Category Archives: Fashion

Crazy About Shirts

Do you like shirts?  My husband is a fan. I have 4 sons – my eldest lives in football (soccer) shirts; my 2nd son likes his Jack & Jones t shirts; my 3rd son worships his baggy trousers, t shirts and hoodies ….. and my youngest son, well, he is just plain crazy about shirts! So he has agreed to talk about his love of shirts and give us some insight into what is “cool” in the world of shirts today!

Hi! I’m Ethan.  I’m 10 years old and I really love shirts!

What is it about shirts that you really love?

They are airy and cool you down in summer.

Do you prefer long sleeves or short sleeves?

It depends on the time of year – I like long sleeves in winter and short sleeves in summer. I don’t like my sleeves rolled up.

Do you have a favourite shirt?

Yes, my flamingo one. It is summery and cool.  ( I bought this shirt for Ethan from Next )

From Next

Do you have a favourite colour? 

Blue is my favourite colour.  I like wearing all colours apart from black. I do like bright colours.  

From Next

Who is your style icon?

Ricky Wilson (lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs). He wears cool shirts and waistcoats. I would like to wear a shirt and waistcoat for Sian’s wedding next year.  (Sian is my daughter, Ethan’s sister).

Out of your dad’s shirts, do you have a favourite that he wears?

My dad has a really cool butterfly shirt.

Dad’s butterfly shirt

What outfit do you like to wear when going out somewhere special?

Short sleeve white shirt, skinny blue jeans, and my leather jacket.

Do you like wearing your school uniform?

Yes, because I can wear a white shirt and it makes me look smart.

I notice that you and your friends wear your shirts buttoned right up to the top. Why?

(Shrugs)… I like to look smart and it’s how everybody wears a shirt at school. 

For pinning later

What’s next on your clothes wishlist?

A shirt, of course …. or jeans, skinny not baggy.  

What would you like to do when you are older?

I would like to be an airline pilot.

So, dear readers…. out of the mouth of babes, my youngest child has carved out a fashion style of his own – in stark contrast to his older brothers!  Do you have children who follow different styles?  Do share your observations!

Linda x

All photographs are by Linda Hobden

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With The-Bias-Cut.com

Are you a lady who is 40,50,60,70, 80… and beyond? Are you frustrated trying to find an outfit that wasn’t dowdy/frumpy/boring/unflattering?  Jacynth Bassett’s mother was frustrated and Jacynth became saddened at her mum’s frustration.  So Jacynth launched her own online boutique and blog, the-Bias-Cut.com, for women who know that age shouldn’t limit style.  I caught up with Jacynth recently to find out more. Hi Jacynth and welcome…..

Hi! I’m Jacynth. I’m 24 and the founder of the-Bias-Cut.com – Shopping With Attitude. It’s the first multi-label online premium fashion boutique that truly celebrates style at every age. I founded it straight out of graduating from studying law at Cambridge – where I was also president of the law society – using my minimal savings and some insurance money after my suitcase got stolen off a train with all my belongings in it (including some amazing Emporio Armani sandals that had been recent birthday presents from my mum!!). I developed, built and created the business entirely on my own, and now I’m one year in I can’t believe how much it’s already taken off!

What inspired you to set up “Bias-Cut.com”?

Since I was 14, my intention was to become a lawyer but, by my second year at uni, I realised it wasn’t for me. Instead my mind started to drift to business, and I knew if I were to start up my own one, it would need to be in an area I really loved. So fashion was the obvious answer. I then started thinking about how frustrated and saddened I’d become at seeing women, like my mum, being treated as invisible and irrelevant in the eyes of the fashion industry – largely because of their age and changing shape. My mum and I are very close and for years we would go shopping together, but she’d often end up fed up by a demoralising shopping experience. I began speaking to lots of other similar women, and realised there was a real problem. So that’s when I became determined to create a boutique that actually empowered and celebrated women like my mum as much as everyone else.

Your brand name certainly stands out from the crowd. – but I was wondering, is there a meaning to why you chose “the-Bias-Cut.com”as your brand name?

I wanted the name to have a direct link to fashion, and to ‘cut on the bias’ is the fashion technique where someone cuts diagonal across the grain of fabric rather than along its lines. But equally we’re about cutting through bias and ending prejudice, largely based around age, in the fashion industry. So the name is a double entendre.

I am totally in love with the “Gigi Nude Brogues” – totally gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

They’re a lot of people’s favourites, and one of our best sellers! This season our new label POM Amsterdam is doing really well – from their fabulous fun scarves, to their jackets lined with the scarf prints. They are cut really well, and they just bring a smile to your face. But also our cashmere and our 100% cotton poplin printed shirts are always a big hit throughout the year.

Out of all the outfits, do you have any favourites?

Personally I’m a little bit obsessed with the sashenka moon midi skirt by Baum Und Pferdgarten. It is such and elegant shape, and it has pockets! And I love a cool print that also incorporates texture. Baum always cuts everything so well, from their trousers to their tops.

Your boutique is for those who like to shop with attitude – where ageism is never in style. On your website your designs are all modelled by normal women – different heights, shapes and sizes. I’m also impressed that you can search on your website for items by your body shape as well as size. Hypothetically speaking though, which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of “Bias-Cut.Com”?

