used to take me hours and now it was now taking me about a minute.  I think you’d need to ask yourself if:

Do you clothes go together? By which I mean- if you were to dress in the dark, would you still look good? Or do you work on outfits, laboriously putting pieces of puzzle together? In my opinion, this is the most important factor.  Styled outfits can look amazing of course but it’s a far cry from true effortlessness. In my previous posts I put together a capsule wardrobe example. You could pick out any two items from the list and I can guarantee you that they would go together.  When I was putting together my wardrobe, I often looked up to Isabel Marant collections for guidance. Her clothes are super expensive and not always up my street, yet the way she designs them is exactly what I’m talking about- you can pick out any two pieces and they would go together like a dream.

Do you have an uniform? That’s something that really helps to achieve true effortlessness. Did you notice that most stylish people often seem to wear the same thing? I’ve got a girl crush on Barbara Martello- look her up and see how she wears slim jeans, silk shirts and well cut blazers most days. She is one of he most effortless, stylish women I know of.  Tried and tested formula helps to forget about the outfit so we can get on with life- whilst looking fabulous.

Do you own it? Is it you? Do you feel comfortable in it? Does it make you feel great? You cannot look effortless unless you really, truly own the style you are sporting. I gave you examples of what rocks my boat but it’s not just one and only formula. My mother has amazing boho style and is copied my many other women. Yet, I would never look truly effortless in her clothes (even through they are great) because I just don’t feel it’s me. So find your style (I know, sometimes its a tall order), build a wardrobe around it, forget about trends and own it.