Category Archives: Accessories/Jewellery/Bags

An Interview With Pure Tatts

Noticing a lack of originality in the tattoo fashion industry, my guest this week – Jason Alabaster, co -founder of Pure Tatts – made it a mission to create intricate and unique tattoo fashion.  Introducing white fashion tattoos as an alternative to standard black is just one way “Pure Tatts” is making its mark…. I caught up with Jason recently to find out more…. hi Jason!…

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Hi, my name is Jason Alabaster. I am the co-founder of Pure Tatts. I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I played collegiate tennis at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL and graduated with a degree in Economics in 2014.

What was the inspiration behind setting up Pure Tatts?

The idea of Pure Tatts came about as my friend and I were just chatting one evening. We were browsing our Instagram feeds and came across some really amazing artists. We wanted to figure out a way to bring this art to life, and that is exactly what we did. Pure Tatts teams up with artists across the world by transforming visual art into wearable art in the form of temporary tattoos.

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The white tattoo designs are stunning! How easy are the tattoos to apply?

Thank you! The tattoos are super easy to apply. They are applied with water just like the old school tattoos that you use to get in Cracker Jacks.

I love the “Dreamer” and “Free Spirit” tattoos. What’s the most popular tattoo design at the moment? What’s your favourite?

To be honest, it is almost impossible to designate one collection as the most popular. It is really interesting to see who buys which collection in relation to where they live. For instance, in the winter in the US, it is the summer in Australia and we saw more beach themed designs being ordered in Australia during this time. My personal favorite designs are the new designs that we are about to launch which are drawn by two artists named Christina Seng and Emily Deechaleune.

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Have you always been interested in a career in the art/fashion world or did you have other aspirations whilst at school?

I was very lucky that I grew up in a family full of artists. My grandfather was a skilled oil painter who taught me how to paint at a young age, my mother is artistic in ways that I cannot even fathom, and my sister won awards for her artwork growing up as well. I was always fascinated in art but rarely had time to pursue it full time due to my tennis schedule. Luckily I was able to take several art classes in college. After I finished school I was inspired to create a business that revolves around art and was so excited when Pure Tatts came to life.

Why do you think body art & temporary tattoos have grown in global popularity?

I think that body art and temporary tattoos have grown so much is due to the fact that my  generation loves to find new ways to express themselves. Temporary tattoos have become so detailed and original that it is literally an art form.

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Where can people buy your tattoos and are you able to ship outside the USA?

All of our tattoos are available online at PureTatts.com as well as the stores listed on the retail section of our website. We do ship internationally!

Your company donates 10% of its proceeds to a carefully chosen charity each month. That’s commendable. How do you choose your featured charity? Have you any favourite charities or type of charities that you tend to favour?

We chose Sgt. Pepper’s Friends because I recently rescued my dog Koda from the kill shelter. This sweet puppy would have been killed if it were not rescued. We wanted to raise awareness to adopt and not shop as well as help raise money for Sgt. Pepper’s Friends.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

During the you can find me in athletic shorts, a tee shirt, and tennis shoes. At night you will find me wearing boots, jeans, and a white t-shirt most likely. 🙂

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I am a big fan of Levi’s, Zara, and Asos.  I also have just launched my own clothing brand Vibrational Warrior so I am a bit biased to say that is one of my favorite shops as well! It is a clothing line inspired by High Vibe living. You can check it out at VibrationalWarrior.com

Boots or Shoes?

I am a big fan of boots. I think they are just so cool to wear with jeans and a t-shirt. They pretty much make any outfit look twice as cool.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Pure Tatts.

PureTatts.com
Facebook.com/puretatts

Great to talk to you Jason and I do so love the name of your clothing brand too  – Vibrational Warrior – it really flows off the tongue! The temporary tattoos are exquisite and being in white makes them stand out from the crowd.  My younger self probably would have sported one around my pierced navel, a sort of Celtic ring pattern – I do have a permanent tattoo on my lower back though.  Dear readers, do you have any permanent tattoos? If you were to wear one of these temporary white tattoos – what style & location on your body would you choose? I’d love to know your thoughts, so don’t be shy….

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Jason Alabaster & Pure Tatts.

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An Interview With Merrimaking

I’m feeling playful this week – and it is just as well as I’m going to be talking about clothes inspired by playful ideas! Grabbing attention at festivals from 2009 with their handmade animal hoods, my guest this week – Meg from Merrimaking – has since branched out to include a playful range of glittery jumpers, tropical bumbags and gender-free slogan t-shirts.  I caught up with Meg recently to find out more about this fun loving brand…. Hi Meg….

Hi, I’m Meg, co-founder of Merrimaking. I live in Brighton with my wife, 4 dogs and a hamster called Sally. And I love to rollerskate.

What inspired you to set up your clothing company, Merrimaking?

Being self employed and running a creative company was always going to suit me, but setting Merrimaking up was actually a bit of a happy accident! It was nearing the end of summer, Harri and I had just graduated and we really wanted to go to the Green Man Festival to see Bon Iver, but we’d spent the summer going to various festivals and we’d run out of money! At uni I’d been making Animal Hoods for parties and just generally life, and that summer at Secret Garden Party they started to get a lot of attention. Harri and I thought that if we made some extra, we could take them to sell them on site at the Green Man Festival and cover costs of being there plus a train home. So we made 30, cycled to Wales and we sold them all! They even had their on stage debut with Molotov Jukebox. So, with Bestival left to go, we decided to try it again… and then we started getting invited to make them at various events (including at the Tate, which was so exciting!). It wasn’t long before Selfridges bought 200, and then it really kicked off! What started as a label that hand-made faux fur Animal Hoods, Merrimaking now hosts an entire wardrobe of playful ideas.

Have you always had a background in, and a passion for, fashion and sewing?

I’ve always been making things, ever since I was young. I think my brain very much works in 3D, so creating pattern pieces, for example, comes quite naturally. My degree was in Fine Art, and my practice involved a lot of costume-making, and the hoods led on from that really… I’m very visual and I think looking back through photos, I experimented a lot with my clothing! Identity really interests me, and clothing plays a big part in that.

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I love the cake sweatshirt and the woven patches! What styles are proving popular amongst your customers this season?

The ‘cake sweatshirt’ is one of my favourites! Popular this season… Watermelons have been selling well, the Cloud Jumpers/tees and the Bumbags too, and our ‘Over It’ Rainbow Beanies.

Out of all the outfits/accessories in your collection, do you have a favourite?

The hoods will always have their place, just because that’s where it all started. And obviously our ‘Dog Party’ sweatshirt because it features my 4 dogs! Saying that, I most often wear the ‘Cake’ sweatshirt, or the ‘Disco’.

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Your brand is influenced by playful ideas and the festival scene – have you a favourite festival? If you could go to any festival anywhere in the world to get inspiration for a new collection, where would you go?

