Posts Categorised: Lifestyle/Fashion

INSPIRE ME – with Irregular Choice

I think I ‘may’ have *cough* mentioned before… once or twice ;) that I am a HUGE Irregular Choice fan. As in, not able to pass a shoe store without popping in and checking out their latest designs… trying on…… and then purchasing them…. :)

For a while now, I have wondered about the innovative creator and designer behind this now world renowned label – Dan Sullivan.. how he puts his lines together each season and what makes him tick. Not only do Irregular Choice design mouth watering footwear ( that I have recently also seen cool brides adourning ), clothing, bags and accessories – they even now make very pleasing on the eye homeware !

So, my friends.. today is a really special day. It’s ‘Inspire Me’ .. all about Dan, his design inspirations for Irregular Choice and his directional, extremely exclusive new collection – Dan Sullivan . A collection for “die hard fans” – and I can assure you, he has not held back – they really are incredible as you are about to see…

    

Dan, how did you get into shoe design ? Had it always been your plan ?

My parents had a line of shoe stores called Transit in the UK during the 70’s punk Camden London era, so from an early age I grew up around footwear, design and how to retail that to the consumer. I then learned about production by traveling to the factories jn the far east. I didn’t go to fashion or design school.

  

What I love about Irregular Choice, is that your shoes, clothing and accessories are totally unique – where do you get your inspiration ?

Thank you, that’s definitely our brand ethos. Everything I’ve done has been self- taught and influenced by travels- experiencing a huge variety in world cultures, people, fashions and food. I have to say Japan is probably my most influential place.

          

Do you have a strong vision of each piece before you start the designing process, or does it evolve as you work?.. and do you name the shoe style before or after ? :)

I have a clear vision of the direction I want to take, design wise, in order to push the boundaries from the collection before. I then use a huge library of colors, textures, trims and fabrics to make that happen. I make sure that each collection has meaning and is well- rounded, so although the shoes are very different and strong , there really is a shoe for everybody. The naming of the shoe comes afterward, once we see how the shoe has turned out in person as opposed to drawing.

        

You have a huge fan base, worldwide – is this something that happened very quickly ?

I’m very thankful to the Irregular Choice fans, the fan base has evolved greatly over the past 12 years which is great. I think that the opening of the London England store in 2009 really saw the brand catapult here in the UK as it was a place for fans to come and really understand what we are about as a whole lifestyle.

           

As well as stocking internationally, you have your own Irregular Choice stores in Brighton, London, Hong Kong, Virginia in the USA and currently a ‘pop up’ shop in Paris, Does this mean you spend alot of time travelling and how do you combine it with the designing side of things ?

Yes, our retail has expanded which is really where I want to see the growth of the brand in the future. It means I can present Irregular Choice in an environment so unique and memorable that people keep coming back. Although I do travel a lot, particularly to the Far East and to the factories to check on production and sampling, I set aside specific time to design the season’s collection. I plan it into my schedule and close the door from outside distractions. Thats the only way I can really get the point of the brand across in design and keep each collection consistently unique.

          

Do you get time to switch off? What is an ideal day of chilling for you ?  

Sometimes ! Spending time at home with my family is the best day.

   

Recently, you launched an exclusive collection under your own name – Dan Sullivan. Will you be doing this every season and what can we expect ?

I went back to the roots of what makes IC unique and desirable and timesed it by 1000. The Dan Sullivan Collection is really a thank you to the fans, and I havn’t held back in creating one- of a kind shoes. These I think are some of my favorite designs as it’s truly different. I also wanted to keep them unique by making only a dozen or so of each style, so each customer really feels special. At the moment they are available on www.dansullivan.eu and each month I will be launching new styles between now and Feb 2013.

           trendy shoes irregular choice japan

For anyone reading this interview who wants a career in design, what advice would you offer them ?

I never went to design school, so I can’t say that works for everybody. But I would say to emerse yourself in whatever inspires you and whatever motivates you to design and makes you happy.

        

A large cap doffing thanks to Irregular Choice and of course, Dan himself.
You can keep up date with Irregular Choice on Twitter, Facebook and also on their website and blog www.irregularchoice.com

 

Please share the love by clicking on the links below  xx

All images copyright of Irregular Choice 2012.

