Category Archives: Menswear

Spotlight On Samuel Windsor Menswear

I do like the impeccably tailored country look on a gent – tweed jacket, with a lambswool scarf, wool jumper, moleskin or dark denim jeans, and a shirt…. plain or tartan!  Featuring this week on my blog is a company that has specialised in quality formal menswear since 2003, Samuel Windsor.  Come and meet them …

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Your company has specialised in quality formal menswear since 2003. What was the inspiration that launched the company?

The inspiration behind Samuel Windsor is to create clothing which epitomises quintessential British style at an affordable price. The Samuel Windsor collection gives men the opportunity to dress with style and panache for any occasion, ranging from casual wear to formal or black tie, without compromising on quality or breaking the bank! Popular for its footwear, Samuel Windsor is renowned for its hand-stitched Italian leather shoes and boots, of which the majority are made using the Goodyear Welted technique. Again the focus is to create a smart, trendy collection without compromising on quality and available at an affordable price.

This Autumn/Winter, your campaign is very dapper country style clothing – tattershall shirts, wool tweed jackets, lambswool scarves… what inspired your collection?

Put simply – British tradition. The classic country style is often seen on the catwalk, mixing traditional green shades, brown hues and hints of burnt orange with tweed and modern fabrics, which help to give a modern twist to what is essentially a classic style. Our ranges are also guided by the seasons – for example, at present our collection includes warmer, autumnal colours and thicker fabrics.

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What outfits are proving popular in the UK amongst your customers so far this season?

Our brand new Fairisle jumpers matched with a pair of jumbo cords have proved to be a BIG hit this season. Tweed jackets, tattersall shirts and moleskin trousers, finished off with a pair of robust, rubber soled, Goodyear welted shoes. Classic wool mix winter jumpers styled with casual shirts are also very popular for men of every age group.

When designing and putting together a collection, do you take into account the latest trends, customer requests, tried & tested favourites, your own tastes or a bit of all of those?

We take inspiration from many different arenas. In terms of new colour pallets and patterns, we closely monitor trends and the catwalk. In terms of product updates for our best sellers, we develop materials, technology and incorporate new colours and hues. Whilst we have many influences, our primary focus and inspiration always comes down to building the range most suited for classic British gentlemen’s apparel, whether this be in the form of covert coats, tweed jackets, peacoats, jumbo cords or moleskin jeans.

Which famous man would you love to see as the “face” of Samuel Windsor?

Colin Firth

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Looking ahead to Spring/Summer – what styles/ colours / era do you hope to see being worn?

The “dapper” style is very strong and we expect this to continue into 2016, with slightly toned down colours compared to the bright / bold reds / greens we have seen over the last couple of years.

Will you be adding any new items to your range in the future?

For SS16 we have linen shorts in development, as well as some new lightweight summer chino shorts. We also have some new patterned shirts, a summer tweed jacket and finally, a check lightweight wool jacket.

You also sell a range of handmade leather shoes and slippers. What style shoes are proving popular this year?

BV251 – Prestige deck boot
BV242 / 241 – Prestige country boot
BV248 – Prestige Belgravia boot
The rubber soled prestige range
BV240 – Prestige dress shoe
BV3 –Classic penny loafer
BV1 – classic semi brogue
BV135 – classic sandhurst

Although based in the UK, are your clothes available to buy overseas?

We are now fully available in Ireland, and ship to a series of European countries. For the first time, we are entering the US market with our first catalogue out to market this Fall/Autumn.

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

http://www.samuel-windsor.co.uk/
http://blog.samuel-windsor.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/samuelwindsorofficial
http://twitter.com/samuelwindsor

What do you like about the “dapper” style? I’d be interested to know from both my male and female readers – so don’t be shy, leave a comment!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Samuel Windsor.

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An Interview With 7ven Crystals

Despite the spookiness and darkness of Halloween, I think it’s now “time to shine” as I introduce onto the blog Luis of London based 7ven Crystals, whose company makes items into works of art by using the finest Swarovski Crystals.  Everything from jewellery to clothing can be crystal customised and I caught up with Luis recently to shine a light on his sparkly business ….image

Hello my name is Luis Moreira, I’m 28 years old and I am a Portuguese crystals designer. I attended a school in arts but, to be honest, all my life has been connected with arts somehow.  Over the last five years I’ve become more and more experienced in working with this kind of material. I moved to London three years ago because the market is way more open to luxury items than in Portugal. The crystals that we use are from one of the most famous crystal brands – Swarovski.

What inspired you to launch your business venture, 7ven Crystals?

Ever since I was 18/19 I always wanted to start my own business, but at that time I had no idea of what kind of business it would be. Then one day I was watching a fashion show on tv and they were talking about this big brand of crystals called Swarovski. The programme covered everything from how it was made to the designs that they did, and I’ve became obsessed with the idea! I did some research and around three years or so later, I was starting to make some small designs. From that point to starting my own business, I knew that it was only going to be just a matter of time!

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When did you start to get a passion for fashion and art?

The passion for art was first – my grandmother used to draw incredibly well and my uncle from my mother’s side was very talented in arts as well – so I guess that was already in my blood!

