Fashion, Personal

Lookbook Video – Summer Brights

I decided that in my week before beginning my job and internship I was going to style a little shoot. Originally I had planned to bring in a model but then I thought I should just try it out myself, and I think it turned out pretty nicely. What was intended to be just a small photoshoot turned into a lookbook video. Honestly, I like the outcome. It was fun to shoot. I got a new camera so I have been playing around with it and trying to work out the settings etc. This was a cool, creative project for me. Maybe I’ll do some more!

This was filmed at the beginning of June, so two whole months ago now. As I had mentioned before, I started off this summer thinking that I wanted to do styling and personal styling on myself seemed like a good avenue to go down. I thought about making more videos like this for YouTube and doing various lookbooks but alas decided against it. Since I waited so long to post this, the majority of the pieces are unavailable now, having been heavily discounted in the summer sales. Apologies for the inconvenience of this and if I choose to make a similar video in the future I will definitely be more timely!

LOOK ONE

Zara bralet & pants, not pictured ASOS heels

LOOK TWO

Zara t-shirt, ASOS dress, Old Navy jacket

LOOK THREE

Zara top & pants

LOOK FOUR

Zara top & pants

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 22nd July 2017

“Why Does Every Model Look Like Kylie Jenner Now?” – Racked

GQ @gqmexico @gq_germany @mrmikerosenthal

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

Racked made a good point that upon perusing various e-commerce sites and teen-focused retailers, a lot of the models looked like or were styled like Kylie Jenner. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me as this is something that I have noticed when looking on these stores. Conveniently so, some of the brands name-checked in the article are stores that Jenner herself has promoted on her Instagram at one point or another – FashionNova and the infamous badly photoshopped photo of her butt in jeans, PrettyLittleThing and the orange dress that kept selling out after she wore it to one of their parties, House of CB, a brand worn by all of the sisters. Other stores like Missguided often curate an edit around “Kylie Jenner” style pieces, either inspired by what she has already worn or by what they think she would wear. It makes a lot of sense that all of these retailers would do this given that their customer base tends to be interested in all things Kardashian. They are the same age as the Jenners (or a little bit younger), will dutifully copy and buy anything that they are instructed to, and manipulate their own appearance to look like the lipstick mogul. It’s only common sense that the brands would then use models who look like Kylie to sell their products because that way their customers can imagine theirselves looking like that to. It is a fairly easy look to achieve with the right make-up products (and perhaps a trip to the doctor’s office for the most dedicated few). Say what you want about Kylie Jenner (and the rest of her family for that matter), but one thing that is undeniable is their influence on teenage girls and on teenage culture in general.

Elle USA August 2017 cover

This cover screamed vintage Madonna at me as soon as I picked it out of my mailbox. Everything looks very Italian and the hair style and make-up made me think of Madonna circa the 1991 shoots with Steven Meisel. Couple that with the Dolce & Gabbana corseted bustier and it’s a material girl in front of our eyes. Emilia Clarke, best known as the platinum blonde from Game of Thrones, makes sense as a cover star given that the latest series of the show premiered last weekend. The Dolce & Gabbana outfit is also apt as she signed on as the face of their perfume earlier this year, with her debut campaign for the brand set to launch in September. The cover was shot by¬†Alexi Lubomirski and styled by¬†David Vandewal.

Zara FW17 campaign is shot by Steven Meisel, styled by Karl Templer, creative direction by Fabien Baron

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Fashion, Opinion, Personal

Spend More, Buy Less – Part 4

As I said in my first post on this topic, I plan to investigate the matter further. The first step that I planned to take was watching The True Cost, the documentary that has been talked about in every fast-fashion criticism of the past few years. I have also read a book on the topic¬†Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman, a writer who chronicled his travels around the world to find out exactly where his clothes were made: Levi’s, the all-American icon were made in Cambodia, his flip-flops made in China. I also went to a talk by the author during my orientation week at school. I found it very interesting and it also brought up further ethical dilemmas. It so happened that I went to a talk about sustainability in Edinburgh in July which sparked another post, so here is part 4¬†in the Spend More, Buy Less series; a series that I hope to continue for as long as I can keep thinking up ideas on the matter.

