Category Archives: Fashion

An Interview With ByNina

East meets West this week on my blog as my guest is Nina Paul who grew up in India but has spent her adult life in England.  Nina is founder and director of ByNina, a fabulous clothing and jewellery range with Indian influence but tailored to western trends.  I caught up with Nina recently to find out more….hi Nina!

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Hi! I’m Nina .. and I have just launched a luxury, ethical clothing and jewellery range. My aim is to provide “pieces of art” that shows off the beauty and craftsmanship that can come for materials produced and made out of India.

What inspired you to set up your brand, ByNina?

I’ve been working in the corporate space for over 15 years but despite launching several innovative products, I lacked a sense of satisfaction. I was helping myself, but really.. was I making a difference to the world? NO. So when I went back to India and realised that my one true love,which is handmade fashion, was declining rapidly, it became my mission and goal to help revitalise this and give people back their faith.

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Have you always had a passion for fashion, or did you have other career aspirations when you were younger?

To be honest ..fashion is what you make it. My passion as always been about finding pieces that mean something. Of course I love looking at all the amazing shoes, clothes and jewellery out there, but recently I’ve come to realise these are just material things. When you buy something that has an impact (no matter how small) on helping an entire economy and combined with the fact that it it is a piece of art.. no matter how small or big the art is, it just makes you feel all the more precious. Every piece in my collection comes from loving hands and made with pride and care.

I love the Peach Flower Dress, the Sheer chiffon kaftan dress & the Silk Chiffon contrast kaftan dress! The colours of all the items in your clothing collection are gorgeous. Have you got a favourite item from your collection?

My favourite from the collection is the sunshine dress… but I love them all. We worked so hard to create each piece it would be like picking your favourite from your own kids, Impossible! The best part is seeing the artisans go from “What is a cuff??” to actually coming up with their own designs.. it doesn’t matter how weird or wonderful, they each have a special place in my heart as I know the care that has gone in to them, and the fact that it is bringing back FAITH and HOPE.

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Although you love travelling, India is your 2nd home as well as being the place you spent your childhood in. What is it particularly about India that has captured your heart?

India is a land of colour. I was inspired by this but also by the hospitality of the people. When you first land to when you leave, you will realise you can’t forget India 🙂 There are people that either love or hate it, but hey. that’s fashion right?

Apart from fashion, you also design some exquisite jewellery using gemstones sourced from mines all over India & crafted by artisans in the “city of gems”, Jaipur. Do you have a favourite personal gemstone? What gemstone is popular at the moment amongst your customers?

As I said .. that would be like asking to pick a favourite child. I love them all, but I would have to say the sapphire range and the sunshine dress are my babies. The sunshine dress was the hardest to create as it was one of the first in my range and we went through several versions, till they finally got it right. You truly do feel like a princess. The sapphire range.. well sapphires stand for themselves, beauty, strength, purity, sparkle, colour. And a whole lot of people involved in every piece 🙂

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Your company is based in England – are your designs available to purchase worldwide?

Everywhere, and everyone. The more you buy the more I can keep the artisans at work. But it’s not just me, you only have to visit India and find out for youselves.

When designing outfits/jewellery to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional styles or bits of all those?

Well… shy as they may be, my artisans have a mind of their own, While I did take in to account what I liked, I also let them run riot. Why not… let creativity flow 🙂

Your outfits have been tailored to western tastes for ready-to-wear looks. When discussing your ideas & designs with the artisans, was it easy to get your ideas across? Is there an east/west fashion taste difference?

Well.. yes, the funny part now looking back, although it definitely was not funny at the time, was teaching them that short is OK, see-through is OK, frills NOT ok:) So many stories and adventures, I hope one day I can put them all down in writing. For now I am storing them in my memories.

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

I LOVE clothes, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE shoes even more. But, then again I’ve had time to reflect.. now that I have put everything in to the business, I actually wear my own stuff ..not so much to show off but it just reminds me of the care that went in and how proud I am of the people behind each piece.

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

Everlane, people tree, independent boutiques round London (So many it’s hard to pick!)

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

My wishlist .. I “wish” … that will be a long time to come. My next list is to have a jewellery range that is based around star signs and birthstones, but I’m going to let the artisans come up with their own ideas and name each piece after them.

Boots or Shoes? 

Both.. boots for walking, and shoes (in my world these are slippers or heels) for flaunting 🙂

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

https://www.instagram.com/byninadesigns/
https://www.facebook.com/byninadesigns/
https://twitter.com/ninasdesigns

It was great to chat to you Nina and I hope you do put a book together detailing the many stories and adventures involved in setting up your fashion business. It is fascinating how different cultures approach fashion, eg the Indians liking frills, the French smart dress sense etc Dear readers, have you ever bought an outfit from a different country than your own?  What differences in style did you find? Do tell, I’d love to know,

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from ByNina/Nina Paul

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An Interview With Goldgenie

I’m going for gold this week as my guest on the blog is Laban Roomes, founder of high-end brand Goldgenie.  Specialising in luxury personalised gifts and items using pure 24K gold, Rose Gold, Platinum and Diamonds… in fact, they are best known for their decadent designs and blingworthy materials. From 24K gold shoes and embellished Apple watches to a 24K gold bike worth more than a Ferrari, there’s hardly anything in the world that can not be given the Midas touch.  I caught up with Laban recently and used the golden opportunity to ask a few questions…. Hi Laban !

