Friday, 19 February 2016

London's Calling...

London Fashion Week kicked off today in fabulous theatrical style, with Sadie Williams presenting her Autumn/Winter 2016-17 Ski inspired collection. Folds of shimmery white fabric draped beneath the models feet, to create the illusion of snow capped mountains, the collection featured metallic trousers, red quilted skirts and block stripes.

Sadie Williams Autumn/Winter 2016-17 

Having graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2013, Sadie (a London Textile & Fashion Designer) was granted the title 'one to watch' by Grazia magazine in 2014 and is becoming known for her ability to mix different influences to create unique prints and designs.

I'm always impressed by the wealth of talent London has to offer, being a graduate of LCF (London College of Fashion) myself, I feel so lucky to live in a country that celebrates and encourages creative expression. 

Fashion Week heralds a certain buzz, fashionista's and fashion bloggers flock to town in a frenzy of excitement, what will the designers showcase, who will be in the front row and what will they be wearing? Fashion Week happens twice a year, in February the Autumn/Winter shows are presented and in September the Spring/Summer shows. Ive always wondered why designers show winter clothing for the following year when spring/summer clothes aren't even in stores yet, but this tradition is set to change. 

Burberry announced that from this September they will show their collections 'in season', which means that their Spring/Summer clothing will be seen when we can actually buy and wear it, rather than having to wait 6 months. It's likely that other designers will follow suit.

Consumers don't want to have to wait, and its no different in the fashion world, we see something we like and we want it immediately, and designers are realizing this, Proenza Schouler, whose A/W 16-17 collection was shown in New York Fashion Week, released several looks available to buy now through their online store. Very clever, no doubt sales will go through the roof.

Bold colors dominated the Spring/Summer 2016 shows and this is a trend set to continue into the winter months, with bursts of fiery red, canary yellow and peacock blues hitting the catwalk. I loved Delpozo's use of statement colors, at their New York show, accentuating and contrasting their sharp tailoring, delivering an immediately wearable style.

Delpozo Autumn/Winter 2016-17

New York Fashion Week had something to offer for everyone, collections featured distinct 70's vibes with fringed finishes, flower prints and headbands, others focused on sharp tailoring and design details, there were autumnal color palettes with lush deep reds, plums and burnt orange, whilst other designers opted for futuristic metallics or neon brights. 

J. Mendal showcased a sexy luxe-sportswear theme, with fur-trimmed parkas, and draped tracksuit bottoms, I want every piece of this collection, asap.

J. Mendal Autumn/Winter 2016-17

J. Mendal Autumn/Winter 2016-17

J. Mendal Autumn/Winter 2016-17


Trends to note: Bomber Jackets, Sportswear Style, A-Line Skirts, Leather, Trouser Suits  

Here are my favorite Autumn/Winter 2016-17 looks from New York Fashion Week, enjoy!

Ohne Titel Autumn/Winter 2016-17
Lacoste Autumn/Winter 2016-17
Coach Autumn/Winter 2016-17

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Paying Attention to a Woman's need to be Stylish, Confident and One of a Kind

Sportswear brand Adidas has teamed up with Nicola Winhoffer, fitness artist and former trainer to celebrities including Madonna and Stella McCartney, to create their exclusive subscription service for women, Avenue A.

Adidas Avenue A 2016

The contents of Avenue A boxes are being kept secret, but are likely to include a mix of footwear, apparel and accessories. All by Adidas. Boxes will be shipped quarterly and will cost $150 per box. This subscription service is likely to increase the brands business, if they get it right. 

It's all about the content.

I do like a good surprise. Wrap that up with stylish sportswear, sent directly to my door and you are on to a winner.  

Subscription services are uber popular right now and its easy to see why. They cater to hundreds of thousands of consumers that want an alternative to regular shopping, those that want a personalized shopping service, with the ease and accessibility of online shopping. 

Birchbox Online Beauty Subscription Service 2016

I love online shopping, being able to see the full collection at a click of my mouse, all the colors and styles, never a wrinkled or lipstick stained shirt because someone else tried it on before me, never a messy clothes rail or having to hunt to find your size. It's all there right in front of you, while you sit at home on the sofa. Glorious.

