Monday, 25 January 2010

the death of fashion

For many, it's whimsical, humorous and superficial. For these reasons the fashion industry is tough skinned. It has to be. It is constantly criticised and attacked for its pure existence. But what I find humorous is how such an empowering and multi-faceted [not to mention the big bucks it commands on a daily basis] industry is so consistently disregarded and discredited by so many. A re-occurring argument which has been brought to my attention by a recently published article [personal rant] by Guardian journalist Tanya Gold "WHY I HATE FASHION". 

tanya gold  
image from the guardian wesbite

 Reading this article sort of took my breath away, mainly due to shock centred around the sweeping statements made throughout. Referred to as a "whispering monster" Gold blames the death of a 16 year old girl who was wearing heels and fell between the carriages of a train, on fashion. 
 "I decided to write this piece late last year, when I read that a 16-year-old girl wearing high-heeled shoes had fallen between the carriages of a train in West Sussex. She died, of course. It was snowing that night, but still this young woman, with a lifetime of fashion choices before her, ran along that platform and is now dead. And I couldn't help suspecting that had she been wearing a shoe designed for movement, rather than to push her breasts out and her pelvis forward, she would be alive.
This was different from the usual Fashion Death, where a model has a heart attack on the catwalk, because she lives on grapes. This was an ­ordinary girl – a bystander. And why was she wearing high-heeled shoes on an icy night? Because fashion, the whispering monster, told her to.
I thought about that young woman for days; I couldn't forget her. Why? Because I realised that although I did not fall under a train, like Anna Karenina with a shoe instead of ­Vronsky, fashion has bullied me for ever. It has followed me around like an eternal schoolyard taunt, throwing self-doubt and rubbish into my path. If you are a young woman, it is the ordinary soundtrack to your life. It is never enough to wear a clean dress and comfortable shoes and be done – fashion is a Jewish mother on crack. This will make you beautiful! This will make men want you! Wear this! Wear that!
Can't you ignore it, you may ask? Can't you squeeze yourself into a ­library and have an inner life instead? Ha! Anyone who thinks that has never been a young woman staring into the window of Topshop. Sophisticated weapons are employed to make us need the rubbish. And so we do."

It [fashion] is severely misunderstood. I'm inclined to argue that many people criticise and belittle fashion in it's many guises, because they just don't understand it. Consequentially it is attacked for being the root of all evil in the modern world it seems. I actually get quite worked up about this. And whilst reading this article, I understood the point Gold was attempting to make, but In the end I found myself slightly fuming at what I would consider a rather immature rant.

As a recent fashion writing graduate, I have spent the last three years immersed in a world of all things fashion, and even before that I studied fashion, along with art and photography. In my experience fashion is multi-faceted. Indeed it is a hierarchy and it is flawed, but those words resonate with many things in modern society; politics for example. I have never really been interested in politics, as I don't understand it, but I do not attack its very existence because I would be ill-informed to. 

"Can't you squeeze yourself into a ­library and have an inner life instead? Ha! Anyone who thinks that has never been a young woman staring into the window of Topshop. Sophisticated weapons are employed to make us need the rubbish. And so we do."

Having spent the best part of the last 3 years squeezed into a library, reading more books, chapters and paragraphs than I care to remember, about fashion, this is the point that annoys me the most. Given the sheer amount of literature, and I mean serious academic literature, that has been written concerning fashion, surely it's about time fashion was given a little more kudos. Now the whole - considering fashion as an academic subject - is another debate, but it is important to consider that there has been a lot written concerning sociological, psychological and cultural relations with fashion. Is Gold widely discrediting such literature? I'm not sure. But in essence she appears to have the mindset that you cannot immerse yourself in literature and appreciate beautiful things. I would criticise that point extensively, as a young women who is passionate about all aspects of fashion; the visual components and [slightly more so] the academic investigations and written musings about fashion, and who is equally passionate about clothing, style and aesthetic. 

I think the main problem here is that Gold misunderstands what  Fashion really is. Which is fine because there are many arguments and ideas about the purpose, definition and meaning of fashion, and put simply, fashion is not static. It does not have one meaning. It doesn't have one purpose. It cannot be defined by one definition. It is changeable. It is fluid. It is cultural, social and political. It is bound by economics, advertising and image. But is not exhaustive.