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Hello 🙂 My name is Laban Roomes, founder of Luxury Gift and customisation services company, Goldgenie. I developed an innovative portable plating device that can gold plate pretty much any item that is conductive. Our clients include The Oscars and Emmy awards in Los Angeles, HTC, Samsung, BlackBerry, AMEX and our flagship client Lexus as well as iconic retail outlets like Harrods and Selfridges, plus a host of Celebrities including the Beckhams, Elton John, P. Diddy, Denzel Washington, Rhianna and Mark Wahlberg to name just a few.

What inspired you to launch your business venture, Goldgenie?

The business suited my character as someone that always had a keen interest in luxury goods and services. I thought better to develop something that I can do and live with a passion then just do something for the money… It just so happened that money came anyway. I also believe that the self development that occurs mentally and spiritually for oneself can be profound if approached in a certain way.

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Goldgenie featured on BBC television’s programme “Dragons Den” and received backing from James Caan. Was it a nerve racking experience? What surprised you most about the experience?

Yes it was a nerve racking experience and as time went on and I was losing the support of the Dragons something switched on inside of me, the fighting extinct came alive as there was no way I was going home without the investment! What this confirmed to me is that people really do buy into people and the more you let your light shine the more powerful you are and the more you radiate and exude confidence,which everyone wants a piece of. The biggest shock was that the stairs I walked up on the Dragons Den was on a set 2 miles away from the actual studio that I appeared on and got my investment.

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What products are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season for embellishing with pure 24K gold, rose gold, platinum & diamonds?

The iPhone 6s remains triumphant so far and close second is the Apple Watch and iPad. Ever since we customised the first ever iPhone way back in 2007 this has without a doubt been our best performing product to date. Finishes available are 24k Gold, Platinum, Rose Gold and Diamonds.

Out of all the products you’ve decorated, do you have a favourite item?

Not really as everything is still so fascinating to watch and see the total transformation a product undergoes during our processes – but the two I have been most proud of to date is the Neasden Temple in London and the range of Swarovski crystal encrusted iPods I personally designed for Elton John to raise funds for his EJAF charity.

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Adding the Midas touch to everything from new technology to footwear, what has been the most unusual item you’ve decorated in 24K gold?

This has to be the Sultan Of Brunei’s toilet.. Or maybe a top of the range vibrator Ann Summers commissioned us to do for a well known celebrity I’m not at liberty to mention.

Your collaboration with designer shoe maker Deeasjer has resulted in an awesome limited “Pure Gold” capsule collection of Deeasjer shoes each incorporating 24K gold embellished heels & featuring Deeasjer’s signature brand symbol – the Rose. How did the collaboration first come about?

Goldgenie sponsored a fashion show for Deeasjer many moons ago, when the owner Charlene Beckett was designing the “Pure Gold” Capsule collection she asked me to be involved in the designs – I just had to,of course, feature 24k Gold heels.

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You have expanded from the UK into the UAE … Have you any plans to expand elsewhere globally in the future?

Yes we have expanded recently to the UAE with our first retail store opening in the first week of July and have plans to open a shop in Los Angeles or Puerto Banus in Spain next year – hopefully we will be able to do both.

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

Yes we do and have an award winning service that can pick up your item anywhere in the world with our secure and trackable courier service, have your item customised and returned within 14 days of pick up.

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

I am fortunate that whatever I put on because of my build I look good in (not bragging, of course) but I do like brands like Sisley and Paul Smith or I will get my suits made. In saying that, I also buy clothes for the fit more than the brand behind it. For footwear I love Clarkes and Cruyff shoes, brogues without a doubt are a key part of my wardrobe and Adidas.. keeping it simple.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes, I have a passion for watches and do like online watch sites like Rolex, Patek Philipe and Brietling – I have great admiration for the Apple brand including their online and retail stores. Steve Jobs is one of my all time favourite entrepreneurs and his success to me has really made a positive impact on the world, anyone that starts their business with little or no money from a garage and grows it to be one of the richest and most cutting edge companies in the world, you just have to admire.

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

I intend to buy myself some fresh tracksuits and trainers – you can never have enough trainers.

Boots or Shoes?

That will be more Cruyff shoes – they suit me down to a T.

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

Web: www.goldgenie.com
Twitter: @Goldgenie
Instagram: goldgenie_uk
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/GoldgenieGoldPlating/

Thank you Laban for joining me on the blog and giving the blog a touch of golden glamour.  So, dear readers, have you any items that could benefit from the golden touch?  I do love the golden heels and I’m sure even my trainers would benefit from a lick of gold! Wouldn’t a golden Harley Davidson look cool too?!? ..as always, share your ideas, I’d love to know what you think!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Laban Roomes/ Goldgenie

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An Interview With Grannies Inc

My granny loved to knit! My cousins, sister and I all had some rather colourful pieces every year in our Christmas stocking.  My two boy cousins had fetching tank tops in colours trending at the time – burgundy was a big favourite.  For my cousin Jane, my sister and I, well, we had bright turquoise & white ponchos and white roll neck “ski” jumpers with multicoloured stripes.  My husband’s granny knits pullovers and blankets for our children.  My guest this week, Kai Poldoja of Grannies Inc has a vision of spreading the love of granny-made knitwear throughout the world and by employing talented knitting grannies to produce a range of bespoke knitwear,  they are endeavouring to do just that. Intrigued? I was! So, I caught up with Kai to find out more….

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Hi! Grannies, Inc. was launched in 2009 .Grannies, Inc. strives to connect people who love wearing unique, quality handmade garment with knitters who love knitting. Our knitters are passionate, experienced and most importantly, they love knitting.

