Friday, 29 October 2010

Interviews from designers involved in Nottingham Makers Fashion show at Gatecrasher

Backstage at the Nottingham Makers fashion show at Gatecrasher, whilst a were getting changed and made-up, Fashion Strand interviewed the designers behind the garments...

Decorative arts graduate from Nottingham Trent, Laura Smedley, tells us how she manipulated her skills to fulfill her love of fashion.

What was your inspiration for the collection?
The garments are actually a pick from my degree show. During the course we looked a lot at fashion in stability which is why all my illustrations are screen-printed with natural dyes. Two years ago I actually lived in New York and simply fell in love with the architecture. My aim is to highlight the contrast of the graphic prints with natural dyes.

What's the next step for you as a designer?
I'm actually being helped to set up my own business model. I'm researching to find out my target audience, at the moment I'd pinpoint it at women aged 25-30. However a while ago I participated in a trade fair in the Victoria centre and I was surprised as boys seemed to take a liking to the prints too.

What's your favourite fabric to work with?
Silk - a nightmare but I love it. It takes dyes really well.

Regenerate clothing showed us how the brand is evolving into a whole new direction.

Which is your favourite piece Regenerate is showcasing?
The draped tye-dye dress which is a sneak peek of our new dress line, as Regenerate is moving away from tshirts towards the higher end of women swear.  The dress is made in Nottingham with organic bamboo and experiments with tailoring through different shapes and drapery, but still keeping that Punk edge Regenerate are known for. 

What inspires the clothes?
Regenerate will always be inspired by Rock&Roll but lately I travelled through Asia and just was so inspired by the silhouettes in Barley.

Regenerate clothing is known for their award winning business ethos, tell us more..
Well we ensure we use product cruelty free fabric, as Pea Silk is a type of silk which doesn't harm the silk worm as it dies naturally. 

 Although still in college, Alice Leverton was able to have the opportunity to design and make a dress for Xample, we spoke to her to see how she got involved...

When did you first become interested in fashion?
I first experienced the basic making of garments through Textiles at GCSE, but like I say, it was very basic. At Lace Market (part of NCN), they teach you more complex and enjoyable things.  However the briefs they set are strict and not very imaginative, they usually tell you which fabric to work with.

Are you going to pursue your love of fashion at University?
There's no questioning that making clothes is a handy skill to have, but at college I always enjoy doing the photo shoots for the garments. I'm directing towards more the styling route or even fashion promotion and events. Events like Nottingham Makers are way more fun than sat in a studio all day.
Tell us about your dress
The Chiffon dress took me two non-stop days to whip up, I love the peacock feathers around the neckline, I actually started with the peacock feathers because the colours are so vivid and inspiring. My main inspiration is a mixture between the 1920s,  art deco and Egyptian. It was a great challenge as I prefer cotton as it's neater to sew with compared to other fabrics like satin, silk and chiffon.

Megan and Harriet the designers behind the brand Merrimaking told Fashionstrand how an enjoyable hobby turned into successful garments which are even worn by the singer Marina and the Diamonds.

Animal hoods - quite a quirky idea, how did it come about? 
Last summer both of us graduated from Universities in Nottingham and frankly were desperate for something to do. We used it as a fun way to pay our way through the summer, we started selling these hoods at festivals and they almost became our festival currency. It wasn't planned at all, we just started selling and seemed to grab attention.

What are your opinions of fur?
We always use faux fur, we would never use real fur. Honestly the fur is our starting point, we're inspired by types of fur and the animals sort of evolve out of that. For example we're made a white fur fox hood and we're not even sure it exists!

What's the best thing about being a designer?
It's just great to be self-employed and work in a creative atmosphere as it's always different and never boring. Our favourite thing to do is commission as there more challenging, we once replicated a someone's pet into a hood for them!
To see more of the things Merri Making get up to check out Merri Making's blog.

Jamie from Rith Raff spoke to us about how he makes tailoring become casual.

When were you first interested in clothing?
From since I can remember I always liked constructing things, but as I grew older it turned more into a design slant. I learnt how to make clothes the expensive way, being self taught through books, videos and mainly experimentation.

What's you inspiration?
I'm inspired by Graphic art and  Saville Row tailoring as I love the contrast between the two.  I mainly designs for men, as I create bespoke clothing like the jackets. My favourite is the checked jacket, it took a long time to make and I simply love the design - sometimes you can't explain anything other than that.

What are you most proud of?
Nottingham. It shows through on my designs (points to the tshirt he's wearing) look with Robin hood, and my favourite part of Nottingham, the lions. Definitely the best part of designing is the finished product.


In the 3rd year of her decorative arts degree at Trent Harriet Foster chose to do textures and along the way taught herself how to pattern cut to pursue fashion.

What's your inspiration?
Everything. I love city skyscrapers and all types of organic form. I like to think my garments bring out the prints and the colours.