I did actually watch¬†The True Cost and I found it rather saddening. I hate to think that people would be dying just so I can buy a pair of jeans for ¬£20 or a t-shirt for ¬£3. Obviously these items should cost more but I think we have become so accustomed to paying these prices that we think nothing of it. Especially when you’re a teenager and you have a small monthly allowance, you’re unlikely to save up to get an expensive, ethically made pair of jeans or a t-shirt. For the past year I have been working full time and therefore have had a little bit more money than I did before (but I was saving for college so I didn’t have quite as much spending money as I wish I did!) so I did buy more expensive, hopefully more ethical purchases than I did before. Now I’m back to being a student without a job and therefore no income. So the small amount of money that I do have I am likely to spend on clothes from Zara. I feel slightly ashamed to even think like that now that I am fully aware of what goes into the making of these clothes but I will also not be able to afford anything better so it’s a bit of a catch-22 that I’m sure many other people are in.

On one hand, I could shop locally made. For example, since I’ll be in the USA I could buy items from American Apparel, a now-flailing brand, but they don’t have the selection that I’m looking for. They’re just basics. I could also shop vintage. I do enjoy this actually but it is definitely more difficult if you’re looking for something super specific. Since arriving in New York I’ve found a bunch of great vintage/second hand stores, although I find that they can be a little bit expensive for¬†used clothing. Really I’m broke as hell so I’m not doing much shopping at all right now.

Since attending fashion school I’m experiencing further disdain for the fast-fashion industry and even private label brands who are ripping off the work of other designers. Yet I feel stuck because I can’t afford any better, and being at a fashion school it almost feels necessary to keep refreshing your style. It is very difficult to be around people who are constantly wearing new looks and trying new things and not wanting to be involved. It’s rather disappointing to me because when I started researching this I thought that by the end of the year I might have stopped shopping fast fashion altogether, and now here is me buying multiple pieces from Zara a month. I’ve even shopped at Forever 21 a couple of times. It’s kind of embarrassing to me, especially because I’m now ultra aware of the effects of my consumption.

It is funny reading this post from beginning to end for me because I started it in August with the best intentions and as time has passed and I’ve got less and less money and more and more urges and desires to have new things, I seem to have just lost everything that I had found over the summer. I can see my viewpoint changing throughout the post. From before I got to New York (I could shop at American Apparel) to after I’d been there a few weeks (I could go thrifting) to now (Zara, Forever 21). It is shameful and I am sorry. I really need to sit down and reevaluate things because I know that fast fashion isn’t worth it, not to me or to the people (and the environment) that are being harmed as a result of it.

To anyone out there who is reading this and wants to remain stylish but on a (very small) budget, what’s your advice? How do you will yourself away from fast fashion? And honestly, how do you shop vintage? (The experience is just stressful to me.)

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Fashion, Shopping

Shopping Find: Balenciaga VS Zara

The Vetements effect is real people, evidenced by the wide array of puffer jackets in stores and the styling of them to look exactly like the Balenciaga offerings that Demna Gvasalia sent down the runway. When you go into Zara on Fifth Avenue you’re actually confronted with a mannequin wearing their version of the coat, zipped up in the same way as the Balenciaga one with the wide lapels and slight triangular shape. I’m not sure how I feel about this jacket (the expensive or inexpensive version).

I generally hate puffer jackets. I don’t like things that add extra bulk to my frame and that’s exactly what a quilted jacket does. However, I do understand that they’re super warm and given the winter that we’re supposedly set to have in New York, perhaps the added bulk would be welcome. Honestly, I’m going to buy a parka and hate my appearance so much in it but at least I’ll be cosy.

On the runway

On the runway

The Balenciaga jacket is extremely expensive, in my opinion, for what it is made of. Its 100% Polyester (lining and outer) and, as far as I can see, there’s no mention of down filling. The Zara jacket is also polyester but with 70% grey duck down, 30% feather filling.