What inspired the launch of Grannies Inc?

My grandma was a passionate knitter and I remember all the warm socks she knitted for everyone in the family. Most of the time she knitted more than we could wear and all my friends loved  my grandma’s socks. That made me think that it would be great to establish a website that connects all those grannies like my grandma with all those people that don’t have a grandma like mine.

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If I wanted a particular knitted item design, how do I go about ordering the bespoke item?

Ordering bespoke items is very simple. Just go to www.granniesinc.co.uk and send us some photos of what you want knitted. Our grannies can replicate almost anything from a photo, or they can make your sketch or drawing come to life.

What’s the most unusual or strangest knitted item that has been requested?

We are often asked to knit miniature garments for objects, like bottles. We had a season where we knitted more items for objects than people due to some corporate orders. We once knitted giant socks for a massive statue in the US. But the strangest requests are usually the ones our grannies are asked to knit up: some “special occasion” garments. I won’t share any more details 🙂

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To date, what has been your most popular knitted item ordered?

It’s our fingerless gloves, especially the Norwegian Selbu fingerless gloves. People love them, because they keep their hands warm, yet the fingers free to use their smartphones or type. They are super cute too.

Out of your knitted items, has any item been a bit of a challenge for your knitters?

I remember a 5XL jumper. It was knitted to a very complicated pattern. It was quite heavy due to the size and the knitter was struggling to hold the weight of it whilst knitting. In the end it was so big that when we laid it out flat we had to climb on ladders to take a photo of it as the whole jumper wouldn’t fit on the photo. It was a truly beautiful item however. The customer was over the moon.

Your knitters only use 100% merino wool that has been sourced ethically in South Africa and spun in a yarn mill in Devon. Why did you pick merino wool over other types?

Merino wool is one of the highest quality yarns. It’s suitable for various types of garments as it is very robust, yet warm. Whilst keeping you warm it doesn’t overheat. It’s an absolutely gorgeous fabric, all natural with nothing synthetic. It is sustainable and doesn’t damage the environment. We love it.

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Your company is based in the UK – are your knitted items able to be made to ship to customers overseas?

Yes, we often have orders around the world. We sold to more than 100 countries, from Greenland all the way to the other side of the world, with one item having made it to a South Pole expedition.

The talent of your workforce is clear to see – and they obviously have a passion for knitting. What do you look for when hiring your knitters? 

We look for passion and skill. Our items aren’t the cheapest around, but we like to think they are the best hand knitted items one can buy online.

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

On cold days I like wearing my merino base layer and a nice woollen jumper on top. In my view wool is the best fabric one can choose for clothing.

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

Website: http://www.granniesinc.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/granniesinc

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/granniesinc

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So, dear readers, do you or did you have a granny who loves to knit? What was your favourite knitted item that they made?  Or, perhaps you are a grandma who knits? If so, what do you like knitting? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Grannies Inc.

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An Interview With Maison De Marrakech

I’m being inspired by all things Morocco this week as I explore a London-based interior and fashion design online shop specialising in Bohemian lifestyles and Moroccan charm.  Think kaftans, Argan Oil beauty products, leather poufs, gorgeous colour palettes ..the list is endless!  It was with great excitement that I caught up with  Reina Hagen-Cherquaoui, founder of this paradise online shop – Maison De Marrakech.  Hi Reina!

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Please introduce Maison de Marrakech …

Maison de Marrakech is a bohemian lifestyle company. Our motto is to bring that beautiful, peaceful, elegant, yet simple lifestyle of Morocco into the lives of every woman (or man, of course!). I initially started by creating small numbers of kaftans or tunics that I thought would bring exotic-ness and beauty into the everyday lives of women around the world. Marrakech has a uniqueness that enriches your life, and awakens all your senses, and Maison de Marrakech is a place where you can find products that re-creates that beautiful ambience. Therefore, although we are known for our kaftans, our ultimate goal is to introduce the bohemian ‘lifestyle products’ into people’s lives. Also, as most items are handmade, it creates that feeling of directness, and you can feel the history in each product. Each product of ours has a history, not just anonymous.

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What inspired you to set up Maison de Marrakech?

It was definitely love at first sight. I felt my passion and enthusiasm come alive the moment I stepped into the Medina of Marrakech.
Marrakech, to me, was very mysterious, rustic, elegant, simple, rich, colourful, bohemian, deep, new & old, so much diversity and depth. To me, it felt like, “I had found what I was looking for all my life”. Moroccan design/art/crafts, had every element I looked for in beauty, and gave me that peace of harmony & happiness in life. For me, looking at beauty is pleasing to the eyes, and being surrounded, living in that space, creates happiness. It’s exactly this blissful moment, this happiness and richness that I wanted to share with everyone. This is how I started my company. It’s simply to share what brought me happiness, and to visually share this with the world; as well as to help women feel absolutely beautiful and exotic about themselves, to encourage their self esteem, and to bring out their inner beauty.

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As you were born in Japan, what attracted you to Marrakech?

Marrakech gave me every element I was looking for in beauty. Its richness, simplicity, complexity, colours, passion, harmony, and elegance was hard to resist. What’s really surprising is that, Marrakech (or Morocco in general) could have 2 completely different elements, but they blend so well together, eg.  rich, yet simple; passionate yet calming. I loved the Japanese traditional arts, and have seen much beauty around the world, but for me, Moroccan art gave me a feeling of ‘coming home’. This is what attracted me to Marrakech, and still does.