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Early days yet I know, but what products are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season for embellishing with Swarovski Crystals?

Oh that’s easy, it’s definitely the high heels and lingerie! There is a slogan that says ” diamonds are a girl’s best friend” – I would like to change that to ” crystals are a girl’s best friend” – simply because diamonds are very expensive and not everybody can afford them, but crystals are luxurious and glamorous but still much more affordable for any lady. It’s not only for ladies –  we make items for gents as well, watches for example.

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

Probably a pink and white crystal bracelet and a black watch I did for an international celebrity. The bracelet was my first big design.

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What has been the most unusual item you’ve decorated with the crystals?

The most unusual request was from a lady that asked me to glue a crystal onto her leg – for obvious reasons I didn’t do it! The most unusual item that I’ve done was probably a trash can – the lady loved crystal items and asked me if it was possible to do it. Of course I said yes, because any item is doable. One of the things I really liked was the fact that this lady understood our brand message.  I would like to make it very clear, that we can make any item not only from our collection but from your own house as well. Basically you can become the designer – just let us know your idea and we will make it happen. Remember the old shoes that you don’t wear anymore because they are old and ugly? We can make them look even better than they were new.

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How long does it take to embellish a standard pair of heels?

It depends! If we are talking about a pair of heels with just the heel in crystals then maybe around one hour.  If the customer asks for a pair of shoes all covered with crystals it will take approximately one to two days, but if it’s urgent it is possible to make them in seven hours.

Looking ahead – are you hoping to expand your collection of ready embellished items or will you be concentrating on doing bespoke items?

For me the biggest priority is to get 7ven Crystals known by as many people as I can! In terms of collection, yes, I am preparing a new collection to be released after my planned photoshoot. But I love it when a customer comes along with his own ideas for the items.

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

Yes, we can ship items anywhere in the world. That is one of the reasons that we are doing a photo shoot – to get ourselves known worldwide! I was very lucky that I’ve got a brilliant, gorgeous model (Cat Voysey) and the only thing I can say is that this shoot is going to be out of this world – so stay tuned everybody! Well, our slogan is Time To Shine!

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

Always  jeans – I love jeans – and probably a white shirt, leather jacket, and  a nice watch. I have a passion for watches! In terms of footwear, probably Christian Louboutin trainers. (And, of course, some crystal item!)

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Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes, The 7Ven Crystals ahahaha! I have – probably the essentialone.com for new daddies and mummies.

What’s next on your clothes/shoes wishlist?

Buscemi Trainers – I am in love with them, and a MCM backpack.

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Boots or Shoes?

It depends on the weather!  When it comes to the ladies, I think a high heel shoe will always look prettier than a pair of boots.

Links you would like to share:

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Seven-Crystals/1488583511369929?ref=hl

Twitter: @7venCrystals

Website:http://wallett7777.wix.com/the7vencrystals

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Thank you for dazzling us with your beautiful crystal products!  I have had a phone case crystallised and many of my friends have had their shoes crystallised with stunning results.  A crystallised bra top would be really fab to own (although not sure if I would be brave enough to strut my stuff in one…. well, I might need a glass or two of wine beforehand!) Tell me, dear readers, have you had anything crystallised? What would you love to have embellished with gorgeous crystals?  Do tell!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from 7ven Crystals.

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An Interview With Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor

New Delhi, Mumbai, Hong Kong …. and now East Shopping Centre in London  – Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor is one of India’s leading couture brands and since opening their first UK boutique in London in June 2015 they have been looking forward to introducing fashion straight from the catwalks in India to the British Asian Market.  Not only is it their first UK boutique, but Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor are the first couturiers from India to have a stand alone store in the UK. Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor regularly dress A-list Bollywood celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Anushka Sharma, Kangana Ranaut, Katrina Kaif, Hema Malin, Mallika Sherawat, Lara Dutta – as well as some of India’s elite socialites. I caught up with the lovely Anjalee to find out more about her brand and her hopes for the brand’s influence in the UK.

Hi Anjalee and welcome!image

Hi! I’m Anjalee.  I am a perfectionist in everything I put my hands on. You probably won’t know this but…I love to paint (canvas) and Arjun has a great flare for interiors. Had he not been a designer for clothes, he would be designing homes. He is extremely houseproud and the little details in our house are his magical touch.

What inspired you to enter the world of fashion?

Because I was passionate about it, I have been creatively inclined since my childhood. I paint as well. I believe creativity cannot be restricted only to one medium. For me, designing clothes is like nurturing my child; step by step and putting in my best. Playing with colours comes naturally to me, and putting a mix and match in and styling the silhouettes gives me a lot of creative satisfaction.

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What attracted you to designing wedding outfits?

My mindset was always fascinated on effective artwork. I love to choose different article themes every season and interpreting them my way on the garments. Rich ornamentation, vibrant colour mixes, mix and match of fabrics, styling the garments – all leads to creating one of a kind couture garment. I love playing with the details that are present in every outfit of ours. So I guess our style mantra is more inclined towards occasion dressing.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your collections?

Season to season I look for different inspirations which I could incorporate into the collection. The Spring/Summer collection influence has been from the Persian architecture and culture. I have incorporated rich motive grids combined with a lot of layering techniques. My previous themes have been jamavar aria, Mughal Opera, Phantom of the Opera, etc.

