Category Archives: Menswear

Paisley Love – An Interview With Aasen Stephenson

424300_335863973131091_188850434499113_1092796_744810175_nThis week I’m interviewing the totally awesome Aasen Stephenson – the fabulous tattooist/engraver whose talents grace the leather of the fabulous Jeffery-West shoes – ahead of the upcoming Jeffery West event at Selfridges in London (15 – 21  April) where Aasen will be showcasing his talents in store and if you pop in and buy a pair of the equally fabulous Jeffery – West shoes, he will engrave them for you there and then.  How cool is that?! Aasen will be in the store from 12pm – 7pm from the 17 – 21 April.   So, let’s meet this guy! Hi Aasen, welcome to the blog! Please introduce yourself:

My name is Aasen Stephenson and I am a designer/maker based in Northampton.
Your engraving on Jeffery West shoes is exquisite – where do you get your inspiration from?
Exquisite! Thank you!  You mean the inspiration for the designs I do on the shoes?.. these come from the customer ideally..but if they get stuck I’m there to help with anything and steer them the right way if I can.. but I have done some of my own designs.. engraving using a tattoo gun .. well it’s easy to just do classic tattoo designs onto the shoe..which look great I mean..but for me I always try and think of ideas that could sit on the shoe and look part of the shoe rather than something thats been stuck on if that makes sense?.. the skull paisley design is a popular design is one I have done…most of my designs I guess are inspired from the arts and crafts movement..William Morris etc… I use it alot with my papercut work..so it was just a natural step to use my designs and just engrave them instead…46347_10152161519945048_1609820002_n
Your paper cuts are also totally awesome – have you had any requests for strange/unusual designs?
Thank you.. yeah the papercutting has taken me to some great places..that’s what I love about it..it’s so simple..yet you can do so much with it.. a little while ago I cut a piece for someone ‘Will you marry me ?’ he hid it along a walk he had planned and  proposed to his  girlfriend with it…  I have cut big wedding pieces…and verses for funerals..and lots of designs for babies…so births, deaths and marriages..I cover it all! Ha ha… I have also cut paper dresses… book designs..record designs.. magazine pages..portraits… I am always trying to push what you can do with it.. I love the medium..As for weird and the strange..I guess anything you give the customer a free reign with ..well it can end up being crazy…I’ve had some great poems I’ve had to cut ..usually from men to their loved ones.. some crazy stuff  they write!….
71702_10152551787530048_1167069703_nTo date, what has been the most popular engraving/tattooing you’ve done?
Hmmm ..well most people stick to their names on the shoe..it’s a safe bet and you can keep it small… but on the other end of the scale the paisley design covers the whole shoe and has been really popular…wedding dates have always been popular too  I guess….
What’s your favourite artwork/engraving to create?
Well, I love it when a customer has their own ideas..and come in with a particular logo they want doing.. and are so excited..I guess for some people it’s like getting that tattoo they have always wanted..but been too scared..I guess with the shoe tattoo it puts them through the same process… but not getting it done on their skin…487858_10152634990065048_1036444508_n
Jeffery- West footwear are simply the one of the best designers/manufacturers of men’s shoes in the world, if not the best – so tell me, what’s your favourite Jeffery- West footwear?
Bloody hell ,where do I start?.. it’s hard to look around the store and find something I don’t like! The new collection is amazing! I’d wear them all..but I guess my favourite from the new collection is the Marriot Balmoral boot…and the monk strap and triple strap…shoe
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Well, I’m always in the studio at the moment working and with a new baby its rare I find time to get out and put something smart on..  so at the moment it’s skinny jeans..some JW shoes..and usually a band t shirt I guess…
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 
I love shopping… and love to look around Westwood or other designer shops…but always love vintage shops and charity shops and markets… you never know what you will find… thats why I love it…
Boots or Shoes?
I love them both… sorry it’s a poor answer..but it depends on the outfit… I love a good pair of boots…. but then a nice pair of shoes can look great… ha!
Links you would like to share:
I’d love everyone to check out Deathhouse on Facebook, www.aasen.co.uk… and of course check out Jeffery West!
Thank you Aasen – you definitely have a great talent and I’m so pleased to have interviewed you!  I look forward to seeing lots more of your designs in the future …
Linda x
Photos published with kind permission from Aasen Stephenson.
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Birds of a Feather

Welcome onto the blog this week my gorgeous and talented friend Lisa Goddard, whose cute ‘n’ cuddly owls and foxes have brought delight to many youngsters …Hi Lisa, please introduce yourself:

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My name is Lisa and I have been designing and making owls, foxes, raggy dolls and decorations under the name ‘Daisy-Doodles’ for approx 4 years.