SHOP ONLINE
Balenciaga – $3250 (preorder)
Zara – $149 (there is also a different style in store I think)

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Fashion, Shopping

Shopping Find: Isabel Marant vs Zara

The look that stood out to me from the Fall 2016 Isabel Marant show was the Prince of Wales check dress. To me it was so 80s, a little bit punk, so fun, and so appropriate for every possible situation. I still worked in an office when I seen the show so I thought it was a more interesting twist on what could be a boring work dress, based on the wrap over detail and the extra fabric to add a little flounce. Also, I loved the oversized safety pin detail as it is something that adds a little bit extra cool but could easily be missed if you wanted to hide it. In the collection, there was also a cute skirt in a similar fabric which featured a tied waist; I would settle for this too.

Left - Isabel Marant, Right - Zara

Left – Isabel Marant, Right – Zara

Fortunately, the fast fashion store that everyone loves to hate/hates to love, Zara came along and produced a pretty good copy. Yes, the red stripe is missing from the pattern but apart from that the shape and the overall design are pretty much spot on. I bought this skirt as soon as I saw¬†it and then immediately felt guilty afterwards for two reasons: 1, because I had planned to stop buying less things from fast fashion stores after I began researching it, and 2, because I actually wanted to buy the Isabel Marant dress. It was going to be my one splurge of the year. However, I have since remembered that I’m going to be a student and have no income therefore I should just forget about buying nice things anyway. Also, I had a gift card to spend in Zara so I was going to be buying something inevitably.

I plan to wear this skirt in both summer and winter. For the summer I’m thinking about a silky cami top tucked in and for the winter I’m planning a long sleeved, low back bodysuit. I think the skirt would look really great with some black ankle boots (patent, preferably) and tights.

 

SHOP ONLINE

Isabel Marant Р£280

Zara Р£29.99

If anybody knows where I can get the dress photographed above please let me know. Currently, Net a Porter don’t carry it.

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Fashion, Shopping

Shopping Find: Isa Arfen VS The Reformation VS Zara

I mentioned it in a previous post and I’ll say it again: I love frills. I love a little flounce in a skirt, or, in this case, a flared hem of a pant leg. Adore. I find the style flirty and feminine without being too girly for me. Bonus points if the item is black. Sometimes I find that a ballerina pink, although pretty, can look a little bit too young for me.

I first seen these trousers on Zara’s website, around a month ago, and since then I haven’t been able to find them again. I’m sure they were current season though so I don’t imagine that they sold out. A few days later I was flicking through a magazine when I seen this pair from Isa Arfen, a London-based label started by a CSM graduate. Instantly I thought they looked similar to the Zara pair that I had spotted previously. Later on that same week I was looking on the Reformation’s website. I actually love the aesthetic of this store, although I have never shopped there personally so I cannot vouch for them. I’ve heard a few negative whispers online about the brand but I’m not sure how much truth is behind this. All I really know is that they consistently make items that become “it” in places like New York and sell out every season.

All three pairs of trousers are visually similar, or practically the same. The biggest difference is the price tag. Here I’ve managed to come across variants of the same style for three different price points. From what I remember, the Zara trousers were around ¬£30 and were not a satin fabric. The Reformation’s style is in a stretch twill, the most similar to the Zara ones from what I can recall, and cost $178. The Isa Arfen pair cost ¬£406 on Farfetch and are made of a shiny cotton mix fabric.

SHOP ONLINE

Zara (check in stores)

Isa Arfen Р£406 (via Farfetch)

The Reformation – $178

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Fashion, Shopping

SHOPPING FIND: Chanel VS Zara

Ever since the classic Chanel slingbacks came back into fashion a couple of seasons¬†ago, I wanted a pair. For one, they’re timeless. They are the kind of shoes that you can wear at 20, 40, or 80 and still look impossibly chic. The style can translate from day to night depending on how you style them and they look equally as good with boyfriend jeans as they do with a black dress. Versatility is key for me as I like to get as much use out of my possessions as I can, or else I feel like they’re just a waste.