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Who is the Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor customer?

The typical AAK girl is a glamorous girl with great body language, great carriage and the right attitude. She is flamboyant and wants to wear an impactful statement piece for the most important day of her life.

What is your definition of style?

Being glamorous and making our AAK girl stand out. Our garments have a strong signature look which we have followed. Since we started the label it has that zing factor which is a complete transformation when one wears it. We aspire to give that feel good factor to every AAK girl and guy.

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What do you consider is the perfect outfit?

We style a variety of outfits giving options to our clients and tailoring each look. Each outfit looks different on different body types, but as long as the outfit brings out the best in you, I would consider that particular ensemble as the perfect outfit.

When grooms and brides visit your studio in London, what would they find?

Stylish ensembles that create a strong statement when worn. Glamorous outfits with a lot of oomph!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Our standalone stores in different parts of the world. We are planning for more flagship stores in the coming future in other countries as well.

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What is your dream for the future?

I would like the AAK brand to become a sought after global brand with stores all around the world.

What will your next fashion challenge be?

To set up a western global couture line and have it available all around the world.

What do you predict would be the bridal look for the next season?

Lots of interesting drapes over their lehengas, (skirts) fusion concepts for pre-wedding functions, lots of floral ideas in ornamentations, layered styles in anarkalis, mughale styles for the grooms on the wedding day.

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What difference do you find in brides overseas for example, UK and Indian brides?

The Indian Brides in India are more experimental in the silhouettes, colours and concepts. They are willing to try newer looks. The Brides in UK are more traditional in their dressing and love to stick to conventional colours for their wedding day.

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You can find the Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor studio in London’s East Shopping Centre, Green Street, London E7.

https://anjaleeandarjunkapoor.com

You can also follow Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor on Twitter :

@Anjalleekapoor

@ AAKapoorLondon

For details of East Shopping Centre, check out my blogpost HERE.

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Thank you for chatting to me Anjalee and those dresses are absolutely exquisite. A friend of mine got married a few years ago in a gorgeous red taffeta and black lace wedding dress – she looked stunning. Did you get married or are you getting married in a dress/outfit that isn’t in the conventional colours?  Do tell & share your stories…

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor.

 

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An Interview With Messina Hembry Clothing

If you enjoy hunting for vintage clothing and preloved designer garments on websites such as Ebay and ASOS marketplace, then my guest this week would be a familiar name to you.  Messina Hembry is eBay’s largest retailer of secondhand branded clothing and is one of the top 10 boutiques on ASOS marketplace. They have now launched their own new stand-alone e-boutique to compliment their existing outlets and I caught up with founder Zac Hembry to find out more. Hi Zac…image

Hi there! I’m Zac Hembry the founder here at Messina Hembry Clothing.

What inspired you to launch Messina Hembry?

I always had a desire to start my own business once I had left university. I wanted to create something which could offer people real savings and doing it in the most environmentally friendly way possible. I always had a keen interest in buying and selling second hand designer clothing on eBay which lead to the creation of Messina Hembry.

Have you always had a passion for fashion?

I have always loved designer brands but I found the new price tags really limiting. I always had to shop smart on places like eBay or etsy. There is something really satisfying knowing that someone has already paid 4-5 times the price for the same item. My passion for fashion definitely came from the savings from buying second hand pieces.

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When choosing outfits to represent Messina Hembry, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences, the uniqueness, the brand or bits of all those?

We always try to choose our most exclusive pieces when picking out styles for Messina Hembry. We want really want to show off the pieces which people can’t get hold of anymore. Some of the more difficult stuff we like to show off include any Moschino, Versace and YSL are always winners!

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My favourite items from your website are the collection of Diesel jeans – timeless pieces! What outfits/brands are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

We’ve always got a high demand for any Ralph Lauren and Lacoste. I think we because we offer such great savings on these brands it’s really pushed the demand forward. Whenever we can get hold of the more expensive brands like Burberry, Armani and D&G they always go really fast as well!

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Your company is the largest retailer of secondhand branded clothing on eBay and one of the top 10 boutiques on the ASOS marketplace as well as having your new standalone e-boutique. What do you feel was the hardest part of getting your company launched? What advice would you give to others who aspire to see their passions materialise into reality?

The hardest part has definitely been building the inventory up. As every individual item has to be photographed, measured and listed online we had months of really hard work to ensure our stock levels were large enough to give our customers a lot of choice. There was a lot to learn in a short space of time so I would advise anyone with a similar idea to ensure they’ve done their homework and make sure you are familiar with the rules and regulations on any marketplaces you’re thinking of selling on.

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Which famous lady or man would you love to see as the “face” of Messina Hembry?

It’s a long shot but we’d really love to see someone like Leonardo DiCaprio representing the brand. He loves his designer clothing whilst having a keen interest in the environment and I really think that’s the way I want to push the company forward. We want people to understand not only are there great savings in second hand clothing but the environmental benefits are astounding as well.

As you are based in the UK, is your clothing range available overseas too?

We currently ship worldwide on our eBay store & ASOS marketplace boutique. On our website we only currently ship to the EU, Australia and USA.