I grew up at festivals, and having revolved pretty much every summer of my life around them, I’m actually taking a year off! I know… though I did say this last year and then I found myself at Secret Garden Party! (…and I did go to Love Saves The Day festival a few weekends ago…). For inspiration… I’d probably hop between Dreamland in Margate, and Ocean Drive / Miami Beach. I watched The Birdcage recently and I loved it! All the architecture and the rollerskates and the queens!

Your clothes have already been worn by celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Zoe Ball, Rizzle Kicks and Rob Da Bank. However, which famous lady/ gent would you love to see as the “face(s)” of Merrimaking?

I’ve always really liked Lily Allen, M.I.A and Sia, in fact I met Sia and gave her a hood, but in the end her drummer wore it. Still made my night though, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. Also, can I go back in time to the 90’s and say a spice girl?

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Your Summer 2016 collection included the themes of clouds, glitter, fruit, and a clear love of pastels. Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – will you be adding more styles and/or colours?

The short answer is yes! I’ve lots in the pipeline…. but whether I can wait to launch them in Autumn is another question! I get excited once they’re complete, and I really want to put them out there! I can never force myself to come up with new work, so I have to seize the moment when I’m feeling inspired, meaning I create new collections on a very adhoc basis and they’re often very current. Fortunately, because all of our pieces are made in the UK, and mostly made/assembled by us, it does mean that once we have a new design, it can be finalised and added to our website within just a few weeks (sometimes even less). This isn’t very helpful when press releases often need to be sent out 6 months in advance!

As you are based in UK, are your outfits available to purchase overseas?

Yes absolutely! I love sending our pieces far and wide. For the first few years we plotted on a map each time we sent a parcel to a new country, and we’ve spread ourselves pretty far now 🙂

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When designing and making outfits to add to your collection – do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, or bits of all those?

I try to design pieces that either I, or a specific couple of my friends would want to wear. I never sit and trawl through the internet, or look at fashion forecasting, it never holds my attention. My own personal interests come into it hugely, I’m noticing that the clothes I’m drawn to are increasingly more camp and I’m enjoying exploring that through Merrimaking. If a design goes down really well, I try to give our audience more of what they like by creating variations or working with the same theme.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Right now I’m wearing leggings, a t-shirt with a high neck and a ridiculously good pendant that Harri made me, which features my dogs Tomboy and Dexter!I have this pink fluffy bomber jacket that I made out of a huge teddy bear, it has a dogs head instead of a hood and I literally love wearing it! But that one only comes out for flamboyant occasions… and when I can be bothered to spend the evening being stroked by passers by!

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Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I struggle with Etsy as I can’t quite shake-off finding it a bit too craft-based and ‘twee’ over all, but I’m starting to find it more exciting and there are some really great finds on there by amazingly talented, independent designers! I shop in American Apparel a lot too. I love that you can tell one of their pieces a mile off, but it’s never smothered in their logo. I’m not always opposed to brands,for instance,  I love the three stripes on Adidas Originals!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have fallen completely in love with an Alexander Mcqueen fur-trimmed bomber jacket, but it’s real fur and I won’t go anywhere near real fur. I’m so gutted though!

Boots or Shoes? 

… do Rollerboots count? 🙂 I otherwise only ever wear trainers. Even wore them on my wedding day with my dress!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Merrimaking.

Website: www.merrimaking.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/merrimakingofficial

Instagram: www.instagram.com/merrimaking

Twitter: www.twitter.com/merrimaking

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/merrimaking

Thank you Meg for chatting to us on the blog today and I really do love your fun attitude!  So dear readers, a bit of a fun question for you – Meg does a variety of animal hoods but if she did a hood of an animal or other mythical creature that depicts you, your personality or just your favourite beast – what would it be?  I love the book, The Girl  With A Dragon Tattoo – I wanted a dragon tattoo but have got a sort of lightening bird pattern instead – so I would pick a dragon 🙂 I look forward to finding out what beasts you all are!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Merrimaking.

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An Interview With The Changing Factor

We do like talking bags on the blog and this week’s guest is no exception!  Inspired by Alexander McQueen & architecture – Magda Daniloaia founded & launched The Changing Factor in March 2016, providing cutting edge handbags and accessories for the sophisticated individual.  Coming into the arena with some fun designs, I am sure that The Changing Factor will be featuring in all our closets before too long.  I caught up with Magda to find out more… Hi Magda…

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Hi! My name is Magda Daniloaia. I am the founder and creative director of luxury leather goods brand “The Changing Factor”.

What inspired you to launch your company? What was behind the naming of your company “The Changing Factor”?

I’d always imagined I would have my own company. I decided to go forward with The Changing Factor because, from my point of view,  at the time no one was really innovating in terms of design in the industry. I felt I could bring a fresher, stronger and more relevant perspective on accessories design – one that would really be compatible with the ever more sophisticated, more powerful and more complex modern women from all over the globe. The name  “The Changing Factor” came from our desire to always be changing, always reinventing. We want to not only constantly be changing ourselves, but also everything around us. We also want to support our clients in changing and being the best version of themselves!

Who is The Changing Factor woman?

She is a global citizen. She is always in a quest to improve herself, to reach her full potential. No matter if she is girly or a tomboy, if she is an entrepreneur or works in a corporation – she’ll  certainly be unstoppable.

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When designing products to include in your range, do you go for uniqueness, current trends, previous popular styles, your own personal tastes or bits of all of those?

The initial inspiration – the aesthetic concept – will always come from architecture or nature – looking at volumes and shapes, at the different ways things are constructed – but afterwards when developing each product, I will look to create styles for different women, all this whilst maintaining an artistic approach. For example – in the current collection you will find many references to the work of architect Santiago Calatrava, especially when looking at all the angles and the volumes, but I took a more artistic approach when designing the details, almost leaving the elements to discover and define each other – if you look at the way the chain is simply left to fall and it goes through the rivets which are mounted not in a straight line but go up and down forming a rhythm, almost like a metaphor for an untamed spirit, or the musical notes of a song, or a poem. This will always be in The Changing Factor DNA – reserving some space and time for an artistic approach, for the design to take its course – quite the opposite of what is happening in the fashion industry today. At the same time, I have designed the launch collection to be very practical and usable by different women and for different occasions. The two Alien briefcases are very practical and can be used by women who often carry documents or technology, from entrepreneurs to PR executives: the Alien Mini is perfect for an afternoon stroll around town and the Alien Clutch, the ultra versatile bag, can be easily worn either in the day or night and can be carried in three completely different ways.  I have also made the minimalistic Alien Tablet Cover and Alien Laptop Cover that double as clutches and are total life savers… they go with
absolutely any outfit – I think they are amazing!! You can carry your tablet during the day and then carry all your evening essentials for after work cocktails! Day-to-night perfection!