What was the inspiration behind making your rag dolls and cute owls?

I started by making bunnies, owls and small decorations for my own children and for presents.  They were so well received that I decided to have stalls at local events, and set up an online shop.  Over the past few years my repertoire has increased and changed, the foxes and dolls seem to be the most popular items. I made the first rag doll for Mimi (my youngest), she still takes it to bed every night along with the original Miss Foxy as she calls it!

I collect vintage fabric and trimmings and love scouring car boots and charity shops to find them.  I then use them to make the outfits for the dolls, it’s great to gauge people’s reactions when they see fabric that reminds them of their granny or their childhood.  Many a doll has been sold because she’s wearing a dress that brings back memories.  The owls are great to make because I get to use lots of different fabrics on each one, they are all totally unique.
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Have you been asked to make anything unusual?
I have just completed a commission for a pair of foxes wearing bling, to be given as gifts to a real life Mr and Mrs Fox.  They were so pleased with them that they themselves have asked me to make another pair, this time wearing festive outfits ready for  next Christmas!  I have also recently made and sold out of tweed moustache brooches!
What has been your favourite item to date that you’ve created?
I always enjoy making the first one of anything.  I love getting the ideas, sketching them out, making the pattern and then see it come to life.
What  would you like to try to make that you haven’t tried as yet? 
That is such a difficult question because I don’t have enough hours in the day to make the things that I have already planned out let alone the things that I haven’t thought of yet!1
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?
My style tends to be quite casual.  I nearly always wear leggings (gasp!) with a tunic style top and a brightly coloured/patterned cardigan.  I like to accessorize and have lots of bold necklaces and rings particularly when I find myself wearing all black. I live in my black leather DUO boots, flats for daytime and wedges for evening.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Being of a certain size, the high street can be quite restrictive.  I often shop in TKMaxx as they stock larger sizes and the clothes are more individual.  Online (and when in London) I love Gudrun Sjoden.  The clothes are pricey but the fabrics, colours and cut of the clothes are fabulous.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I am on an eternal search for a pair of wedge evening shoes ( animal print or black suede) that are wide enough yet comfortable and don’t slip off.
Boots or Shoes?
Definitely boots because then I can get away with leggings and longer tops.  Comfort all the way!
Links you would like to share:
My website address is www.daisy-doodles.co.uk  having a major overhaul in the next few weeks so don’t be put off.
You can follow me on twitter  @ daisydoodlesx
Like me on Facebook:  Daisy-Doodles
Thank you very much Lisa for chatting to us!  As always, join the facebook group Boots Shoes et Al  (press the icon) for pictures to drool over, sell your unwanted shoes, buy some bargains and generally chat to other likeminded shoe addicts!
Linda x
Photo credits: Adam Hobden Photography;  Alex Palmer ; Lyst; Amazon UK; Lisa Goddard
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Laced Up And Netted

A little bit of sauciness this week as  I’ve interviewed the fab “Bad Girls” photographer Claire Seville … so are you ready for your dose of sauce?

On my blog this week  is the sexy and talented Claire Seville, “Photographer For Bad Girls”. Hi Claire, please introduce yourself!

I’m Claire Seville and I take pictures of wonderful ladies!!! I love retro, vintage, pinup, latex, chocolate, fast cars, and dancing till my feet hurt!

What made you want to pursue a career as a photographer?

I used to do a little modelling when I was younger and I kind of fell into to in naturally. I also enjoyed art and being creative and photography was the one outlet that got me hooked.

What has been the most unusual photoshoot request you’ve had ?

Recently I had a shoot with SINderella Rockafella and she wanted to create a cobweb bra out of liquid latex and I had to paint it on for her, that was a pretty unusual experience, I got right into it though and amazed myself that I actually did an ok job!

What has been your favourite photoshoot to date?

I absolutely adored shooting Masuimi Max, she’s such a doll and we had a real good giggle through out the shoot. I was a bit nervous to begin with as I had admired from when I was modelling myself, but she’s so lovely the nerves soon went. We’re getting together again next year and I can’t wait to work with her again.

I love your catchphrase ” Photography for Bad Girls ” – but, if you were given the chance, who would you love to photograph? Who would be your ultimate “Bad Girl”? 