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

Normally it has to be a Ralph Lauren shirt, Diesel  jeans, Nike trainers and Barbour jacket. All of course from Messina Hembry.

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

There are some really good online thrift stores in America like Twice or Poshmark which we tried to use to as guidance for the business. We also really like Etsy for unique designer vintage clothing.

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

www.messinahembry.com
https://www.facebook.com/messinahembryclothing
https://twitter.com/messinahembry
https://instagram.com/messinahembry/

Thanks for chatting to us today Zac and I wish your business every success. Dear readers, what has been your best vintage/preloved fashion item that you’ve bought?  I once picked up a fab dotty Next dress that still had the tag in it from a local jumble sale about 12 years ago for the princely sum of 50p – I was really chuffed with it as the tag marked it up around the £50 mark! It saw me through quite a few social events & parties that year!

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission of Zac Hembry

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An Interview With Impala Clothing

Capturing the vibrancy of Africa, Impala Clothing oozes bright colours and bold patterns of African textiles combined with western tastes and trends. Physiotherapist turned fashion designer Yaw Acquah has launched a fabulous brand which also oozes his passion for fashion as well as being an inspiration to others.  I found out more about this bright, vivacious brand  … hi and welcome to the blog Yaw…image

Hello, I’m Yaw.  I’m the founder/creative director/general dogsbody at IMPALA.

What inspired you to launch your own fashion label, IMPALA clothing?

It’s a long winded story which involves a few different influences!
Well, I guess the idea first came to me when I started wearing a traditional African shirt out and about and got a really positive response. So that started the cogs churning.  The first idea was entirely based on producing one off shirts and skirts made from traditional wax print material, which is where a number of our vintage pieces such as the Wax Print Drum Skirt came from. But looking around the market, I could see a few companies already doing a similar thing. So I went back to the drawing board. I started to notice brands like HYPE!, Rachet Clothing and Jaded London, who made use of sublimation and digital prints. So I started to wonder if I could blend the African aesthetic with that streetwear look, in order to produce something more fresh and contemporary. That’s where I came to the current incarnation of IMPALA.

You were previously a physiotherapist – so when did you start to get a passion for fashion?

Actually I have always had an interest in fashion in someway. Admittedly, that has involved a few fashion faux pas over the years, such as my ‘nu-rave’ phase. When I was 14, I actually made a load of t shirt designs under the name Jungle Clothing. So, in someways, this is more of a rekindling of a passion, rather than completely coming to it afresh.

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You’re a new fashion brand with a fresh & fun approach to fashion – infusing vibrant colours and bold patterns typical of African textiles with contemporary Western fashion themes. So, when choosing outfits to represent your brand, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

For this first collection, it has definitely been a case of trying to gauge what would be popular in the coming season. So I spent a lot of time looking at other brands, fashion shows and bloggers to try and plan ahead. But being the only member of the team at the moment there is definitely a lot of ‘me’ in the collection. It certainly feels like a very personal project.

My favourite item from your collection is the vibrant wax print pencil skirt with drum print. What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

A definite favourite is the Tribal chevrons pullover. We’ve nearly sold out of that item in some sizes. That may have something to do with the arctic weather we had around our launch date. But to be honest most of our range has had a really great response. So I’m very grateful for that.

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

I’m a sucker for the Ankara T shirt, although it’s a toss up between that and the Uganda t-shirt. The brighter the better for me.

Battling with both dyslexia and ADHD, you have managed to follow your dream nevertheless. What do you feel was the hardest part of getting your label launched? What advice would you give to others who aspire to see their passions materialise into reality?

I certainly feel that the hardest part of launching the label is getting the name of IMPALA  out there. I have eschewed using the traditional marketplaces, such as ebay and etsy; the site is essentially an island on the internet. Which means I have to work extra hard to drive traffic to the site. I’m concentrating on engaging the media and bloggers, as well as looking to build on my social media and blog presence.

Which famous lady or man would you love to see as the “face” of IMPALA clothing?

Simply because I have a massive crush on her, I’m going to go with Rashida Jones. Although honourable mentions go to Solange Knowles and Lupita Nyogo.

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Your collection is full of striking bold and vibrant colours – which I am a big fan of! Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2015 – what styles/ colours / new products do you hope to introduce to your collection?

Looking towards the A/W collection, there will be a definite move towards the more muted and earthy tones seen in African textiles – for instance, from Ghana some of the reds and blacks of the traditonal funeral cloths. As well as that I have a few half formed ideas, such as doing a football themed range or something using some tribal symbols. I’m definitely still in the creative stage so watch this space.

As you are based in the UK, is your clothing range available overseas too?

Yes, we are selling our items throughout the EU at the moment and we will be shipping worldwide in the near future.

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

Haha, I’m having a bit of an “interesting” phase at the moment. I’ve been pairing a black roll neck with a thin neck chain, dark skinny jeans, and brogues.

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

I’m going stick up for my fellow Brummies and say We Are Cow. They have a really cool vintage shop in Digbeth, I love their stuff.

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

I would absolutely love a pair Nike ‘run roches’ with a palm tree feed. So if there are any kindly Nike execs reading this, gifts are greatly appreciated.

