Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Fashion gone Eco?

Vivienne Westwood's s/s 2009 collection appears to be making a prediction of the world's future environmental situation. Dresses made out of bin bags, animal printed scarves reminiscent of the channel 5 TV programme 'The Tribe' and an eccentric take on the gladiator sandal, all put together in a very Westwood style. She wore a t shirt declaring we need 30 billion to save the planet. And fashionistas in the front row sit in their expensive designer outfits, marvelling at being apart of something that has a conscience, at Vivienne Westwood's new crazy "punk" collection, but all the time thinking; "well I'm not going to actually wear a bin bag".....

Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Ballet

Today I am going back to Edinburgh to see the Scottish Ballet dance to Radiohead, film techniques and the sophisticated frivolity of the 1930s. I haven't been to the ballet or any such occasion in so long and I had been desperately wondering what outfit I should wear. I wanted something dressed up. Nobody seems to dress up for the theatre any more and I love it.

I am loving all things vintage right now and wearing it with a punk edge. From listening to lots of rockabilly music inspiring the 50s pin up look, but with tattoos and piercings, to putting Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, Jo Stafford and The Andrews Sisters on the record player and wearing a floor length emerald green backless gown (forget Keira in Atonemend) and converse underneath.

My hairstyle of the moment is Victory Rolls. This is back when I had blonde hair, as you can see, and didn't have a fringe, and am looking pretty moody, but it is the best shot I have of the very fiddly, but incredibly satisfying hairstyle. Now it is pink with a turqoise fringe and a flash underneath the front, so when I put it up the hidden turquoise becomes streaks across the right side of the hair.
Before it was the quif with a scarf tied over the back of my head for a punky Rosie the Riveter look, worn with a 50s red and white summery halter and high waisted black hot pants. Then I got my hair cut into a fringe, a very short one, so a quif was no longer an option. But when I put my hair up like that and throw on my fake fur leopard print coat I feel so positively glamourous; I knew I'd have to start with that when deciding what to wear for the ballet. Fortunately the rest of my outfit was put together quite perfectly even if it was the result of a not so pleasant experience.

A few weeks ago I was shopping with my boyfriend. I say shopping as if it was one single outing, although I go alone or drag others into interesting new and well known shops almost every single day. Anyway, we went into Godiva and I tried on this beautiful 60s style dress designed and made by one of the girls who ran the shop. It was too big, but they offer free alterations. However, the designer wasn't working so I promised to return soon, without yet knowing I would suddenly move to Glasgow, start working and writing and generally be too busy to return. In the meantime, still with the intention of going back and buying it, I wandered into Watermelon on Great Western Road, round the corner from my house. Along with Starry Starry Night on Dowanside Lane this is one of the best vintage shops I have found in Glasgow, of which there are many! I walked into Watermelon and fell in love. Gorgeous 50s dresses hang from the ceiling, and a chopper bicycle (which my boyfriend fell in love with) displays bags and converse and other manly vintage. I was also surprised when I asked what size a particularly stunning dress was and found out it was 6-8. To find vintage dresses in my size is very, very rare. But, looking around most of the stunning dresses hanging up around me, allowing me to peek through the layers and layers of petticoats, were sizes 8-10. Perfect for me - not so perfect for my wallet! The dress I tried on was blue silk with white stichted flowers and a dark purple sash and collar. It was so beautiful and I was immediately forced to debate which one I could get, Godiva or Watermelon, as I couldn't really afford either let alone both. This has been going through me thoughts, in the back of my mind ever since. When I made a trip to Starry Starry Night with my boyfriend to get a leather jacket I bought an amazing petticoat with the blue dress in mind, and convinced myself I would have other outfits already I could wear it with. I also bought a pair of shoes with the designer dress in mind that, to be honest, are not the most comfortable.

Then it was just about waiting till I could afford it, as I had spent my money on the petticoat and the shoes and my rent is due on Monday. That all changed though when on Thursday night I came home after I finished work (about 2am) and had given my keys to my boyfriend so he could go home and go to bed, knowing he would have to stay awake to let me in. He works 6am to 6pm 5 days a week and 6am to 4pm on Saturdays, so it is understandable that he is too tired to stay up for my completely different body clock of up at 1oam and bed at 3am. However, I wasn't expecting him to sleep through his mobile ringing, the house phone ringing, the doorbell ringing and me banging on the window. No, I wasn't expecting that. Fortunately I managed to get hold of an awake friend so made my way all the way back to where I was working that night and slept on his couch. I made my sleepy, smelly, cursing way back the next afternoon (I had to wait for my flatmate to get back from Edinburgh to let me in). On the phone he was very apologetic and told me there was a surprise for me at the bottom of his bag. And here it is. So I have a petticoat to go with it...but I bought shoes for the different dress...will have to think.

