Posts Categorised: Lifestyle/Fashion

A selection of makes over the last few years !

As some of my readers are potentially new, and I have been blogging for over 2 years now and I have only just discovered how to do collages ( yes, really ) .. thought it a good time to show some of my makes over the last few years. I haven’t added them all, but here ‘s a good selection. Hope you enjoy looking at them !
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Birthday Outfit Numero Quattro

The penultimate choice on my list for my upcoming special Birthday outfits !

Found this Lilli Ann vintage coat and dress outfit on FarFetch recently and think it’s a winner. The lapels and piping make me weep with happiness. :) Okay, it’s not ideal for February, but hey.

Lilli Ann was a ladies suiting company from the 1930’s to the 1980’s and was sold on but then closed by 2000. They started small in San Fancisco and offered very flattering silhouettes, spreading their wings after World War II to Paris and beyond. The down side ( in my opinion ) was their use of fur in some of their garments, but I admire their astute designs without.

The dress here is from their 60s mod inspired lines.

I will be posting one more outfit soon – that I am making. ;)

What do you think of this outfit ?

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Berlin and Biffy in 24 Hours.

IMG_2599This week I had a 24 hour trip to Berlin.

Although it was a mad dash, I really enjoyed the break and tried to pack as much in as possible because I’ve never been there before.

I’m ashamed to say I don’t speak German and really need to learn some. The people that I met were lovely and their English language is perfect.

My husband was working out there so I went to watch the gig which was really good. Mon the Biff ! ;) I decided not to take photo’s as I never really understand why people spend their whole time videoing concerts and not actually enjoying the moment ?! Berlin1

There was a dream sweetie drawer at the Hotel and I managed to only eat a packet of crisps. It took great determination. :)

I wore one of my favourite things in the evening – my Anglomania Lightning Elephant Tee. I read once that we only wear about 20% of our wardrobe and reckon it must be true because I wear it all of the time ! Sorry the photo isn’t clearer !

A ” Cowshed ” parlour resides at this Hotel so my treat was a Lemongrass oil massage the next morning which was wonderful and apparently my shoulders are very tense … from sewing no doubt ! Berlin 2

Enough about me .. :) Berlin is a really vibey ( is that a word ? ) city, full of culture and it seemed really clean. From where we were staying on Torstrasse we wandered to the streets around Alexander Platz and found loads of good stores and places to eat. Only wish there’d been enough time to photograph more of the buildings but have posted a few for you to see.

Cannot wait to go again to have a proper look at the galleries and do a street art tour. It’s definitely in my top 3 of places to visit now.

What’s your favourite City in the World ? 

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Tartan. Leopard print. Studs. Oh yeah !

I know, I know … a grown woman updating you on her Converse trainers collection ! :)

But .. they are tartan and leopard print .. and studded !

We were wandering through Norwich at the weekend and I spotted these Hi Tops towards the back of the shop. They had 20 % off too so no more encouragement was required.

Should this combination work together ? Not sure really – but I think they are my fave’s now along with the Wonder Woman ones.

It’s been a lovely weekend with my Mum’s Birthday and lots of cooking and organising  – and seeing loads of family life long friends which was kind of overwhelming but in a good way. :)

Hope you have had a good one – is your Christmas tree up yet ? :)

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Oompah oompah …

Winter-Forest-Jumper-Oatmeal-1With the weather definitely getting colder. I want to get a bit warmer. Having looked around for a nice cosy jumper, this Winter Forest Christmas Jumper by one of my favourite brands Lowie, caught my eye.

It’s not cheap, but in my opinion you get what you pay for and Lowie are a vintage inspired ethical brand, which is always good ! So, putting it on my Christmas list … time to save up !

Actually, the whole ensemble is quite nice … could I get away with this on the School run, what do you think ? ;)

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This is not a sponsored post.

INSPIRE ME – with Beyond Skin

Today I would like to share with you, my interview with Heather Whittle and Natalie Dean, duo behind vegan shoe brand Beyond Skin.