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Your bags are certainly very sophisticated – I do like the look of the Alien clutch. So,you are based in London. Are your bags available to purchase & ship worldwide?

I am based in London but all our products are available on our website and we do ship worldwide! Standard and express delivery are both available.

If you had the chance, who would you pick (dead or alive) to be the “Face” of The Changing Factor and why?

Oh, this is the hardest question of all!! I find so many women inspiring for so many different reasons. I will give you my top three (not necessarily in this order): Rihanna, Emma Watson, Rooney Mara?! Or even better: all of them in the same campaign !  In general, women with strong personalities.

If you could visit any place in the world to get inspiration for your next collection, where would you go and why?

I would do an expedition in the Arctic to see the astonishing ice formations and enjoy the incredible wilderness. It would certainly be awe-inspiring and that is what I want my products to be.

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Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016, are there any plans to expand your range of products at all? What colours feature in your A/W mood board?

As we have just started we will be keeping the same shapes and silhouettes but introduce very different colours! New colours will be revealed soon! Stay tuned!

Have you always wanted to be in the leather bag industry? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

When I was very little I was convinced I would be a business woman. But then I was also very creative, constantly drawing different things, including fashion silhouettes and all sorts of garments and accessories. To combine both my practical and creative sides, I studied architecture which I then renounced to take on Accessories Design at London College of Fashion. Now I have my own company – so the little me was right all along… haha! My father did have a small leather studio when I was very young, making bespoke leather jackets and leather bags, so funnily enough I ended up doing what he was doing – only in a different place, in a different way! I could not feel more fulfilled.What I enjoy the most is helping women create the best version of themselves. My designs help many women feel more bold and powerful and that is definitely my favourite part!

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I used to have a very varied wardrobe but now I am moving more towards blocks of colours and strong, daring tailoring. I currently banished all florals from my wardrobe. Sounds extreme, I know… (laughs) … it might be just a phase. In terms of shoes I love wearing lots of trainers/high-sole flat shoes, but I probably feel at my best when I wear pumps.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I think The Row and Dover Street Market are great! I also love pretty much everything on www.serax.com – I still remember discovering Roos Van de Velde’s ‘Perfect Imperfection’ in a NY restaurant and being in complete awe.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe/bag wish list?

Lots of interesting white shirts – still looking for the perfect shop to buy them – and more high sole flat shoes!

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely shoes! Cannot find many boots I like – I hope to make my own in a few years!!

Links you would like to share e.g. Website/Facebook/Twitter etc so that readers can find out more about The Changing Factor.

http://www.thechangingfactor.com

https://www.facebook.com/THECHANGINGFACTORluxuryleathergoods

https://www.instagram.com/thechangingfactor/

Thank you Magda – I find the idea of architecture influencing  your designs very interesting – even the thought of nature’s architecture through its  ice features – stalactites, etc.  Can you imagine bags curved like the Sydney Opera House? the Eiffel Tower?  Which landmark do you think could be replicated as a handbag design?  Do share your thoughts, dear readers, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from The Changing Factor.

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An Interview With Crystal Parade

A bit of sparkle and razzmatazz on the blog this week – Crystal Parade  is the UK’s premier partner and supplier of Preciosa Crystals, Swarovski Crystals, and Crystallised Swarovski Elements – as well as supplying fabrics, feathers, fringes, crinolin and motifs for use in the theatre, TV, film, events, fashion, bridal and theming industries, among others.  I caught up with Wendy Miller, the Managing Director, to find out more about her sparkling inspiration and her passion for boots!

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Hi, my name is Wendy C. Miller. I’m an entrepreneur, Director/Producer of Musical Theatre, and Managing Director of Crystal Parade. I enjoy acting, gardening, singing, travelling, and spending time with close friends/family.

Crystal Parade was awarded the Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant accreditation this year. What was the inspiration behind Crystal Parade?

The inspiration behind Crystal Parade was to essentially collaborate with the Creative Arts sector in a closer way. Having a certain amount of knowledge, experience and a great passion for the industry, my desire was to build an online business which could add further value to the marketplace by providing high quality products, specialist advice, innovative ideas and excellent customer service.

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Your main areas of speciality are providing all kinds of Swarovski Crystals, Preciosa Crystals, principal fabric, abstract fabric, fancy fabric, feathers, fringe, crinoline and motifs for use in the theatre, TV, film, events, fashion and theming industries. You’ve recently supplied the products to embellish the outfits for Fleur East, Little Mix & Olly Mur’s dancers on X Factor, for example. How satisfying is it to see the finished costumes on stage that your company have helped to produce?

It is extremely satisfying to work with some of the world’s leading stylists, designers and artistes. We are very passionate about our business, our product range and the services we offer, the whole
team strive to provide excellence at every opportunity. The end result always gives us great pleasure and we are enormously proud of our collaborations.

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You also supply Swarovski Crystals, Crystallised Swarovski Elements and Preciosa Crystals and other such products for use in bridalwear, beauty, costumes, cardmaking, dance, equestrian,
jewellery and nail art. What products are most popular?

At Crystal Parade we have such a comprehensive range of high quality products to choose from, be that crystals, fabrics or trimmings, we find every industry has a different requirement. For instance our smaller sizes of Swarovski flatback crystals are extremely popular with nail artists and beauticians, and the larger sizes are used more for crystallizing dancewear, shoes and theatre costumes. The Crystal Clear and AB (aurora borealis) are easily our most popular colours in both Swarovski and Preciosa however, it depends on seasonal inspirations and of course which pantone colours are on trend. We’re always on hand to offer specialist advice whatever the requirement.

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You recently launched Crystal Parade TV where you showcase your latest ideas and fun projects which people can easily make – what has been your favourite “idea” or “project” which is featured
on the channel?

We have filmed around 10 episodes so far, crystallising different types of desirable objects for the home and garden, all of which are easy to make plus they look fantastic when complete. My favourite is a close call between the Marmite Jar episode & the Winter Lantern video . Both were interesting projects to work on and topical but the Winter Lantern episode features a cheeky cameo appearance by my cat so I would have to choose this purely for the entertainment value!

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What has been the most unusual item/ enquiry requested to be decorated with crystals?

As you can imagine, we receive all sorts of requests, some more interesting than others but one of the most unusual, not to mention humorous, enquiries we received when we first started out was to help crystallise a battery powered adult toy. Unfortunately we were unable to assist on that particular occasion!

Can you tell us about the Crystal Club?

The Crystal Club is an exclusive member’s only community for those who love to add sparkle to their lives and are dedicated to the art and craft of crystallising! Crystal Club members are able to build up ‘Sparkle Points’ every time they purchase from our website and then receive money off as well as receiving up to date information on all competitions, freebies, discounts, giveaways, special offers, downloads, projects, inspirational ideas plus all the latest news & workshop updates.

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As you are based in the UK, do you offer products or services overseas too?