Most importantly though, on top of the ballet and the beautiful dress, I got my boyfriend a spare set of keys!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Merchant City Festival

Now that London Fashion Week is over, what's the next big thing to hit the style map? Well Merchant City Festival of course! What...that wasn't your original answer? Milan? Well, OK. Perhaps Glasgow isn't the response you would immediately shout out, but rather than step over it in your Prada statement heels how about taking a peek with me at some of the exciting fashion events that Glasgow has to offer?

The festival, running from the 25th to the 28th this week, has everything from theatre to clubs, from comedy to film and, of course, fashion! And so it should. Fashion is vibrant in this city full of diverse styles, influenced from cultures, backgrounds, music, lifestyle and everything an exciting city has to offer. On the Saturday Ingram St hosts a day entirely dedicated to shopping! Ingram Street Shopping Day will be filled with shoppers checking out the retailers (Agent Provocateur, All Saints, Boudiche, Bravissimo, Crombie, Cruise, Jaeger, Jigsaw, Ralph Lauren and Viyella being some of them) a/w 08 collections. Helping display their finery's live models will don the shops wears instead of plastic dummies.

But, it's not just lots of lovely clothes, bags, shoes and accessories! Oh no. There will also be drinks, canapes, music, make overs and more inside!

On the same day Byblos hosts a fashion event to raise money for ChildLine in Scotland. Beginning with shopping at 3pm, followed by events at 5pm and ending in Fashion Shows which start at 7pm. The catwalk features emerging and established Scottish designers, vintage clothing boutiques and alternative high street stores.

One of the Scots representing the designer clothes is Mark Conlin, whose mix of fabrics at Glasgow Fashion Week combined gave femininity a hard edge.

Along with Scottish designers there will be a vintage collection from some of the many Glasgow vintage and second hand stores. And headlining the fashion show is 'Joy', new to Glasgow and showcasing their mix of kitsch fashion by designers from Britain, Italy and France.

Safe to say this is going to be an exciting and very fashionable event. Unfortunately I can't go! The 'Brand New Your Retro' fashion show is this Saturday and I am going to see the Scottish Ballet dance to Radiohead. So I am disappointed I will miss it, but I'm very excited as their costumes are inspired by the 1930's and I think it should be quite fabulous!

The Herald Magazine, 20 Sep 2008. Page 29

The Herald Magazine
20 Sep 2008

Wrapped up in Edinburgh

There's nothing better when I'm feeling ill than sitting at my parents, drinking tea, eating my mum's homemade ginger cookies and watching 'Friends' re-runs. Yes, I've watched the-one-where-Ross-is-sad-Phoebe-is kooky-Rachel-is-ditsy-Joey-gets-jam-all-over-himself-Monica-and-Chandler-squeal-in-high-pitched-irritating-voices-at each-other over and over again, but there is something incredibly comforting about it whilst lying on my parents' red cushioned sofa, wrapped in an Indian shawl. And illness certainly makes me feel the cold more. All I want is for my head to be a tiny dot sticking out the top of layers and layers of warm fabrics. Like a more fashionable version of a duvet day. So it was nice to pick up The Herald Saturday Magazine and see the shoot I had styled for it.

The Herald Magazine
20 Sep 2008

I was so excited about it coming out and when I saw Kate's [model] face on the top of the front page I eagerly pulled out the magazine to see how the shots came out. It's not the most exciting theme creatively, although it could be made more interesting, but considering I picked up 5 outfits in about 45 mins I was pretty pleased with myself. Until I spotted the credits at the end of course in which, under 'Stylist's assistant's' I see the name; Rebecca Macintyre. Rebecca? I was gutted. I sulked for a few minutes before deciding that, hey, I had not even expected to do anything at all exciting in the first place, secondly I am still credited, Rebecca is still me, and it is the first ever shoot I have worked on (which required a lot of blagging) and I bloody well pulled it off. So there. And, to top it all off I was praised by Kelly and had the best experience working with everyone on that shoot. Kelly, who I might blame for giving me this damn cold...was amazing and when I told her about the incorrect name she was so apologetic. However, it is fine, because the next shoot I do I will be credited with the right name!