Thank you! They’re certainly feature that have gone down very well. If I’m honest I don’t see any particular famous lady being ‘the face’ of the-Bias-Cut.com, just because we’re about encouraging our customers to aspire to be the best versions of themselves, rather than someone else. But, with regards to celebrities, it would be an honour to have women such as Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Kristin Scott Thomas, Viola Davis and Christine Baranski as brand ambassadors. They all have great individual style and fabulous attitude, which is exactly what we’re all about celebrating.

You feature in your online boutique an impressive number of designers, the latest being Cove Cashmere. Are there any other new designers you are hoping to feature this year?

Yes! We have a fabulous Dutch label called Fabienne Capot coming in September with a range of lovely embroidered cotton tees, blouses and an emerald velvet blazer I keep dreaming about. We also have a few other surprises but I don’t want to spoil them all for you!

Looking ahead, what colours/patterns/styles do you predict will be popular next season (Summer or Autumn)?

Constellation map prints are going to be big in Autumn – stars are always popular, and it’s a cool progression from the classic pattern. In fact, space all round is going to be big; there’s going to be quite an intergalactic feel! Plus the other big pattern is going to be lightening bolts. Velvet is still going to be very popular, as are bell sleeves and ruffles. And forest and emerald green is going to be seen a lot, as is red. If you look at the trend reports, there are lots of other looks that are forecast to be popular, as well as lots of contradictions. But, in my opinion and from the research I’ve done, these will be the big ones.

As you are based in London, do you offer worldwide shipping?

Yes we ship to 33 countries, and have lots of happy customers overseas! And at the moment it’s free worldwide shipping on all orders over £50 to celebrate the opening of our first public pop-up shop in Greenwich, London later this month (25th-31st)!

When choosing outfits/designers 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 have a set of rules I go by:

  • Everything I select has to be of a flattering cut. In other words, you shouldn’t have to be 6ft or size UK 6 to look good in it. In fact I often use my mum as the fit model as she has a very common apple shape.
  • Everything I select has to be of excellent quality for the price. I’ve spent a lot of time researching fabrics, so I know when it’s good or bad, or when the wrong fabric has been used. Sometimes I come across an awesome piece, but a very impractical fabric has been used, so then I won’t select it. Equally, I make sure to study the technological developments of fabrics, such as polyester, so that I don’t discard it straight away, and can spot the good quality from the poor.
  • Everything has a modern twist combined with a timeless appeal. Our clothes are premium, so they are more of an investment than highstreet. So the last thing I want is for a customer to feel it’s outdated within 6 months. With that in mind, I do consider the trends, but only pick pieces that subtly reference them.
  • I don’t want to wear the clothes, why should my customer? We’re all about celebrating style at every age, so we refuse to sell brands that patronise the older customer, or offer frumpy clothing. So I have to like everything that we sell. But equally, I make sure to keep my customers, their comments and their feedback at the forefront of my mind, so that I never end up choosing something that’s just for me.

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

That’s a very good question… I’m quite a style chameleon really and I have a rather excessively extensive wardrobe that reflects that. Every outfit is a reflection of who I am and what I’m feeling that day, but that might mean wearing a girly dress and brogues one day, and on another black jeans, ankle boots and a leather biker jacket. But if I had to define my style generally it’s feminine with a funky edge.

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

I adore Maje. Their aesthetic is very me – feminine yet cool – and their cuts work well on my figure. And I wear a lot of Whistles too. Designer wise, I love Brand for their quality jeans, and for shoes I wear a lot of Rupert Sanderson and Miu Miu. I also love traditional Moschino; I’m less of a fan of it now since Jeremy Scott has taken over as I find it a bit OTT, but I have a lot of the brand from before him, and still enjoy finding vintage pieces.

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

Idealistically, I would love a badass cape and a pair of Malone Souliers heeled sandals. Realistically, it’s a new crop top/sports bra and some Nike trainers for dance class!

Boots or Shoes?

That’s a tough one. It would have to be shoes because there are more varieties, so then I have more excuses to need a new pair. Plus, because I’m short, knee-high and thigh-high boots don’t work on me. But ankle boots trump all shoes for me, because they are so cute and sexy whatever the heel height!

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the-Bias-Cut.Com.

www.the-bias-cut.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/thebiascutcom

facebook forum: www.facebook.com/ageismisneverinstyle

Instagram: @the_bias_cutcom

Twitter: @the_bias_cutcom

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/the_bias_cutcom

Thanks Jacynth … and your galactic prediction sounds mighty fine to me.  Just remember dear readers to look out for those stars and lightning strikes! I am so pleased that all sizes are considered at the-Bias-Cut.com – I am a UK size 10/12 and I find that a lot of companies geared towards the older woman have a starting size of UK12/14. Same goes for shoes – my feet are narrow – and a lot of shoes offered are wide fit, or extra wide. What fashion frustrations do you have, dear readers?

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of the-Bias-Cut.com

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Kites & Bites

Ladies – if you’re looking for something beyond the Little Black Dress for your nights out; if you’re a woman who is outspoken, who likes to be unique and willing to try new styles – then my guest tonight on the blog will be right up your street! I’m chatting to Alexandra Ursan, founder of London based but globally inspired fashion brand, Kites & Bites. Hi Alexandra and welcome….

Hi! My name is Alexandra Ursan and I’ve got a Romanian heart that fell in love with the vibrant London scene. Influenced by this multicultural city I founded KITES AND BITES womenswear.

What inspired you to set up “Kites And Bites”?