It can be hard to find non leather footwear that is on trend and stylish but Beyond Skin design and produce fashionable, well made shoes – with love …

What inspires your brand, Beyond Skin ?

Beyond Skin is a British, indie, luxury, vegan footwear brand.  Our uniqueness lies as much in our approach as it does in our design aesthetic of dynamic, vintage inspired styling.

Our philosophy creates the opportunity for us to embrace an unusual use of fabrics, prints and weaves within our designs, which has become our signature style.

Although fundamentally we are a cruelty-free brand, sustainability is equally at the core of our philosophy.

Do you work to fashion forecasts or prefer to focus on your own ideas ? 

When we start designing our new collection, we do refer to trends & forecasts, but mainly we are led by our own ideas.  We often find that the two are serendipitously fused.  We believe it’s important to retain a focus on our own ideas & inspiration, as that is what makes each designer different.

We do our trend research at textile tradeshows, like Lineapelle, to source new fabrics & suppliers for our new collections.  Our next step is creating some sketches by hand then translate our finished design to a detailed working drawing.   This is then passed on to our manufacturer to be turned in to a sample.

Is it more challenging to produce vegan and vegetarian shoes i.e. the fabrics etc ?

We believe that the manufacturing process is the main obstacle that we come across producing non-leather shoes.   The textile industry has developed tremendously over the last few years & as demand increases we see that there are more & more incredible alternatives to real leathers available.

The most popular misconceptions of faux leather are that it is not breathable, not eco-friendly and is cheap.  Nowadays most leather skins are super cheap as they are sourced from the developing world where regulations regarding leather production, effluent and environmental policies are virtually non existent.

The technology of synthetics nowadays is super advanced and all our Italian made faux leather and suede’s cost considerably more than most skins and are of remarkable quality.

There are now many companies experimenting with recycled PET plastic so it won’t be long before we are able to use recycled faux leather’s in our line.  Currently each season a large core of our collections are produced in a sustainable faux suede alternative called Dinamica.  This fabric breathable, expensive and made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottletops and has the look and feel of real suede yet unlike its real suede counterpart, can get wet, be cleaned and does not watermark.  Due to it’s incredible durability it is used in the auto-industry by both Jaguar and Mercedes Benz for their high-end interiors.

Beyond Skin is the first footwear label to utilise this incredible, sustainable material, which could potentially, one day replace real suede.

Aside from ensuring your shoes are 100% vegan – what are other important factors in the design of your shoes ?

Our philosophy is that we are a cruelty-free brand, and our styling has a vintage, feminine design.  We want to demonstrate that vegan shoes can be fashionable, and comfortable.

Quality is imperative for us, as we want to provide non-leather shoes, which are well -made, not cheap PVC shoes that are so readily, and cheaply, available on the market.  All of our shoes are currently made in Spain, it’s important to us that our shoes are made by workers who are receiving a fair wage, in decent working conditions.

It is our design, product and brand that makes Beyond Skin unique.

Are the products you use ever evolving ?

Absolutely, there are always new fabrics becoming available to the market, as demand increases and technology advances.

I love your bridal range – which style is most popular ?

We love our range of Bridal Shoes too – it’s incredible how hard it can be to find a delicately designed pair of wedding shoes that are free from leather.  The most popular style has been the ‘Fiona’ style, which is cream faux suede, mid wedge peep toe court shoe with a flower detail on the toe.  We’ve been selling these continually really well this season.

What’s your overall best seller ?

For this season, AW’13, we have launched a new Diffusion Line of more wearable, affordable shoes, which have been very well received.  From this capsule collection, the little flat pumps Joanie have flown out of the window!  We sell plain courts, with vintage silhouettes featuring our key bold use of printed fabrics.  This is a signature look for Beyond Skin.

Which Season are you working on right now ?