Vintage Vogue does denim !

retro vintage pattern vogue sewing pattern

A quick post to show you a completed dress from my sewdirect.com patterns that I mentioned last week. I went for the Vogue one first, it’s an original, reprinted 1954 design. It’s calf length and wrap around, fastening with hook and eyes and I chose to make the tie at the back version.

sewing pattern vogue vintage retro

After much deliberation ( as ever ! ) I decided to use a light weight washed denim, and used a Liberty print bias binding ( it was worth buying the bias just for the big wooden bobbin ! ) from Clothkits.co.uk The combination kind of reminded me of floral fabric patches sewn on ripped jeans.. lovely childhood memories :)

denim handmade dress sewing inspiration liberty trim retro sewing bobbin sewing trim liberty print

But, the big question… what to accessorize with ? Well, I am yet to wear my bubble gum scented Vivienne Westwood/Melissa cherry heels… Yum :)

Westwood heels Anglomania vegetarian shoes

And… a pair of these sunglasses from Retrosun look rather appealing…. Dare I ?

retro sunglasses 60s style shades

Really looking forward to making the other two patterns soon.

What fabric would you like to see this dress made in ? I would love to know your thoughts…. :)

Feel free to use my dress images – just ping a link back to LucyLovesYa !

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – With Anna Lou of London

You may well have spotted Anna Lou of London’s jewellery and accessories on various celebrities such as Emma Watson, Lily Allen, Kate Moss, and Fearne Cotton or in one of many magazine features including Vogue, Tatler, Elle, Bazaar, Grazia.. the list goes on and on. Indeed, you may also already own an Anna Lou of London piece – lucky you !

Creator and designer, Anna Lou Trent has not only won a highly prestigious award so far in her career for her fabulous designs, she also stocks Anna Lou of London, internationally.

Her signature piece being the initial necklaces, you can also find bespoke name bracelets and necklaces, perfectly unique wedding jewellery, something a bit tongue in cheek.. and everything lovely in between at the Anna Lou of London website.

Today’s ‘Inspire Me’ reveals a little bit more about Anna, how she became a designer, having trained as an actress and I get to share some of her jewellery images with you :)

How did you make the transition from being a professional actress to becoming a jewellery and accessories designer?

 I  set up a market stall on Portobello Road  in  2004 where I sold my bracelets I had made. I never trained in Jewellery making so taught myself from scratch. I used to make for friends initially and often received commissions so I thought it would be worth selling them on a market stall would be a good way to subsidise my acting career. Mainly because most of the work I had in acting was unpaid!

Surprisingly the bracelets I’d made were hugely successful.  My stand was always busy and I loved meeting all the great people who were fellow traders as well as great customers.

A few months after having the stall I was approached by Harvey Nichols to meet them. They took in all the bracelets in all colours and they sold out so fast they asked me to come back with my ‘next collection’. Having no idea what that was going to be I off course agreed to meet them with the ‘next collection’. Then i frantically made a range of necklaces and earrings and luckily the jewellery again was bought by the store and soon after it was instore theysold out again. They continued to buy my collections for a few years and the business grew from strength to strength. I am now stocked in hundreds of stores internationally and have my own website www.annalouoflondon.com

    

Where do you find the inspiration for all of your beautiful designs?

Tokyo, Japanese art,  New York City mainly..

    

You stock in countries around the world – how do you fit all of this into your schedule? :)

I dont know! It’s a juggle having a 2 year old ( Wilbur) and 7month year old (Buzz). I have to make sure I work 6-8 hour day. Normally it’s from 5am – 7am. Then do the children’s breakfast and playgroup and then when they sleep at lunchtime I work from 12-2pm doing the web orders. And again I work from 7pm -9pm.  But it’ll all change again next month, no doubt.

I made the decision though that I really want to bring up my children myself and be with them as much as I can before they go to school. So it won’t be long and I’ll be back to the business 100% full time. My husband is very supportive as well so when I have shows etc he takes the kids. We make it work as a team!

enamel jewellery anna lou london colourful fun pieces     

Do you have a proudest career moment to date?

I was awarded the first prize in the Observer Magazine – Future 500. I won the Retail and Fashion category.

necklace gold anna lou fabulous statement jewellery

Any advice for budding designers?

Test your product on a market stall so you can actually watch peoples reaction. Don’t keep putting things off. Remain positive. Put yourself out there. Don’t worry about breaking the rules!

    

What is happening for your brand for the rest of the year?

I am currently developing a new bag and candle range. All will be launched for Christmas.

Thanks, Anna – very inspiring ! You can visit the Anna Lou of London online store to see more of her creations, and also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

 

Vintage Frock Making and a few tips !

This week I will mostly be making retro style dresses !

I have received three utterly stunning patterns from the sewdirect.com vintage ranges and cannot wait to use them up !