Yes we do, Crystal Parade are recognised in the industry as the source of creative inspiration. Known as the go-to supplier of crystals, fabrics, feathers and trimmings for both consumers and businesses, we regularly work with customers from Europe, Middle East & Africa, America & Australia.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

On the whole I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl. We have a smart casual dress code in the office so I get to wear jeans every day, consequently I have lots of different types,styles and colours. Joe is my favourite brand. I usually team them with a cool pair of boots, shoes or brogues, a nice artistic shirt/top, finished with a funky scarf and nice handbag!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Apart from www.crystalparade.co.uk? 😀 I like Steve Madden for shoes & I love shopping in Waitrose!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I just got some new ankle boots from Moda in London but I need some more Joe Jeans

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Boots or Shoes?

It would have to be boots. I’m a huge fan of boots, plus we are currently working with the award winning musical Kinky Boots in London. We provide the crystals & fabrics for the show. You should see the boots! WOW!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more
about Crystal Parade.

Website – www.crystalparade.co.uk
Crystal Parade TV – https://www.youtube.com/user/CrystalParade
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crystal-Parade/301559506525421
Twitter – https://twitter.com/CrystalParade1
Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/crystalparade1/

It’s always a great pleasure to have a fellow fan of boots on the blog – I do love your fashion sense too, Wendy – you can never have enough boots, shoes or jeans I say! (Plus the odd glamorous dress or two)  I will try to get to see Kinky Boots – if only to witness the boots themselves! And as for the request for a crystallised adult toy…. Ah, dear readers, are you into crystal embellishments? What fashion/footwear item would you love to embellish? Dare I say it, but any other items?   Do share your thoughts, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Crystal Parade except for the shoe photo.Last photo: Daily Mail 
[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3357710/Girl-power-Little-Mix-Fleur-East-leggy-display-team-epic-mash-hit-singles-star-X-Factor-final.html ]

Shoe photo credit: Linda Hobden

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An Interview With The Pommier

Independent online retailer, The Pommier, has launched a brand new app giving users the chance to shop for stunning artisanal fashion accessories from the palm of their hand. The chance to see the styles created by independent designers in one place interested me … the bags, jewellery and other accessories are simply gorgeous!  I caught up with Lewis Phillips, the founder of The Pommier, to find out more about the app and the fabulous designers whose bags etc are showcased.  Hi Lewis!

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Hi! My name is Lewis Phillips, I am 28 years young and I am the founder of the online marketplace, ThePommier.com

Although The Pommier is a successful independent online retailer, what was the inspiration behind developing an e-commerce app for The Pommier?

Everything I do for The Pommier, I always think from the customer’s point of view. We naturally get a lot of traffic from mobile users but mobile sales have stayed steady. Understanding that people use their phones to browse websites usually when commuting or relaxing at home, I realised that punching in our website on your browser was slightly forgettable but opening an app was more convenient. Through our App, we can also keep customers in the loop as soon as something happens by sending notifications direct to their phone.

There are a few fashion websites, blogs and apps that offer fashion ideas and items, so what makes The Pommier so appealing to customers?

The Pommier is a destination for fashion enthusiasts to break away from the high street mass produced accessories. We focus solely on hand made jewellery and bags that are mainly created by the hands of the designer themselves. All of our designers are independent brands usually working on their own. Our focus is to discover the best emerging designers and connect them with a larger audience and vice versa.

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I love the heady mix of accessories available on your website & app – from novelty necklaces to high end handbags; 80s inspired earrings to delicate charm bracelets. I’m a fan of the bags by Meckela, an Israeli designer that you feature. What kind of items are most popular with your customers?

I am glad you said that, Meckela has recently just joined us and I am pretty excited to see what the future holds for them as they are becoming popular pretty quickly! Necklaces seem to be very popular right now especially from Tadam! Design and London Bird but the most sought after designers in general are Tessa Metcalfe and Momocreatura.

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Many of the designers featured are from the UK, but others are from Lithuania, Israel, Italy, USA, France and Netherlands too. Are the items available to be purchased & shipped globally?

Our designers ship worldwide and 95% of them ship worldwide for free too!

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Being the founder of The Pommier, have you always wanted to pursue a career in the fashion world or did you have other aspirations?

I have always been interested in fashion but I never knew I would pursue a career in it by no means. A lot of my friends are either jewellery designers or shop owners and I was always fascinated by what they where doing. I am no good with my hands so making a jewellery line was out of the question and I never had a lot money so starting a shop wasn’t possible at the time. I was more into the internet side of things and had managed a few online projects for jewellery stores when the idea of The Pommier came to me. I realised that everyone I was helping all had the same problem and that was getting noticed. The Pommier is a platform where I can help thousands of people at once with only one platform to manage. I started to build the website in my spare time, put a few of my friends on there and then more designers started to come so I went full speed ahead and I am really enjoying it.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I am going to sound a little like Simon Cowell now ha! I usually always have a plain white T-shirt with black jeans and some flat soul Vans on a normal day but I love a pair of tracksuit bottoms when I am relaxing. When I’m heading out I like to add a bit of punk/mod to my style. Growing up I was very punk rock influenced.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own)

There’s a store called Sherry’s Carnaby Street that I love going into – all their clothes are handmade and it’s a proper Mod’s & Rockers boutique. I brought the best two tone suit from there and I can’t resist a re-visit when I am in the area.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe/ bag wish list?

I definitely need to get my hands on Momocreatura’s Spirit of Love Ring and I really want a black Burberry Suit with the the traditional burberry check on the inside. These are like lusts I have had for ages haha.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes, because I have never tried wearing boots. I probably should?

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about The Pommier.

www.thepommier.com

www.facebook.com/thepommier

www.instagram.com/thepommier

Thanks for visiting us on the blog Lewis – there are quite a few things I’m lusting after on your app/website – having an app is a great idea.  You took me back to memory lane – I loved shopping in Carnaby Street – I used to have a pair of blue/lilac two tone trousers – ah, the 80’s!  My favourite item from there, my first major purchase as a 16 year old with my first wages, was a full length black leather coat!  Sweet memories!  Dear readers, do you remember your first outfit bought with your first wage packet? I’d love to know, so come on, spill the beans & comment below! 🙂

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission from Lewis Phillips/The Pommier.

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An Interview With Hair Development

Talking hair this week with Hair Development, a company founded in 1962, who are not only celeb hair extension specialists but they also specialise in hair loss methods and procedures.  From making bespoke hair extensions for films & TV – including projects such as Strictly Come Dancing, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord Of The Rings – to supplying over 45 different hair colour extensions in such vivid colours as Peacock Blue and Cerise – there is not much this company doesn’t know about hair! I caught up with Janis, daughter of Stan Levy, the founder, to learn more about the ins and outs of hair!