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I love the Turquoise Leather Pouf – it’s gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Our popular items are definitely the ‘one size’ Marrakech Resort Kaftan series, the tan Moroccan poufs, and some more trendy kaftans we are creating such as the ‘zigzag Zahara kaftan’.

Out of all the outfits, accessories, beauty & boho interior products in your collection, do you have any favourites?

I must say, I do agree with my clients, in that my favourite will be the same as my customers: the one size Marrakech kaftans, our new boho style kaftans & the Moroccan leather poufs.

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Your travels around the world have left you with a profound appreciation of arts & culture – this is evident through your love of Marrakech. So, what place is now on the top of your travel bucket list?

I love travelling to places where the ambience is beautiful and peaceful – somewhere you could have gone 100 years ago and would have still been the same as today. For this reason, I’d love to travel to places like: Florence in Italy and Rajasthan in India.

Your shop specialises in promoting Bohemian lifestyles – which famous lady and man would you love to see as the “faces” of Maison de Marrakech?

It would have to be a type of person who has the gorgeous exotic look that could pull off a simple kaftan and make it look absolutely stunning, and also lives a kind of bohemian lifestyle: Kate Moss.

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Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016, what new items will you be introducing?

AW2016 will be quite exciting for us, as we will be creating new boho-style Moro inspired jackets, and create a new look, where we’ll be creating new tunics, that you can layer with a turtle neck, or with any winter clothing. We will also introduce more of the accessories, bags and Beni Ouirain types of rugs to keep your home nice and cosy for the coming winter season.

As you are based in London (& Morocco), are your products available to purchase overseas?

Yes, we are an online based company. All products could be purchased via online , shipped to anywhere around the world.

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

I do incorporate a bit of the trend, customers taste, but I always am loyal to what I believe and use the Moro traditional charm as my base of design.

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

I used to wear only high heels from Karen Miller, Anne Klein and Jimmy Choo, but now with raising children and juggling work, I tend to wear sandals from Tory Burch (they do have beautiful elegant sandals!)

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

Yes. I love the boho vibe of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.

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

I’d love to get one of those gladiator sandals, they look fab and bring a flair of glamour to any outfit but especially with short skirts/shorts. Or a pair of tan boots (with heels ). I would also love a golden bling Jimmy Choo type of party high heels, just to keep myself feeling feminine!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots are always great for a walk in the woods or for picking up kids –  you could wear them anytime, anywhere (except for holiday beaches). You just pop them on, and they’re so practical. So, I love boots!

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

You can find us on :
www.maisondemarrakech.com
www.etsy.com/shop/maisonmarrakech
www.maisonmarrakech.com
www.instagram.com/maisondemarrakech
https://www.facebook.com/Maison-Marrakech-135621059788738/

Thank you Reina for chatting on the blog today and I absolutely adore your products – oh the colours!  I love your travel ideas of going to  places virtually untouched by the modern world…. I visited once a village called Greffeil in  the foothills of the French Pyrenees … some houses still had hay in the basement/ground floor to house their goats overnight, the goat herders still shepherded as they had always done for years … It was like stepping back 100 years.  Have any of you, dear readers, visited places that have remained virtually unchanged? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Reina Hagen – Cherquaoui / Maison De Marrakech

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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 Designer Linda Blissett

Endeavouring to create unique pieces of wearable art, no  two pieces being identical – although themes do flow from one piece to another – my guest this week, textile/fashion designer Linda Blissett, tells me about her passion for textiles and her inspirations which has led to some of the most stunning creations I’ve seen in a long time….

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Hi Linda!  What inspired you to set up Bliss Studio Textiles in 2013?

I always wanted to have my own fashion/textiles business since I started studying fashion when I left school and went on to study various courses in fashion, art and textiles. I did a combined fashion and textile course while studying at Basingstoke College of Art which was part of Portsmouth University, where I learnt to weave on a loom. I went on to study Constructed  Textiles at Middlesex University, which probably heavily influences my work today with textures and colours which are prominent in my designs.  After that went on into retail management to learn how to run a team and a business before starting up in 2013.

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Have you always had a passion for textiles/art/fashion from a young age?

Yes,  the youngest I can remember was when I was about five when seeing all the new romantics on TV and thinking how interesting the clothes looked and tried to recreate it for my dolls. I guess I had cool dolls !:) Also all the punk influences and music of the time inspired me to Vivienne Westwood was just starting to get known and I guess all those influences have stuck with me today.

Your show stopping collections are definitely unique. From where do you draw inspiration for your collections?

I look to the Pre-Raphaelites, and mainly Celtic mythology and art movements like Art nouveau which was also heavily influenced by that time as well and put my own interpretation on it all.

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You love experimenting with different textiles, including silks, luxury wool fibres, cashmere, mohair, metallic yarns, ribbons, vintage lace, velvety, stains etc. Have you got a favourite textile that you really enjoy using?

I just love using textures and colour and like to mix and entwine them together to create a fluidity to my designs. I guess I just love working with them all to give that luxury and unique feel.

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What has been your favourite outfit/accessory you’ve designed and why?

I like them all .. but I guess I have two so far that are my absolute favourites: one from my last collection Belisama, which I named after the collection, of a red dress with crystals flowing down the dress and one from my current collection,  DisarBlot in Iona, which looks to the opposites of Celtic and Nordic deities of good and bad, a dress inspired by Helium, goddess of the underworld.

