Rising


Three up-and-coming brands to dig your teeth into...

DANCING LEOPARD


If you’re lucky enough to be one of those glamorous, sassy girls who frequent the Ibiza party scene (no, me neither), chances are you will have already heard of Dancing Leopard. If you haven’t, and you’re jetting off to somewhere exotic this summer, this one is for you. Dancing Leopard’s brand philosophy is quite simple: effortless, beautiful style for effortless beauties – in their own words, they combine “traditional Indian patterns with western chic” to create clothing that is “perfect for Balearic summers and sun-dappled festivals”. Instead of offering a huge range of styles, Dancing Leopard stick to a few set lines of clothing, including their ever-popular Genie Jumpsuits, Tassle Kaftans and Ibiza Dresses, all of which are available in an array of different patterns and, yes, they are all beautiful.

STOLEN GIRLFRIENDS CLUB


Put three young, New Zealand-based designers together in a room and we get Stolen Girlfriends Club, a label which offers both women’s and men’s apparel as well as a solid collection of shoes, jewellery and eyewear. It would appear that Dan, Luke and Marc, the boys behind the brand, have tapped well into youth culture, the result of which is collections with an offbeat, grungy vibe. Normally this sort of thing isn’t too my tastes because I don’t really like the ‘edgy Tumblr kid’ aesthetic (Stolen Girlfriends Club’s gift cards have a blown-up photograph of cigarette butts on them… very reblog-worthy) but, having looked through the brand’s website extensively, I can conclude that these clothes are cool, dark, slightly androgynous and not the least bit immature.

K2TOG DESIGN


We all think them, but it’s probably time for us to ditch our pre-conceived ideas of ‘eco friendly’ fashion. When I heard about K2TOG (‘Knit Together Design)’, a luxury knitwear label from St Martins graduate Katie Jones, which prides itself on its “waste not, want not” design ethos, I was sceptical. Reworking someone else’s unused fabric? Upcycling? For someone who generally likes clean lines and neutral colours, it sounds messy. So imagine my delight when I came across the brand’s website, which immediately sucks you in with its cornucopia of colour and creativity, and discovered some seriously beautiful knitwear. K2TOG’s capsule collection comprises 15 pieces made up of over 90% reclaimed materials. Otherwise dull Aran jumpers and black leather skirts are jazzed up with neon trims, cutesy Peter Pan collars, floral appliqué and colourful pom poms. The vibes are a bit ‘mad granny’, but this is British thriftiness at its best, and definitely worth supporting. 

tba SS14

I had to share the tba SS14 lookbook with you as it is one of the most gorgeous sets of photographs I've ever seen. The photographer, Masha Mel, has certainly captured Brighton beach at its most resplendent; the whole thing smacks of a Lula editorial (R.I.P), which is probably why I love it so much, and makes me feel vaguely positive about spending another summer in Britain.

The collection is entitled 'A Love Letter to Brighton', the designer's hometown. Brighton is beautiful, creative and colourful, hence why the collection embodies a similar mood. There are obvious 60s vibes in the clothes, though 70s influences seem to have come into play as well - note the technicolour silk frills, flare trousers and brash, Liberty-esque floral prints. One of the things I love about this brand is the way it is so reasonably priced compared to its competitors — the tweed pieces are very Carven-esque and the scallop-edged silks could be seen as a cheaper alternative to something similarly swooshy from Simone Rocha — though, unless we're talking eBay or sample sales, I can't afford tba, I would love to invest in something from this collection, preferably the Jamily dress or the Saara dress (I've got the look for the latter locked down as I'm pretty sure I've got the same earrings as the model is wearing in the lookbook). 


tba's SS14 collection is available online at www.ilovetba.com. 

AA

Today I looked at the American Apparel website just on the off chance that the Riding Pants had been reduced. They hadn't, natch, but it wasn't a totally fruitless visit because I came across a new feature on the website that allows you to browse AA's entire advertising archive. You can view it here: http://www.americanapparel.net/advertising/

The brand (allegedly) doesn't airbrush its photos and, although all the ladies American Apparel use as models are gorgeous, they rarely have that stereotypical, perfectly toned body/perfectly symmetrical face that we're acclimatised to see in fashion advertising. Up to a point I think AA has become a parody of itself, and I do wonder what sort of people, in this grossly over-sexualised age, actually find their imagery shocking any more. However, I do like their advertising, in all its gritty porniness, and even though a lot of people don't share my views it cannot be denied that their marketing strategy works; whatever your gender or sexuality, when you see a close-up of someone's crotch spread over the back page of Vice, you're going to do a double-take. Long live AA and their raunchiness - it makes me feel so much better for not giving a hoot about toning my stomach or removing every bit of hair on my body.








February gloom





Today wasn't great, but these pictures from the latest online edition of the Topshop magazine have perked me up; I love the styling and the moody feel. 

Essentials (tops edition)

And so fashion month comes around again. When I've not been too busy at work or doing life admin, I've been catching up on the latest action from the catwalks. I watched Christopher Kane's show on live stream a few days ago; at present my feelings on it are unclear, but I find that Kane's shows often take a while for me to digest - no doubt when I have a spare minute I will write about his new collection on Bonjour Grace. It's funny, I always diligently read the show reports on Style.com et al and I am always well-versed in the latest trends from Planet Fashion, but to be honest I've never been interested in following 'the fashions', as my mother calls them. I'm always interested in seeing how chain stores interpret catwalk trends and dilute them into mass market-friendly product, but I am inherently stubborn — I know what I like and I stick to it — so I tend to dress myself within the parameters of my own fashion rule book, not take heed to whatever is ambled down the Prada runway. 

I'd like to share my wardrobe essentials with you. I thought I'd start with tops. 


Polo neck jumper from Topshop



Marinière from Zara



Polo neck sleeveless shell top from Topshop

I'd say I have about 70-80 tops in my wardrobe. Selecting my three favourites was easier than you might think because only around 30% of my tops have been worn more than once. Though my style is quite classic & simplistic (I don't have much time for loud prints or anything that's not black, white or grey), I have so many trend-led pieces in my wardrobe that are bought impulsively and worn once on a night out before being shunned, unwashed and lightly wine-stained, to the back of my wardrobe. Last week I was shopping in Sunderland (do not recommend) and came across a bright red vinyl skirt - rather like Dionne's in Clueless - for 40 smackers. Totally garish, totally wrong for my 60s Parisienne vibe, but of course I tried it on, reasoning with myself that it would look good with a big black fluffy jumper, which how I tend to wear my black leather mini, but eventually I found the goodness within and left the shop empty-handed. I'm learning.
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