I’ve always been interested in discovering different cultures and fashion worldwide. This melting pot brings together people and styles from around the world and there’s no better place to set up a fashion brand that stands for diversity and multiculturalism than London. However, the initial idea came to my mind with a trip to Morocco where I bought some traditional fabrics, made some clothes and wore them at London Fashion Week. Then came the development, the sourcing, the sketching, the white nights and endless learning.

Your brand name certainly stands out from the crowd, as well as your outfits – but I was wondering, is there a meaning to why you chose “Kites And Bites” as your brand name?

I actually have a kite tattoo. It’s the only thing that can rise as high as it can without losing its ground sight, as it always has a string towards Earth. Plus, it’s bright, colourful and has great patterns and prints. As for the bites, they leave marks, just like a confident woman never afraid to try new things.

I love the “I’m In Heaven Dress” and the “Champagne For Breakfast Skirt” – both are totally gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

I feel like this spring we’re all living “La vie en rose”. Pink is getting a lot of attention, so I would say that “Be always blooming” trousers and “Save your goodbye” dress are definitely the favourites. Also, prints are winning again, with “Fight for this” skirt being a popular one.

Out of all the outfits, do you have any favourites?

Honestly, I don’t play favourites with my brand’s clothes nor any other piece in my closet. Today, I could love a huge tutu, tomorrow, I could be obsessed with metallic leather or fringes.

Your clothes are for the woman who is unique, outspoken and always willing to try new things – so which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of “Kites And Bites”?

I love Anna Dello Russo’s kaleidoscopic style. She’s an inspiring woman that not only I would be honoured to dress, but also to meet. If Anna would wear something by KITES AND BITES, just to buy juice at the shop around the corner, I would probably do a flicflac in my heels.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2017, have you got plans to expand your range?

I will launch a capsule collection of accessories.

What colours do you predict will be popular next season?

Blue, all shades of it. From cobalt to lapis to berry. I personally can’t get enough. It’s my favourite colour and you can see this in the KITES AND BITES collections.

As you are based in London, are your products available to purchase overseas?

Yes, definitely. The brand is multicultural inspired and would be crazy not to be available worldwide.

When designing / choosing 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?

A little bit of everything. I’m trying to follow trends my own way, as I’m not creating fast fashion. It’s time to be more independent, to build our own unique style, to dare more and step into new territories. It’s such a shame to see so many women dress alike.

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

Now that we’ve dumped the coats, I’m back in my blazers. They’re my first love. Currently obsessed with an Escada sequinned embellished one. Friends are calling me MJ, but sadly I can’t moon walk in my heels. So yes, for shoes I normally wear heels. Red soles for when I don’t need to walk at all.

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

Bookmarked on my browsers: & Other Stories and Asos. However, I honestly like the old fashion shopping. I know that time is limited, but browsing through brick & mortar vintage stores calms me better than yoga. Moreover, nothing compares with the thrill of finding an amazing piece. Viva London for a great variety!

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

Believe it or not, I’ve never made a wish list. If I see something I like, I buy it. If I don’t buy it straight away it means it wasn’t love at first sight and I’m going to forget about it. As for the expensive items I’ve learned not to obsess anymore. It’s not healthy to have crushes on material things. Love people. It lasts longer!

Boots or Shoes?

Both, preferably with heels. Also, boots during summer and sandals during winter. I hate “rules”.

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

Shop online at: www.kitesandbites.com
Social:
www.instagram.com/kites_and_bites/
www.facebook.com/kitesandbites
www.pinterest.com/kitesandbites/

Thanks for the chat Alexandra and I look forward to seeing your accessory collection later in the year.  I love that you change the “rules” eg  wearing boots in summer & sandals in winter!  I like to wear white in winter and black/navy in summer.  Dear readers, which fashion/beauty “rules” do you like to flout? Do share!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Kites And Bites.

Share This!
Pin It

Lilac Invasion

Spring is nearly here in the Northern Hemisphere!  This Spring THE pastel colour to be seen in is shades of lilac ( I do include hues of lavender, violet, mauve, iris blue, cyclamen, hyacinth and purple here). For UK at any rate, Mothering Sunday will be here on the 26 March, and as my own mum is rather partial to all things lilac, this post includes lilac gift ideas too.

Flowers  –  a traditional good gift.  Instead of a traditional bunch of multi coloured flowers why not look at pots of hyacinths or plants for the garden. Talking of gardens, do you colour co-ordinate your plants or do you mix colours? The photo below is taken from my mum’s garden – she has green fingers and finds gardening therapeutic.

Books – many garden centres, stately homes, and public gardens have gift sections/shops where other gifts can be purchased other than plants.  How about a book about flowers?  I bought this book from a National Trust property … 

Toiletries –  from body lotions to foam baths and shower gels to soaps; there is a vast range of lavender based colours and smells all set to entice you to relax and breathe in that lavender scent reminicescent to Southern France in summer.  I quite like the Tesco lavender bath foam – plenty of bubbles –  and the new shower gel scents from Avon. I just love jasmine perfume.

Make Up – lilac colours have been around since time began but I do so love the new eye colour and lip glosses from Body Shop…

Eye shadow can be so versatile – in this photo I’ve used the eye shadow as an eye liner too.  Avon do nice eyeliners in purple hued colours too. This particular eyeshadow is by Sarah G Cosmetics.

Sometimes I like to buy a perfume based on its bottle and this perfume by Vera Wang not only smells divine it looks good too.  So pretty to have on your dressing table!

When it comes to slippers, these lilac polka dot slippers by Avon caught my eye.