Everyone’s favourite high street copy cat Zara have come out with their own pair, and surprisingly late may I add. The Chanel shoes come in two styles – leather or suede – whereas the Zara shoes are just suede. However, the colours are identical and from afar you probably couldn’t tell the shoes apart. The Zara shoes also have a closed back instead of a slingback.

My shoes got delivered earlier today (this is 8th July as I type this) so I have only tried them on indoors thus far. All I can say is ouch. As the back of the shoe is hard, I think they will take some breaking in. I plan to wear them with socks inside for a while then maybe try them outdoors. I’m going for afternoon tea at a nice hotel tomorrow afternoon so I’m thinking of wearing them there since I will be seated for most of the time and it will only be for a couple of hours anyway. I do not know how comfortable the Chanel shoes are as I’ve never even managed to see them in person, never mind try them on. However, for ¬£450 I would expect a decent level of comfort.

Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller in her Chanel slingbacks, linked via her website

On top of this, I’ve found a fantastic dupe for the tights that were featured in almost every look in the Paris-Rome show that I adored so much. Initially I had planned to buy the Chanel tights, naively thinking that they would be affordable. After seeing them in a Vogue editorial with a three figure price tag (I’m going to say ¬£250ish) I decided that I needed to look elsewhere. Lo and behold, my good trusty friend Amazon came to the rescue. The tights on Amazon are one size but for reference I am 5 foot 3 and they fit my legs fairly well with just a little bit of extra material around the toes. To top it all off, they’re less than ¬£10. A steal if there ever was one.

SHOP ONLINE

Zara Р£29.99

Amazon Р£6.99 in the style Mixed Pattern (drifting in and out of stock at the moment), the brand is Yummy Bee

Chanel does not do online shopping unfortunately. Find your nearest stockist here.

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Fashion, Fashion News, Opinion, Personal

Grace Coddington, Designer Departures, Excessive Clear Outs

Departure seems to be a common theme in life at the moment: we have left one year behind and are now into the next (the best year yet, I have prophesied); I am turning 18 and therefore finally leaving behind the label of being a child (still a young person but no longer a child); and best of all, I am leaving one country behind and moving onto the next – America, New York specifically. (Yes, I know America is not the official name of the USA but it is much easier to type and pretty much everybody refers to it as that.) This year may be rather tumultuous but I am prepared because it is everything that I have wanted for a very long time finally coming to a head. I don’t want to get overly excited and start imagining scenarios that will never come to fruition but it is nice to dream. I am moving to New York to go to college in approximately 7 months. I cannot think of anything more exciting. That is one departure that I will not be sad about.

Someone else who has left their position in life (work, life, it all rolls into one) and is moving onto the next is Raf Simons. This news is very 2015 but since the Pre-Fall images for Dior have been released, it has been back on my mind. (I really like the new in-house designed collection by the way.) I started to really appreciate Raf’s work for Dior only after I watched Dior and I, the documentary profiling the lead-up to his first couture collection, made in only 6 weeks. His departure has been reduced to the overkill of the fashion schedule in the press – 4 ready to wear and 2 couture collections a year is insane. The fact that fashion is going at a rate that was before unimaginable is indisputable. Technology is marvellous yet dangerous. In the time after Raf announced his departure, Alber Elbaz was fired from Lanvin (to much shock and dismay) and rumours have flown around regarding Hedi Slimane leaving Saint Laurent. I cannot imagine the latter to be true, given that sales are soaring and the brand is perhaps in the best place it has been in a decade (at least, but I don’t know official numbers). For the most part, public perception is positive. Yes, many members of the fashion press are not fans of Hedi for Saint Laurent – Alexander Fury has been vocal about his disdain many a times before – but I think he has done well to create such a strong brand in a short time period. Hedi leaving seems like a bizarre move and I think it would be a decision made by Hedi himself rather than the folks at Saint Laurent – he is a cash cow. I do hope the rumours are proven to be false although I have heard speculation that the next show, which will be held in Los Angeles, is his swan song. Quite frankly, it is a departure that I would be sad about.