Hi! I’m Janis Levy MTTS, Creative Director at Hair Development

In 1962, Hair Development was founded. What was the reasoning behind setting up the company?

My father, Stan Levy MTTS , CEO of Hair Development, founded the company in 1962 after training and working as a hairdresser in Knightsbridge and Paris. He is known as the UK’s Guru of Hair Replacement and highly respected and loved in the industry.

Hair Development can create bespoke solutions for all clients suffering from hair loss, from laser re-growth therapy to state-of-the-art non-surgical procedures. What are main causes of traction alopecia? What is the most popular treatment?

Traction Alopecia can be caused by many reasons including: Pulling of the hair into buns that are too tight; Continuously curling hair tightly around rollers against the scalp. Trichotillomania , the compulsion to wind hair around the fingers and pull it out. Over bleaching and brushing too vigorously. Continuously using hair relaxer, pulling it too much can cause the hair to weaken and break.

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Another string to Hair Development’s bow is specialising in 100% human hair extensions and can offer over 45 colours to salons, stylists and the public. Latest colours include Peacock Blue, Orangeade, Cerise Pink & Purple People. Which colours were most popular this season? 

Winter brought festive shades, fiery reds through to warm chestnuts and honey blondes, warmth from hilites and hues to remind us of the taste and colours of the season, cinnamon, chestnut and clove.

Your company has made bespoke hair extensions for TV & film projects, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, 42nd Street, Spitting Image and Strictly Come Dancing. How exciting is it to see your creations on the screen? Any projects for 2016 planned?

The Hair Development research and design team work to ensure that this industry is constantly improving, finding new and innovative ways to create only the very best for our clients. We recently supplied hair that was 100 metres long for an artist’s incredible installation. 2016 will show the launch of more exciting products in our ever developing range. We look forward to a brand new product in the Spring. And we love seeing HD Hair adorning people on the stage, screen, theatre and High Street.

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Have you got any tips for readers who may wish to get extensions yet keep a healthy scalp?

The most important thing is to use a company who are ethical and trustworthy. This is a specialised industry so it is vital to place yourself in the hands of someone with knowledge, expertise and who comes highly recommended. Hair Development are proud to be the only Extensions Company in the UK recommended by the highly prestigious Trichological Society. HD’s aftercare is also second to none. Our team are always here to advise and help you.

For stylists, you offer training in all methods of hair applications. What is the most popular training course offered?

Our HD Training Academy offers courses in every method of Hair Replacement and Hair Extensions. One of the most popular courses currently is M-Fold, an incredible method that uses no heat, no glue, no chemical and no damage to the hair. Students will be awarded with a certificate after completion of training.

Have you any plans to add to your repertoire in the future, for example, new treatments, shampoo range etc?

HD is developing a new range of products as we speak! These products will be free of anything artificial, yet have a natural gender-free fragrance. Our new laser therapy is proving to be extremely popular too. It stimulates blood circulation to stimulate hair growth and strengthen each individual hair follicle.

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You are based in London – are your services/products available for international customers?

Yes, Hair Development ship worldwide daily.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Paige or AG jeans with Uniqlo or American Vintage Tees! I will only climb onto heels and platforms if necessary.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Love BooHoo & Amazon online. Fortnum & Mason and John Lewis on the street. I’m also backing the #supportyourlocalshops campaign.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Anything shiny by LV! Fresh, soft cotton, well-cut T-Shirts are always a must. I think it stems back to my modelling days, when we were always told to wear jeans and plain T’s for casting and auditions! I remember wearing my favourite baby blue T-Shirt when I auditioned for the Flake ad!

Boots or Shoes?

Adidas Superstars. Walk everywhere! But I bought orange DM’s when my daughter was buying shoes (just because …!)

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Hair Development.

www.hair-development.com

@hairdev

Hairdevelopment1 (Instagram)

Extensionshairdevelopment (Instagram)

www.facebook.com/instagram

Thank you Janis for telling us all about hair extensions – when applied properly they do look fantastic- and I love the variety of colours available! Dear readers, do you have hair extensions? Would you have them? Would you be daring enough to try a bright colour ? Do tell!

Linda x

Photos:  Extension photo supplied with kind permission from Hair Development.  Models pictures supplied by Pixabay.

 

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An Interview With Lustrous Jewellery

Reminiscent of old world glamour, pearls and pearl jewellery are currently enjoying being thrust into the limelight once again, championed by the likes of style icons such as the Duchess of Cambridge, and complimenting virtually any outfit.  Available in a vast array of shapes and colours, there’s more to pearls than meets the eye! I chat to Lin Johnson of Lustrous Jewellery to find out more….

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Hi! My name is Lin Johnson and I am the founder of Lustrous Jewellery.

What was the inspiration behind Lustrous Jewellery and your choice to concentrate on pearl jewellery?

I loved pearls from a young age – my mum wore them often. My mum gave me my first string of white pearls for my 16th birthday. I always loved and treasured it and wore it on occasions – pearls really go with everything! When I decided to set up a business and was searching for a business idea, I saw my pearl collection, and just thought dealing with pearls would be a glamorous business! Pearls have been loved for hundreds of years and will never go out of fashion/business!

Hypothetically speaking, what famous lady (dead or alive) would you love to see as the “Face” of Lustrous Jewellery?

I would love to see one day the Duchess of Cambridge wearing our jewellery, she loves fashion and pearl jewellery, and that’s what we do!

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I do like the “Fish Bone White Pearl Drop Earrings”. To date, what has
been your most popular jewellery item?

Our most popular jewellery has been ‘Three Strand White Pearls Bracelet with Heart Buckle’. Like many other pieces in our range, this item has a contemporary aspect on classic pearl jewellery – the beautiful heart buckle. It’s also a very versatile item, can be worn everyday or on special occasions and it’s even the perfect bridal jewellery!

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?

I, of course, love all our pieces but if I have to choose a favourite, it’s
possibly the 18ct Gold Tassel White Pearls Drop Pendant Necklace. Tassels are trending at the moment, and pearls just go so well with them, the white pearls look like they are flowing in a golden stream!

Cultured pearls are available in an array of shapes and, until recently
did I discover that they come in a variety of colours too ( I had just
assumed they were just creamy white)! What colours are available and are particular hues/shapes better for certain items of jewellery?

Yes, pearls can be dyed nowadays in all colours imaginable! It’s really nice matching the colour of pearls with your outfit. Regarding shapes, round shape pearls are always classic and can go with any design but irregular pearls have been popular too due to their natural appeal. They are most used in pendants and earrings.

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Are you introducing any new items to add to your collection into for
2016?

Yes, we bring new collections every few months. For 2016, our emphasis is still to combine fashion with pearl jewellery.

Are your exquisite pearl jewellery pieces available to purchase outside
the UK & Ireland?

Our online boutique can ship all over the world, in fact, we have some
customers based in Europe and Asia too.