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If it was possible, who would you pick to be the “Face” of Bliss Studio Textiles?

I’ve worked with so many wonderful creatives over the last three years it’s hard to pick ‘ONE’. In my mind they are all the faces of my work, they make my designs become a reality when they walk the catwalks and when in shoots, all a team effort.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016, what colours and designs do you hope to feature on your mood board/collection?

I’m looking for my next collection to have a 1920’s /1930’s feel with more of my classic drapes and textures  featured and less cutting into, more simplified I guess, with a muted colourway offset with bolder tones.

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If you could visit any place in the world for design inspiration, where would you go?

I’m heavily influenced by nature and Art Nouveau so anywhere with dramatic landscapes, like islands of Scotland. I would love to learn more about Celtic mythology and to see how it influences art and design in the past and today.

Have you any plans to launch your designs online at all or do you aim to remain bespoke?

It’s something I’m looking into for the very near future. Future collaborations are coming up soon as well.

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

I tend to be more casual now, but I like to mix it with colour and textures and wear my own designs now and then at events, much different to my younger days as a student.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I don’t really have any favourites as such, although I do admire Vivienne Westwood greatly also John Galliano, McQueen and Lacroix I do admire

Bliss Studio Textiles 05-09-15

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

I like to rummage in antique stores and vintage fairs so if I see something I love I grab it!

Boots or Shoes?

I love both for different reasons… but shoes for versatility I guess and an excuse to have more of them as well…

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/Twitter etc so that my readers can learn more about you.

https://www.facebook.com/blissstudiotextiles

http://www.blissstudiotextiles.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/blisstextiles   

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It was fabulous having you as guest on the blog Linda and I look forward to seeing your collaborations in the months ahead. I do love clothes (& footwear) in fabrics such as lace and velvet – dear readers,  have you got a favourite textile or two that you’re drawn to?  Do tell, I’d love to know….

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photographs have been published with kind permission of Linda Blissett. The photographers: Mike Blissett Photography of Canterbury; James Alexander Lyon; Tim Copsey; K Anthony Photography.

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An Interview With KIKI Clothing

I’m pleased to welcome on the blog this week the gorgeous fashion designer, Titi Ademola,  whose brand KIKI Clothing  has graced the Red Carpet and has been exhibited in  various cities around the world including Accra, Lagos, Mauritius, Johannesburg, London and Rome. I caught up with Titi recently to find out what it was like to be an intern with renowned designer Betsey Johnson in New York City, and to find out more about her vibrant designs that are creating waves in the fashion world….Welcome Titi…

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 Hi, I’m Titi Ademola and the founder and creative director of KIKI Clothing.

What inspired you to set up your fashion brand KIKI Clothing?

My late father was Nigerian and my mother is Ghanaian. Although born in London, I’ve always been passionate about where I’m from and Africa as a whole. 50 plus countries are found on this continent with rich cultures, traditions and a wealth of creativity. It used to really disturb me when observing how the media portrayed Africa as a “dark continent” I so wanted to see both sides shown on television or in magazines. The Africa I know is full of colour, vibrancy, flavour and amazing, contagious energy. In a small humble way, I wanted to show a positive side of where I am from, through fashion.

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

I’ve always had a passion for fashion. The familiar stories of dressing up dolls as a child and playing dress up in my mother’s clothes and accessories, was part of growing up for me. As I got older, in my teens, I wasn’t sure I could actually pursue fashion design as career and be taken seriously. I’m grateful my family and peers were very supportive. I undertook a Bachelors degree in Fashion Design and interned after graduation with Betsy Johnson in New York. It has been very rewarding being able to enjoy my work day to day and earn a living also.

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I love the Two Tone Dress – it’s gorgeous! What styles are proving popular already amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you Linda. Yes,the Two Tone dress appeals to a wide range of clients, along with the Pencil Dress with wing sleeves and the Bell Sleeve Peplum Top.

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

I’m very keen on the Kimono Drape. We’ve done different variations of it over the years and it’s extremely flattering on too.

You spent time being an intern for one of my favourite designers, Betsey Johnson, and for Burberry in New York City and now your own brand is exhibited in cities such as Accra, Lagos, Mauritius, Johannesburg, London & Rome – and although your brand is influenced by the West African love of colour/patterns, if you could go anywhere in the world to get inspiration for a new collection, where would you go?

Brazil, definitely Brazil. It reminds me of West Africa. The food, the music…I’m always so happy when I hear Bossa Nova…there’s a lot of joy in their culture and I find it infectious. I was privileged to travel there a few years ago and would love to go back and explore, as it’s such a big country.

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The KIKI brand has already had dresses that have graced the Red Carpet – namely actress Nicole Ari Parker & reality star Tiffany Jones. However, which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of KIKI Clothing?

Yes, it was quite an honour seeing these well-known reputable women wearing our designs on the red carpet. Amazingly enough, they both are the ideal KIKI woman. They’re beautiful inside and out, hard working and ambitious, they have fantastic drive and determination and love to have fun in life. Other famous ladies that comes to mind would be, Lupita Nyong’o or someone quirky like Paloma Faith.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – will you be adding more styles and/or colours?

Yes, we’re looking forward to introducing new silhouettes and fabrics for the next season, so keep an eye out for updates.

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

We found that although we are based in Accra, we have clients coming into our shops from other parts of Africa, North and South America, Europe, Asia and really all over. These are business travellers, expats living and working in Ghana and tourists. This encouraged us to launch an online shop, www.kikiclothing.com/shop because we wanted to make KIKI Clothing more accessible, globally.

