I’ve long been particular about my style and appearance. As an early teen I remember scouring several branches of Topshop to find the belted cardigan that most resembled the one featured on the Calvin Klein catwalk (and then getting hacked off when other stores started stocking similar ones too). Around the same time, I saved my pocket money until I could afford to go to the big department store in a nearby city to buy the just released Yves Saint Laurent Touch Eclat and was super chuffed when the sales assistant gave me a load of extra samples too.
Now I’m a freelance writer with an interest in fashion and beauty, I spend even more time thinking about and researching lovely things. When I write about articles, I try to place them in their broader context and discuss their significance and meaning too. I don’t want my work to read like a fluffed up press releases. That said, it seems daft for me to not find a way to simply and quickly share some of the products I come across in the line of work and pleasure if I think other people might like them.
As a result, I’ve decided to introduce ‘Tuesday Reviews Day’ to my blog. Each week’s listicle will will feature a handful of products, ranging from bargain beauty buys to best biscuits (I’m lining up a festive special on that one already!). I’m not an affiliate so I don’t stand to gain from recommending anything that I include – every item listed is genuinely something that I think warrants a shout out.
I hope that you find this new feature both a fit of fun and useful too. Let me know if your thoughts on what I’ve included and whether you’ve been tempted to try any!
I’ve realised that my own fashion philosophy is quickly beginning to emerge now that I’m spending more time immersed in thinking and writing about the subject. The phrase that keeps coming to mind is that we need to take fashion both more and less seriously. At first glance this is a paradox but less contradictory than it sounds. We can take fashion more seriously by looking closely at what we are wearing, where it has come from and what practices (working and environmental) have been involved in the creation process. We can use our consumer power to support businesses who are trying to create new models of manufacture and retailing. Yet this consideration of the business side of fashion doesn’t preclude a bit of fun: it is still possible to be playful and creative in what we wear.
Too often we take the appearance side seriously while neglecting to consider the actually serious side at all, but we can reverse this mindset. Last Wednesday, I encountered an opportunity to do just this when I attended the press night for a pop-up shop in Shoreditch. The garments and accessories on display were beautiful but had quirky elements as well, from fun prints to big bows to unusual materials. At the same time, all the goods for sale had an ethical twist one way or another, including using up discarded fabrics to stylish but slow fashion to supporting key environmental causes with each purchase.
It felt like a really exciting and growing movement to be part of, and the evening really resonated with my ‘take fashion both more and less seriously’ ethos. Alas the pop up shop will be closed by the time this post goes live but you can still buy from the brands featured via their websites. Here are my recommendations based on the makers that I met that night, giving you some new names to check out in the new year…
Created by Sophie Dunster, Gung Ho Designs is comprised of organic cotton handmade garments all of which tell an important environmental tale. Each features a different print, from bees to leopards to elephants, and when you purchase an item you receive a booklet explaining the challenges facing that particular animal. Not only does this raise awareness, but with each sale a donation is made to a relevant good cause.
Named after important women who’ve influenced her, Lucinda Burke’s gorgeous jewellery collection is handmade in London and uses ethically sourced precious stones. Lucinda also does bespoke commissions if you’re after a special piece!
Rhoda and Sarah of P.I.C. Style may produce a versatile and interchangeable capsule collection but I wanted to buy every single item in it! From a base of eight pieces they claim you can create over fifty outfits combinations, allowing you to make a great slow fashion statement.
These are definitely garments that you’ll want to wash and wear for a long time. Even the partner of another designer in the pop-up was sporting their peg trousers!
Kenny of Poli & Jo usually creates limited edition handbags and bags that he sells from his long-established stall on Shoreditch Market but when he realised that car firm Land Rover had leftover roof material, a new concept was born. Alongside his usual range, Kenny now crafts tote bags made from this recycled material. The result is beautifully styled bags with a hefty dose of British heritage alongside modern design and durability. If a Land Rover roof can survive the African desert, you are not going to wear the material out on the 283 bus.
Designer Nina Kovacevic and her family came to Britain as refugees from the Balkans War and they settled in London. This is where Nina’s War and Drobe company is now based, with her making all the items by hand. There’s a clear vintage influence on the brand’s vibe, with bolero jackets and close fitting dresses alongside high waisted trousers and jackets. If it’s a feminine silhouette that you’re after, get some War and Drobe in your wardrobe.
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