Have you always been interested in jewellery or did you hope to follow a. different career path whilst growing up?

I think a woman’s instinct always is to like beautiful things including
jewellery, but since I chose jewellery as my career, I’ve found it can be a beautiful piece of art as well as high fashion too. It says volumes about an individual and adds depth to any outfit.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found
wearing?

I liked dresses and heels but since becoming a mother, I am definitely
wearing more jeans and flats.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I love ASOS and Net-A-Porter, and it’s so easy to shop on devices nowadays.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’m currently trying to go back to all the nice clothes I loved wearing before children! But I’ve been buying more shoes already than I need!

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely boots for the winter, they are cosy and look nice!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers
can find out more about Lustrous Jewellery

We have a blog on our website and http://www.lustrousjewellery.com/blog/
facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lustrousjewellery/  – we share news with our customers.  Our website is http://www.lustrousjewellery.com

Thank you for sharing with us your passion for pearls – your collection is  gorgeous and I have certainly had my eyes open to the types and colours available.  The only pearls I have owned are a pair of stud earrings so I am looking forward to expanding my pearl horizons! Dear readers, what about you?  Have you got a favourite piece of pearl jewellery?  Have you got your beady eye on some?  As always, do tell  – I’d love to know your thoughts!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Lustrous Jewellery.

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An Interview With Fashion Blogger Ivy Ekong

Based in both London and Nigeria, Ivy Ekong is a wardrobe consultant and independent fashion blogger, whose fashion website offers instant exposure into the escalating African market.  She is well known on her blog for combining luxury items with pieces from up-and-coming designer collections, high street outlets and vintage finds; and she has also launched her own jewellery line too.  I caught up with bubbly Ivy to find out more…. Hi Ivy!

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Hi! My name is Ivy Ekong. I am a wife and a mum of 2 gorgeous girls. I am also a Fashion Stylist and a Fashion Blogger. I attended Ambrose Alli University in Nigeria where I graduated with two degrees in Business Management and Economics respectively. I also trained in Personal Styling & Image Consultancy through the well known Colour Me Beautiful Academy in London. I draw upon my knowledge and experience as a high fashion model and a stylist to bring my blog (IvyEkongFashion.com) to life. I have always had a passion for fashion, and  I now share my professional insight on my blog – I document my colourful fashion sense and OOTD’s , including high street wonders, up and coming designer collections and vintage finds. Ivy Ekong Fashion is not your ordinary fashion blog. It’s a multicultural online community. I am a very fun and loving person. I love taking on projects that are challenging. I also hope to the make my mark in the fashion industry in the long run.

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You founded your own exclusive personal styling and image consultancy company, Icon Mode. What was the inspiration for setting up the company?

I have always known what I wanted to do and be in life, even at a tender age. I had a dream and I am currently living that dream. “IconMode,” which means “Fashion Icon,” is a business name I picked out when I was just 13 years old. I wrote down the name in my diary and said that one day that name will be a household name. I will change people’s lives and careers through effective personal styling. I also worked in the banking sector for some time, not because I loved working in a bank, but because it was part of the preparation process to get me to my vision. The world is evolving everyday. Men and women are more conscious of what they wear now and
are more interested in knowing and learning more about colours, styles that suit them, etc. Celebrities also want to be branded by their personal style. These were all part of what inspired me to set up IconMode.

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IconMode offers a range of services – luxury personal styling range of services – luxury personal styling, personal shopping, fashion styling – as well as workshops offering courses such as Make Up and “Body Language & Influencing Skills”. What services and courses are most popular?

The most popular services are the Full Image Consultation, and the How to Style workshop.

Your IconMode shop sells your range of costume jewellery, Hair Extensions, Pre Owned Fashion Items and “Colour Me Beautiful” cosmetics. I love the IconMode Costume Necklace “Genevieve” –
Which products are most popular this season?

Thank you Linda, “Genevieve” sold out quite quickly, it a very lovely piece. What we sell on IconMode shop are products women have daily need for. If you noticed we do not have bulk items. So once a particular product sells out on the site, they are not restocked. The cosmetics and hair extensions are also very popular this season.

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Any project or new shop lines/services for 2016 planned?

I am focussing on my blog in 2016. IconMode has been my baby for so many years  now but it has now evolved to something bigger and better which is IvyEkongFashion.  My blog has a huge social media following and subscription which makes me believe this is the right direction to go. I am working tirelessly now to make the blog a huge success. I am hoping to work with more brands as well. 

You are one of the most successful black fashion/beauty bloggers in the UK, with your iconic style of combining luxury items with up-and-coming designer collections, high street pieces and vintage finds. What do you like most about blogging and how did you become a blogger?

I love dressing up and posing for the camera, which is very important in fashion blogging, especially if you want your content to be original, which I do. I love being an inspiration to other women who are still trying to determine what their personal style is. I didn’t start blogging until 2 years ago when a lot of people encouraged me to start a blog because they love my style. As a fashion stylist, I am privileged to get invited to fashion events and shows which you have to dress up for. It was only natural to create an avenue to showcase those outfits so that people who love my style can shop those outfits by creating direct links on my blog. Over the years, the blog has grown from being just an avenue for showcasing my outfits to being a huge platform for the multicultural community. We have YouTube videos now too, where we discuss topics that are very important to women, such as self-esteem, confidence etc.

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Have you always had a passion for fashion and beauty? If you weren’t in the fashion/beauty business, what career do you think you would’ve pursued?

I have been in the fashion industry since I can remember. I have always loved fashion and living a healthy and luxury lifestyle. Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Beyonce, Grace Kelly, and Diana  Ross were all fashion icons I looked up to,even at an early age. At the age of 8 I had my own unique style. My mum would always say that I was the “Fashion Icon” in the family. When I was younger, I used to style my friends, family and close relatives. They would seek my opinion before they put on or buy any outfit, and I would say wear this with that, don’t wear that, etc. I don’t know what other career path I would have chosen if I wasn’t in the fashion and beauty industry. I believe I was born to do this.

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Have you a favourite style icon, past or present?

Beyonce Knowles and Victoria Beckham.

I like dresses from the 1950s; tunic dresses of the 1960s; the hippy styles of the 1970s; the colours of the 1980s… what decade of fashion are you drawn towards? Which popular styles of any decade didn’t/don’t float your boat?

I am  City-Chic with a bit of Classic. I love both vintage and current styles.  I am not such a great fan of the hippy styles though.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I would normally be found wearing a skirt (pencil skirts or big bonded skirts) with a bodysuit, a pair of Louboutin pumps and a Chanel Classic Bag. Or a pencil dress. You will hardly find me in a pair of jeans unless I am running errands or picking my kids up from school.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I don’t have a favourite boutique – as a blogger I am always on the go and I shop wherever I find something that is of interest to me. I love both designer and  high street brands. I do shop at Westfield or at Selfridges when I am out and about. My favourite online stores are ASOS, Net-a-Porter, Houseofcb and Very.co.uk.