We have just finished the selling season of SS’14, and are now designing our Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.  We are using lots of deep & rich autumnal colours & some very tactile textures…

Can you give some advice for someone wanting to start a company selling ethical products ?

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  We all have ideals and philosophies that we want to work to, but as you & the world changes, it’s good to be open & adaptable. We have had to make compromises along our journey, we first wanted to have all shoes made in the UK as this was a strong USP of our brand.  However, as our business grew, we needed to confront this approach & we ended up moving to Spanish manufacturers.  We would advise to be open to making some compromises and reach new solutions to new problems you may encounter.

We have discovered that as long as you are transparent with your audience about the decisions & changes you have made, that no-one can get frustrated or upset.  Determination & passion go a long way, these are the key ingredients for starting an ethical company.

Thanks Heather and Natalie. Great advice and gorgeous shoes !

To see more of their range, their website is www.beyondskin.co.uk.

You can also follow Beyond Skin on twitter – @BeyondSkinTweet or become a fan on facebook.

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INSPIRE ME – with Lucy in Disguise

Sarah-Lily-Rankin-colourAs a vintage clothing lover I have followed the progress of Lucy in Disguise ever since they started out in 2010, especially because the owners of the brand, sisters Lily Allen and Sarah Owen, have created something unique and manage to source the most beautiful pieces.

As well as their online website Lucy in Disguise offers rails of gorgeous items from the 20s right through to the 90s in their Soho Boutique –  there’s also a parlour where you can have your hair and make up styled and they offer ” Events Space ” if you’re looking to hold a truly vintage party. 

Sarah has very kindly shared some of the inspiration behind their brand, how they go about sourcing their garments and plans for the near future … Salon-2-copy

Your Drama Parlour sounds fantastic – what does it offer ?

When we started LiD we really wanted to re – create that experience of getting ready for a big night out at home with your friends, and so it was always part of the plan to have an in store salon where you could complete your look with hair and make up. When I heard that Vicky, who runs the Drama Parlour, was looking for a space for her salon, I knew her team would be the perfect addition to the family. I’ve known Vicky for years and as well as being a fab hairdresser she very much shared my vision for creating a cool environment with good people, good music and good vibes. The Drama Parlour offers contemporary cut and colour, vintage styling and make up looks created by top make up artists.

You stock your own brand of candles amongst other things – what inspired the scents you have chosen ?

We worked together with an amazing scent designer, Azzi Glasser, to come up with the scents. We have three different scents – Rose, Sequoia wood and Fig which are all very different but really represents the diversity of our Lucy customers as they range from a very classical floral scent ( Rose ) to a more subtle one ( Sequoia Wood ) to a punchy, fruity scent ( fig ).

What would you say, differentiates your store from other vintage clothing shops ?

The key thing that makes our store different from your typical vintage shop is that we are extremely particular about our edit and in the way we merchandise our stock. We hand pick each item rather than buying in bulk and consequently we believe every single item on our rails is amazing. We didn’t want it to be the type of shop you had to rummage through rails crammed full of okay clothes to find that one brilliant piece. Its a shop for the busy, modern shopper who might not necessarily have the time to hunt for a good bit of vintage, rather our customer expects to come into our store and find everything cleaned and displayed beautifully with one to one assistance to help them find that perfect piece. lid-shop-at-night

Is there an era or Designer that is most popular with your clothing ? Which is your favourite ?

The 60s is consistently a favourite, but we definitely notice how catwalk trends affect what eras people are looking for. The single most asked for item is a bias cut 30s dress similar to the green silk one Kiera Knightley wore in atonement.

When you are sourcing your vintage pieces – how on earth do you keep focused and choose what is right for your store ?

The buying is the best bit ! It’s so exciting ! When you come across a good haul that you know your customers will love there really is no better feeling. I shop in many different ways – sometimes I’m focused on finding a particular item, other times I’m simply on a treasure hunt. I usually keep one eye on the trends and seasons of the moment, but I’m not bound by it, after all, vintage by its very nature is timeless, so if I see a good quality or unique piece at a good price I will snap it up no matter what time of year or whats going on in the contemporary clothes marketplace.

