Category: fashion comment

I swear, My Swear..

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The price of these babies will no doubt induce an apocalypse of weepiness and hair tearing…and also make them ‘highly desirable’ such is the strange world we live in because the basic price starts at £300 – plus postage. And then this goes skyward depending on how much customisation you fancy.  Yep – these walking mortgages from My Swear are labelled the first ever customisable trainers…and are sure to be a wallet slapping cosmos flying hit.6fbff209ddea6f7c96bdc6ce763c589a

Where the joy comes in is even if you can’t buy, you can play: The power of the internet/websites are so good now, you can literally watch and plan every step  – colour – not just all over, but for each section, type of leather, soles, toes, eyelets, laces – it’s a long list of decisions meaning you can end up with a totally unique object.

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Ta-daaah!

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(All pics from My Swear)

Expect to see them strutting their stuff at the AW17 fashion shows.

You’ve been warned.

Laters, Kate x

Lady of Misrule x

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Do you look at clothes for their integral beauty or as something you could potentially add to your expanding wardrobe? Take the By. Bonnie Young clothes – a veritable smorgasbord of gorgeousness – but the chances of them say, fitting me? Limited.  But it doesn’t stop me drooling. Or do you dream of what you want and hope that somebody out there can read your fevered mind and actually produce it?

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It’s a subtle twist on that age old question, does style come before fashion? (Which one could argue is a posh way of saying if you wear what suits you first, do you look better?) which also the means, the chances of finding what you’ve dreamt of  are low.

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Which as cunningly as a foxes tail on a badger, brings me to the point of this post: The eternal hunt for the perfect pair of jeans..mainly because there’s an imaginary pair I’m desperate to find…high waisted that flare from the hip rather than the knee…and I suspect these: Irina High Rise by Citizens of Humanity could be them.

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So I’m looking and thinking would they fit? would they really suit…… And who at Citizen of Humanity has  got the power of telepathy? Maybe if there’s ever a chance I could try on a pair in the right size in a half price sale, I’ll jump.

 

Laters, Kate x

BY. Bonnie Young x

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A woman of my heart as a true renaissance woman, Bonnie Young has worked in the fashion industry, travelled the world, written a book, amassed an important collection of tribal costumes and jewellery (hashtag-very-jealous). Then returned to Donna Karan, to leave Karan to start a children’s line to suddenly realising that women were actually buying the clothes for themselves (pausing now briefly for a cynically raised eyebrow at the momentary snapshot of society today) leading her to start her own label, BY.Bonnie Young. This was her New York Fashion Week debut.

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It was inspired by nature, the South, the Victorians all wrapped up in a velvet bow with a flair for seventies ease.

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It’s flounces with fierce rather than frivolity – there’s nothing over the top or distracting.

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Each texture, cut, silhouette has a reason.

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It’s totally wearable, totally special, grown up, no-nonsense strength.

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She’s one to watch.

Laters, Kate x

Pretty and Pink x

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The rollercoaster of fashion steams on, morphing, re-inventing, disappearing and then back with a bang.  Each time the story is different, responding to design needs, changing faces and context, which is what makes it all so fascinating.

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Take the shoulder pad: Nemesis of the 80s, spawn of the 40s..and ripe for a re-birth.

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But now less cut-out character from Disney, more cutting edge with balance.

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I don’t know much – but I know I want some.

Laters, Kate x

Haunted x

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Hunter, an authentic British heritage brand beloved of the posh, festival goers and anyone inbetween: It’s the mainstream label with proper appeal and sits on it’s tartan wingback armchair like a curled, sleeping cat.

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There’s much to love: simplicity, versatility, a sense of tradition mixed with a slick, modern attitude.

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And yet I have a gripe (I suspect it’s to do with old age)

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Take a product like a mac or a wellington boot (both things Hunters do particularly well). Part of their appeal is their adaptability and flexibility…so why do their products have to be divided ‘mens’ ‘womens’ ‘girls’ and ‘boys’? Why this continual need to introduce psychological barriers to choice?

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I’m starting to think that the division of the sexes is a background noise that all too often we just accept and that it’s insidious reach starts when are children and impressionable: Boys uniform, girls uniform, pretty school shoes for the girls, practical ones for the boys, netball for the girls, rugby for the boys.  And I can see the result of this in all the adults associated with school: The parents that are class reps for the school?…all women.  The contact emails for playdates?..are for all the women – even if they work full time as well.  If a child was sick..the school would phone the mother regardless of whether she was the main breadwinner or not.  Pick up and drop off? This is more mixed..but it’s certainly not equal.