The first one is a Vintage Vogue – it’s a 1954 pattern and it’s simplicity in style means I can probably get away with a bold fabric print…

The second is Butterick 1946 and has a long or short sleeve variation. The shape looks incredibly flattering.. Oh, to have lived in that era !

Such pretty bows on the third pattern – Butterick from 1953. All of the options are gorgeous, but tempted to make the A3 version. Wouldn’t this make a lovely wedding dress ?

It’s always so important to do your calculations before buying your fabric. I’ve made costly mistakes in the past, buying fabric because I like it ( well, why wouldn’t you :) ) and then starting the cutting, only to realise that it’s not wide enough or I haven’t bought enough. Aaagh ! :)

The other thing to consider is the size of the actual fabric patterns. What can look perfect online, may end up being huge in reality and be better for upholstery. Also, if you have panels/gathers/pleats – is the pattern design suitable ? Will it get lost or look dis-jointed.

Fabric stores are usually happy to send out a few samples, so I would definitely recommend checking first before making !

Now, what fabric do I use ? Polka dots ? Gingham ? Maybe denim with a trim ? Endless possibilites.. what would you use ?

Watch this space etc etc… these completed vintage dresses will be coming to a computer screen near you soon….

Have a good day.. and look out for my Inspire Me post this Thursday – I am rather excited… I’ve had a nice chat with Anna Lou of London and will be showing off her gorgeous jewellery and accessories :)

Please share the love by clicking on the link below xx

INSPIRE ME – with Serendipity Studio.

The very talented woman that is featuring today on ‘Inspire Me’, actually inspired me for my first ever blog post. I made two retro style dresses.

Kay Whitt is the owner and designer for classic yet modern clothing and accessories sewing pattern company Serendipity Studio and author of successful craft books –  Sew Serendipity, Sew Serendipity Bags and soon to release her third….

  

What inspired you to start designing patterns?

I have sewn all of my life. Even as a teenager, my mother and I would manipulate commercial patterns to suit our tastes, so I think designing has always been in my blood. I spent the first several years of my career as an elementary school teacher, but I yearned to have a business that was centered around sewing.  It seemed like a natural progression to take what I had been doing for myself all these years and make it applicable for everyone. I design my own slopers with specialized software that helps me grade the sizes for my designs. I have been in business since 2001 and consider it the best decision I ever made for myself!

  

 Is there anything in particular that you enjoy designing the most?

That is a tough question to answer since I love all aspects of the design process! Every type of design presents with its own set of challenges. The most challenging types of designs are probably jackets, followed by dresses, then skirts as the easiest. For any design, my favorite part is after the pattern has been tweaked for the fit. This is when I get to play with the design, adding little details and coming up with the different variations. This is where I get all the fabrics out and mix them around to get the look I am after. So there probably isn’t a favorite type of garment for me, I love designing them all!

 Talk me through a day in the life of Kay Whitt….

I usually start my day checking email and attending to orders. Once that is done, I get on Facebook for a while and talk with fans and friends, then settle into whatever needs to be addressed for the day. Sometimes I will spend days at the computer working with designs and writing instructions (or writing blog posts), other days I spend in the studio getting samples created. The late afternoons and early evenings are reserved for working out and getting dinner together. I usually save my evenings for doing handwork on the sofa in front of the TV with baseball or basketball in the background. I have gotten really good at listening to games so I can keep my eyes on the work I am doing!

  

 Do you have a proudest career moment to date?

My proudest moment was when my first book, Sew Serendipity, came out in 2010. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a lot of work come together in a lovely package ready for others to enjoy! I enjoyed the process so much that I wrote a bag book, Sew Serendipity Bags, which came out in the fall of 2011. I am due to have a third book out this fall, so the book writing thing has been quite rewarding, even though it is a lot of planning and work.

  

 Any advice for someone wanting to start sewing but not sure where to start?

I suggest starting with a small project that can be finished in a short amount of time. Pillows and simple bags are a great way to learn the process of choosing fabrics and do some basic sewing without getting too involved. I think getting to see a project come together quickly is key so that you are inspired to try another in short order. Once you are on the path of honing your skills, a simple skirt is a great project and a wonderful way to break into garment sewing.

  

How is the rest of 2012 shaping up?

2012 has been flying by so far. I am amazed that we are already almost halfway through the year! I find myself wondering where the time went. I have a few appearances and speaking engagements over the summer, and of course I will be working on the fall collection of pattern designs before too long. I already have a long list of ideas to explore, so there should be some exciting stuff come October. Plus, my third book is scheduled for release in the fall as well! It’s busy and happy times here at the studio.

Thanks very much to Kay for sharing her work and inspiration with us ! 