Which era of fashion do you think is most underrated ? – Why ? MG_1855.e1

I don’t really notice any one era being particularly underrated. I do find though that people tend to not be so keen on the era they were a teenager in; my mother hates 70s fashion, my grandmother shuns the 40s and instead loves the glamour of the 50s, I’m not as in love with the 90’s as the rest of the world seems to be right now. I would put this down to teenage hood being when we start to experiment with fashion, consequently making a few fashion mistakes along the way and when we get to our twenties and are a little bit more settled in terms of the way we dress, we would rather forget the experimental years that preceded it.

Can you tell me what plans you have for Lucy in Disguise ?

The next 12 months for us will be focused on expanding our online business. Our e – comm shop is still very young and we’re learning more and more about it everyday. Its so important in todays marketplace to have a strong online presence, and this is no less true for us than anyone else. We’ll definitely do another Lucy in Disguise range in the future and also have plans to delve further into the beauty world, but you’ll just have to watch this space on that one !

Thanks Sarah, looking forward to it. :)

You can follow Lucy in Disguise London on twitter @lucyin_Disguise and become a fan on facebook. If you want to have a look at their online vintage clothing, book an appointment in the Drama Parlour or enquire about Event Space – go to www.lucyindisguiselondon.com.

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All images copyright Lucy in Disguise London 2013.

Geisha girls jumper LOVE

Having written about Markus Lupfer before – I don’t want to repeat myself too much on how much I love this brand.

Then he puts Japanese Blossom and Geisha girls on his jumpers and I have no choice in the matter ! These are for sale exclusively on the Net a Porter website.

His pieces are always so distinctive and well made too in my opinion. I have spotted Zoe Ball wearing them a fair bit so she must be a fan.

What would be really appreciated ;) is a slightly more affordable line to make these beauties available to all. I know that there was a Topshop one a while ago and everything sold really quickly.

Can we have some more please, Markus Lupfer ?

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Vintage Venture at The Corn Exchange

IMG_2188Just recently, my friend Sarah Belinda and I took some space at The Corn Exchange in Harleston, Norfolk, selling our dresses, bags and cushions. Sarah is a very talented dressmaker who has taught me so much – she also stocks a gorgeous collection of vintage frocks and scarves. IMG_2181

 

The place itself is an absolute dreamy haven for vintage lovers and open 7 days a week. I feel like I have stepped back in time when I walk through the doors. There’s a tea room and even an old fashioned pub along with lots of retro finds – I also spotted some perfectly kitsch pieces. With various shops to peruse – it’s well worth a visit and Harleston is a very pretty town with a real sense of creativity.

Andy and I have got our eye on some of the vintage music items – but this vinyl musical jewellery box is my favourite thing so far. Excuse the slight glint but I took the photo through the glass. :) Corn

If you can’t make it to the Corn Exchange at the moment then there’s always my Etsy shop for now ;) …

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My new Crayons print dress – fabric from Minerva Crafts

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The lovely people at online craft store Minerva Crafts got in touch to ask if I would like to pick a dress fabric of theirs to use in a project which gave me the opportunity to make something for myself – always a treat :) There were loads to choose from but I plumped for the Pencil Crayons by Timeless Treasures. It’s bold and kitsch and exactly my kind of print.

As I didn’t want to lose the print in gathers or panels, I thought a simple skirt part which I drew up myself – and for the top just a few darts and also lined it ( but not the skirt ). It sits just under the knee and I will probably wear this dress in the Autumn with a top underneath and leggings. IMG_2087

 

It was a nice fabric to work with – good quality cotton … and I have a little bit left over so might make my girls a little skirt each too :) I will definitely be using more of their fabrics and they have a whole host of other items for knitting, sewing and crafts  – have a look if you fancy – www.minervacrafts.com – fab shop !

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