When designing 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 factor in all the above, but ultimately it really comes down to what the customer wants and listening to them.

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

I wear a lot of trousers, either loose and long in length or fitted and slightly cropped and I tend to wear pretty sandals and slippers, some with a bit of a heel and usually from KIKI, as we make footwear also.

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

I love Zara!

 Boots or Shoes?

Because of my location in sunny Accra, it would have to be shoes 🙂

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

www.kikiclothing.com/shop -Online Shop
https://www.facebook.com/KIKI-Clothing-226374854092469/ -Facebook
http://instagram.com/kikiclothing/ -Instagram
@KIKIClothingGH -Twitter

It was lovely talking to you Titi.  I really do love bright colours – wearing bright colours make me feel happy and confident – especially red, yellow, green and turquoise! What colours leave you with a smile on your face?  Do tell! 🙂

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Titi Ademola/KIKI clothing.

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An Interview With Tony Porter

I am honoured to have on the blog this week one of the people who spearheaded British Fashion Week – now known as London Fashion Week – the gallant gentleman, Tony Porter.  I caught up with Tony recently to find out more about his unique life spent at the forefront of fashion, the swinging ’60s scene in London, the high fashion Kensington store Biba, and his gripping new memoir “Whatever Next?”….. Welcome Tony …

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Hello, I’m Tony Porter. Born 12/6/35

You certainly have lived a fascinating and unique life in the forefront of fashion – but, what was the inspiration behind picking up your pen and writing your gripping memoir, “Whatever Next?” What’s the story behind the title?

In 1986 B and I left the world of Fashion and bought tiny Burgh Island with its tired but lovely Art Deco Hotel. After spending 16 years on its restoration, we moved on, and I immediately wrote our story in “The Great White Palace”, published in 2002. Since then, it has sold 23,700 copies, and very many readers have asked me how I spent the rest of my life. I was finally persuaded, and the book was finally published on 28 February 2016. I spoke about it at my 80th Birthday party, after which I was approached by two guests, suggesting that, following my seven careers, I should make a film about them. That was when I collapsed in an arm chair muttering ‘Whatever next?’. These are the last two words of the book, but seemed an obvious title as well.

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You started your career selling paint for ICI – spending many years with ICI in Africa – before returning to London to sell high fashion for the Kensington store, Biba, founded by your sister-in-law, Barbara Hulanicki. Did you have an interest in fashion at that time, or was it something that grew on you as you sold the outfits?

No, it grew on me. Till then a dress was a dress and a skirt a skirt, but Barbara’s were different. As I became steeped in the selling and even the manufacture of her unique and inexpensive designs, I came to love the look, especially on those ’60s “Dolly Birds”  who daily thronged the Biba shop in Kensington.

The scene in London during the swinging 60s must have been exciting – especially as many famous starlets flocked to Biba – Twiggy, Marianne Faithful, Mia Farrow, Cilla Black & Yoko Ono to name just a few. I’m sure you kept a cool head when you served them – but did anyone actually make you go weak at the knees (starstruck mode)? Who would have made you go a-quiver if they had entered Biba?

That has to be Bardot, although she doesn’t exactly answer your question, because she actually walked in one day to go shopping. She was prepared to try things on in the communal changing room, but Barbara’s husband, Fitz, offered her the passageway outside his office. I did glimpse her as she made her way there with an armful of clothes. She did make me weak at the knees, but that was all. Fitz did better though, by standing on a chair, so that he could peep through the glass over his office door!

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T427 IM 4CBW 26-18

You were one of the people who spearheaded British Fashion Week – now known as London Fashion Week. What was the inspiration and original aims of the Week? Are you surprised the idea is still going strong and is one of the most important dates in the Fashion calendar?

When I left Biba and started my own Fashion PR business, I did really well getting lots of coverage for the twelve accounts I came to represent. It was so frustrating though that twice a year the whole of our Press corps disappeared to Paris, then Milan, to report on their designs for the coming season. We had wonderful designers, some established and others fresh out of our marvellous colleges. I couldn’t see why there was no such event here, and resolved to do something about it. That was exactly forty years ago, and in the book I relate how I went about it with such success that it became established on the world fashion stage. Obviously I am thrilled that our Fashion Week has long since become known as one of the big three in Europe, but cannot help thinking that the numbers are now too big, and the organisation is not so special as in my day.

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T310 IM 5-9

After leaving Biba, you ran your own successful fashion PR business in London’s West End, helped by your wife Beatrice. What made you decide to go from sales to PR?

As I’ve said already, I came to love fashion and the way it evolved, but I knew I would never aspire to being a designer, and I tired of selling. However, I had come to meet and help a few influential journalists, and came to realise that, in return for showing them the right selection, they were able to feature photographs of certain items which fitted their fashion story of the day. Obviously I didn’t have the name of Biba with which to conjure, but I chose well and quickly gained the confidence of most of the major writers. I also found that I could make much more doing this, so the decision to move on proved right in many ways.

Can you tell us about the beautiful Burgh Island and the Art Deco hotel you lovingly restored (and have since sold)? What attracted you to buy the island & its hotel? What was your favourite feature of the island/hotel?