Pop on over to the Sew Serendipity site to have a look at more of Kay’s superb patterns and books. You can also find her patterns online throughout the UK.

Please share the love by clicking on the link below xx

Happy Camper :)

sewing bag pattern camper retro travel

So here it is – my new weekender travel bag !

Having first bought this supremely cute camping retro fabric from the fab online Brighton store Ditto Fabrics to make a 50s dress, I decided I didn’t want to lose any of the pattern in gathers or pleats.

camper fabric retro colourful fun textiles print

The gingham was for two reasons – one, if I had used the same for the sides the pattern would have ended up upside down as it went round and two, gingham is really fifties and I think works well with the cool ladies and gents in the fabric.

I was slightly nervous about making the bag pattern up ( it’s by Amy Butler ) only because I’ve never made something before like this. I’ve made bags but not something that where peltex ( to keep the sides firm and upright ) is needed. But, I am really happy how it has turned out :) The bag feet are an addition to the pattern – they were from a site called bag-clasps.

What do you think ?

Hope you’re enjoying the glorious sunshine :)

Feel free to use my images – just add a link back to LucyLovesYa.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

A Medley of veggie love..

Well, my friends, it is National Vegetarian Week.. . Being one myself ( well, pescetarian on occasion if we’re going to be pedantic :) ) it gives me great pleasure to share this veggie mega mix of loveliness with you…

  vegetarian shoes  

How cool are these cake earrings from Dolly Dagger ?.. Bit of fun and very carroty ! Never one to miss a chance to show off some Poetic Licence at Irregular Choice cuties, this “The Right Stripe” pair are fab, I love the cherry charms. Beyond Skin as you may already know are a great company that make beautiful, shoes and accessories – all vegan.

    

Jospeh Joseph make the best worktop savers. I love these character ones. They’re so cool. What do you think ? This Stuart Gardiner seasonal Guide mug is a nice idea for a budding gardener friend. Cool huh ? Everyone needs at least one good vegetarian cook book.. this is from Oliver Bonas.

    

Berry Red are selling a Step by Step Vegetable Patch guide is to suit anyone, no matter how much space you have to get planting. Plantabox.co.uk have a big selection of personalised wooden crates for all occasions. Worth taking a look if you’re looking for something unique. Anything that makes life easy has to be a good thing – what do you think of the Living Larder here by Sparrow and Finch ? You can keep all your herbs and vegetables right near the back door. Yey !

    

For the kiddies – The little fruit tupperware box set is from Oliver Bonas. I think the gardening set here by Moulin Roty at Berry Red would make a really nice gift. It has seeds, real little pots and everything needed to get started. Last but not least.. this “Even Pirates  eat their vegetables” print from illustration company Crumpettytree.co.uk would be a really helpful thing to have right near the kitchen table… speaking from experience :)

Did I do good ? :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

My home made 50s wedding dress…

Wedding 2As I may have mentioned *ahem*.. a few moths ago, Andy and I got married.

I’m not sure what possessed me at the time to want to make my own dress in only a few months, but I’m glad I did. It was a really great experience and I learnt so much about dressmaking.

I was lucky to have some help from Sarah Belinda who knows loads about wedding dresses – it was invaluable, let me tell you !

My hair flower was from Rose Garden Accessories and the heels –  Rachel Simpson.

Our wedding photographer was Laura Babb she was really great to have around. Have a peek at her site..

Wedding1Of course there was the little issue of needing to make three little bridesmaid dresses too….

One night whilst sitting at my sewing machine, literally covered in silk dupion threads I did question my sanity…. but got there in the end !

Andy wore a Paul Smith suit – he looked very handsome and rather retro :)

Wedding 6We got married at The Theatre Royal Bury in St Edmunds and it was an amazing day. The crew were so helpful. We chose this venue partly because it felt right as both of us come from an entertainment background *jazz hands* although it was quite low key and easy going really.

The wedding was inspired by the 50s, my love of kitsch and of course the theatre itself… Dahhhling :)

Our light up letters hired from the super lovely company Vowed and Amazed..

The main thing for us was that everyone felt at ease and that we avoided doing anything that was alien to us. It’s sometimes hard when you’re in the thick of it but it’s important to be yourselves… in my opinion.

Weddign 3How clever is my friend Juliet ? The cake she made for us was just so amazing. The stage looked really effective once the curtains were back with the pom poms and disco balls hovering above us all whilst we ate curry and then some theatre ice creams…. :)Miserable Man sang at the ceremony and he was brilliant. So chilled. I really recommend our band later in the evening too – Ready Steady Go.