Madonna!!! She has such a great attitude, she doesn’t give a crap and loves to shock, she’d be amazing to shoot as I think she’d be up for pretty much anything. There’s loads of other models I’d like to shoot too, Bizarre did a shoot with Vivi Stirling and Fae Raven, they looked smocking hot together, I’d love to get my hands on the pair of them.

What style of photography would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I’m hoping to do some erotic art next year, I have lots of ideas I want to try out. I rarely move far from the sexy stuff, it’s what excites me!

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

I’m a real chameleon to be honest, I wear dresses, shiny leggings, leather, denim, high heels, wedges, high tops, dr martens, creepers, always got a slight rock chic edge though. I wear a lot of black.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Topshop has been pretty good this season and suits my style. I’m not really a label kind of girl although I do have some beautiful Vivienne Westwood pieces. I recently brought some suspend leggings from Black Milk Clothing which were cool. Pinup Girl Clothing, Doll Chops Clothing, Kreepsville 666, Kissin Bombs Design all have some mega cool stuff and you can’t beat a bit of latex Psiclone make a lot of custom stuff for me.

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

I’d love a 80s classic rock style fringed leather jacket, haven’t found one I like yet though.

Boots or Shoes?

Do I have to choose? lol I wear a lot of boots but for the right occasion it’s got to be heels, providing I don’t have to do too much walking!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

Thanks Claire!  

Linda x

Photo credits: Claire Seville

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Metallica the Trend

Metallica …it hit the fashion runways in both 2011 and 2012 but didn’t make too much of an impression …then along comes 2013 and metallica comes alive for both men and women! This time the trend seems destined to stay throughout winter, spring and into summer – especially as Summer 2013 looks set to have the colour white as a main fashion colour – because, combined with white, golds and silvers enhance a tan quite unlike any other colour.  Back to winter and spring though – gold and silver combined with black and greys glamourise an everyday outfit and although the party season may be over for some, there is no reason not to strut your stuff at the local club in some sparkly wear. There’s nothing more sexy than throwing on a black leather biker jacket  over a little metallic number, adding some heels and your weekend is sorted.  This year though, metallic colours are not just limited to silver and gold – explore copper rose/coral (fab as a top teamed with khaki shorts or chinos), metallic beiges ( brightens up an “ageing” colour!) and oyster pink ( beautiful wedding alternative). It is not just sequins either – satin (a la 1970s/1980s), dyed leather,lurex knit, silk mix metallic materials, and even fine silk twill laminated with a thin layer of foil!  2013 most certainly has arrived in a bright and shimmery fashion!

Time for a chat – I’d like to welcome to the blog this week Alex from Seventh Circle Artworks … Hi Alex, introduce yourself:
Hi, I’m Alex Palmer, owner/designer/maker at Seventh Circle Artworks.
What made you want to pursue a career as a jewellery craftsman?
I studied sculpture and fine art at college and have played in various bands over the years, so combining the two creative elements seemed like a natural thing. I made my first piece for the US metal band Saint Vitus and sold all 25 limited edition rings in just one day on their merchandise stand at a Dutch festival. To be there with them, watch them play, and generally have a great weekend of rock n roll because I made some rings is about as much incentive as I need to want to do this professionally!
What has been the most unusual jewellery request you’ve had ?
Nothing too unusual as yet but its early days! I have made a ring for someone with the words “Life Is Too Short” engraved in large gothic style lettering around the outside. It was for a guy who had been going through treatment for cancer for the past year and wanted something to remind him that indeed, life IS too short, don’t waste a minute of it. Not unusual, but a beautiful piece to be asked to create.
What has been your favourite jewellery piece to date?
My favourite piece would have to be the celtic torc I made for the singer of Saint Vitus, Wino. We had talked for a year about it but finally confirmed it with only 2 weeks before he arrived for one day in London! That kind of piece would normally take around 6-8 weeks, but the pressure really helped me pull it off. From the hand carved wolf heads to the hand twisted silver wire torc itself, it’s the one piece I genuinely did not want to hand over to the client.
Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a jewellery piece?
If it’s a custom piece I like to find out something about the client first in order to get a grasp of where their inspiration comes from. For my own work, generally the darker things in life inspire me. Skulls, occult symbols etc. Music also has a big influence on my work. Depending on what kind of piece I am making I will listen to something like ACDC for the more rock n roll edge or maybe some doomier underground stuff like Amber Asylum to get that extra bit of atmosphere to the piece.
What style of jewellery would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet?
I’d like to try designing jewellery with precious/semi-precious stones as the centre piece of the design. I am hopefully going to be working on a collaboration with French based Oblivion Jewellery next year which will fulfil that goal. We already spoke a few times online about ideas and we both come from a similar music related background so I’m quite excited about what we can come up with.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?
Haha!! Not something I usually get asked to be honest with you! Pretty old school rocker in that sense, denim and leather! I can always rely on my New Rock biker boots and Lee jeans without fail.  
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
There is a great handmade leather stall in Camden market where I got a cool wristband from a few months ago. They are really interesting guys and happy to talk about what they do with you, and go the extra mile to make you something you want. There are a few stalls and shops like that in Camden, you just have to search for them.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
More band t-shirts I imagine! I’m a sucker for buying shirts at gigs.
Boots or Shoes? 
Boots without a doubt. They are comfortable, hardwearing and as a big 6ft guy they are chunky so suit me better than shoes. And because they simply rock!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thanks Alex…don’t forget to check out the fabulous Twins of Evil Torc Bangle and the Stone Dead Forever Skull Eternity Ring, as pictured – great ideas for Valentines Day!

