Thursday, 30 September 2010

Harajuku Freak

Japanese designers have always been at the centre of fashion as they create the most innovative and daring statement pieces, they are also known for their skills, often using the mannequin rather than traditional pattern cutting to create their garments. We found some very exciting examples of Japanese Avant-Garde design talent at Vodafone London Fashion Weekend.


During his time as a student at the Royal College of Fine Art Antwerp, Naka met a tailor and this inspired him to become a designer. Success was imminent as he was selected to join the Hyeres International Mode Festival. Before returning to Japan in 2006, Naka also added knitwear to his repertoire, working for an American knitwear designer. 
Both of the jackets above show a clear confidence with leather, pig skin in particular is part of his unusual material choices. Zips and studs also adorn his garments, as he puts his mark on the traditional biker jacket.

Pictured above is a jacket featuring panels of silver material, which is in fact titanium similar to the coating on touch screen phones.

@IZREEL's edgy menswear

Initially majoring in Mathematics, Takakura debuted his first collection when he launched @IZREEL in May 2003, and is going on to expand his horizons by signing contracts with brands and designers worldwide. We were told that fans of his work include Jay Z and the Black Eyed Peas.
The inspiration for this season's collection was Japanese armour, asymmetric cuts and metallic finishes give an edge to his heritage. 

A kimono inspired summer dress by Theatre Products

Fashion With a Conscience

Since 2007,  the Environmental Justice Foundation has encouraged shoppers to 'pick your cotton carefully' to try to improve cotton production without child labour involved. The charity helps promote awareness of the amount of child labour in cotton films by filming and photographing companies that deny speculation. Child labour usually happens in developing countries such as Pakistan and India where government involvement is limited.

Many of our local high street shops use the cotton that is farmed by children, however it's hard for companies in the UK to take control of what happens when production is outsourced.

These exclusive t-shirts were on sale at London Fashion Weekend
The Vodafone London Fashion Weekend catwalk exhibited how the t-shirt can be dressed-up to make the perfect statement, and for extra style points, the line up of legendary designers to collaborate with the charity includes Christian Lacroix, Luella and John Rocha.
 All t-shirts are made in the UK and produced with organic fair trade cotton and organic inks, making the garments unstoppable with both quality and ethical production. The t-shirts are designed around the theme of "childhood, lost innocence and hope".

Courtesy of Environmental Justice Foundation

T-shirts are often used by designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, to make a political statement as it's a clear way to make a message.
Models like Lily Cole have been at the forefront of the campaign, images have been seen throughout Elle and Vogue which has increased publicity dramatically. Other models who have been photographed to help are Devon Aoki, Noemie Lenoir, Noot Seear, Kimberly Stewart, Lui Wen and Poppy Delevigne. 
All the profits go straight back into the charity, allowing women to shop guilt-free.

Must have finds

Blocco 8 it bag

Angel Jackson's feather bag, which is set to be popular this Autumn

Many high-street stores have copied Angel Jackson's feisty jaguar emblem


The Wedge that has become a 21st Century icon

As the daughter of an architect, Julia Lundsten creates the most magnificent and seemingly gravity-defying shoes on the market. Despite being Finnish born, Lundsten launched Finsk in London in 2004, and all shoes are handcrafted in Brazil by the finest materials.Since the beginning of her career Julia Lundsten has been creating stylish and directional shoes that have enabled her to gain recognition and awards.

We love the mix of materials, allowing sexy leather, chic suede and wooden wedges seem a natural combination.  We were told Lundsten views a shoe much like a chair, making her shoes comfortable as well as sustainable. Lundsten also uses and eclectic range of colour to her advantage to create a avant-garde shoe which happens to be extremely wearable.


The perfect pump
Out of all the shoes we spotted, Beatrix Ong's pumps seemed the most wearable on an everyday basis, providing the perfect allusion to the much loved childhood spectacle of origami. The fast growing British label seems to understand the need for a shoe which is versatile yet luxurious.


