Tuesday, 26 July 2011

model's own.

Not a post about nail polish.

I know, shocking.
Rather, me wearing collection clothes in real life - not for the first time, but I forgot to document the wearing of the printed bodice/chiffon skirt mini dress situation when I wore it out last week.

vintage dress+belt//h&m boots//hoodie off of placement//'things that fly' jacket

The funny thing about wearing waxed jackets in Durham* is that they - Barbour jackets, anyway - are everywhere. Not this one though.
It's the piece I most wanted back from my collection, and IT'S ALL MINE, MWAHAHAHA.


*or, more accurately, in my village, where I saw three Barbour jackets in 5 minutes on my way to the bus stop. It is not a big village.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

recent grads.

If you haven't been around Twitter today, you'll have missed fashion156 sparking a debate into graduates and job opportunities.

They tweeted:
"Open question to graduates. Do you feel equipped to secure the kind of job in the industry you desire. If not what are your concerns?"
...which led to a post on the fashion156 blog.

Of course, this is a debate which concerns me on every level. I emailed f156 my view on education in fashion (too much for a tweet)...
"I've just graduated from Northumbria University's fashion course. I obviously can't speak for other courses but Northumbria does focus a lot on portfolio and links with industry (we have year in industry as part of the course and a placement officer who deals only with finding student placements and advertising graduate jobs.) We (generally) have quite a good rate of employment, which I think is down to experience. I've been applying for lots of jobs in the past few weeks and even entry level positions want people with experience. If you haven't come from a course with a placement scheme of some sort, you might struggle to find paid work in the industry. I chose to travel after doing 5 months with a supply company and now I'm looking into doing another unpaid placement so I have a full years experience at different places.

From seeing other unis work at Graduate Fashion Week, it seems as though lots of courses focus on a high-end market (and final collections - lots of those shown were very 'catwalk', which might be impressive but isn't what buyers/employers are looking for in order to sell!) and don't focus on portfolio skills etc as much as we do - many of the other unis didn't have full portfolios out or took up much more of the stand with garments, and I think this is a huge mistake as most graduates aren't going to find paid work in the high-end and would likely struggle to start their own business too. "
(Slightly edited...)

...but since seeing some more responses I've got more to add.

Over four years on the course I've heard a lot of my coursemates complain about our course for various reasons, but we seem to have it really good -
Co-operative Designs tweeted the following to f156:
"damn straight. Most knitwear students dont even get taught how to knit a jumper. shocking!"
...and was instantly incredibly thankful for everything my course has taught me. We weren't at all taught about digital communication (another thing f156 mentioned) - but on a design course (rather than marketing/communication), I'm not surprised about that.But we are taught how to pattern cut, and sew, and use Adobe programs to professional standard. The print students know how to screen print, and the knitwear students know how to knit (even those who only take knitwear option in fourth year), and our final collections are made by us ourselves (with help from the technicians, but 99% of collections are made in the studio on campus) - which I know isn't the case for all unis.
I think people in the industry know this about Northumbria and that puts me in a good position, but even so, people want to know you have the experience.

I think the reality is, you need education AND experience in order to get anywhere. For the majority of jobs I've applied for, they look at your CV and covering letter and that's it. No work examples - no portfolio, no collection, no anything. You have to impress in text.

This might all be terrible news for new graduates, for people already enrolled on fashion courses, or for people starting a fashion course in September, but hopefully it's better to know the reality of the situation - and what you can do about it - now.


I hope this doesn't sound really Northumbria-biased, but obviously, I don't know about other unis enough to talk about them. Fellow Northumbrians (on any design course), I'd love to hear your opinions; but I'd especially love to hear from students/recent grads from other places...

brown boots.

I picked up my collection on Tuesday (missing a scarf and a belt but otherwise in tact...)