Linda x

Picture Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; Marie GC Photography; Zuleika Fray;Alex Palmer

 

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Man Up!

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the first blogpost of 2013 – a post almost entirely dedicated to menswear!  I’m talking this week with the Man about Town himself, Bret Hollywood.

Bret Hollywood  is an American/British Television personality and MMA ring announcer. He has worked for most major MMA promotions across Europe and the Middle East including Cage Rage UK’s Ultimate Challenge, Cage Warriors, Cage Contender IFPA and others. He has hosted the Miss Great Britain Pageant, several charity events, was featured on the Sky Atlantic show “The Guest Wing” He is known for his flamboyant dress and his trademark catch phrase “It’s Go Time”. He has been seen on live and pre-recorded televised MMA events in more than 70 countries! 

So, Hi Bret! How did you first get involved with Mixed Martial Arts in Britain?

I moved to the UK in 2007, and was married to my British wife Julia in 2008.  Needless to say I didn’t have many friends coming here from the US.  I have always had some form of martial arts in my life and on the way to work one day I noticed a sign that read “Unity Martial Arts” I thought to myself “hmmmm that would be a great place to meet some other like minded guys.” I looked them up on the Internet and found that they had Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. I called and spoke to the instructor who actually turned out to be world-class champion. We had a chat and before I knew it I went in to check it out. The day I got there, he was in the middle of an MMA session, and the guys in the room were all big hitters!  They all held championship belts and had fought on some of the biggest shows in the UK. I got talking to one of them called Denniston about wrestling (which is where my background is) and he invited me to come to an afternoon sparring session. My very first ever MMA session was really more like a school yard beating! It was AWESOME!!! I’m still not sure if I’m game or stupid, especially at first! I would stand in front of anyone! That day I was absolutely killed! I broke my nose, got KO’d and learned why you should always keep your hands up! From there I was in!! Denniston and I became very close friends and before long I was managing him. Through him I made a lot of really good contacts into MMA. After a few months, I got my first invitation from a promoter.  He asked to MC his upcoming show, KAYO MMA because of my American accent. That show was televised on The Active Channel and from there it just sort of took off! Before I knew it, I was getting calls from all over the country and have never looked back.   I have now announced hundreds of shows all over the world and have been part of both live and prerecorded television broadcasts.  I have hosted my own weekly television chat show, and even stepped into the cage myself and had a fight for the Katie Piper Foundation.

Have you had any unusual experiences when you’ve been MC/Ring Announcer /TV host or as an after dinner speaker?

Hmmmm. I suppose there have been quite a few “Unusual experiences”  I can remember once when a fighter entered the cage and he was very excited to be there.  It was his first fight.  He began bouncing off the cage walls (you know, like a wrestler would do) and breathing really loud.  The cameraman looked at me and began to giggle, and it started me giggling too.  This poor guy was getting ready for the first fight of his life and we were all giggling.  I then had to stare down the barrel of the camera and announce him and try not to laugh. I have had production guys telling me jokes in my ear when I was doing a live broadcast, less than accurate information and all sorts.  At the end of the day I just try to be the most professional guy in the room and do my best.

You are known for your flamboyant clothing style, so,what has been your favourite outfit/jacket worn whilst hosting?

That’s a tough one!  I have a gold sequin jacket that I had made for me by Sir Tom Baker.  It is one of my favourites!  I had it made for a show I was doing in Amman Jordan.  I also have some gold Jeffery West boots to match.   This was probably the first really amazing outfit I bought.  It was a big deal for me because the show was in an exotic location and the promotion was gaining notoriety and I just knew that the crowd there would love the gold. I have others that I am really fond of as well.  I have another sequin jacket from Tom in black, and a red lame’ jacket with skull lining (also Sir Tom Baker) A black DJ with a big diamante skull on the back… its hard to pick one that is my favourite.  I also have boots to match them all!