I have also contacted the Eva Arrighi from the Sunday Herald so hopefully there will be even more interesting Scottish fashion moments to come. Oh, and if you're around a student union or anywhere student hang out check out the Shopping section in the Skinny Student Guide to see what I have to say about some great Edinburgh shops...

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Detail - Ruffles??

I have noticed ruffle detailing beginning to bloom in fashion for a while now. From Keira Knightley sporting an Erdem purple ruffle mini dress for the premier of Edge of Love to Eva Longoria's dramatic floor length gown.

I absolutely hate them. Keira's dress is probably the one that I think is a pretty dress; the main problem with it being it is disturbingly far down her chest and yet looks as if there is no danger of anything being on show. So Keira looks saggy breasted and Eva looks like she has been plastered with crepe paper. Both of these women are stunning at least so manage to pull these dresses off. As I said, Keira's dress is very pretty and that is because the ruffles are minimal and around the bust area (if the dress was in the right place) giving her detail in all the right places and this is the only time I see ruffle dresses working. And that is not enough.

Flicking through Elle's October 2008 I noticed they have focused on ruffles as a celebrity inspiration, using Keira and Eva's dresses as examples and noting that they shall be replacing prints this season. I sincerely hope not. Virtually every single dress is so disgustingly tacky I cannot believe anybody would seriously want to wear it. Thandie Newton wears a low neck pink dress with ruffles along the shoulders, neck and bust reminding me of sickly icing on a hen night's celebration cake. Georgina Chapman's red dress is otherwise a slick tulip skirted dress giving a nod to the new power dressing that is apparently coming our way. But, no, she could not simply leave it at that; they had to put two red pom poms on her shoulders to masquerade as sleeves. She looks out of proportion in this unflattering cocktail dress which is half suit, half flamenco dancer.

According to Elle the other celebrity inspiration was 'dark glamour'. Lace, black and Gothic elegance. This I like. As far as I will go with ruffles will probably be a cute ruffle mini skirt. Less is more and none at all is even better.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Herald shoot

Finally, I am writing up The Herald shoot. I wrote my last blog daily and when I stopped to take a break for my final year exams etc it was so hard to get back into it by the time I opened up my account it was 3 months later! This brought me on to revamp my blog by beginning again and I really have to stay on top to do it regularly.

Anyway, enough of telling myself off. When I graduated and came back to Scotland I spent a good chunk of August emailing various Scottish fashionistas. As I want to get into fashion journalism the papers seemed a good place to start. The Herald has a fashion supplement on Saturdays and the Sunday Herald has one also so I immediately emailed the Editor. She passed me on to Kelly Cooper-Barr who is the Fashion Editor.

After a lot of badgering I managed to persuade her to let me come and watch a shoot. So on Tuesday 9th September I attended a much anticipated shoot for the Saturday magazine. A days shooting encompasses two separate shoots so we were doing lace and check/tartan. I was so excited and incredibly nervous as it was the first, I hope of many, shoots I would be attending. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and friendly, however, so there was no need for nerves! It was such a stark contrast between my experience at The Daily Mirror when I worked on their fashion page in 2006. To begin with I never managed to leave the office so although I have inside experience it did not fulfil everything I wanted to do. The main down point of that experience, however, was how unfriendly and cold the girls I was working with were. From the moment I stepped in to The Glasgow Art Club in which we were doing the first [tartan] shoot, everyone came over and introduced themselves. In The Daily Mirror I had barely a hello, let alone any attempt at conversation. I also remember I spent the entire time desperate for something to do; constantly going from person to person asking if I could help when more often than not I was dismissed to read a magazine or watch girls take unlabelled jewellery from the store room. On this shoot I was piled with work, and not just tidying or sitting, but actually arranging clothes, putting them together for outfits and feeling useful!

During the tartan shoot it was discovered the photographer would be unavailable in the next week or so and they needed to put together a concept for another shoot to do later that day. Kelly decided on knitwear, fitting due to our autumnal weather. We had two designer pieces, but needed three more outfits so Kelly gave me the job of going out on to the high street and collecting items to create the 3rd and final shoot of the day. I was tremendously excited about this opportunity to be involved, especially given that I was expecting to only watch and get people coffee. We were thinking chunky knitwear; getting bold pieces which would be the centre of the outfit, requiring only simple matte black leggings and black heels to complete it.