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If we want true liberty of thought and equal treatment of the sexes then little things like unnecessary labels really do need to matter.  And Fashion (with a capital ‘f’) is in the perfect place to take the first steps forward.

Laters, Kate x

Square Root..

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The trouser is having a moment.

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Cropped, fuller cut, sometimes with a higher waist, it’s evolving into something special.

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Transitional, versatile and already tugging at the heart strings.

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It could be the most important new piece in your wardrobe.

Laters, Kate x

Stunning Storets x

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This is a new label for me: Storets (based in the States, but they do free shipping, even internationally for any purchases over $75) Their USP sings a happy siren song: Interesting fashion with a feminine element that won’t break the bank.

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Prices are roughly $60 – $150..but they look a million dollars – like straight off a red hot catwalk with the cats licking their paws to cool them down.

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The only downside is – and this could be due to the season winding down – when I looked, the only sizes available were small. Maybe that’s how they keep their prices so low..

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I can only hope they expand. In more ways than one.

Laters, Kate x

Dog Wool..

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Can love ever be too much or am I just too westernised? I spotted an article on DogWool on the plane on the way back from Greece – apparently there’s a little place in Brittany between Abercerac’h and the Virgin Island lighthouse that will use a traditional spinning wheel, to spin your dogs unwanted hair into balls of wool ready to knit.

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Which is nothing if not honest recycling: It’s something Eskimos have done for centuries using Husky hair as the perfect property against the cold.  In northern Russia they knit socks of dog wool to prevent rheumatism…

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But here? Now?? Maybe my worry is that we don’t live in an extreme cold environment where fingers drop off if they’re not covered appropriately and – lets be honest – this further blurs the line between dog and owner – we already know how many morph to look like each other and now, through this they can genuinely can be a human in dogs clothing.

And what happens when your dog dies??

 

If this is your thing, then by all means go for it – there’s certainly a high level of skill involved…personally, I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like…sadly I can’t say the same for knitwear..Molly, you’re safe.

 

Laters, Kate x

The True Cost of Fashion x

October-1947--Women-at-wo-001This was written a while ago – but I think still has some relevance today..

 

Working at the rock face of fashion I have realised that very few people actually know how the modern clothing business truly works, particularly in terms of cost..and therefore profit.

Researching a visual to explain things quickly I came across the website of Everlane, who produced the following pictures..

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The aim behind the pictures was to illustrate how consumers are ‘ripped off’ along the chain of events that leads to a designer purchase.  But is it entirely accurate?

From make to wholesaler = 224% margin

From Wholesaler to retailer = 333% margin.

Which are big margins – but the diagram doesn’t explain them – the margins do represent a percentage of the profit but it’s only a percentage not the full whack.  The margins are also required to cover other costs:

Further shipping,  more transport, import duties, administration, design time, development, currency exchange, banking fees, marketing, loss leaders, pattern cutters, equipment, fittings, pattern changes, warehousing and storage, rent, utilities, IT costs, even labels, zips, threads and buttons..and probably much more.

At the second tier, for the retailer there could be a brick and mortar shop to pay for, employees and all the associated costs, advertisng, their own loss leaders etc etc…

The pictures do prove that nothing in fashion is simple.

It is possible to cut these costs.  If you’re mass market and contract out to a third world country I’ve heard you can get a t-shirt made for 2p.  In fact clothes have never been cheaper and are now fully accessible to all. Which has to be a good thing..But at what cost? 1,100 people died in the Bangladeshi factory disaster…is it ethical? Is it exploitation? Where does the line get drawn?

There are other alternatives abroad – better factories, better conditions where many of the ‘luxury’ fashion labels get their product made.  And yes, with their financial clout and established infra-structure maybe they can make those sort of profits..but even then think how much money goes into marketing to support their brands?  And think about the problems that can go wrong – the delays, the accidents, the unexpected that all has to be factored in.  And all the time all that money being spent on manufacture is money draining out of the UK economy.

So where does this leave a British based start-up fashion label like us?

We can’t buy our materials in bulk so there is no reduction in cost for us there.

We can’t make our stock in bulk so there is no reduction here either.