Sheerluxe was giving away an amazing chance to win a luxury black leather handbag (pictured above) worth £1,000, which both of us excitedly put our names down for! Due to the lack of chance both of us would win one, we decided that the best thing to do would be to share it either way...
Not only did Sheerluxe offer the chance to become the happiest bag owner, but gave away these free pick and mix of sweets which we can safely say were delicious and definitely kept us going throughout the day!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Precious jewels

Alex Monroe

Representatives from Alex Monroe, Mollie and Rosie

 One of Britain's top jewellery designers, who we are told is a typical English fanatic, exhibited his new collection at London fashion Weekend.
His most popular piece is the infamous bee, which we saw a number of fans all over the event wearing! Due to the demand for this piece, Alex Monroe has brought out a new collection of the classic necklace, the cute new rendition of a baby bee provides an alternative that is as sweet as honey.
Rosie (on the left pictured above) is part of Alex's team, creating jewellery each day within the prestigious workshop. Molly, who recently joined the company as an intern, is learning quickly about the focus on quality. As materials are sourced in the UK, the company provides a highly exclusive product to the costumer.
We admired that the representatives were committed employees who knew about the company, rather than simply sales assistants.

To find out more about Alex Monroe visit our write up on his woodland inspiration at Our guest blog on OSOblog,
or visit the Alex Monroe blog to find out inspirations for the new 'Daisy Bell' collection.

an array of statement pieces
this ring gave the effect of spanning over several fingers but had the practicality of just being on one

As seen on Olivia Palermo
 Known for their extensive range statement jewellery, Mawi is the London based jewellery house who combine swarovski crystals and gold plated metals to create contemporary pieces for the modern fashionista. Mawi's pieces are to be ' bought, worn, collected, cherished and treasured.' The house describe their creations as 'luxury statement pieces', and their impact was clear for all to see at London Fashion Weekend.

Their long pendants made from metallic tubes and statement gems would complete a simple black dress, whilst the heavily encrusted necklaces were perfect for outfits requiring ultimate glamour. We fell in love instantly with the bold cuff which Evie slipped on, adding instant chic to her blazer and complimenting the golden tones in her outfit perfectly.

Take a look at the Mawi online store, and take a look in the treasure trove for yourself.

Clara Francis

Self-taught jewelry creator, Clara Francis, takes children's fairy tales and works them into her collection of grown up and delicate designs.
Clara initially trained as an actress, where in her breaks from the stage she explored and experimented with the traditional method of beading through vintage patterns. The tiny glass beads are sourced all the way from Japan to create intricate interesting designs that would enable a woman to 'dress up any outfit'.
Recently, for the Cherry on the cake exhibition at the V&A, Clara was invited to design and create a piece inspired by the grand historical place itself.
Some designs can take up to 10 days to make but Clara's patience for a beloved trinket is worth the excessive hand work.

Laura Tabor

The London based jewellery designer, Laura Tabor, impressed us with her range of stunning and desirable pieces. Laura graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2001, and from then after she has been designing for other other companies on a freelance basis, and  even creates bespoke pieces for one off requests.
The trinkets are all made by hand, we found her at Vodafone London Fashion Weekend crafting jewellery on the spot in front of delighted customers.  For inspiration, Laura takes photographs of 'anything and everything', from autumn leaves to the sweet and sugary, where she then mixes traditional techniques with a contemporary twist to create elegantly sculpted complimentary pieces.
Laura's favourite pieces are the 'Sugar Mice' ring and earring (as pictured above) which feature a miniature mouse with a tiny moving tail. To further her love of beautiful decoration the next step for Laura is bringing out a cookbook next year, we can't wait to see what she's been cooking up.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Azuni Insight

Whilst hunting for the best buys within London Fashion Weekend, we came across an array of interesting sales managers and designers.
Azuni was started in London by a former chef who changed his passion for food to jewellery, and has experienced an increasingly successful career since the company was established 10 years ago. Creating jewellery inspired by ancient cultures, Azuni collaborates with a wide range of popular UK and European fashion labels such as Jigsaw, Edina Ronay, Ronit Zilka and Paul Smith.