Missoni's A/W collection this year is something similar to the look I was thinking of. Thick, heavy knitwear kept very simple to make a bold statement. I picked up pieces from high street stores such as Urban Outifitters, Topshop and Warehouse with American Apparel stocking a good selection of shiny and matte leggings to get that spray on leather pants look that is becoming very big this season and although I'm not a leggings wearer I am considering getting some for myself.

Another designer of the thicker knitwear this a/w is Sandra Backlund. I really like this look a lot and it inspired me to pick a knitted dress from Urban Outfitters for one of the outfits. Buckland's designs are knitted statement jumpers and dresses which don't need to be worn with anything else. Every year there's a place for knitwear and this year I like it to be huge.

So, because of picking these outfits I am getting credited in The Herald for the shoot!! I do not know yet which Saturday will see my name in print, but as soon as I do it will be put up here. I honestly cannot wait. I am hoping it is the beginning of many more and I am very excited about going along to another shoot with Kelly.

Now I need to acquaint myself better with the shops of Glasgow so that next time I can do this job without rush and knowing exactly where to pick up the best outfits possible.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

cross posts

The post dated 4th September was actually posted up on the 13th just so if you read it and notice everything it talks about has happened after the one dated the 10th you don't get confused!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Moving to Glasgow

Well here I am starting a new blog because of my long absence from my last one and then I leave a gap of over a week after my first post! Apologies, but my move to Glasgow left me without Internet until a long and painful set up process this morning crossing over to this afternoon! So now I can write my first of regular posts and put up all of the ones I've been writing in the past week whilst waiting for that beloved 'connected' sign to appear.

The Virgin technician was due to arrive anywhere between 1 and 6 today so I was anticipating a long and boring wait in which he would most likely arrive at 5.59. However, at 10.37am this morning my mobile rang and it was the technician telling me he could make it in 15 minutes if I was around. I was and I foolishly became excited at the thought I would soon be getting Internet. After the technician left giving me all the all clear for fine, fast working Internet I began trying to connect my laptop to the wireless. I won't get into the long and boring specifics, but this is my first activity on the Internet at close to 2pm and the technician left at just after 11am. So it's fair to say that I was feeling incredibly frustrated. However, now I have calmed down and am ready to write my first blog in Glasgow.

Since I last blogged the most exciting fashion related moments I have been involved in were contributing to The Skinny Student Shopping Guide, helping out as an assistant stylist on one of The Herald's fashion shoots and, of course, lots and lots of shopping; both for research and pleasure. These will be included in detail on separate blogs that I have written. Although this one will be posted first, which is a bit backwards, it gives an introduction to my new home of Glasgow which is where I will be reporting from now.

Glasgow is not an entirely strange city as it is a close neighbour of Edinburgh and I have lots of school friends going to University here who I have visited. However, when I have been here I've been here with someone who knows their way around and therefore have not had to think about anything. Now I do. And it's quite scary. Fortunately, I live in a lovely area; in the centre of the west end, so I am being eased into an unknown city by comfortable cafes, tantalising restaurants and welcoming bars. One of my favourites is called Tchai Ovna which is on Otago Lane. It's location is cute enough to begin with. Tucked away down a tiny lane, to enter turn right and through a porch decorated with lights and hobo chic furniture. Inside there are screen separating tables of various sizes. From regular sit up and coffee tables with chairs to Japanese tables requiring customers to sit comfortably on the floor amongst rugs and cushions. The list of teas is ridiculous, with their tea collection coming from all over the world. Their food is amazing; the dahl is the best dahl I have ever tasted outside of India, nearing or possible reaching the real thing. All apart from the price of course, which at £5.6o for dahl, the cheapest of cheap things to make, is quite high. What sold it to me though was their chai. It is Indian chai. I have had good chai outside of India, but it has always been good western chai. Never outside of the north (west) of India have I had proper chai which tastes so good and makes normal tea so incredibly boring. This is chai like I have had in India and although the price appears steep the pot of tea for 2 could probably serve 10. Between the three of us we had about 12 cups and that got us to just over half way.

That is my favourite local. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants although I haven't found a favourite yet.

A little street which I love though is Ashton Lane which has the Grosvenor Cinema and many bars and places to eat. The street is decorated with fairy lights and it takes me out of a big city as soon as I step underneath the glowing bulbs.