Positives - one shirt doesn't button over my chest and I can't sit down in the trousers, but otherwise everything fits. New wardrobe!
Negatives - ...until you come to the shoes. One pair of 6s are a bit on the small side so I'm keeping them, otherwise these lot are just taking up space.

So, in the interest of making money and space, all of the below are up for grabs.

i've put them on ebay, anyone still interested can find them here (and if not, that means they're no longer for sale...)

boots #1, #2 and #3
*NEW* (not vintage/2nd hand, only worn for the shows) heeled ankle boots.
2 x size 7
1 x size 8 (the 8s were never used and are brand new!)

boots #4
size 6, vintage, low ankle boots with chunky heel and what I think is a blob of chewing gum on one of the heels...

boots #5
size 7 (but a small 7 - my size 5s aren't rattling around in them too much...), 2nd hand, mid calf lace ups. These are the most worn of the boots...

boots #6
size 8s, hiking style, mid calf, 2nd hand, orig from Matalan.

Have at them (please. PLEASE.) - I'm in the midst of a space saving/money earning mission so there will be a lot more clothes and shoes (including the beloved Gucci wedges. And the Zara thigh high boots. And vintage leather shorts. and the Lagerfeld loafers) going on ebay sometime soon...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

all reds.

Hair blending into dress woes.
(I quite like matching and/or clashing my hair& clothes. Incase you haven't noticed. And shall be doing so again on Tuesday for graduation...)

2nd hand dress//vintage jacket//H&M shoes+necklace

Thursday, 14 July 2011

hailee vs elle.

That is, Hailee Steinfeld (for Miu Miu) and Elle Fanning (for Marc by Marc Jacobs), both shot by big name photogs (Bruce Weber and Juergen Teller respectively)
These have been around for a while, and I've seen a lot of opinions on the subject. Since it
kind of ties into my dissertation subject*, I like to think I have something to add.

Both labels are aimed 'at the younger customer', so from that point of view it makes sense to feature teen actresses, but the main negative point I've noticed around (in comments, if not in blog posts etc) is that 'they look like little girls playing dress up' or 'do the designers think these girls can sell clothes to adult women?', which is never something I hear about 15-year-old professional models...

Anyway, I think Elle Fanning has rather an Olsen vibe, if anything. Yes the clothes are too big, but it's all down to the styling, non? That is the look? I'm
sure they could've found sizes (or made them up for the campaign) which would've fit Elle better, but the look in the ads reflects the feel of the collection, and it works for this season.

Hailee, on the other hand, veers from looking far too smartly dressed, to looking younger than her age, to looking much older. That second shot, for example, makes me stop and double take. Whether the styling or her pose, it suggests a much more mature model than Hailee's years. And the third shot's pose suggests a little girl lost and crying...
I wouldn't be surprised if the aim of either campaign, after having secured such stars, would want to embrace the 'little girl playing dress up' theme - if everyone knows who these girls are, then we're going to comment on their age in relation to the target market anyway...

Alright, so, I have chosen the best shots, and in some of the others both girls does look a lot younger (or, yknow, their age), but if they were models, rather than actresses, and we didn't know their ages, would we question it?

*what, I wrote about celebs and fashion and ads were part of that. Perfectly qualified; shutup.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

baby love.

Perfect editorial alert.
I've already spotted this on a blog or two (these imgs came from cat party - a great inspiration blog, if you don't know it) - Baby Love from V Magazine.

As the name suggest, there's a 60s girlgroup feel to the styling, and the coats in the first shot are espesh wonderful (need the houndstooth/checky number on the right, plz.)
Love the print/texture mix throughout, too.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

double leopard-y.


primark cardi//2nd hand top+shoes//topshop trousers//H&M socks

Look, it's a picture of me!
I've moved home and stupidly spent my last money ebay-ing these leopard heels a la Mulberry, but they are lovely.
The trousers are new to the blog too, because I haven't done an outfit post since I bought them in March (April?).
Ho hum.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

shoes, hats, etc

fashion156's couture gardening issue is out - a bizarre title, but accurate with all the trees in the shoot and florals on the clothes. I'm mainly blogging this for the styling - some great pieces, some great show/sock combos and some fantastic hats/headwear.