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely shoes. Aged 17, I had a “Russell Brand” phase and wore pointy boots everywhere, suffice to say it didn’t workout well. Now I’m more careful in footwear choices.

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/impalaclothing/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/impala_clothing
Instagram: http://instagram.com/impalaclothing/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl6EgVlqH_XrPTb5EfQCuQA

Thank you very much for being a fab guest!  The bright colours and patterns of West Africa always makes me feel cheerful and I look forward to seeing the earthy red tones too this Autumn.  I wish you well with your plans for the future and I’m sure IMPALA will be a big success.  So dear reader, are you a fan of bright colours? Do they cheer you up too? I’m a big fan of greens, yellows, oranges, reds and turquoise/aqua blues. I’d love to know your favourites, drop me a line and share your views!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Yaw Acquah (IMPALA clothing)

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An Interview With Mad4Tools & Scruffs Womenswear

imageLadies, if you work in an office or a similar environment where smart clothing is de rigeur, finding suitable work clothes is fairly easy.  If you work in an industry where your work clothes need to be tough, waterproof and safety orientated, your choice is limited – often resulting in wearing menswear or unisex that isn’t always flattering or comfortable.  Mad4Tools – a shop renowned for its quality tools and workwear, has just expanded into womenswear launching a new range of high quality workwear that is not only stylish and feminine, but has paid attention to the cut of the garment as well as featuring safety requirements of the highest standard.  I spoke to Mad4Tools director, Paul Swain, to find out more … welcome Paul…

Hi! I am Paul Swain, director of Mad4tools.com; passionate about providing an online one stop shop for quality tools, equipment and workwear for all.

Mad4Tools are an online tools and equipment store launched in 2012. What gave you the idea to expand into women’s workwear for 2015?

When we first launched our website we did offer some standard workwear and safety boots for women although it was largely just men’s clothing described as womens (not by us, I’d hasten to add). Though we did receive interest in the womenswear we felt that, after having had several conversations with regular customers and contacts in the industry, there is a gap in the market place for more stylish and fitting workwear much like what is available for men. After speaking with our suppliers about this last year, it was confirmed that for winter 2014/15, Scruffs would launch a brand new stylish and fitted range of safety boots and clothing as a starter into the womens market.

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Your womenswear collection is supplied & designed by Scruffs who are known for providing innovative safety footwear & clothing for tradesmen. What did you feel was so special about adding their ladieswear collection to your repertoire?

We already supply Scruffs safety boots and clothing and since 2003, it has become the largest workwear brand in this industry. This is because the clothes are generally of high quality, very well thought out from a functionality point of view and look great as well with some bold designs and styles. The range that has been released is the tip of the iceberg also as this is just an initial range to see what works and is popular. On top of this Scruffs are known for doing things properly by not cutting corners and providing good details on what makes each garment or boot better or different from the next.

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I must admit I do love the Goliath Cleo Pink Ladies Waterproof Safety Boots – very trendy & fine looking yet exude high safety requirements including being oil and slip resistant. What ladieswear or footwear seems to be going down well with your lady customers?

Yes, the Cleo safety boots have always been popular. They were with us from our initial range of womens workwear and safety boots. These have been supplied to customers all over the world.  Of the new Scruffs range, the Edens have been significantly more popular. Two of our most popular items of womens clothing currently are the Scruffs Women’s Executive Jacket and the Scruffs Women’s Worker Plus Black Trousers.

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When it comes to workwear – what item seems to be most popular bought by your male customers?

Safety boots always out sell work clothing. For us, the most popular currently being the Switch Back Safety Boots available in brown, tan and black finish and second to safety boots are our Trade Work Trousers. Currently the standard trade trousers are being phased out for a new breed of trousers regarded as a 3D Trade trousers as the trousers are cleverly made so that the trousers better fits the shape of your leg and that pockets and knee pads are off set so that when the user is wearing them, the pockets are angled in such a way that things do not fall out of them or dig into the side of your leg; also the knee pad area is at a slightly different angle also so that it stays in position when in the crouched/kneeling position. That on top of the standard high quality reinforced stitching in high pressure areas and other great rip resistant materials, it makes for a great new type of trouser.

Scruffs design their workwear to provide fashion inspired trousers, tops, base layers, shirts and rain suits made from active performance materials. Have you had any unusual stock requests from customers though?

We had a customer in Singapore that wanted the Cleo safety boots to confirm that the ones we were selling were legitimate Goliath safety boots as there were some counterfeit ones on the market in Singapore and they did not meet the high safety standards that are delivered in the Goliath safety boot range. Obviously we reassured her that we only deal with the manufacturers so all our products are legitimate.

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You offer worldwide delivery. What work safety clothing/footwear is most popular overseas?

We have a customer in the Philippines who buys a lot of Acid Safety wellington boots from us as well as chemical safety suits – these are arguably the most popular products for us internationally currently.

What work clothing/footwear can we look forward to seeing online for Summer 2015?

We have a range of professional trade work shorts coming out in the Summer and a new range of men’s Scruffs safety boots. We also have a new Active Wear T-Shirt with 50+ SPF protection as well as being light weight and moisture wicking.