This is a huge argument in the grand scheme of things, and one that I cannot do justice to right now. Put simply, I appreciate Gold's article for it's honesty and its brashness. However I think its at times hysterical and aims to antagonise. 

Most importantly it is an opinion. Like everything written above.
Have a read and make your own opinion.

bag lady

Ethically sourced, edgy yet elegant, ANGEL JACKSON, is a fashion goldmine for those in the know. Established in 2005 by sisters Katie and Millie Smith, the fabulous bag ladies have gone from strength to strength developing beautifully crafted bags and accessories with design kudos. Recently announced as one of the short-listed designers for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, I have been lusting after their luxuriously cool leather goods for a while. 





images from angel jackson

Friday, 22 January 2010

all that glitters is GOLDIN

LOUISE GOLDIN has been announced as the winner of this years FASHION FORWARD prize and will be receiving astounding amounts of knowledge from fashions finest, and financial support to enable her to show her collections at London Fashion Week for the next two seasons; February 2010 and September 2010.  

The FASHION FORWARD scheme which was launched four years ago, provides funding for young British design talent to show their collections and further their businesses within London. A British Fashion Council initiative to promote young talent, FASHION FORWARD  has previously thrust many a British designer, including Erdem, Christopher Kane and Marios Schwab, into the frenzy of high fashion.

 LOUISE GOLDIN a Central St Martins graduate and directional knitwear designer, first displayed her wares at London Fashion Week in 2005 and has gathered a vast amount of experience in the past few years, working with Ghost, Brazillian design house Tereza Santos and Raphael Lopez. Her signature style fuses luxury knitted fabrics like cashmere, with innovative technology which allows her to create sculpture and texture within her garments. 

Louise Goldin SS/10


images from the London Fashion Week website

for the love of laces

So my long suffering boyfriend has been barking on at me for about 5 years [pretty much the entirety of our relationship] that I should wear trainers because in his words.....  

"girls look sexy in trainers" 
Well enter Mrs clown feet over here with her size 7's and for some reason I think I'm going to look far from sexy in a pair of Nikes or Converse for that matter. ANYONE who knows me will testify that I just don't do trainers. I'm not really a trainer girl. I don't even own a pair for the gym [mainly because the gym is my worst nightmare and if I owned I pair of trainers they would just gather dust and then guilt trip me into using them...but no no. I like my neat hourglass with extra bottom and a bit of chub thank you]. 

I am a girl who owns boots, ballet pumps and sandals. I didn't buy my first pair of heels til the tender age of 20 [after much persuasion from friends that I didn't look like the leaning tower of piza - although after a few drinks that's debatable] I'm a girl who likes her comforts and you just wouldn't find me running round in heels all day [not that I do much running]. 
So when I read an article on Tuesday in this weeks GRAZIA that informed me spring was the season for trainers, I immediately hid said article from the boyfriend before he could say.....I told you so......and although Christian Laboutin has created some rather stunning studded trainers, I think the trainer trend will be one passing me by.

I might be the only one. It seems trainers are the next big thing, popping up on Marc Jacobs models, trainers seem to be springs sensible footwear. So as we come back down to earth with a bump as our skyscraper heels are whisked from beneath us, Harvey Nichols London are gearing up for a footwear frenzy, catering for the "sneaker fanatic" and the fashion girl all in one go. To conicide with the relaunch of their fourth floor on the 25th January, Harvey Nichols London will be dedicating a whole wall to girls trainers. From Christian Laboutin to Acne and Converse, everyone is jumping on the flat footwear bandwagon.

So to play devils advocate, if I was to spend my hard earned pennies on shoes with laces I'd pick......

Christian Laboutin studded trainers £660


Beatrix Ong for Nike £230

Addidas by Stella McCartney £90


Lanvin £225

Well I'd never be caught dead in a pair of trainers let alone a fluro pink pair, but who know's. Maybe I'l have to concede defeat as we move from winter into spring and I find myself lacking appropriate footwear. I may even utter those unthinkable words...I need a pair of trainers.  

Thursday, 21 January 2010

apple or pear...?

And no im not talking about cider, (but if we are asking the question, im a pear girl every time) I am in fact talking about the magical mind maze otherwise know as BODY SHAPE. Now if there are any boys reading............I was mocked yesterday by a male friend of mine who thought my bra post was a bit too women's institute (he's probably reading this even though he didn't enjoy the bra post - after said mocking I'm not currently speaking to him - I bet he enjoyed the lust have lingerie images though) boy's unless your interested in whether your a pear, lean column or an apple.....i suggest you 

look away now.

