Category Archives: Menswear

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 Vault Couture

Continue reading An Interview With Vault Couture

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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 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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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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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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