And there are some pretty canvas shoes and sandals about too!

Dear readers, are you ready to embrace the lilac invasion? Have you dyed your hair lilac?  Do you like the lilac pastel hues or have other pastel colours caught your eye? Do share your thoughts!

Linda x

Photo credits: Linda Hobden

Share This!
Pin It

The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book

I love colouring.  I love fashion. I love art. I love the latest fad for adult colouring books. And I love “The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” by fashion designer Natasha Itzcovitz.  “The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” features 100 hand drawn fashion illustrations, showcasing her own unique designs as well as her interpretation of fashion styles of previous decades.  I just had to interview the talented lady that has created through this book a chance for us all to be budding fashionistas, designers and artists in our own wacky colouring world. Please welcome onto the blog Natasha….

Hello! I’m Natasha Itzcovitz, a fashion stylist/ author/ illustrator from London 🙂

“The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” is a fabulous adult colouring book that showcases your designs. So what was the inspiration behind compiling this book?

I was working in a retail shop that was selling patterned colouring books and felt inspired to make one in my own fashion style. I had already been drawing colouring pages for my cousins for years but never thought to make it into a book until then!

There are 100 hand-drawn illustrations that follow fashion through the ages – from famous fashionistas including Marie Antoinette and Jane Austen, to more contemporary styles eg boho chic and hipster street styles. Where did the inspiration for each colouring page come from – your own fashion designs, historical designs, fashion magazines, your own wardrobe?

The colouring pages are a mix of clothes I’ve made, some I wish I could make, clothes I own and fun characters in my head! I looked to fashion photoshoots for poses as well as manga and vintage fashion for historical inspiration and my cat may feature in a few pages.

Do you have a particular favourite colouring page? What fashion style is easy to recreate? Which fashion style was hard to capture?

My favourite page in my book is the drawing of the girl made of wool that’s knitting herself – it’s just so mad! I’ve drawn a lot of street style and the men’s wear especially, can be recreated. Also, if you head to a costume shop, I’m sure you’d find Mary Antionette’s dress and wig! The historic fashion eras which I found hard to capture were not included in the book – only the best for my readers.

Although you are based in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

Yes, my book is available on Amazon worldwide and if you search the title on google, you’ll find that it is on book related websites from many different countries!

Have you any plans to expand your range of colouring books in the future?

I’d love to illustrate more books and do more with my art in the future – look forward to it!

What do you do when you are not drawing?

I’m currently a freelance stylist so I assist on photoshoots and when I get down time, I like to watch anime, ballroom dance and play the guitar.

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

A typical Natasha look would be a fun printed dress, over-the-knee socks, grungy boots, a choker, chunky knit and maybe a cheeky bandanna – I’ve gotten into those recently (try and spot one in the book).

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

High-street shops are my favourites, I find different ones are good for different things. Topshop, New Look, Forever 21 and asos are pretty good to me and recently I’ve fallen in love with Zara’s Kidswear.

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

I went into Zara kids for a styling job and wanted to buy things for myself – think my next purchase will be a dress from there. I’m also planning on getting summer shoes as soon as it brightens up!

Boots or Shoes?

Both boots and shoes suit different occasions so it’s hard to pick one or another. I personally love boots and would wear them all year long since I love how they grunge up a feminine look and are comfy at the same time but you can wear shoes for all occasions and in any season so shoes win on practicality.

Links you would like to share:

Check out my Instagram @itzdrawings for regular artwork! My twitter is @natashaitz and my website is www.itzfashion.uk if you’d like to see some of the clothes and accessories I hand-sew.

Thank you very much Natasha!  I find colouring therapeutic – I loved art as a child and my children do too. Dear readers, do you find colouring therapeutic?  What sort of illustrations would appeal to you?  Do share your thoughts!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Natasha Itzcovitz

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Ann-Celeste London

For a special night out when you need to be the belle of the ball you can’t go much wrong with a dress.  Not just any dress.  You need a dress that has that “wow” factor.  I’ve come across a fashion line that has certainly made me go “wow” :  Ann-Celeste London.  This London-based fashion line is for that confident lady and the range of edgy cocktail dresses, regal full length gowns and trendy 2 piece ensembles are to die for!  Using the opulent, patterned traditional fabrics of Africa the dresses are crafted into contemporary, European silhouettes.  Every single piece has the wow factor!  I recently caught up with the lovely Celeste, Founder & Creative Director to find out more behind the designs…. hi Celeste!

Hi, My name is Celeste. I am the Founder and Creative director of Ann-Celeste London fashion brand.

What inspired you to set up your fashion brand, Ann-Celeste London?

I have always loved and enjoyed fashion. In 2012, I was able to pick it up properly when I found myself in between jobs. I started doing research and learning the ropes of starting a fashion brand. Heritage is important to me. It is what distinguishes me and informs my identity.  Through my designs, I can share my story and inspiration

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

My background hasn’t always been about fashion design although as a young girl, I always wanted to sew my own dresses! Later in life, I worked in the retail fashion industry for over 3 years and eventually decided to guide my passion and focus towards developing a brand.

I love the Abby Dress, Lulu Dress, Oyin Dress & the Lade Cape – I couldn’t pick just one favourite, they are all so gorgeous & glamorous. What styles are proving popular already amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you! We have 13 different styles and 5 of the styles are in demand. Which are Lulu dress, Calabric Dress, Oge Jumpsuit, Abby Dress and Oyin Dress.