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Hypothetically speaking, what famous person would you love to have as the “face” of Mad4Tools/Scruffs?

Lee Evans,  because he is the sort of guy you could imagine running on stage with a chainsaw in his hand much like our mascot Madly. However, we wouldn’t want Madly to feel second best, so we might have to have Lee Evans in a Madly suit. 😉

Being in the tools/equipment industry for over 30 years, what was the best piece of business advice you ever received? And dare I say it, the worst (in respect that you followed the advice but it didn’t work out as you hoped)?

This advice is not necessarily just business, but the best piece of advice I had was to not give up, you don’t get anything worth having without hard work. Worst advice, this is a hard one for me, even something that goes badly based on a suggestion I don’t necessarily believe it was bad as I always take something away from the situation, though one was that we should get a large stock of one particular heater into stock this winter as they sold out last winter and we still have a lot of them now!

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

It’s fair to say that I don’t go shopping enough or as much as I would like. I tend to wear Diesel brown leather shoes, jeans, a polo shirt and a thin but warm coloured jumper. I have been know to wear the odd floral shirt also.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I don’t necessarily favour any particular sites, in fact I’d prefer to shop somewhere a bit off the beaten track so sometimes you can get some great different stuff through eBay and Amazon from international retailers. Delivery times are somewhat extended although you do end up with something you don’t see on the high street every day. I do, however, buy a few things from ASOS.

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

I could really do with some casual trainers and a gilet. 

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots. I’m not sure if it’s because I played a lot of basketball when I was younger or what, but I prefer the feel of a boot. Although saying that, for the office, where I spend most of my days, a shoe.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Mad 4 Tools and Scruffs.

You can find us on Facebook by searching for Mad4Tools.com and you can follow us @mad4toolscom. Our website is mad4tools.com.

Thank you very much for speaking with us Paul.  It’s an area of womenswear I never really considered before but there was definitely a gap in the market for decent workwear for women in industries that are not office based and I’m so pleased that Scruffs have stepped up to the challenge.  What do you ladies think? Do let me know!

Linda x

Photo Credits : Published with kind permission of Mad4Tools.com/ Scruffs Womenswear

 

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Spotlight on East Shopping Centre

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Saturday 14th March 2015 sees the grand opening of not only London’s latest shopping centre but it is Europe’s first purpose-built boutique Asian shopping centre, East Shopping Centre, based in Green Street, London E7 – not far from West Ham’s football ground and Newham’s other recently built shopping centre, Westfield Stratford. Following its successful soft launch on January 24th 2015, East Shopping Centre has generated around 200 jobs for the local area as well as injecting much needed enthusiasm for shopping locally. Built on the one acre site of the former bus depot, the centre has retained its original facade but has incorporated the latest eco friendly touches such as solar panels, water flow restrictors, and carefully resourced building materials – protecting resources and saving money too. Green Street has always had an important trade and cultural heritage – my own mother bought her wedding dress from a Green Street dressmaker back in 1962 – and East Shopping Centre hope to build upon and become part of that heritage too.

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So, what’s inside the shopping centre? Major Asian fashion outlets are represented including Zarkan of London, Andaaz Fashion, Memsaab, Imaani London…plus other non fashion companies including Urban Chocolatier and Coffee Republic too. There is a “souk” comprising of smaller, local stores selling everything from costume jewellery to mobile phones – menswear, shoes, bags…

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Overlooking the shopping centre is a spectacular food court where you’ll find food delights such as Piri Piri Chicken from the Roosters chain, desserts and mocktails galore from Lost Asia, American-style burgers from Brioche Burgers… getting hungry?

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Being indoors, the centre is ideal as an all year round shopping venue and with its late night closing time, your shopping pleasure is not hurried.

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So, as I was saying, Saturday 14th March is the official opening day and from 12pm West Ham MP Lyn Brown will be cutting the ribbon. There will be lots going on – the centre will be creating a mela atmosphere with music, dhol players, face painting and much more. East Shopping Centre is also offering raffle tickets giving one lucky winner the chance to win a luxury weekend holiday for two in Dubai, £1000 gift voucher to spend at East Shopping Centre and two iPad Mini 3’s. The first 100 people to arrive on Saturday will receive vouchers to the food court worth £10. All proceeds raised from the raffle will be donated to Masoom, a locally based charity that supports vulnerable women and children around the world.

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East Shopping Centre can be found at 232-236 Green Street, London E7 8LE.

For more information, you can follow East Shopping Centre via their website – www.eastshoppingcentre.com – or via Twitter @EastShopping; Facebook: East Shopping Centre; Instagram: EastShopping

Hope to see you all there! Happy Shopping!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Puja Vedi

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An Interview With Kevin Garlick – Shoemaker

Talking shoes this week – but not just any shoe –  oh no! I’m chatting to a shoemaker who makes shoes for re-enactors, films, theatres, TV and museums from Madame Thaussauds to Plimoth Plantation USA, amongst others.  His skill, attention to detail and workmanship really is wow – and I bet most of us have seen on screen, at least, a pair of shoes lovingly recreated by Kevin. Without further ado, let’s meet the guy … welcome, Kevin ..image

Hi! My name is Kevin Garlick, I am a shoemaker who specialises in making historic period shoes. My all time favourite period are the shoes from the 1920s – 1940s. The age of sensible footwear.