Harriet's favourite ring, with an exquisite mountain opal

Andrew, the enthusiastic sales partner from Azuni, commented on the change in consumers' mindsets since the company first started out. Azuni has a beautiful collection of fine jewellery, crafted from precious stones and metals, and chooses to steer clear of cheap materials that other companies sometimes use. They even recycle old pieces to create something more desirable.

Exclusively priced range of jewellery from last season

Andrew told us that costumers are increasingly drawn towards the aesthetic of products rather than the quality. It's unfortunately true that companies are selling products at an unjustifiable high price, Andrew added that branding is making costumers lose sight of what items are really worth. For example, many customers are unaware of the precious gems like Tourmaline that are used in their beautiful pieces.

Interestingly, Azuni's prices at London Fashion Weekend were at a bare minimum for their worth, as Andrew notes that there's no point in these items being made to be kept under a bed for seasons to come, that the jewellery they make should be worn by women who will appreciate. We really enjoyed talking to Andrew, we're sure everyone finds overpriced fashion a little tiring, and his views were pleasantly refreshing. Take a look at the gorgeous new collection at

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Birmingham Vintage Fair

So far, Birmingham has been the most impressive as to the range of style. What we found nice is that Birmingham seemed to have people with equally stylish friends, as many pictures were taken in pairs or groups!
Below we've picked out the most impressive styles:

Seventies style
Luke & Danni show a colour coordinated couple who enjoy the interesting patterns in Vintage. Luke is inspired by a mix between Russel Brand and Austin Powers to creatre his own unique look.

The 'For Real Fur' look
Vintage is given a luxurious style by the use of modern denim with a touch of a real weasel scarf. Tom Mason (photographed above) designs and makes his own clothes at only 16 years old. The 'YSL' replica print was created by himself.

The cute couture
Eva Browning and Abi Copson, at age 16, create 60's chic inspired by Audrey Hepburn, Pattie Boyd and Alexa Chung. As well as remaining stylish, they use their spare time to focus on their band, 'The Lovetts'!

The Medieval-style Muse

James Blincox uses a mix of textures to his advantage in his individual vintage dressing. Even though he wears real fur, James remains a 'veggie' and admires the style of Patrick Wolf.
Pam Cheema
We met the director & stylist of Frock on Vintage who impressed us with her range of individually sourced Vintage pieces. The next step for the brand will be opening a store in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, and we'll be reporting on the launch party in October.

A special thanks to Jenny Seddon, Rebecca Egan, Lauren Gordan, Kirsty Norbary and Ashley Moore (photographed above). We loved their muted palette of colours and sophisticated style.

Highlights of London Fashion Weekend

We're going to be making several posts about designers and experiences we had at Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, so here's a breakdown of what we'll be covering over the next week.
Arriving at Somerset House
Vodafone London Fashion Weekend is a 4 day event following on from London Fashion Week, giving the public a chance to experience catwalk shows and exclusive designer discounts. We were there on Friday, seeking out the hottest AW trends in all areas of fashion.

Rosie and Mollie from Alex Monroe
We were particularly interested in many of the jewellery designers exhibiting in The Tent, and if you haven't already, check out our guest post for the OSOblog. OSOYOU is part of Aigua Media Ltd, which reaches over 1 million women a month. Launched at London Fashion Week in 2007, by Grazia Magazine's Dawn Bebe, the network combines several blogs for every fashionista's need.

Fashion helps Charity
The Environmental Justice Foundation collaborated with our favourite designers to display a range of fashion conscious t-shirts, which were on sale at Vodafone London Fashion Weekend. The company use all profits in their fight to stop child exploitation in cotton fields, allowing shoppers to feel guilt-free.
There was also a £5 raffle with a chance to win a range of great fashion related prizes.

Finsk's architectural shoe
Through out the day we hunted down must-have shoes and bags that caught our eye. We gathered a real mix of styles and the biggest bargains that would instantly make a statement for the modern woman.

Andrew from Azuni
 We were lucky enough to get an insight into the fashion industry as Azuni told us their mind-opening opinion on the development of retail and the fashion industry. As well as telling us the background to their beautiful pieces sourced from natures finest crystals and precious stones.

Japanese designers at Harajuku Freak
 Harajuku freak includes 6 Japanese brands which feature innovative and interesting garments that have a powerful edge. The concept behind the company is to stock limited and rare clothing by avant-garde designers. Garments included daring materials and complex pattern cutting.

