Category Archives: Menswear

An Interview With Will Bees Bespoke

Devon bound this week on the blog  to chat to Will Bees Bespoke, a maker of luxury personalised accessories  from tote bags and pouches to keyrings and notebooks.  Using over 500 luxury fabrics and the finest selection of quality vegetable tanned leather, there is plenty of choice to suit everybody and amazingly enough the large totes are still hand embossed using the old fashioned method of hammer and block by Will himself.  I caught up with Will recently to find out more about his lovely bags and his fashion passion too…..

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Hi! I’m Will.  I’m from Bristol originally but came to Salcombe with my parents on holiday as a child and then we moved down here permanently. I’m married with two young children, both adopted. I founded a nautical clothing company called Quba Sails in 1996, which we expanded to 14 shops and a successful online presence. I’m proud of what I achieved there and it gave me the confidence to embark on a new brand – and to take the risk of putting my own name to it!

I used to own a couple of Quba Sails sweatshirts in the late 1990s – I bought them whilst at the London & Southampton Boat Shows.  My favourite was a pale blue half zip sweatshirt!  So, what inspired the launch of your “new” company, Will Bee’s Bespoke?

I’m always exploring new concepts and this is an idea I’ve had for a while; there just hadn’t been time to look into it properly. I soon realised it was going to be complicated; I found so many wonderful fabrics, it was impossible to choose between them, and I started thinking about how we could accommodate them all. It’s never been tried before on this kind of scale and that excited me. Once I’d decided to offer so much choice, and to give customers such an individual experience, it was a natural progression to add the personalisation element.

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Your English made range of accessories encompasses over 500 luxury fabrics and quality vegetable tanned leather. So, when designing products to include in your range, do you go for uniqueness, current trends, previous popular colours/styles, your own personal tastes or bits of all of those?

It’s largely my own personal choices. Over the years I’ve grown to trust my own eye. I do watch trends too, and I’m keen to get feedback from our customers and evolve what we do to meet their demands. Some of the bags we’ve launched this year, for instance, are a direct result of listening to our customers’ comments and doing our best to fulfil their requirements.

You are able to offer an unique bespoke embossing service – for the tote bags they can be hand embossed using the old fashioned method of hammer & block; others can be embossed using your bespoke embossing machine. What do both processes entail?

Most of our embossing is done on a bespoke machine. We’ve selected our preferred font and it’s then machine tooled into brass letters. These are securely mounted on the machine and heated to 120 degrees. The chosen letters are then ‘branded’ onto the leather. The result is very accurate, perfectly spaced. Alternatively, I can hand emboss our totes using the old-fashioned method of a hammer and block. The result is a bit more rustic than the machine embossing – the letters might not be perfectly aligned – but it has its own charm and it’s in keeping with the traditional hands-on craftsmanship. Interestingly, most customers opt for this service for the larger totes.

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I love the Emmeline Totes using the Liberty Art Fabric and all the colours of the gorgeous Florence pouches! Which products are the most popular amongst your customers? Any differences between what your visitors to your shop like and those that order online?

I haven’t really observed a different profile between shop and web orders. The smaller items – the Octavia clutches, Florence pouches, notebooks, key rings etc – clearly appeal to the gifting market. It’s premium product at a sensible price, and the personalisation makes them unique. Some customers have come in and snapped up a dozen personalised pouches or notebooks, and there’s an audible sigh of relief as their Christmas shopping list is halved! Others customers will have had their eye on one of our totes or maybe a Beatrix Cross body for a while, or will spend a long time browsing the range, carefully deliberating over which silhouette, print and shade best fits their personal style.It’ll come as no surprise that the Liberty fabrics have enduring appeal with a significant cross-section of our clientele, in store and online. It’s such an iconic British brand, managing to combine contemporary design with timeless quality.

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You are based in Salcombe, Devon – do you cater for overseas customers at all?

Obviously for now the vast majority of our clients are UK-based, but we have had a few customers overseas, either because they’ve visited our shop on holiday, or come across our website or social media pages. There’s clearly room to expand here and it’s something I’d like to focus on. I believe there’s a huge market for products that showcase the best of British manufacturing.

If you had the chance, who would you pick (dead or alive) to be the “Face” of Will Bees Bespoke and why?