Have you always wanted to be a shoemaker?

I worked in Engineering as a fabricator for half my working life but as manufacturing in this country declined I realised that it was time to do something else, so that is why I turned what was a hobby into a business.

What do you like best about handmaking shoes for re-enactors, films, theatres & museums?

I suppose there is a certain sense of achievement in knowing that lots of people will see your work.

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You have a background in re-enacting yourself – what characters have you portrayed? Who was your favourite?

I was once very interested in the Napoleonic period and spent many years as a re-enactor. I was never interested in being an officer and was happy to stay in the ranks as a French infantryman. I also took part in living history events as a shoemaker, teaching and demonstrating to school children different periods of shoemaking.image

You have produced footwear for many famous institutions such as BBC Television, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Madame Taussauds, and Plimoth Plantation USA. What was the hardest or most unusual footwear you have had to make?

I have been involved in many productions for theatre companies, television, operas, and films. I would have to say that the most interesting work was for Shakespeare’s Globe as I was often making ladies shoes in men’s sizes and some of the shoes I was asked to make by the costume designer were often very unusual and not the everyday stuff that the re-enactors were ordering.

imageThe measuring process includes asking for 2 outlines of the client’s foot. What’s the main differences between bespoke footwear and “on the shelf” shoes? What are the most important measurements or details you need when making a shoe?

The outlines and measurements of a customer’s feet are very important as a fit can only be as good as the information you are given. I ask my customers to draw around each foot with an upright pencil but you would be surprised how many of them get this wrong.

imageHave you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?

As I have said I love the shoes from the 1920s, I love the colour combinations and the different textures of leather and of course the styles.

You specialise in making pairs of ladies & men’s Swing Jive shoes. What is so special about these shoes?

Shoes for Swing Jive and Lindy Hop are normally higher in the back than normal, also the shoes have to be well balanced for ease of movement and comfort. Particular attention is paid to the pitch and heel height so that the shoe can rock to lift the heel quickly for faster steps.

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What famous person would you like to see parading around in your designs?

I have made shoes for lots of famous names but I can honestly say that although it’s good these people don’t ever think about the shoes as they are just a prop and not something personal to them. I get a lot more satisfaction making a pair for somebody who loves their shoes and appreciates the work that went into them, you never get this with actors.

imageWere you ever tempted or are you tempted, to introduce “ready made” shoes to your repertoire in future?

It would be nice to produce ready made shoes in stock sizes but then the shoes would all be the same just different sizes. By doing what I am doing I can offer customers a choice of colour and style and produce a shoe that is unique to them.

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

Normally I will be found in dirty old work clothes as I seem to be working long hours, but I still wear 1920’s shoes, although in desperate need of repair after five years of continuous wear. When I do get a chance to go out I usually wear 1930’s style clothes as I hate modern styles as everything is cheaply made and looks like a sack.

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

I plan to make a pair of 1940’s triple wedge sandals in red, white and blue. I have wanted to make these for some time but never had the time. It will happen soon as it has become a bit of an obsession.

Links:

http://www.kgarlick-shoemaker.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/kevingarlickshoes

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Thank you Kevin … I adore the shoes and boots!  I find it interesting that some of the shoes from yesteryear are not too dissimilar to the shoes available for general wear today. I have shown photographs of my favourites out of Kevin’s collection – what era of shoe making tickles your fancy? Do drop me a line and let me know!

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission of Kevin Garlick

 

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An Interview With LM Glow Tights

There’s nothing better than wearing some smooth thick tights on a cold winters day, underneath trousers as a thermal layer or as part of an ensemble with skirt, baggy jumper and boots.  Being just 5 foot 3 , I don’t have a problem finding tights to fit my height and can wear the one size offerings quite easily.  My taller friends have a problem though – whilst catering for the wider girth, the plus size tights are still the same size as ordinary tights in the legs.  So, what do you do when you’re around 6 foot?  A couple of months ago, fellow hosiery blogger Hosiery For Men reviewed some new tights he received from a business called L M Glow that specialises in tights designed for people who are 5ft8″ to 6ft 3″ tall.  He waxed lyrical about them!  I chatted to the lovely Charlotte to find out more about these fab tights.  Welcome Charlotte:image

Hi! I’m Charlotte Harris, a twenty-five year old Londoner and founder of LM Glow, a new business providing comfortable tights for taller men and women.

What inspired your brand name, “LM Glow”?

The brand name “LM Glow” was inspired by a Victorian phrase – “Horses sweat, men perspire, ladies [merely] glow” – and summarises my ambition for the brand. I want men and women to be able to wear comfortable tights that reduce the effects of clammy feet and leave them free to Glow.