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What are some of your current fashion obsessions?

– Vintage Chanel bags and accessories . A must have for every closet . They are timeless and will never go out of style.
– Chunky jewellery . I loved jewellery so much that I designed a jewellery line.
– Black trench coats are very handy and are very stylish as well.
– Jimmy Choo and Louboutin heels are definitely an obsession. Once you have a pair of these you will definitely want more pairs. They enhance a woman’s legs perfectly.
–  I am also obsessed with the two piece outfits popularly called the co-ords.

Boots or Shoes?

I choose shoes over boots anytime, any day. That’s because boots are seasonal and cannot be worn with some outfits. Shoes, however, can be worn during any season and are more versatile.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your blog.

TWITTER: https://mobile.twitter.com/account
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/ivy_ekong
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ivyekongfashion?ref=hl
EMAIL: ivyekongfashion@gmail.com
BLOG: http://ivyekongfashion.com

It has been great talking to you Ivy! I love to mix and match outfits too – I have worn an Alice Temperley designer dress with some vintage wedge sandals; and I like to revamp and update my old outfits with new season shoes and accessories.  Do you, dear readers, like to update old outfits, mix & match or do you enjoy finding bargains in charity shops? Do tell !

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Ivy Ekong.

 

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An Interview With Inkerman

I’m talking luxury this week with a capital L  as I chat to Louise and Kiki, founding directors of Inkerman, the luxury British brand producing and specialising in bespoke gifts, trophies and awards.  With Valentines Day and Mothers Day looming on the horizon, what better way to say “I love you” than a bespoke design or one of Inkerman’s exclusive gifts?

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Hi Louise and Kiki, welcome! Please introduce your business:

INKERMAN – founded by us, Louise Eadie and Kiki Grigson in 1996, was the first of its kind – we identified a gap in the corporate gift market and turned our entrepreneurial skills into filling it.

What inspired you to launch your business Inkerman?

We both worked in the corporate department at Tiffany’s and realised there was a real gap in the market for a British Brand, as we were continually being asked for British products

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Who came up with the brand name “Inkerman” and the little red box packaging idea?

Our first office was in Louise’s basement in Inkerman Terrace, Kensington. The name Inkerman was chosen for its British heritage, being one of the battles of the Crimean war. The red box was chosen during a visit to the box makers; the colour red was chosen for its strong colour and relevance to the Union Jack.

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I love your sterling silver rolling bangle and, in your exclusive pewter collection, the Westminster Jug. What gift products seem to be most popular at the moment?

Our new British Pewter collection continues to be one of our best selling products. We work with British craftsmen to produce our stylish range of tumblers and jugs which look fabulous and wear beautifully well. Pewter is wonderfully sensorial on the lips, enhancing the enjoyment of the drink whether a cordial or chilled champagne. It is also super durable making it the perfect companion for summer fun. And because pewter is the fourth most precious metal in the world, our range of tumblers and jugs will always bring glamour and a touch of style to any outdoor event – even if it’s raining and you’re wearing wellies!

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Out of all your products, do you have a favourite item?

That is a difficult question to answer because we are so personally involved in the design of all of our products, we really love them all. However if we had to choose:

  • Kiki’s favourite is the initialled tankard which she has just given to all her godsons.
  • Louise’s favourites are the Tusk Elephant bowl and Chianti carafe with the silver trim. 

Your company specialises in producing one-off pieces, bespoke designs and special commissions. What was the most unusual item you’ve had to create or produce?

A hand-made carbon fibre sail trophy sitting on a glass and steel plinth commissioned by a private yacht company for a regatta. It looked amazing.

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What are your party must-have gifts/ideas?

Our focus is always on the best of British and working with the very best British craftsman. Favourites for Christmas 2015 were named glass dressing table bowls and initialled tankards. A party must have is our fabulous leather tasselled clutch that comes in a great choice of classic colours, Navy, Orange, Pink and Tan – I don’t go anywhere without mine!

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As you are based in the UK, do you offer your products or bespoke services overseas too?

Yes we supply all over the world.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Our job is fully and completely hands on. It can involve visits to workshops, meetings with customers, designing new ranges and occasionally packing boxes so comfort is absolutely essential. We usually like to wear classic pieces like cashmere v neck or shirts, trousers or jeans and trainers or loafers.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Louise’s favourite for something special is Mojo and McCoy in Hungerford, set up by A P McCoy’s wife Chantelle and the Duchess of Cornwall’s daughter Laura Lopes. Kiki’s favourite is Anthropologie.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Where do we start?

Boots or Shoes?

Trainers for comfort; boots and shoes for smarter occasions, when we need to dress to impress!

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Inkerman.

www.inkerman.co.uk

Facebook.com/inkermanlondon

Twitter.com/Inkermanlondon

Thanks for visiting the blog Louise and Kiki – your gifts are exquisite and your leather tasselled clutch is a favourite of mine too!  For Christmas and New Year 2015, my candles (fake and real) and fairy lights were an important feature of my entertaining decor – I didn’t have a proper Christmas Tree as my two kittens would have had a field day! I did however have a small stick tree with lights at the end which was just as lovely. What dear readers are your party decor must haves? Do tell!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Inkerman (Louise Eadie & Kiki Grigson)

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An Interview With Will Bees Bespoke

Devon bound this week on the blog  to chat to Will Bees Bespoke, a maker of luxury personalised accessories  from tote bags and pouches to keyrings and notebooks.  Using over 500 luxury fabrics and the finest selection of quality vegetable tanned leather, there is plenty of choice to suit everybody and amazingly enough the large totes are still hand embossed using the old fashioned method of hammer and block by Will himself.  I caught up with Will recently to find out more about his lovely bags and his fashion passion too…..

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Hi! I’m Will.  I’m from Bristol originally but came to Salcombe with my parents on holiday as a child and then we moved down here permanently. I’m married with two young children, both adopted. I founded a nautical clothing company called Quba Sails in 1996, which we expanded to 14 shops and a successful online presence. I’m proud of what I achieved there and it gave me the confidence to embark on a new brand – and to take the risk of putting my own name to it!

I used to own a couple of Quba Sails sweatshirts in the late 1990s – I bought them whilst at the London & Southampton Boat Shows.  My favourite was a pale blue half zip sweatshirt!  So, what inspired the launch of your “new” company, Will Bee’s Bespoke?

I’m always exploring new concepts and this is an idea I’ve had for a while; there just hadn’t been time to look into it properly. I soon realised it was going to be complicated; I found so many wonderful fabrics, it was impossible to choose between them, and I started thinking about how we could accommodate them all. It’s never been tried before on this kind of scale and that excited me. Once I’d decided to offer so much choice, and to give customers such an individual experience, it was a natural progression to add the personalisation element.