Drinking Chambord Royale cocktails in front of the Elizabeth Arden stand
 A complimentary raspberry inspired cocktail was given out to the first lucky 150 people, whilst in The Tent, shoppers had makeovers in relation to A/W '10 trends by sponsors Toni&Guy and Elizabeth Arden.

The Catwalk Report
 We'll be reporting the about the influential designers who exhibited their collections, and latest array of AW '10 trends straight from the catwalk. This will also include other stylish women who were also sitting front row.

H&E xx


An exciting event is coming to Nottingham on October 7th at the Exchange Arcade, hosted by the Nottingham Creative Business Awards committee. This year, luckily for you people who bring something different to the style of Nottingham, there's an alternative approach to the traditional fashion show.

To celebrate Nottingham's eclectic mix of style, the event will be a fashion parade of both prominent and individual style makers who particularly shape Nottingham's fashion scene. This has been inspired by the fact of Nottingham's heritage of established textile and fashion industries, such as designers like Paul Smith and Daniel Hanson.
If you feel that you fit the bill, then simply send a full length photograph of yourself in an outfit that displays your style, a piece of music to strut your stuff to and contact details to!

We'll be taking part in the parade aswell as interviewing participants backstage about their style and capturing the unique event as a whole! Everyone is invited just contact us or Sophie for details, we look forward to seeing you there regardless of whether you want to be in the show or not. Also the cast of 'This is England' will be there!

News and Thanks

The last two days have been both unexpected and amazing to say the least. We spent Friday at London's Somerset house for Vodafone London Fashion Weekend and have just returned from a whirlwind trip to Birmingham, where we visited the Vintage Fair and Style Birmingham.
We have several wonderful interviews coming up, and will be posting our reports in installments as we have so much to tell! It will all be arriving as soon as possible, and we promise it will be worth the wait.
To keep you occupied in the meantime however, we are very excited to have had the opportunity to write a guest post for the UK's leading social, style and shopping site, the OSOblog. Click here to see our report on woodland jewellery at Vodafone London Fashion Weekend, which was published yesterday.
We'd like to give many thanks to everyone who has made the past few days possible. We're very grateful for your time and knowledge, we believe the experiences we've had will take Fashionstrand to a whole, very exciting, new level.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Designer Sample Sale

There we were, walking around Nottingham, thinking we're going to London tomorrow and what to wear, if only we could afford to splash the cash on the luxuries of designer. Even though we had just got paid, we couldn't seem to find anything we wanted to wear to London Fashion Weekend.

The sale was hosted by as the clothes had been used in previous photo and studio shoots. The clothes were marked down into this sale since they had been damaged somehow by models and fitting etc. But we seemed to think the damage was hardly noticeable or unfixable.

The Vivienne Westwood 'New Drape Top' which is gold/black/blue stripped with extra long sleeves, and I mean really long. Was £189 Now £70 due to a slight run in the knit where the sides had stretched but definitely fixable.

The Bargain of the day, a bright pink Jersey 'Fortune  Dress' which was about £189 too, down to £20! Because of Vivienne Westwood's exquisite pattern-cutting the dress photographs badly as the shape is emphasised on one side to create a magnificent drape.

Close up of unusual bonded random pleats in crinkled fabric which is quite extraordinary.  

And my favourite item possibly ever. A Burberry double brested trench coat in a silver/pale grey. Since Burberry was revamped with style, steering away from the old classic pattern which was adopted by British Chavs, the clothes have been more likable than ever.
Was £539 Now £134, as there was a missing belt but luckily I happened to have a matching belt from accessorize. I don't know about you but I think that's destiny.

Harriet's designer treasures will be coming soon, but I'd check it out if you want to grab a universal wardrobe item that will last you a lifetime.
Also hopefully this will happen again and we will notify you as loyal readers so you can get the best items next season.

P.s keep looking at the blog because, as mentioned earlier, we are going to London Fashion Weekend tomorrow to cover the event and report back on up and coming designers, bargains of the day and the official catwalk show!