Wedding7Hope you like these pics ? :)

If you’re thinking of making your own dress and want some tips – get in touch..

Please share the love by clicking on the links below… xx

 All Photography Copyright Laura Babb 2012.

INSPIRE ME – with Bombus.

Today my ‘Inspire Me’ feature is focused on Amelia Coward, owner of unique découpage gift company Bombus.

Mixing vintage style with modern design, the Bombus ethos is “making something out of nothing” – producing pieces such as bespoke map art, Up-cycled stamp art chairs, cards and jewellery to name but a few….

Amelia, what is your early design background ?

People often ask how I got into découpage and I realise that this was something my mother had introduced me to at a very young age. She would give me scissors and an old magazine and I would cut out small images and organise them in piles. She then taught me how to glue the pictures onto large pebbles and varnish them for door stops.

and your formal design background ?

 I studied textiles and weave at Central St Martins; followed by postgraduate study at The Royal College of Art. After several years working in the commercial textiles and furniture industry I was keen to get back to doing something handmade.

The Bombus story ?

It started in 2003, when I découpaged vintage cowboys and Indian comic strips to a 1950s coffee table. I used it for a shop window display as a prop and it sold within hours. This technique was applied onto chairs and a range of home-ware products. Customers were keen to commission special pieces using their own choice of comics and vintage papers. The light-bulb moment came when I stumbled across a box of old maps. The concept of applying maps to the products, took my designs to a whole new world of eager customers. I now had a waiting list of people wanting their own choice of map location applied to the products.

Nine years later…

We are now a team of seven and working out of our dedicated studio space in a converted stable block on a farm in Kent.

Do you have a Signature product ?

The Bespoke Map Heart. Everyone loves maps and certain places hold special memories. The beauty of our bespoke map collection is that the customer can choose their own map location. You can be as detailed as a street name, as broad as a whole country or anywhere in between.

What was your inspiration ?

In 2007, when my partner and I moved house, I made a Valentines card using a vintage map of the area we were moving to. It was a simple idea but I realised that it could potentially be a good commercial product.

Any advice for a designer thinking of setting up in business ?

Get your pricing right. We time each part of the making process against a stopwatch, so we know the exact cost of labour. There are the obvious costs of materials of course but it’s also critical to remember stuff like VAT and the commission percentage if you are selling via a third party. Keep checking your price against your competitors and contemporaries. We always try to aim for a profit margin of at least 45%. You can’t be sentimental about a product that isn’t going to make you any money.

What does 2012 hold for your brand ?

We’ve had a great year so far. We exhibited at a trade fair in January and now sell via more than 30 independent retailers across the country, including Liberty of London who stock some of our greetings cards. We sell via our own website of course and have two storefronts on Notonthehighstreet.com We are exhibiting at another trade fair, Pulse London in June, where we will be launching new collections and developments of our current range. We’re in early stages of developing a textile collection, which we’re very excited about. And following frequent customer enquiries we’re also currently designing a wedding stationery collection. We’re hoping to ‘soft launch’ the wedding stationery in autumn this year with a full launch in the spring of 2013. We just wish there were more hours in the day!

A big thanks to Amelia and her company – I have much admiration for her. 

Please do leave a comment and share the love by clicking on the links below :) xx

Com’pleated’ 50s dress ;)

horrockses vintage dress pattern fabric  horrockses sewing pattern

Dress finished ! The gathers of the skirt pattern went out of the window and in came some pleats ( also very vintage ! ) Mainly due to a slight shortage of fabric, but actually it’s turned out for the best and the shape is very flattering.

What do you think ?

The Horrockses fabric that I bought is now out of stock at the V & A for the time being but having chatted to like minded folk, we would all love to see it in the shops nationwide. Hope this happens some day soon :) Oh, and have you entered my Diamond Jubilee Horrockses Fashions Giveaway yet ? Direct your eyes to the right of this post to enter !

polka dot fabric pattern  fabric pattern inspiration sewing fun quirky  butterfly pattern fabric print

I’m making a 50s polka dot dress this week for my lovely friend and some girls dresses with really bold prints. One in a Momo Alice Kennedy Owl fabric and the other a pink butterfly/kitsch. Honestly, I fall in love with fabrics on a daily basis – and these ones are uber cute. Will post them up later this week :)

Also working on my own pattern for an Art Deco skirt. It’s amazing being able to make what’s in my mind now and can’t wait to start choosing the fabrics.

I just wish there were another 24 hours in each day ! :)

Feel free to use this dress image – just add a link to LucyLovesya – Thanks.

Please do share the love by clicking below …. xx