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Your English made range of accessories encompasses over 500 luxury fabrics and quality vegetable tanned leather. So, when designing products to include in your range, do you go for uniqueness, current trends, previous popular colours/styles, your own personal tastes or bits of all of those?

It’s largely my own personal choices. Over the years I’ve grown to trust my own eye. I do watch trends too, and I’m keen to get feedback from our customers and evolve what we do to meet their demands. Some of the bags we’ve launched this year, for instance, are a direct result of listening to our customers’ comments and doing our best to fulfil their requirements.

You are able to offer an unique bespoke embossing service – for the tote bags they can be hand embossed using the old fashioned method of hammer & block; others can be embossed using your bespoke embossing machine. What do both processes entail?

Most of our embossing is done on a bespoke machine. We’ve selected our preferred font and it’s then machine tooled into brass letters. These are securely mounted on the machine and heated to 120 degrees. The chosen letters are then ‘branded’ onto the leather. The result is very accurate, perfectly spaced. Alternatively, I can hand emboss our totes using the old-fashioned method of a hammer and block. The result is a bit more rustic than the machine embossing – the letters might not be perfectly aligned – but it has its own charm and it’s in keeping with the traditional hands-on craftsmanship. Interestingly, most customers opt for this service for the larger totes.

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I love the Emmeline Totes using the Liberty Art Fabric and all the colours of the gorgeous Florence pouches! Which products are the most popular amongst your customers? Any differences between what your visitors to your shop like and those that order online?

I haven’t really observed a different profile between shop and web orders. The smaller items – the Octavia clutches, Florence pouches, notebooks, key rings etc – clearly appeal to the gifting market. It’s premium product at a sensible price, and the personalisation makes them unique. Some customers have come in and snapped up a dozen personalised pouches or notebooks, and there’s an audible sigh of relief as their Christmas shopping list is halved! Others customers will have had their eye on one of our totes or maybe a Beatrix Cross body for a while, or will spend a long time browsing the range, carefully deliberating over which silhouette, print and shade best fits their personal style.It’ll come as no surprise that the Liberty fabrics have enduring appeal with a significant cross-section of our clientele, in store and online. It’s such an iconic British brand, managing to combine contemporary design with timeless quality.

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You are based in Salcombe, Devon – do you cater for overseas customers at all?

Obviously for now the vast majority of our clients are UK-based, but we have had a few customers overseas, either because they’ve visited our shop on holiday, or come across our website or social media pages. There’s clearly room to expand here and it’s something I’d like to focus on. I believe there’s a huge market for products that showcase the best of British manufacturing.

If you had the chance, who would you pick (dead or alive) to be the “Face” of Will Bees Bespoke and why?

I struggle to align our brand with any one face. When we opened our doors for the first time in the summer of 2014, it quickly became clear that a much wider range of customers were attracted to our products than I had initially envisaged, from teenagers upwards. That said, Yasmin Le Bon pretty much ticks all the boxes. Her beauty is timeless – it’s hard to believe she’s turned 50. She’s been at the top of her game for so long and yet has remained happily married to a high-profile popstar for almost 30 years, neither of them going off the rails like so many in the limelight do. They’re a successful yet down-to earth couple. It would be a dream to have her as the face of my brand – although I would naturally hope to appeal to her teenage daughters too! I also like our brand to showcase our core values, such as being a truly British brand. When it came to naming our bags, we decided to pay tribute to some of the most pioneering ladies in British history. Our Emmeline Tote is named after suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, our Octavia Clutch after social reformer Octavia Hill, our Florence Pouch is in honour of Florence Nightingale, and so on. Interestingly, it was one of our younger customers who remarked that it was “Great to see things dedicated to people who fully deserve recognition rather than a ‘girl of the moment’ bag!”

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Looking ahead to 2016, are there any future plans to expand your range of products at all?

I fully intend to continue developing new product ranges to fill the gaps in the market that our customers have expressed an interest in. We launched a key ring bar earlier this year, and in the summer introduced notebooks and men’s accessories. We’re exploring more full leather ranges too. I want us to continue to get better and better at what we do, while staying true to our roots and core values.

Have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

When I was about 19 I travelled to Biarritz, France in an old Land Rover to sketch surfers. I came up with a “Vive La Mer” logo, found a local printer and got him to mock up a T-shirt with the logo. I was going to order 200 to sell and fund my trip. I called my Mum to tell her and she told me I was mad so I never did it. I still regret that now! It’s the creative aspect I enjoy the most; coming up with an idea, developing it and watching it turn into something three dimensional. It’s so exciting when a sample ends up just the way I envisioned it.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

For work I wear a white T-shirt, skinny jeans and lace-up brogue boots. Off duty I usually wear a graphic T-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. We live by the sea in South Devon, so I normally wear a little sand between my toes too.

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Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

Double RL has to be right up there. The flagship shop in Mayfair is one-of-a-kind; a thing of beauty. The look and feel combines vintage Americana with the heritage of turn-of-the-century London. It has to be seen to be understood. I’ve heard it’s Ralph Lauren’s little baby, not necessarily the most commercial, but truest to his heart.
Mister Freedom, a vintage clothing shop in L.A. is another favourite. It’s true vintage, not vintage-inspired; the real deal. The exquisite taste extends right down to the details like the swing tags. A visit there feels like a trip back in time.  And I have to mention Liberty and their truly unique flagship store in Marlborough Street. They are so innovative and they do some great collaborations. Every time I go to London, and I check out what’s going on at the big stores, I’m always drawn back to Liberty. There’s a timeless beauty to that building, and it succeeds in being intimate even on a vast scale. There’s nothing quite like it.

Ooh yes, I love the Liberty Store too!  An “Aladdin’s Cave of Loveliness”. What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A new slub yarn white long-sleeve top with breast pockets to wear at work. So simple and yet so hard to find the right one!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. I find boots more versatile, harder wearing, particularly where we live – they don’t let the sand in! – and they just look cooler in my view. I bought a pair of vintage Sorel boots from The Vintage Showroom in Ladbroke Grove. It’s owned by a guy called Doug and you have to ring for an appointment. It’s a treasure trove. I love this particular pair; I’ve worn them to death and they’re still going strong. My wife got me replacement wool liners last Christmas – best present she’s ever given me!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Will Bees Bespoke

facebook.com/willbeesbespoke
instagram.com/willbeesbespoke
twitter.com/willbeesbespoke

Fantastic talking to you Will and I think your bags and fabric pouches are totally gorgeous – and mirror the quality that I experienced when I wrapped myself in my favourite Quba Sails sweatshirt!  As I said earlier, I echo your love of that iconic London store, Liberty, too.  The Northampton Shoe Museum is another place I love to browse around & lose myself in!  Dear readers, have you got a favourite iconic store or place to go to browse for ages?   Do tell!

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from Will Bees Bespoke.

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