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

I love the Lulu dress. It’s very versatile you can wear flat shoes or heels depending on the occasion or mood.

Your brand is influenced by the African love of colour/patterns mixed with European silhouettes, giving a fresh approach to fusion fashion. If you could go anywhere in the world to photoshoot for a new collection, where would you go?

Tanzania would be ideal having Mount Kilimanjaro
(highest mountain in Africa) in the backdrop, riding on a horse would be epic.

Hypothetically speaking, which famous lady (dead or alive) would you love to see as the “face” of Ann-Celeste London?

I would like Michelle Obama to wear our brand as she very elegant and gracious. Her strength and presence would be perfect fits for some of our designs and looks..

In September 2016, your “Mope” collection was showcased during London Fashion Week under the renowned House of iKons catwalk. How did you feel seeing your outfits on the catwalk? Was it a good yet nerve racking experience?

The House of iKons boasts of showcasing some of the world’s most creative designers and with all the hard work and pressure that was building up to my first catwalk, I told myself to stay calm and enjoy the moment!

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

Yes! Our outfits can be purchased on our website: ann-celeste.com. We are looking towards having stockists in different locations 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 styles or bits of all those?

I would probably say a bit of everything.

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

Mid-length dresses, warm jacket, tights and a pair of heels

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

I have lots of favorites shops. I currently like Whistle, Reiss, Hobbs and Cos for everyday wear. However, it changes from time to time depending on what the brand has to offer for the season.

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

Double breasted navy blazer and chelsea boots.

Boots or Shoes?

I love shoes but have to go with boots! Boots keep my feet warm and comfortable during the winter months.

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

Please check out our website and social medial platforms.
www.ann-celeste.com
https://www.facebook.com/AnnCelesteLondon/
https://www.instagram.com/anncelestelondon/‎

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Nubian Skin

Frustrated by the lack of skin tone choices, Ade Hassan, my guest today on the blog, launched in 2014 her own range of skintone lingerie & hosiery for women of colour.  Inspired by women such as supermodel Iman  who created Iman Cosmetics, Ade has created a rather gorgeous collection of lingerie and hosiery  – with a handy foundation guide to match pretty much your shade of skintone.  I caught up with Ade recently to find out more…. Hi Ade!

Hi, I’m Ade Hassan, the founder of Nubian Skin. Nubian Skin is a nude lingerie and hosiery brand for women of colour.

What inspired the launch of Nubian Skin?

Nubian Skin was essentially born out of frustration. I wanted a product that I couldn’t find in shops, so I decided to create it. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who felt the same way.

Have you always had an interest in hosiery or fashion?

My background isn’t particularly fashion-y, but I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I’ve always wanted my business to be fashion related. When I took a 15 month break from work several years ago before starting Nubian Skin, I took some sewing and pattern cutting classes in Paris.

How many different shades of skin tone do you offer? How would a customer know what skin colour tone to go for?

We have four tones with Berry being our darkest, followed by Cinnamon, Caramel and Café au Lait. We have a handy skin-tone matching guide that matches our tones to popular foundation brands. For example, if you wear MAC NW47, then you’ll be Cinnamon! You can check it out here: https://www.nubianskin.com/global/skin-tone

Your range of skin tone hosiery is superb from tights to hold ups. Do you cater for the curvier lady?

Thank you! Yes, we do have a Curve hosiery range that goes up to 3XL, and are currently working on our fuller bust range which should be out early 2017!

I love the classic lace push-up bra from your collection. What lingerie styles are most popular at the moment?

Thank you – we love that bra too! All of the styles are really popular, but the T-Shirt bra is probably the most popular as it is the kind of bra you can wear every day!

When designing/choosing skin tone items to go into your collection, do you go for popular trendy styles, customer requests, personal favourites or do you take all 3 into account?

When I initially designed the products, I went for the ‘essentials’ like the T-shirt, Strapless and then added something pretty like the lace. Since, we’ve been developing the collection according to customer feedback, which is incredibly valuable to us.

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

We are based in the UK, but our products are available in 9 countries including the US, Portugal, Nigeria & The Middle East.

Are you planning to extend your range in 2017?

Yes, we are currently working on a fuller bust range and a few other exciting ideas, so watch this space!

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

Now that I work for myself, I dress significantly more casual than when I was in finance. Now it’s winter, I can be found wearing a cashmere jumper and some tapered trousers with some loafers, or thick tights with a knee-length dress.

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

I shop a lot less now to be honest! But I do check out the outnet.com every now and then, and hipandhealthy.com to mentally build an amazing work out wardrobe instead of actually doing exercise >_<

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

I’ve got a Nico Giani handbag on my wishlist.

Boots or Shoes? 

I love shoes – boots make me think of cold weather, and I spend all of winter waiting for spring and summer!

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

Website: www.nubianskin.com

Instagram: @nubianskin

Facebook: /Nubianskin

Twitter: @nubianskin

Thank you for visiting us on the blog, Ade.  I think your bras are very pretty – I do like a lacy style to wear every day although the basic t-shirt bra is my go to for workdays!  What about you dear lady readers, do you have a favourite bra style? 

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Nubian Skin.