I am too much of a newbie to give a Glasgow guide to blog readers, but there will be more to come. I have been doing much shopping in Edinburgh, researching for my Shopping Guide of course, but naturally I have been checking out the Glasgow shops too. From the recommended Mr. Ben's (the Glasgow version of Armstrongs in Edinburgh), to the high street shops and, of course, the local west end vintage shops and boutiques of which there are many. I have written about them in a shopping blog which I will post among the others at some point today and I will write a more extensive, specifically Glasgow blog soon; just need to keep shopping!

Thursday, 4 September 2008


Today will be my last day in Edinburgh. Not ever, but for the first time I am going to be busy working and living in Glasgow, preventing me from returning to Edinburgh whenever I choose. I moved to Glasgow on the 27th of August, spent that Wednesday and Thursday night there before coming back to Edinburgh for the weekend. Then, this week things began happening.

After pestering The Herald constantly for more than a month I finally joined Kelly-Cooper Barr on Monday for a fashion shoot. I am still intending to write up a separate post on this. Kelly was so wonderful and she put me in touch with Colin Barr, the owner of The Republic Bier Halle, who's opening up a new venue in the beginning of October. I met up with him on Thursday and proceeded to become an employee of the Bier Hof on Sauchiehall Street. Doing a mixture of Bar work and PR, which I sincerely hope is not a fancy word for flyering. Whatever it is though I am just happy to finally be occupied and I finally feel that I live in Glasgow now. I have a job, I intend to continue helping Kelly out whenever I can as it was a great experience and I will soon begin to meet new people and make the city my home.

So now I have to tear myself away from the lovely Edinburgh shops and focus on the Glasgow ones. Which shouldn't be too difficult as there are plenty!

I had been emailing Lindsay West, the fashion editor of The Skinny and she suggested that The Skinny Student Guide would need contributors for their shopping guide. I was very interested! I replied...waited...emailed again...waited...the usual, then last Saturday I got an email sent on Thursday (my mistake to not check constantly) from the Student Guide editor asking for contributions to be in by the end of that week (i.e Sunday!).

Fortunately I had already started writing a few down in preparation for when I did get the contact details etc so I wasn't completely lost, but I made a research trip around Edinburgh that day to glance over any shops I might be missing out. It was a very enjoyable experience. There are vintage shops, charity shops, cheap and expensive boutiques, but a few stood out to me as brilliant shops. One that I love which I had been to once before is called ThreadBare, situated on the bottom of Broughton Street. It is a basement shop, giving it the feel of an Aladdin's cave given the treasures inside. The room is tiny, made even more so by the clothes surrounding you. Clothes and bags and shoes and accessories hang from the walls, the ceiling and are piled from the floor up over your head. Cecile, the owner and maker of some of the wonders inside, sits in the centre of the room; her desk decorated with kitsch items such as a phone of big red lips. I had only been in the shop once and as soon as I walked in the second time she remembered me, asking me about the last item I bought, how my mother was (I was in with her). She proceeded to recommend items she had in which she thought I would like. And it's not just me that gets special treatment. Everyone is treated like an old friend. The last item I bought in there (I am actually wearing it in my profile picture) is a pinstripe pencil skirt which she customized by putting purple and blue silk ruffles on the hips. It was a fantastic find and, without any haggling just asking her nicely, I managed to get the price dropped from £60 to £50 immediately. I simply told her I did not have much money and could she give me a deal and she dropped £10 off the price! With such an amazing first experience I still not disappointed in any way when I came in the second time and left with a beautiful 50s fake fur leopard print coat. It is stunning. As soon as I have a working camera I will put up photos of it and more!

Another shop I really rated was Godiva. It has a vintage section in the back, but what really appeals to me is the hand made clothing lines in the front. Run by mostly art college graduates or keen fashionistas there are a variety of clothing and accessory lines belonging to each one of the individual shop owners. This means there is so much choice and individuality. There was a lingerie range, bags, era dresses, nu rave skirts and sweaters, trucker caps and ball dresses. The prices are high, but each item is an original creation and that usually swings it for me. One 60s inspired dress caught my eye, but it was far too big and then I was told they can do alterations for no extra cost. I then discovered they can customize and design clothes for the more creative customer which is such a fantastic idea.

But, no more Edinburgh shopping! From now on Glasgow will be the home of my biggest vice and I have already spotted a few cute vintage shops looking my way....