I struggle to align our brand with any one face. When we opened our doors for the first time in the summer of 2014, it quickly became clear that a much wider range of customers were attracted to our products than I had initially envisaged, from teenagers upwards. That said, Yasmin Le Bon pretty much ticks all the boxes. Her beauty is timeless – it’s hard to believe she’s turned 50. She’s been at the top of her game for so long and yet has remained happily married to a high-profile popstar for almost 30 years, neither of them going off the rails like so many in the limelight do. They’re a successful yet down-to earth couple. It would be a dream to have her as the face of my brand – although I would naturally hope to appeal to her teenage daughters too! I also like our brand to showcase our core values, such as being a truly British brand. When it came to naming our bags, we decided to pay tribute to some of the most pioneering ladies in British history. Our Emmeline Tote is named after suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, our Octavia Clutch after social reformer Octavia Hill, our Florence Pouch is in honour of Florence Nightingale, and so on. Interestingly, it was one of our younger customers who remarked that it was “Great to see things dedicated to people who fully deserve recognition rather than a ‘girl of the moment’ bag!”

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Looking ahead to 2016, are there any future plans to expand your range of products at all?

I fully intend to continue developing new product ranges to fill the gaps in the market that our customers have expressed an interest in. We launched a key ring bar earlier this year, and in the summer introduced notebooks and men’s accessories. We’re exploring more full leather ranges too. I want us to continue to get better and better at what we do, while staying true to our roots and core values.

Have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

When I was about 19 I travelled to Biarritz, France in an old Land Rover to sketch surfers. I came up with a “Vive La Mer” logo, found a local printer and got him to mock up a T-shirt with the logo. I was going to order 200 to sell and fund my trip. I called my Mum to tell her and she told me I was mad so I never did it. I still regret that now! It’s the creative aspect I enjoy the most; coming up with an idea, developing it and watching it turn into something three dimensional. It’s so exciting when a sample ends up just the way I envisioned it.

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

For work I wear a white T-shirt, skinny jeans and lace-up brogue boots. Off duty I usually wear a graphic T-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. We live by the sea in South Devon, so I normally wear a little sand between my toes too.

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

Double RL has to be right up there. The flagship shop in Mayfair is one-of-a-kind; a thing of beauty. The look and feel combines vintage Americana with the heritage of turn-of-the-century London. It has to be seen to be understood. I’ve heard it’s Ralph Lauren’s little baby, not necessarily the most commercial, but truest to his heart.
Mister Freedom, a vintage clothing shop in L.A. is another favourite. It’s true vintage, not vintage-inspired; the real deal. The exquisite taste extends right down to the details like the swing tags. A visit there feels like a trip back in time.  And I have to mention Liberty and their truly unique flagship store in Marlborough Street. They are so innovative and they do some great collaborations. Every time I go to London, and I check out what’s going on at the big stores, I’m always drawn back to Liberty. There’s a timeless beauty to that building, and it succeeds in being intimate even on a vast scale. There’s nothing quite like it.

Ooh yes, I love the Liberty Store too!  An “Aladdin’s Cave of Loveliness”. What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A new slub yarn white long-sleeve top with breast pockets to wear at work. So simple and yet so hard to find the right one!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. I find boots more versatile, harder wearing, particularly where we live – they don’t let the sand in! – and they just look cooler in my view. I bought a pair of vintage Sorel boots from The Vintage Showroom in Ladbroke Grove. It’s owned by a guy called Doug and you have to ring for an appointment. It’s a treasure trove. I love this particular pair; I’ve worn them to death and they’re still going strong. My wife got me replacement wool liners last Christmas – best present she’s ever given me!

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

facebook.com/willbeesbespoke
instagram.com/willbeesbespoke
twitter.com/willbeesbespoke

Fantastic talking to you Will and I think your bags and fabric pouches are totally gorgeous – and mirror the quality that I experienced when I wrapped myself in my favourite Quba Sails sweatshirt!  As I said earlier, I echo your love of that iconic London store, Liberty, too.  The Northampton Shoe Museum is another place I love to browse around & lose myself in!  Dear readers, have you got a favourite iconic store or place to go to browse for ages?   Do tell!

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from Will Bees Bespoke.

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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…

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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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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