 

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Jack-It Bag London

Sometimes I come across an item that is so totally different and useful that it is fantastic when I do get to interview the founder/designer concerned.  Today’s blogpost features such an item. Is it a bird or a plane? Is it a jacket or is it a bag? Crazy as it may seem, this item is both a jacket and a fully functional bag.  I caught up with mumpreneur Jo Tribley recently to find out more … Hi Jo and welcome…

Hi, I am Jo, a married mum of two daughters; modern foreign language teacher and now founder and creative director of Jack-it-bag, London. Jack-it-bag , London is a newly launched company, selling unique, stylish jackets that magically convert into neat, compact bags, perfect for busy, style conscious people, who like to live life to the full. The dual-functioning jackets/bags provide a burden free experience, whether at a festival, on a day out, out shopping, at parties, globebetrotting or just out walking the dog!

Your mission is to create stylish outerwear with dual functionality, but what inspired you to create the Jack-It Bag in the first place?

The inspiration for the ‘jack-it-bag’ came from my daughters’ reluctance to wear a jacket or coat when going out to clubs and gigs. They didn’t want to queue for the cloakroom and didn’t want to be burdened with a coat once inside the club, preferring to freeze instead, as winter hit and the temperatures plummeted. After numerous debates/disagreements, I decided I would try and invent a jacket that could be slipped off once inside the club and be quickly converted into a bag. My daughters gave me plenty of criteria that the “jack-it-bag” would have to conform to. It would have to be stylish, so as not to ruin the all important party outfit. It would have to have room to contain all the essentials for a night out, such as their money, phone, keys, lipstick etc; it would have to be easy to convert into a bag, without the need to remove any items; and finally it had to be a neat compact bag, so that they could enjoy a burden free party experience. After much thought and experimentation, I finally designed a prototype, which ticked all these boxes and more besides. The design ensures that possessions are zipped away in secure pockets, some of which are concealed within the bag, thereby ensuring that valuable items are safely tucked away. Some of the fabrics are also wipe clean ,so that if a drink is spilled, your jacket isn’t ruined.

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

My background isn’t in fashion or textiles and nor did I have a particular passion for it. As a young child, I always liked making things and liked sewing, but then I really wanted to be a ballerina!

I love both the Velvet Crush and the Rock Chic Jack-It Bags. What items are proving popular amongst your customers?

The Rock Chic has been very popular as has the Olive Longline bomber jacket and the Relaxed fit bomber jacket.

Out of all your Jack-It Bags, do you have any favourites?

The Rock Chic and Olive longline bomber are also my two personal favourites, although I do like the Party Shimmer. It looks great on and is really eye-catching. The Rock Chic is great because it can be wiped clean and the Olive longline bomber is a fantastic fabric and great when I am walking the dog in our very changeable weather.

I read one review on your website that said: ” (The Jack-It Bag is) one of those things you don’t realise how useful it is until you’ve got one”.  As a fellow mum, I can see it’s usefulness – what did you feel the Jack-it Bag’s main attraction?

The Jack-it-bag is so versatile and I am forever discovering situations when it has really proved so useful. Most recently, whilst Christmas shopping at a very packed Christmas gift fair, it was great to be able to slip off my jacket but not be burdened with having to carry a coat and bag around in addition to all that Christmas shopping. Yet that same jacket also was a great addition to my suitcase for a recent trip to Singapore. Its versatility and dual functionality is definitely the main attraction.

Looking towards Spring/Summer 2017, are you planning to add any new ranges or new colours?

I already have my eye on some great fabrics that pick up on the key colour trends for Spring/summer 2017. I also hope to add some additional ranges including a festival jacket and a gym buddy jacket.

Your company is based in London – is the Jack-it Bag available to purchase worldwide?

The Jack-it-bag is manufactured in London but it can be purchased on the world-wide web at www.jack-it-bag.co.uk. I am happy to ship overseas.

When choosing the Jack-It Bag outer look 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?

The Jack-it-bag is designed to be a classic jacket, either collarless, bomber style or parka style with added hints of the seasons key trends. The classic style is updated to reflect current trends, be that in the choice of fabric, e.g velvet/ checks ( a key trend for autumn/winter 16/17), colour ( Olive green), style ( fitted, longline, relaxed) or with features such as eyelets, pom poms , tassels. The current fashion trends are definitely taken note of but they are quite subtly introduced to what is otherwise a classic style, which will not necessarily date. The customer base is really very varied; in fact there is a jack-it-bag for everyone and I try to choose outers that will suit a multitude of different users, be that a school child with no room in their locker for a school coat to a gap year student to a retired globetrotter.

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

I am a natural classic. I suit structured, tailored, fitted clothing, which is nevertheless comfortable. That doesn’t mean I go around in tailored suits. I love a classic pair of jeans, ankle grazing trousers, cosy knitwear, stripy t-shirts and tailored dresses. You will never find me in anything floaty or frilly. Regarding shoes, I love boots, classic pumps and kitten heels, which are comfortable to wear but still make your legs look amazing.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

My favourite shops are The White Company, Hobbs, Zara and Pure. For shoes I like the Dutch company, Panara.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

I would love a shearling gilet.

Boots or Shoes?

I love my flip-flop sandals. They look good with trousers or dresses and I just love the summer and having the chance to wear them. Maybe it’s because the summer in Britain is so short-lived.

Links you would like to share:

Jack-it-bag, London has its own e-commerce site at www.jack-it-bag.co.uk. You can also follow us on www.instagram.com/jackitbag or on Facebook : Jack-It Bag, London

It has been great talking to you Jo and thank you for introducing us to your fabulous Jack-It Bag.  I think it’s a brilliant idea.  Dear readers, what is on your clothes/shoe/bag wishlist?  Is it a Jack-it Bag?  Do share – as always I love reading your views!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Jo Tribley.  The photography was by Tess Salmon Photography; the model is Olivia.