Traditionally, women have been put into 4 different body shape boxes; but the impact of cultural shifts and modern living, means women come in all shapes and sizes. Too much boob or not enough bum can cause havoc with those oh so solid fashion rules for females but a lot of us just don't fit into the categories. So hurrrrrraaaah for a fantastic website I stumbled across which provides 7 different body shapes to pick from, and then offers shopping solutions and personal shopper style help to fit your ample curves or slender limbs. 

In the pursuit of fashion [and research obviously] I thought id have a little go at this shopping for my body shape malarky. Usually - and it's because I don't know what box I fit into - my shopping goes as follows, pick a whole host of garments, stumble into a itsy bitsy changing room [which im sure are getting smaller unless im getting bigger] get rather flustered by garments that are usually too small, get depressed that my boobs will not fit into anything, and then leave, even more depressed that I don't have that just bought something new feeling. So, Joy of Clothes appears to offer women a silver lining [it has always somewhat confused me the pear/hourglass thing]. After much deliberation I've decided I am a neat hourglass - to break that down it means I have a waist [even though I haven't seen it for a long time], boobs and a bit of bum, and what have always been termed "child bearing hips". Offering a vast selection of clothing from a huge variety of stores from French Connection, Uniqlo and M&S to designer brands like Zac Posen, Alexander Mcqueen and Temperly. So what did Joy of Clothes suggest for my neat hourglass...

acne hex skinny jeans £148


juicy couture ruffle top £58

lanvin mini dress £1,195

topshop stripe jumper dress £40


day birger et mikkelsen £109

christopher kane £1,225

This website seems to know me very well. A lot of black and grey came up in my body search - a favourite colour of mine. So the verdict....I Love this website. It has so much going for it. You can search by body shape, style, size or colour, and they even offer style advice on proportions, colour, and body measurements. 

Who needs a topshop style adviser when you have a one stop online shop for all your fashion dilemmas! 

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

its a girl thing....

Its a new year and for the first time in years I've made a new years resolution. Like 80%of women, I am in serious need of some new undies. So 2010 is the year I will seek out properly fitting undergarments. It does astonish me how many women [me included] are not wearing the correct underwear. However, it's easily done. Us ladies have several obstacles to negotiate daily so keeping up with lady cycles, body bits and bobs and fluctuating boob sizes are all par of the course, however unless your extremely organised and keep some sort of daily diary (and i am rather organised but even I couldn't manage this) you will simply neglect a fundamental rule as a woman; always wear the correct size bra's. 

Now this is mostly relevant to the more ample breasted women out there, because for us girls, its even more important to be wearing the right sized undercrackers. I always seem to find bra shopping less of a pleasure, more of a chore; all the undressing, prodding, poking, tape measures and some uncomfortable wire! Sounds like some sort of medieval torture. 
And for some serious scaffolding for those bad boys, your bank balance is going to take a beating.

But now spring is [sort of] in the air it seems a good time to breathe fresh life into that dark and dingey underwear draw. I wish I could wear this underwear but alas I was not given suitable breasts for this sort of underwear...

lust have lingerie...

la perla £147


3.1 phillip lim £77


mimi holliday by damaris £47


stella mccartney £85


myla £105


burberry £95


3.1 phillip lim £66.41

All underwear is available at net-a-porter

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

who said romance is dead.

image taken from flickr

A lovely romantic gesture takes place on a regular basis. couples write their names on a padlock, and with over 500 metres of padlock love, I think romance is still alive and kicking.

Bigger is Better

So it appears that curvy girls are the best thing since sliced bread. And since I'm still carrying a little holiday weight of my own, [which in these less than tepid temperatures is a godsend, a little extra blubber goes a long way] I think it's time to rejoice, celebrate and open up another tin of quality streets. Slowly, but surely size zero has somewhat retreated and girls have a little more meat on their bones; curves are returning to the forefront, and about time too.

Back in September 2009 at London Fashion Week, Mark Fast showed his collection on ample breasted, curvy size 12 and 14 girls, much to the horror of some of his own creative team who subsequently resigned. At the time size zero was still popular and emaciated models were still a regularity instead of a rarity. Fast decided to make some what of a brave stand, especial when his own team were against it, and opened his show with a cobweb knit clad curvy girl. 