Another exit which I think has been overstated by people is Grace Coddington leaving her position as Creative Director of Vogue to become Creative Director at Large. People are reading the headlines saying she is leaving and thinking it means the worst – retirement, no more Grace, no more fantasy – but if you actually read into the articles it is clear to see that Grace will still be very much a part of Vogue, and so she should be. She will retain an office and contribute 4 editorials per year (that means her work is in a third of the issues a year, still a fairly high proportion). On top of this, she is free to explore other projects. That means we could see even more of her work. She could style fashion advertising, she could work with designers, she can do whatever she damn pleases. To summarise, Grace is going but she won’t be gone, so don’t be too upset about it.

Something that I am upset about is my hastiness with clear-outs, also known as great pieces of clothing departing from my wardrobe. As I am moving in the summer, as I said before a gazillion times, I am trying to downsize everything I own. I go through every single item in my wardrobe at least once a month so that by the summer I will hopefully be able to fit all of my possessions worth taking with me in 2 rather large suitcases. It sounds unachievable but it has to be done. If I want to cheat, I could probably leave some stuff behind and take it back with me when I go home after Christmas. Anyway, not the point. In my ruthlessness I have disposed of items which I now regret. Lying in bed last night, mentally planning my outfit for work the next day, I decided on black skinny pants, my black boots (devilishly soft leather ankle boots with a chunky heel that I can walk for miles in from Hobbs, in the sale!), a black top of sorts (that can be figured out in the morning easily as almost every top I own is black), and this fantastic Prince of Wales check blazer from Ralph Lauren. It was an eBay steal. Perfectly fitting with slight padding at the shoulders and a fantastic double breasted shape – so eighties, I know. I got up and began looking through my wardrobe to lay out my outfit for the following morning to then discover that the blazer was gone. As ridiculous as it sounds,¬†I was devastated. I then remembered that I had given it to the local charity shop only a few months earlier, deeming it too¬†Working Girl and deciding that I would never,¬†ever wear it again. Yet now I want it. I intend to go to said charity shop this weekend and buy it back if I can, however I fully expect to be told it is long gone. Even if it didn’t sell in my shop it will be in a random distribution centre somewhere and then sent to a store in a random little town where some lucky sod will buy it and love it and probably not be stupid enough to chuck it out in a mad-clearing frenzy. As if one thing wasn’t enough, I then thought about another one of my clear-out casulaties. A wonderful blouse that I got in the Zara sale a couple of years ago. The print was very Chloe, yet at the time I was at school and almost exclusively wore crop-tops and high waisted jeans (it’s much easier just to fit in, ok) and didn’t have enough forward-thinking skills to realise that it would be a damn good top to have for work. Oh well. It is also gone, a loooooong time ago. Some surburban mother is probably wearing it right now thinking it was such a bargain¬†– “Only ¬£2.89 for this¬†Zara top in Barnardo’s, what a steal!” she will say, “It looks so much more expensive than that” her friend will reply. Goddammit. In the future, I plan to NOT throw things out that I could possibly ever wear again. I also made the mistake of throwing out my sheepskin¬†aviator jacket only for them to make a killing on fashion blogs this winter. FORWARD PLANNING, my new motto.

So far, 2016 has been a year of changes, especially in fashion. But departures always mean leaving one thing behind and going onto the next, hopefully bigger and better. Many designers who have left their roles are proceeding to focus on different projects – Alex Wang left Balenciaga to focus on growing his own brand (god, I really can’t call him Alex like we are friends) and Raf is reportedly focusing on his line – so often leaving things behind is a positive. I can’t help but think of the negatives in situations but often things work out just as they are supposed to. That’s what I hope happens this year, everything turns out just as it was meant to. So far, so good.

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Fashion, Opinion, Shopping

“This season’s hottest looks” and “Your must-have pieces” – The concept of trends explained

Year upon year. season upon season, month upon month we are fed with new trends. Some are just a flash in the pan micro-trend that leave just as quick as they come and others are longer lasting and much more prominent. As we know, designers showcase their main collections twice a year (in February and in September) for the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections respectively. What designers show in September, essentially we will be wearing the following spring.