Did you have a love of fashion at a young age? What made you want to enter the hosiery world?

imageI’ve always loved clothes and there is nothing I like more than to see someone elegantly – or bravely! – dressed. I decided to enter the hosiery world because, at 5’11” and with clammy feet, I was sick of ill-fitting, uncomfortable tights. I’d spent years worrying about how to subtly pull up my tights before they ended up around my ankles, having gussets cut into my mid-thighs, and stressing about whether my feet smelt in my tights. In 2013 I finally decided to do something about it. The result is LM Glow and nearly a year on, the Tall Comfort tights are available to purchase in black. Specifically designed for heights between 5’8” and 6’3” and containing Bamboo Charcoal which helps reduce the effects of clammy and sweaty feet, they are for tall women and men who want to give their legs and feet an easy ride through life.

Your Tall Comfort Tights currently only come in black – and I think that that colour would always remain a firm favourite amongst customers as the colour goes practically with everything! Have you any plans afoot to launch any other colours in 2015?

I would love to develop the range of products further. There have been requests for the Tall Comfort tights to be available in natural skin tones and this would be where LM Glow will hopefully go next. Any suggestions from potential customers are always welcome and can be made by email (lottiemay@lmglow.co.uk) or on Twitter @lmglowtights. To see what suggestions other people are making and to follow our offers and updates, please follow me at twitter.com/lmglowtights.

The tights are comfortable, long lasting mould to the body and provide odourless relief from the impact of clammy feet. What materials make up the tights to ensure that? Do they need special washing treatment or can they go in the washing machine?

The tights have a 20% spandex content which mean they mould to the body thus ending the curse of mid-thigh gussets whilst providing some support to the hips and thighs. This is further aided by a broad waistband. Incorporating bamboo charcoal, a wicking material, the tights also provide odourless relief to the effects of clammy feet, allowing the wearer to get on and make the most of their day. The tights are hand wash only and this is the recommended washing treatment but I have stuck mine in the washing machine with no adverse effects.

Ideal for both men and women, they are designed for people from 5’8″ to 6’3″ – as the sizing goes on height not width, do the tights stretch around the thigh if you are more portly in that region?

The tights have fitted various body types and they will fit a lot of people who may consider themselves to be larger in the thigh region. If, however, you buy a pair and they are too tight or do not fit at all, you are always welcome to return the tights and you will get a full refund.

imageI love the fact that your tights are available in single packs as well as in packs of 5, 6 and 7. What pack size tends to be most popular?

The single packs have tended to be the most popular to date as people will often buy a pair to check they like them before coming back to buy more. The second most popular is the 5 pack. It is worth noting that even when you buy the 5, 6 or 7 packs, the tights are always individually packaged so that if you wanted to give them as presents, perhaps as stocking fillers or a secret Santa gift, whilst keeping some for yourself, the bigger packs will probably prove the more economical option.

If it was possible, who would you like to see being the “legs” of LM Glow?

Ooh, that’s a difficult one! I think I’d want, at least, one female and one male “legs”, and for the female “legs” I think I’d have to go with Gwendoline Christie who plays Brienne in Game of Thrones and is incredibly elegant. For the male “legs”, I think Jack Donnelly who plays Jason in Atlantis or Usain Bolt as I think they’ve got fantastic legs!

 Are your tights only available in the UK or do you cater for overseas customers too?

imageThe tights are only available in the UK if bought through the website (www.lmglow.co.uk). International customers, in particular those in the US, Canada and the rest of the EU, can, however, purchase the tights through eBay.

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

Jeans and a jumper, or jumper dress with thick tights are probably my favourite outfits. I love winter for the very reason that you can layer up and wear the big jumpers. I have a big, heavy winter coat which I love and I will often be seen going for walks in my knee length coat covering a winter dress or skirt, tights and walking boots. The only downside of winter is that in poorer weather I can’t always wear my heels and I love wearing heels! Unless I’m going for a walk, I like to be in sizeable heels as they make me feel great and I think they create an elegant silhouette.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love the actual act of shopping and I like looking in a wide range of shops and online sites, even ones that don’t necessarily cater for someone of my age, build or height, just to get different ideas about what to wear and what colours and styles to put together. Being quite tall, I can struggle to find clothes that fit and so, I tend to go to certain shops for certain items of clothing. For example, I always get my jeans from GAP because they size their jeans by height as well as width. In addition, I like to get my everyday shoes from M&S where they do half sizes as a matter of course and I tend to find the fit and comfort of their heels to be quite exceptional.

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

This is a hard one because I never know what I want until I see it.

imageBoots or Shoes? 

Boots. Definitely. There is nothing more versatile or empowering than a pair of calf high boots with a little heel. They can be worn with anything and, if they fit properly, they feel great.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow LM Glow

The website is http://www.ladiesandmenglow.co.uk/  and you can keep up to date with our offers and updates via:

• Twitter: @lmglowtights

• Facebook: www.facebook.com/LMGlowTights

• Instagram: http://instagram.com/lmglow

• Tumblr: http://lmglowtights.tumblr.com/ or

• Google+: http://google.com/+LmglowCoUk

Any suggestions from potential customers are always welcome and can also be made by email (lottiemay@lmglow.co.uk).

Thanks Charlotte! I hope that all you lovely tall ladies and gentlemen fill your Christmas stockings with these tights!  Let’s all be snug as a bug in tights this winter!  Don’t forget to let me know how you got on with the tights – I love to read your feedback 🙂

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Charlotte Harris (LM Glow)

 

 

 

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