Our ‘factory’ is an ‘atelier’ – a room of skilled – masterful – sewers based in London who make everything by hand.  Not at a cost not per garment, but per hour.  Look at a sewing machine, look at an expensive piece of silk and look at the finished product – the tiny stitches, the French seams.  It’s not a fast job.  Each hour is £25.00 plus VAT.  But that is the cost of a craftsperson at the top of their profession..

We have no choice, we have to start at the designer end, the hard end – so why bother?

We still believe that there is an element of magic in fashion.  We believe we can make a profit by cutting out the wholesaler and selling direct – only time will tell.  And we believe that at some point consumers acknowledge they are buying more than the tangible item itself..we believe that value can take on a new meaning, that design can be desirable, treasured and trusted…our atelier is so good they do work for Victoria Beckham.  We have drive, we have passion and we have a designer in Anna who has an acknowledged pedigree having worked with the greats such as Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino..she knows this industry and she was born to design.

The truth is that the Everlane illustration was too simplistic – the bottom-line is that in the retail world not all products are created equally.  And some are definitely created with more love and care than others.  Only sales will confirm whether that is worth the price.

Laters, Kate x

Swedish Hasbeens x

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So I’m running away to the sun today a week earlier than expected as my father has broken his elbow – there’s no time to write new blog posts, instead I offer you summer re-runs..some of the best posts from times gone past.  Until we meet again – enjoy!

I was aware of fashion from a very early age …rolling down my hated knee socks in primary school in longing of cute ankle ones – and lusting over those nearly not there socks with the pom-pom at the back? Sigh.  And there was the utter object of my desire..navy blue clogs.  I’d watch those lucky girls nonchalantly flick them off to do cartwheels on the grass..before sliding them back on and jauntily walking off with that bone dry rhythm. I knew it was wrong to be fiddling with a buckle.

Time has made a difference..and I just got me some new summer shoes…CLOGS! A long held desire has been appeased and a wrong has finally been righted..Do you know the brand Swedish Hasbeens? They have a lovely story..(although it has given me visions of Anita lighting up a four-legged beast from the desert)..

The story

Her name was Anita and she was the hottest mum in all of southern Sweden in the 1970’s. While smoking Camel she screamed at her kids until her curlers fell out and just looked fabulous in her white high-heeled clogs.One summer day in 2006 we found the shoes she wore (300 pairs of red, white and black beautiful clogs from the 70’s) in the basement of an old clog factory in the neighboring village and brought them to Stockholm. So for all these people that shared our love for Anita’s wooden shoes and for ourselves we started Swedish Hasbeens.Our ambition is to continue to release more incoherent and fun shoes and stuff inspired by Hasbeens that once ruled the planet.The Hasbeens toffels, bags and belts are based on original 70’s models and are made of ecologically prepared natural grain leather since it’s the most beautiful and the highest quality at the same time as it’s environmentally friendly.They are still handmade with respect for people and the environment in the old traditional way, and in small factories that have made shoes for decades. Our production methods and material are kind to nature and people. Happy toffels make happy people.

The designs are delicious…

inspire9_s inspire3_s inspire8_sinspire10_s 333_t_bar_sandal_cognac_webb-b409202b.jpg.thumb_339x254 A clunky shoe that’s elegant..want this one.440_new_green_webb-b38c7b0a.jpg.thumb_339x254 Love this colour – they also do in canary yellow!440_heart_sandal_webb-8be9341d.jpg.thumb_339x254 832_black_nature_webb-e57f6eb4-bdfa1685.jpg.thumb_339x254 470_black_webb-238ea507.jpg.thumb_339x254Want these. And some more retro style ads from their website:

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I went for simplicity and a lower heel – I’ve never worn Hasbeens before and I suspect a wooden sole takes a bit of getting used to, also I was ordering off the internet…and truth be told –  I’m not too good on really high heels and I want these as regular day shoes..the colour is divine…not white, but a soft, buttermilk.. they’ll go with everything..

IMG_1950But if they suit…and they become my best-ever-summer-shoe-purchase-since-the-arrival-of-flatforms..guess where they’ve opened their first UK shop? Only in Hanbury street in Spitalfields…I hear a siren call..

Laters, Kate x

P.S. Tip from Anna, the half-Swedish girl who knows..to wear them in (the leather is good n strong) start wearing them in the house with extra thick socks!