When we bought our second hand yacht and cruised along the south coast of Devon and Cornwall, we fell in love with their rivers and little harbours, so, when we decided on another change, it was there that we looked. After several possibilities fell through, we heard that this tiny (26 acres) island was for sale, complete with its ART DECO hotel, we went for it. The huge risk and years of scary experiences are described in detail in my first book ( it is also included more briefly in this new one. How could I leave 16 whole years out of my autobiography!) We finally sold it to a couple who claimed to love art deco as much as us, in 2001. Without doubt our favourite feature was, and still is (except we are banned !) the Palm Court, with its original stained glass ceiling, which we restored.

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You are now concentrating on your new career as a writer – your gripping memoir, “Whatever Next?” was published in Feb 2016. Have you got any other plans to write other works? Is there any other writing genre you would like to dabble in?

Yes. Children’s  books. I have written them before for my grandchildren who did the illustrations for me, and they loved them.

When you are not writing, what hobbies or past times do you enjoy?

Sailing (other people’s yachts), opera (Hearing, not singing!) golf (badly), walking the Devon lanes, travel (but not long haul now).

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about you and where to buy your memoir “Whatever Next?”

Website: tonyporter.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Whatever-Next-748983758567899/?=ts

Twitter: @TPorterAuthor

It has been an absolute pleasure to have you on my blog, Tony, and I haven’t yet stopped giggling at the picture you’ve given of Barbara’s husband Fitz trying to glimpse Bardot! Must admit, Bardot is one of my style icons from those days.  The other being Debbie Harry of Blondie in the 70s/80s.  Dear readers, have you got a favourite style icon? Do tell, I’d love to know…

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Tony Porter.

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An Interview With TRNDSXL

Fashion anarchy on my blog this week as I introduce to you the  forward thinking clothing label, TRNDSXL, whose collections are designed to flatter both male and female alike – with the aims of inspiring fashion individuals as well as attempting to blur the lines between men & women’s fashions.  Intrigued?  I caught up with designer Francesca Soroccos  to find out more….

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Hi! My name is Frankie, I am 24 years old and originally from South East London.

TRNDSXL is a forward thinking clothing label advocating for social change through the medium of gender fluid fashion. What inspired you to set up the label, rejecting the High Street conventions that support gender divisions?

For me, when I was conceptualizing the brand, it was really important that it had a social core. At the time, unisex clothing was pretty new and there wasn’t a lot out there in terms of different styles and designers. I wanted to offer something a bit different to the market.

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

Yes! I have always loved fashion; I studied at LCF for about 6 months and then dropped out! The course just wasn’t right for me and I just wasn’t the same as the other people in my class, so I just decided to try something else. It was then I went to Southampton and studied hair and make-up design, which was great and so creative, but at the end of my degree, I said to my tutors that I wanted to create a fashion brand for my FMP, and was that okay?! 2 years later, here we are!

I love the silk dress shirts – such a classic & classy design. What pieces are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you! The fabric is from Lake Como in Italy and there were only 10 metres left in the world, so I had it digitally re-printed at Glasgow School of Art. It really reminds me of Italian renaissance art, but it’s just so retro and cool too! Every fabric in the collection is limited and non-repeatable, so each garment is limited edition really, there are only four of each left…

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Out of all the outfits in your collection, what is your favourite?

I love the Silk Dress Shirt and Trousers but the Duchesse Satin just looks really seventies high school prom which is so much fun! And the plum suiting is really wearable.

Your outfits are timeless classics designed to act as statement pieces in your wardrobe. Where did you draw inspiration from for your collection?

It’s a fusion of minimal tailoring with an urban/seventies vibe. What inspires me is when I can look at a fabric and think that it will never go out of style, because it’s so classic! 

If you were able to visit any where in the world, to inspire a collection, where would you go?

Cuba, in Havana – apparently it’s like stepping into a time warp; or if money was no object, a road trip around the USA.

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Which famous person would you love to see as the “face” of the TRNDSXL collection?

Haha! I can dream! Well, I have actually written a letter and tweeted Boy George, but he hasn’t replied yet…I’m keeping everything crossed!

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – what styles/ colours do you hope will dominate your collection?

It still has a slight nod to the seventies minimal theme but in a different way and playing about with silhouettes a bit more, with maybe an unexpected colour…

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As you are based in England, is your clothing range available to purchase overseas too?

Yes, everything is made and sourced in the UK, but I do ship to Europe and America too, so don’t be shy!

For each item sold you will be donating 5% of the cost to the Nail Transphobia campaign. Can you tell us a bit about the campaign?

Nail Transphobia is a campaign founded by Charlie Craggs to break down antagonistic attitudes towards trans people; to do this she offers a free nail service so people can come and meet her and ask any questions they have about trans people. She has achieved so much and is currently running a petition that people can sign so all GPs will be given in-depth training on treating transgender patients as part of the GP curriculum. This is so important and could really help thousands of people that are struggling to understand what they are feeling. If you haven’t already, go and sign it!
https://www.change.org/p/nhs-england-end-transphobia-in-the-nhs-teach-gp-s-how-to-deal-with-trans-patients?recruiter=144525045&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

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

Day to day I wear black, black and more black! ….with black shoes of course! It just feels like a kind of non-uniform uniform I guess?!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I am constantly browsing the Internet for cool things, so it constantly changes, but I love Studio Nicholson’s silhouettes.

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

I am still searching for the perfect jacket…..