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Afrika Presents

On the blog today is Mara Menzies, Kenyan-Scottish storyteller and founder of Afrika Presents.  Afrika Presents draws inspiration from Africa’s rich stories and vibrant cultures when designing its products.  I was particularly drawn to their “The African Fashion Design Sketchbook”, a book that combines the history and beauty of African fashion textiles to children, with the aim of inspiring children to want to learn more about the amazing continent. I caught up with Mara recently to find out more…. Hi Mara and welcome….

image

Hi, I’m Mara, a storyteller, founder of Afrika Presents, mother of 2 incredible children, dreamer, dancer, reader and traveller.

“The African Fashion Design Sketchbook” is a book that brings together the incredible history & beauty of fashion textiles from Africa to children. So what was the inspiration behind writing & compiling this book?

I returned home from Kenya and wanted a gift for my daughter and bought a fashion book where she could design a model and I found myself wishing that there was an African version of that so she could create, imagine and explore the things she loved but learn about her African heritage at the same time. Then I thought I’m going to do that and I did! African fashions and textiles are so beautiful and their histories are so intertwined with other cultures around the world but we never hear about that so I took the approach to make sure it was fun but informative too.

image

You are a Kenyan Scottish storyteller – so how come you decided to start up your company, Afrika Presents?

Once the idea of the fashion book was born, there was so much else to explore that it made sense to form the company and think of what direction it could go. Being a storyteller is a real privilege as you share some very personal moments with small groups of people. I felt that there were so many stories to be told, so many other ways to explore such a vast and vibrant continent that it was impossible to do it just by myself. Through Afrika Presents, I have been able to work with a wider range of people – artists, designers, people experienced with the business side of things, and so many more.

image

Africa has many rich stories – do you have a particular favourite tale?

There are so many to choose from but I do love an Ethiopian story about a woman who innocently throws a bone out of the window which is fought over by 2 dogs, which results in 2 boys fighting, then 2 women fighting, then 2 men fighting, then 2 villages fighting until suddenly the whole thing has spiralled out of control. Finally they realise that everyone involved could have stopped it before it reached that terrible point. Sacrifices are made and peace does return but the moral is that we must always think before throwing our bones out of the window. Of course the bone is symbolic of so many things in our lives but I love sharing this story because everyone gets caught up in the ruckus without realising where the story is heading and then suddenly BAM, they get it, and it is a wonderful feeling to take people on that rollercoaster.

image

You are currently developing an app that will bring the pages of the book alive. That project sounds totally awesome, I must say. What parts of the app do you think will particularly grab a child’s attention in more ways than the book?

Yes, we’re really excited about it. There are videos, games and quizzes and we plan to continually upgrade the content too. I think the children (and adults) will really like the interactive elements as they can then test themselves and we live in a digital age so it is amazing to able to fuse pen, paper and the digital world.

What books did you enjoy reading as a child? What genre of books do you enjoy reading now?

I grew up in Kenya and my diet consisted of Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, The Famous Five, The Nancy Drew mysteries, a series of books about twins from various cultures, and we always had National Geographic magazines around the house. I also loved the books where you had to choose which page to go to to change the path of the story. Nowadays, we are lucky to have access to authors from all over the world. I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Muthoni Garland as well as random books that I stumble upon, often with a traditional folktale structure. I’m currently reading The Book of Lost Things which turns folktales on their heads and is hugely enjoyable and thought provoking and I love books about Scottish mythology and mystical creatures. Scotland tells a great story.

image

I have been to Kenya myself and was captivated by the beauty of the country – Mt Kilimanjaro was a particular favourite spot of mine. Have you got a favourite part of Africa? Any part of Africa you haven’t yet visited but is on your bucket list?

One of my favourite memories was at our farm in Kenya which is on the side of a valley. there was a silver river snaking its way at the bottom and quartz in the ground always twinkled at sunset. On one evening, somebody somewhere was playing a reed flute and it was just so beautiful. That is now my favourite place. I’d love to visit Botswana and Namibia and I love Malian music so will hopefully get there too.

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

I am seasonal in the sense that winter I close shop and wear boots, jeans and thick chunky jumpers and go for comfort over fashion. But in the summer I adore bright colours and patterns. I like shoes with small  heels. I can’t wear very high heels but I’ve always loved the grandeur of Victorian fashion and so the shorter, curvier heels make me feel part of that!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love raiding the charity shops and then tweaking what I find at home. I also find treasures in vintage shops. I do visit Zanjoo.com every now and again as they have some fantastic skirts and often match colours successfully that really shouldn’t work but always do. As I go to Kenya every year, I always find stunning fabrics and I have a tailor who makes beautiful clothes so I go with a wishlist. Otherwise I buy basics on the high street.

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

Now we’re heading for winter, it’s time for my annual boot splurge. I would love to own good quality boots in a vibrant red but they are hard to find! I sometimes find incredible boots for my 9 year old that I want in my size!

Boots or Shoes?