Online shopping is clean, fast, fun and guilt free, after all it's not proper shopping is it?

Fashion subscription-based services take it to the next level, they handpick clothes for you, based on your agreed style preferences and deliver them to your home or office. You get to decide at your leisure what you wish to keep and what to send back. Sounds pretty good right?

Subscription services are a growing trend both in the UK and USA, look at Enclothed, a bespoke menswear service based in London, providing men with a hassle free shopping experience, simply fill out a short style profile and your personal stylist goes to work, handpicking a selection of pieces which are shipped to your door free of charge.

Its not just fashion either, Birchbox, a New York City-based online beauty subscription service delivers 5 luxury beauty products to their subscribers every month. Fragrance, skincare, make-up, the exciting part is that you don't know what treat you have till you open the box. Birchbox is currently valued at $485 million, which is not bad for a start-up company that launched in 2010, which shows just how lucrative and popular the subscription services market is.

Subscription services tap into a need, we are busy people, holding down jobs, careers, families, social lives, often there is no time to take care of ourselves, so if a subscription service can provide us with what we want, when we want it, without us having to add anything extra to our daily to-do-list, then they certainly get my thumbs up.

Imagine having a selection of golf apparel chosen specifically for you, styles that suit your shape, colors that flatter your complexion, with matching accessories, color accented hats, gloves and shoes, freeing up your time to do what you love, play more golf. With a golf fashion subscription service all that could be possible. And more. 

Hales Golfwear Spring/Summer 2016

It's the future of shopping I'm sure of it.
What do you think? Would you choose a subscription service? Would love to read your comments!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

It’s the players that make a team...

It's why I can do what I do, because I have a team of talented creatives by my side.

Hales Golfwear S/S16 Collection
Rome wasn't built in a day and certainly not by one woman, likewise any creative or business endeavour needs a collective of like-minded people who support each other to achieve great things.

There's an old saying, 'more heads, more knowledge'. The most powerful and successful people know that in order to succeed you need to build a fantastic team around you.

"Every leader has a team. We all eventually become a product of the people we associate closely with". Richard Branson, Entrepreneur, Virgin Atlantic

If we become a product of the people we hang around with, then it's probably a good idea to make sure you surround yourself with those who share your passion, dreams and goals. People that want the same thing you do, positive, successful and optimistic individuals that offer useful advice and feedback. Let go of the naysayers, the ones that say 'you can't'. Drop the people that try to extinguish your flame. 

But how do you find the people you need, the graphic designers, the pattern cutters, illustrators? 

I had very little funds and no clue where to go so I went back to my old school, London College of Fashion for help, whereby they told me of an online site* where I could advertise and ask for what I needed. This site connects employers with creative talent from University of the Arts schools in London, it receives over 30,000 views a month and gives you access to London's creative community. Absolutely perfect. 

Zara Collection 2016
 My Illustrator answered my ad, after a serendipitous moment on Instagram. She creates beautiful fashion illustrations that showcase Hales Golfwear designs. She also works as a textile print designer (see her work here) and recently had one of her stunning prints used for a Zara dress. Needless to say, she's an awesome talent, with a sharp eye for design, and I'm lucky and exited to be able to work with her. 

There is something so satisfying about seeing my ideas brought to life. 

I am very fortunate to have a skilled pattern cutter and seamstress, who can take one look at a sketch and produce the exact same garment. Like magic. I get goosebumps every time. She cuts and sews for some of London's leading independent fashion designers; go into the luxury department stores in Knightsbridge and you'll find her work on the rails selling for thousands of pounds. 

Fashion Toile, Hales Golfwear S/S16 Collection

Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs until you find your prince, well the same is true in any creative or business partnership, Hales Golfwear didn't happen over night, I had to meet quite a few potential players until I found the perfect fit. 

It takes time to build a successful team but it's totally worth it. 

*the site I mentioned is Creative Opportunities