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes or ankle boots, as I always like to be showing a bit of skin in the ankle area 😉

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

http://trndsxl.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/TRNDSXL
https://www.instagram.com/trndsxl/
https://twitter.com/TRNDSXL

I wish you well with your clothing label, Frankie…. it is refreshing to find a label that blurs the gender line. I’ve been known to  borrow my 18year old son’s T shirts…. In fact, my husband’s t-shirts, shirts, socks  & jumpers have been fair game too!  Dear readers, what do you think about blurring the gender lines?  What unisex clothing do you wear? What do you wear that was originally meant for the opposite sex?  Do share your opinions, I’d love to know what you think…

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission from TRNDSXL.

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An Interview With Arzu Kara Fashions

Effortless chic style with a mixture of couture is the trademark of my guest this week – British based designer Arzu Kara.  Originally from Istanbul, now based in Henley on Thames , Arzu created her own fashion label in 2006. I caught up with Arzu recently to find out more about her style…. Hi Arzu!

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Hi! I’m Arzu.  In a nutshell, I am fashion designer and creative director, from Istanbul and an owner of a gorgeous sprocker spaniel called Musket and madly in love with a super cool human being.

What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

No one knows, including me! I was around 4 when I used to draw (more like doodling though) and my mother was brave enough to give me a crotchet needle. A few years later,  I would try to make outfits for my dolls. Around then we all realised that I love creating, working with fabrics and I was lucky enough to be able to pursue my passion professionally.

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

Yes absolutely. I was born and raised in Istanbul where the education system is completely different, so I went to a vocational high school. There I was taught pattern making/garment construction as well as the standard curriculum, like mathematics and physics. This was the right path for me as thereafter I went to university studying Fashion and Textiles.

I love the Ilayda Asymmetric Dress in Indigo Blue, the Annette Long Skirt in Mint and the Cynthia Leather Skirt in Khaki? What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Ilayda dress has been a favourite because it’s so flattering and so versatile. I have shortened mine so I wear it for going out with super high courts. The amount of compliments I get is ridiculous which is all down to clever ruching and angles. Also my Janey dress. Incredibly simple but it was a classic. In fact it was named after a client of mine who later became a really good friend and it looks amazing.

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Out of all the outfits in your collection, what is your favourite?

My silk tulle corseted dress with leather. The reason is that I have draped the entire dress on the mannequin and just let the fabric do what it wants to do. Furthermore, I just adore working with silk tulle and leather. Equally beautiful equally difficult to work with. My Simone dress too – I feel so wonderful and elegant when I wear it and the colours remind me of the ocean. 

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Originally from Istanbul in Turkey, you are now based in Henley-on-Thames in England. Your outfits are effortlessly chic style with a twist of couture fashion. Where do you draw inspiration from for your collection?

All of my inspirations come from my clients and the stunning friends that I have. I am very lucky to be living/working in a very influential neighborhood where women just look so well put together but it looks effortless. Also nature, colours and texture. Also, this will sound quite peculiar,  but I dream about some of my most complex designs. I love it when it happens – sadly not every day!

Which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of the Arzu Kara Fashions collection?

It would have to be Charlize Theron. I could look at her face for hours and as if she is not blessed enough with pure beauty and grace, she is also very intelligent, not ignorant plus aware of current affairs – truly independent but feminine with a kind heart.

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Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – what styles/ colours do you hope will dominate your collection?

Earthy greens, shades of violet and brown are the main colours. I focused on marrying up contrast textures this season. Cashmere with lace wool with silk and so on. Most of them are tailored even though they might not look tailored at first glance.

As you are based in England, is your clothing range available to purchase overseas too?

Yes indeed. Consumers can shop online wherever they are and we just ship it to them. We are also exhibiting this year, so Arzu Kara outfits could be found in independent boutiques across the world.

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When you are not designing dresses do you indulge in artwork of some kind or do you have other hobbies?

I love painting with watercolours and free drawing when I have free time ( which is rare);  I adore (and hate we have a complicated relationship) hot yoga; and any time spent with my other half, even just talking about our day, is bliss. Lastly, exploring new places and having cocktails with good friends.

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

I seem to be living in skinny jeans (I know, it’s a cliche,sorry!) when I am in the studio, as I need to be really comfortable moving around. I wear chelsea boots during the winter months and flats in the summer. For meetings with buyers I tend to wear my own designs and I opt for a more tailored and grown up look. Going out in the evenings,  I love wearing high heels and fitted dresses. Unless it’s summer, where a soft fine fluid fabric is a must – I might choose floaty dresses or tops teamed up with shorts or mini skirts.

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Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love Maje, Sandro Stefanel and Helmut Lang. Outnet is my favourite place for online shopping – so many labels under one roof and one doesn’t need to re-mortgage the house.

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

I have been wanting a really well made, stylish but comfortable nude courts but haven’t found them yet! Clothes will be chosen from my own line. ( And no, I am not biased! :)) Bags are also my favourite. I have my eye on one from Balenciaga’s 2016 resort collection.

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely shoes. I need to be free without so many layers, so with boots I feel restricted. Not in the height of the winter months though! However, I have been seen wearing mini dresses with bare legs and heels while there was still snow on the ground 🙂

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

https://www.facebook.com/ARZU-KARA-158189797530871/?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/arzukarastudio

https://www.instagram.com/arzukarastudio/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/117992787492536834346/117992787492536834346/posts

Thanks so much for wowing us with your delightful outfits Arzu!  It has been a pleasure chatting to you. It was great that you studied dressmaking at school.  I did dressmaking/needlework too, but alas I was not very good – I struggled to finish off any item after 3 years – half an apron, half a corduroy skirt and half a shirt! Dear readers, did you study dressmaking at school? What did you make?  Do share your stories….

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Arzu Kara.

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