Flat boots for everyday comfort and lovely shoes or high heeled boots when I’m trying to impress:)

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

Visit the website at www.afrikapresents.com and we’re at https://www.facebook.com/Afrikapresents

Thank you Mara for introducing your fab company! I have always been fascinated with the continent of Africa and my youngest son has the continent in the number one slot of his bucket travel list – he loves animals and the vast outdoors.  Like you I grew up with the stories of Raold Dahl and Enid Blyton; I read the National Geographic Magazine from cover to cover – and my children have grown up surrounded by the same … along with modern technology.  One African story I liked was about the baobab tree that I heard whilst in Kenya – it is known as the upside down tree as its branches don’t have leaves and they look like tree roots!  Dear readers, are you fascinated by Africa? Would you like to visit? Or have you travelled there already? Do you have an African story to tell? As always, do share – I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Mara Menzies.

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Bull & Dagger

Launched in September 2016, the London based genderqueer fashion  label Bull & Dagger offers an enticing cocktail of classic British styles with a twist of English eccentricity using the finest wools, silks and cottons. “Bulldagger” was once a derogatory term for women who chose to eschew the confines of socially accepted gender boundaries – now, the founder Meera Amin, hopes that the phrase will now mean the fashion label of choice for those women.  I caught up with Meera to find out more…. Hi Meera….

image

Hi! I am Meera Amin, creator of Bull & Dagger – the UK’s first genderqueer fashion label. Bull & Dagger clothing is tailored for gender expression rather than restriction, we have a customer base which includes individuals who identify as queer, androgynous, non-binary, gender fluid, gender neutral, gender non-conforming and trans.

What inspired you to set up your label, Bull & Dagger?

As someone who identifies as a queer woman, not being able to find the masculine clothing that I like in sizes that fit has always been a cause of frustration. I have found that I am certainly not alone in having this frustration, and so I decided to do something about it. I started working on Bull & Dagger approximately a year and a half ago and launched the brand earlier this year.

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

I currently work as a Research Analyst for the legal services oversight regulator for England and Wales. I studied Biochemistry at university and have since worked as an analyst in several different sectors. Prior to creating Bull & Dagger, the closest I’ve come to the fashion industry was when I briefly worked as a fashion photographer after university. Despite my lack of fashion training, I have always had a passion for fashion – particularly formal menswear – and believe that fashion can be an incredibly powerful tool, used to display a personality and image of yourself to the outside world.

image

I like the London Underground Shirt. Early days yet but what pieces are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you – I wanted to create a piece that was fun and reflected the fact the we are a brand that produces all of our clothing in London. The two most popular pieces in the current collection have been the ‘Pleated Floral Silk Panel Shirt’ and ‘Faux Leather Panel Kilt’. Both pieces are truly made for everyone regardless of gender presentation. We’ve take the idea of a classic tuxedo shirt and added in luxury fabrics, colour and bold patterns. The kilt is a fabulous piece which combines plain and tartan wools with an eco-friendly faux leather panel with pockets, and is available in two lengths.

image

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

My favourite outfit in the collection is the Blue and Yellow Double Breasted Blazed with Yellow Shorts – this outfit has classic masculine tailoring, a touch of flamboyance and is made from a beautiful Italian wool blended with 3% Lycra to allow the perfect fit for all body types.

image

Your outfits are a cocktail of impeccable tailoring, bold colours, clever stitching, and flamboyant patterns. Where did you draw inspiration from for your collection?

For my first collection, I have very much created a range of clothing that I personally would love to wear. I am inspired by classic menswear but didn’t want to simply take current menswear trends and then produce them for a range of body types. I wanted the collection to offer something new and different – which is why we have chosen bold colours, flamboyant patterns and a carefully selected range of fabrics.

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

I would love to see Ruby Rose in Bull & Dagger clothing (and not just because of I have a huge girl crush). I think she has a great look and would look incredible in our clothing – and is someone that many of our customers recognise and love.

image

Looking ahead to Spring/Summer – what styles/ colours do you hope will dominate your collection?

As a brand that exists outside of mainstream fashion, and as one of very few brands in the gender queer/ non-conforming space, we have decided not to follow traditional fashion cycles. We will  be adding items to our collection throughout the year and they will be based on a combination of personal inspiration and trends and ideas from the queer community.

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

Our clothing range is available to purchase online and can be delivered globally at no extra charge.

image

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

I tend to wear a smart shirt, waistcoat, bowtie, slim-fit trousers and brogues at all times (except when sleeping, of course). It seems to be the perfect combination for both my day job and my social life.

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

I’m a big fan of Topman (as are many of my queer friends). I would love for Bull & Dagger to do a collaborative genderqueer/gender neutral collection with them someday – making the type of clothes that we produce more accessible.

image

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

A new tailor made suit. We offer a bespoke design and tailor service to customers based in London – a perfectly fitted suit designed just for you feels amazing.

Boots or Shoes?

Brogues, brogues, brogues – all of the time (except when I pop to the coffee shop in my Superman high tops). Comfort and style – although not always suitable in the London rain.

image

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

http://bullanddagger.com/
https://twitter.com/BullAndDagger
https://www.facebook.com/bullanddagger/
https://www.instagram.com/bullanddaggerofficial/

Great talking to you Meera and I hope you do get your dream collaboration with Top Man.  I love the fact that you love brogues, as they are one of my favourite style of shoes – although I am a major boots fan. This season I’ve seen some absolutely fab brogues about in all colours of the rainbow – and also loafers …..and they are so comfortable! So dear readers, do you like the recent trend of brogues and loafers? I think Meera’s fashion label is a breath of fresh air and definitely meets a demand – what’s your view? Do tell!

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission from Bull & Dagger.

The Photographers:  Images Photography by Thomas-James Fisher; Oli Ashrafi-Tari (last photograph)

Share This!
Pin It