Must take a closer look at the hats in Rokit next time I'm London-bound; as all the hats featured here are from there (apart from the Silken Flowers turban in img 7), while stand out shoes from Claire Davis (the comfy looking - probably deceptively so - shoes in img 1) and Tessa Edwards (img 2) are not helping my shoelust ONE LITTLE BIT.
Great pieces featured are from old fave Hermione de Paula (imgs 1&5) as well as Eugene Lin (img 2) and Ostwald Helgson (the gorgeous skirt and shirt in img 6).

Y'know what's hard? Looking at nice clothes and shoes and hats when you have no money and (currently) no job prospects.

Monday, 4 July 2011

all walks.

All Walks Beyond The Catwalk launched almost 2 years ago - London Fashion Week, September 2009. In their own words:

"All Walks Beyond the Catwalk is an initiative founded by Caryn Franklin, Debra Bourne and Erin O’Connor working with influential Catwalk designers and top industry creatives to celebrate more diversity within the fashion industry."
I bring it up now as this year, All Walks had a stand and did some press at GFW (they did last year, too, but I wasn't there in 2010), and beforehand, Caryn Franklin made the trip up north to give a (really interesting) talk at Northumbria.
That was, of course, some months ago (April, I think? Maybe even March...) but that's when the work started to pile up and I never did get round to writing about the project.

It's an inspiring one, though - the mission is, ultimately, to change the way the fashion industry works, encouraging diversity in the industry, changing the way the media presents fashion, and showing women everywhere that the beauty standard is not the tall, thin, young and white look set by the industry (for the most part) today.
Rankin shoot//i-D shoot - from allwalks.org

In their two short years, the project has launched high profile campaigns - features in i-D, events at LFW and GFW, and at the National Portrait Gallery - and has attracted big name designers (Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney etc) and other big industry names (Rankin shot the first big campaign, above) as well as new names on the scene (Mark Fast, David Koma, Hannah Marshall etc). With the big, influential names of the future now getting involved, it's easy to assume that progression has been made, but only time will tell.

At Northumbria, Caryn talked a little about All Walks, but also about women, media, fashion and beauty in general and raised some points I couldn't ignore. Trying to decipher my months-old notes is a challenge, but my scribbles include points like:

- caucasian women, on average, have lower self esteem than those of colour, and are more represented in fashion. Coincidence?
- manipulation of images damages mental health, but while it's illegal to misrepresent a fridge, for example, in advertising etc, you can change a man or woman's body beyond recognition without anyone batting an eyelid.
- the availability of catwalk images compared to 30 years ago means we are now reaching a global audience, which means model's looks are too.

Most impotantly to me, I think, she asked, do designers not have the skills to dress women of different body types?
I can assure you, we aren't taught such skills. We aren't taught to grade patterns (how hard can that be?) or what flatters someone who isn't model-sized. There isn't time, I suppose - on my course, there wouldn't be the time/money/resources to produce a collection in final year for anyone who wasn't model sized, for example, but somewhere in the 4 years (or even on a 3 year course), would there not be room for a project for a plus-sized women, or a petite women, for example? I've certainly seen a couple of jobs advertised for plus sized designers which I haven't applied for, knowing I'm not confident that I could design successfully for such a customer.
That isn't to my advantage.
In fact, it's to no one's advantage.

All Walks is doing something important and necessary; something I hope any other bloggers reading this can appreciate. The majority of bloggers are real people with real body shapes; a lot of you work in the industry, or are hoping to at some point. Yo
u can get involved and raise awareness with a quick visit to the site (linked at the top of the page). I can only encourage you to get your tutors/bosses involved too, or spread the word if you can.

In the meantime, follow All Walks and Caryn Franklin on twitter...