Mark Fast curvy models

And now American style bible V magazine has dedicated it' latest issue to plus size girls. In the February issue of the super glossy high fashion magazine models are curvier than usual and are celebrated -  a fantastic step in the right direction for fashion. 



 So many believe fashion is pursuing a fresh look for a new decade, embracing all things curvy, and somewhat realistic, is refreshingly honest and well overdue. There is still however a lot of a debate about the "appropriate" weight for models and some see this as nothing more than a media backlash against the size zero kerfuffle which will be over before you know it. As the Telegraph recently wrote Curvy models: is this the shape of things to come? 
And last but certainly not least I'm with the BBC article I found today. A headline bound to bring joy into many a woman's heart who have overindulged slightly this christmas season - well as long as your fats in the right place, it seems to be a blessing in disguise. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

and the winner is....

Well, we don't know who the winner is just yet, but The British Fashion Council have released the short-list of designers in the running for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. The fund aims to support, both financially and in terms of global business development, UK fashion designers who have a proven record of commercial growth and now wish to make the transition to global fashion brand.

the first funders of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund  
image from the BFC website















The winner of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund will be announced in the May 2010 issue of British Vogue.

im a t-shirt convert

I'm not really a t-shirt kind of girl [which is sort of a lie because I own numerous black, grey and white styles for the sole purpose of layering, however I do not usually wear t shirts in bright colours, with prints, patterns or designs]. But a little brand going by the name of Lady Umbrella might just have converted me. The ladies t-shirt company, spawned from a Spanish designer and her love of art and fashion, creates beautiful t-shirts with some incredible and quirky hand illustrations. 

Each t-shirt has a name which conjures up a fantastically creative story in ones head. I have my favourite already.  

"Away with the birds"

I have my eyes on this beauty, and although it may be to go with a dashing pair of pj bottoms [after all you cant convert me that quickly] at least I'll look stylish while I sleep.

Have a ganders at to see all the imaginatively named t-shirts. 

what goes around comes around.

FASHION is one of the most empowering and enigmatic modern day mediums, which influences, inspires and initiates a multitude of images, styles and ideas on a daily basis, not to mention the cultural impact fashion has [something which is too vast to consider in this brief post]. You would therefore be forgiven for thinking that fashion transitions itself season after season, to convey a new way of thinking, living and dressing; one that offers us something new, with a degree of originality and purity. 

The above is certainly true, but more often than not fashion finds its feet each season with a little helping hand from the past. Styles and ideas are reworked, used as inspiration and thoughtfully chewed up and spat out into some faultless new trend which has recognisable features but a fresh face. Fashion is undoubtedly a system, a process and a re-invention of the past. Contemporary fashion discourses have developed alongside the commodity culture of our time; styles overlap, trends disintegrate and fashion constantly seeks to contextualise itself. 

And with London Fashion Week rearing its stylish head in a matter of weeks, I wonder what little gems we will be gazing at this February.

a bit of a reassurance......

I don't know how some people do it. Manage to pull off the "I have an amazing outfit and dont need a coat look" [while im freezing cold] in these Arctic conditions, with little more than a jacket for protection against these unpredictable elements. Meanwhile I'm skidding down the street [absolutely wearing my thermals in this weather] in coats, hats, mittens and a chunky knitted scarf wrapped round so tight and pulled up so high my eyelashes are the only thing on show. I work in an area known for it's fashionable ladies and its well dressed mummy's [even with a screaming toddler in tow] and while designer stores are abundant, I would still like some peace of mind that I'm not the only crazed one who has forsaken fashion and opted for non slip super grip shoes and warm knits that shield my face from the wind chill sweeping the country. 

image from getty images 

And here is my reassurance, coming from one of my favourite columnists for the Guardian. It's nice to know im not alone. January is the month for warm and cosy.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

i haven't seen proper snow since i dont know...

So its FREEZING cold, the snow keeps coming, and my hands are not currently appreciating my glove of choice this winter..... the fingerless mitten. The last time I witnessed "proper" snow was probably about 1989. I was a mere year of age and was dressed in a rather fetching 80's print snow-suit. I do have photographs but they will not be seeing the light of day. So the proper snow has come with force and keeps falling, as do I on the skate rink like pavements of London.

But how can I complain when I get to feast my eyes on beautiful views such as these...


photographs Mimi Finerty