What do you like  doing best – MC, ring announcer,tv host or after dinner speaker? 

I guess my favourite part of my job is the crowd interaction.  If it’s a fight night, there is nothing like stepping into the cage at the beginning of the night, the lights down and the buzz in the air…I step into the middle of the cage, The spot light hits me, I say “Gooooooooooooooooooood Evening!” and the crowd responds!  Then when it comes the main event of the evening, I announce the fight using my catch phrase, “Ladies and Gentlemen… IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT’S GO TIME!!!!  And again, the crowd responds! I absolutely love it!  After the shows there is always an opportunity to meet fans, take photos and just chat in general.If on the other hand I’m hosting a dinner event, the atmosphere is a bit different, and I like the intimacy of a smaller crowd and the opportunity to spend more time with the attendees.  I love chatting to people I meet, and if they are fans, its even better.  I know sometimes some people are a bit shy about talking to someone who may be in front of the camera or on TV, but I don’t ever want anyone to be shy about approaching me.  I love chatting with fans!

What role would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I wish I could sing!  I would love to be a singer!  The trouble is I couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle on it !

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

Seneca said “We live not according to reason, but according to fashion”  I love that quote!  I think clothes say a lot about a person.  I tend to go for more in your face rock and roll stuff!  I love to stand out (as if you couldn’t tell already) I get a lot of stuff custom made and have very few stores that I go to. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Yes, as you can tell, I am pretty particular about the things I wear.  I tend to do most of my shopping on Jermyn Street in London. Favourbrook does fantastic velevet jackets and waistcoats; New and Lingwood also do great waistcoats and lots of amazing skull stuff. I tend to get most of my shirts from Duchamp, or Etro, I love Blaqua in Carnaby Street for cufflinks, I have an amazing vintage Cavalli suede jacket that I just love and John Varvatos does some cool stuff too but more casual! I tend to be impulsive about jewelry, whenever I see something I like I will buy it.  I wear a lot of rings on my microphone hand, because I think it adds something to the close-ups for TV.I get most of my jackets made for me by Sir Tom Baker (no, not the Dr Who guy, the London bespoke tailor).  Tom is one of the coolest guys I know, and he dresses the most rock and roll rock stars in the world!  He has made suits for Robert Plant, Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, Keith Flint from the Prodigy, Alice Cooper, Dave Stewart, David Hasselhof and of course me, Hollywood! I love the whole process of getting something made for me.  There is nothing like getting a bespoke suit handcrafted for you! I get all my shoes from Jeffery West.  In fact, with the exception of trainers, they are all I wear in or out of the cage!  I have about 30 pairs of shoes and boots from them.  Again, their shoes and boots can be seen on all sorts of rock stars and TV personalities.  Jeffery West designs shoes [that are] my style and I get a lot of attention because of them.  In fact I wore a bright red pair to a live show once and there were so many comments that night on Twitter that they actually trended.  I love it when stuff like that happens! From that night on, Jeffery West shoes have been one of my trademarks in the cage.  I even have a fantastic pair of silver skull encrusted Jeffery West boots that were made for me by the fab Milly J Shoes.  (In fact they now reside in the Northampton Shoe Museum)

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

Why a new pair of Boots of course !  I saw a preview of a new pair that Jeffery West is releasing in their next collection and I cant wait!  Other than that, I sometimes get an idea or a picture in my head of an outfit and then will go and try to get it made.  I always have a head full of ideas so I’m never short of things on my wish list.

Boots or Shoes? 

I always wear boots! In fact I even tweet a picture of my boots every day “the view from my desk”.  Of course I do wear shoes when I have meetings or am delivering presentations in my day job (The corporate world isn’t quite ready for Hollywood)  I just prefer boots and cannot find shoes that are as edgy as the boots I typically wear.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

You can find my fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HollywoodBret

 Twitter @HollywoodBret

And of course my website is http:// hollywoodmc.com

Thank you Bret and I hope you like some of the ideas I have highlighted! Don’t forget, ladies, keep in touch with the latest footwear and accessory bargains and styles by following the facebook group BOOTS SHOES ET AL  – just press the icon.

Linda x

Photo credits:  Jeffery-West;  Bret Freeman; Adam Hobden

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