Each season there seems to be a little bit of similarity between what designers produce, whether it be intentional or coincidental, it happens.  Many designers run in the same crowds; are exposed to the same exhibits, music, art, movies, literature or whatever; live in the same cities; grew up in the same places; travelled to the same places in the world. In fashion, inspiration can be drawn from almost anything, anyone or anywhere therefore obvious similarities will occur.

Selection of looks from the FW14 catwalks

Selection of looks from the FW14 catwalks

It is the job of trend agencies (known as fashion forecasting agencies) to draw up these similarities and produce reports based on this. The link between things may be clear whereas with other trends, often just the micro ones, the thread may be thinner. Fashion magazines help to emphasise the trends which have been highlighted via their own editorials and stories in which they will champion the upcoming trends for the forthcoming season. Styling is key. A well styled editorial can cause even the most average person to want to look like that, to dress like that, to be that girl in the magazine. Magazines are physical proof that something is in. Pages are ripped out and plastered onto walls of teenagers around the world (or if you’re an organisation freak like me, carefully filed away in a ring binder folder subdivided by poly pockets), images are saved on phones, photos are posted on instagram, pinned on pinterest, you know the drill. Boom, a trend is created.

Buzzwords and big fonts will be used on the front covers of the magazines which line the news stands, eventually these will begin to sink into the consumers. We see, we want, we buy. Once the trends are created, dictated by the big guys (magazines and trend agencies respectively), the high street shops buy them in. They produce their own versions of what is seen on the runways, sometimes blatant copies that are almost criminal. As a consumer, I cannot complain too much about this. I want to dress how I want to dress. If I see something on the runway by Balenciaga that I know I love but could never afford, I look to H&M, I look to Zara. Fast fashion retailers, although doing the actual designers a huge discredit, make it a lot easier for us normal people to remain well dressed and not completely broke.

That is not to say, however, that it is ok to completely copy something shown on the catwalk. Yes, whilst the version we get in the high street chain stores is lesser, both in price and quality, it is still a copy of someone else’s work. Copyrighting in fashion is a little hazy and the lines less distinct than they are in other industries such as music and literature where plagiarism comes with a hefty price tag. Whilst counterfeiting comes with a massive fine, up to ¬£250000 in France, buying an inspired item does not. I am all for a good high street alternative as long as it is a little different from the real thing. ¬†As I understand, luxury is luxury for a reason. The designer price tag comes with the exclusivity and the knowing that not many others will have what you have – the price being the determining factor. We all know that the rich are getting richer, and the rest of us… not so much.

So each season, when the high street stores get in their new stock, thousands of units of new hip, trendy pieces, we (the consumers) immerse ourselves in it. We soak it up. We hand over our credit cards, debit cards, wads of cash and try to put together an outfit that makes some sense of what is being thrown at us by the racks upon racks of clothing.

Now I for one take pride in my appearance, as I know many others do also (It doesn’t mean¬†you’re¬†vain¬†by the way). I want to dress nicely yet I also want to remain up-to-date. For this reason, I understand the importance of trends which although many try to avoid, we all end up following to a certain extent. However, I also understand that it is important to not go over the top with a trend. Not everything that is “cool” will work for each individual. Nor do trends mean that you cannot dress in the classics either. Everyone knows of the staples that should be in a wardrobe and whilst I’m not condemning anyone who dresses head to toe in the latest fads, I think it is infinitely easier to incorporate some trend pieces into your regular outfits, never neglecting the key pieces. It allows you to stay current without looking too try hard, too overdone. There is nothing worse than seeing someone who looks uncomfortable in what they are wearing, a true victim in fashion. If something is not for you, accept that, move on.

So yes, whilst we are all influenced by trends at least to a certain extent, we should not let them take over. You do not have to go out each season and buy a whole¬†new wardrobe just because that is what the fashion magazines, blogs, social media, whatever you’re looking at basically, tells you to do so. Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry which thrives off making money from making us feel like we need to purchase these “must have” items. Don’t be duped but do allow yourself to indulge every so often. After all, how we dress can severely affect how we feel. Using this logic, dressing good = feeling good, am I right?

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