What's your favourite fabric to work with?
Silk at the moment because it's simply fabulous. I've been experimenting with tensil (sustainable fabric) which has become a big part of my business ethos. I use always use tussah silk which is end of the roll fabric. I want to create designs that are contemporary and cutting edge but also achieve longevity, as I'm against throwaway fashion and disposable fabrics.

What do you think the best thing about being a designer is?
The physical making of the clothes, being able to use creativity to produce something from nothing.

Nottingham Makers Fashionshow at Gatecrasher

Saturday marked the end of a very busy and exciting week for us. We headed to Leicester's Vintage Fair bright and early then got straight down to business at Gatecrasher in the afternoon for the Nottingham Makers Fashionshow.
The event showcased Nottingham talent, both in music and design. It attracted a large audience, and as there was a 16+ entry age, the younger style enthusiasts were also accounted for, plus it was free entry! The venue was great for a fashion show, with different floors to enjoy the evening's entertainment from.
The Nottingham Makers Fashionshow was a great evening for both of us. Evie was running around backstage for interviews and photos, whilst Harriet was running around in outfits and getting lessons in walking like a model.

Below the crowd was the changing area. Models' hair was scraped in to fuss free buns and ponytails, and paired with simple make up so that the full focus was on the clothing.

The night was kicked off with several live music acts with sets from Koda Cola, The Black Sheep Band, The Avengers and Delta Sun.
Merrimaking showcased three hoods, our favourite being the extravagant centre piece, with glittering antlers.

Harriet Foster creates the ultimate shift dresses.

Rith Rath embodies Nottingham pride
Laura Smedley showcasing the New York city skyline through screen printing.

Mr.3 at Xample creates laid back cool clothes.

Samatha Brooke creates monochrome structural garments.
Jennifer Williams with her intricate knitted pieces.

Regenerate clothing showcasing their new line on womenswear.

Xample shaping Nottinghams style with key printed hoodies.
 The three young designers, Milly Melbourne, Alive Leverton and Emily Forrester formed the 'Xample Couture' collection.
this dress and cape were infact knitwear, very intricate!
A note on modelling from Harriet: Anyone who says models have an easy job, you're wrong. There's so much to concentrate on, arms hips back legs, I really surprised myself by not falling over. Having said that, it was great to be able to wear such gorgeous clothes. We love seeing young designers' work up close, so appreciating it like this was even better.   

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

ILoveHockley Fashionshow Interviews

Amongst the madness at the ILoveHockley fashion show, we grabbed Robin, owner of Wild Clothing and Caroline, founder and designer of Pink & Lily, for a quick  chat...


What should everyone love about Wild?
I really couldn't pinpoint what it is, but whatever it is, for 28 years people have been coming back. It's really by accident, not by design. I'm not trained in fashion or anything, I just decided one day to open a shop and it's just felt right for everyone, we've clothed 2 generations of Nottingham people. It just started off as a laugh and it's become my life.

So you source all the clothes, have you a favourite find?
Well, when we first opened the look was 50's. You know, it was the Smiths, Morrisey, quiffs. A bit like it is now with flannel shirts and jeans, that era of clothing was always my favourite. But I think at that time in the 80's, as a 25 year old I would look around at the modern clothing and really hate it because I was stuck in the 50's thing. But now, I can see the beauty of 80's clothing and it's taken 15 years for that to happen! 10 years ago, we were recycling the 70's and during the 70's nobody in Nottingham wore disco clothes, no body with credibility, you all wore 50's clothes. But then the 70's came along and was revived and you thought to yourself, "oh I wish I could have been a part of that it looks quite fun". But I'll tell you one of the favourite things I've ever found, it's really weird, but a customer came to the counter, and said "oh look I've just found a dead lizard in one of your cowboy boots!" And I've got it in the office, it's a little lizard that's all dried up and I thought, well that's the good thing about being in secondhand clothing isn't it?

Why do you love Hockley?
Well, it's been my home for 28 years. I've come here nearly every day. There aren't many days when I don't go to that shop, so I spend more time here than I do at home. It just feels right, and yes the City centre's alright but if I was to go to another town, I'd try to find the Hockley area, and most towns have got one. But because this one is our own, it just feels nice.


Describe your shop in three words 
Eclectic, inspirational, and girly.

Do you have a favourite outfit from tonight?
I think the sequin Mina dress is amazing we recently featured it in left lion a girl from This Is England wore it for a photo shoot. It's from Mina, which is one of the brands we sell.

Is there any thing new you like?
We've had quite a few new brands in, like the Australian brand Mink Pink, which is quite exclusive to us and it's had a lot of press at the moment. I think that's one of my new faves, there's lots of nice knitwear and tailoring. We do our own brand which is of course called Pink & Lilly. We can make corsets and dresses and we can make them to any measurement, colour or size. It costs not extra to have one made to fit either, so it's a good reason to come to Pink & Lilly!

Do you have any particularly memorable designs?
Yes actually, there was one corset which was made of panels of shirts and had a tie on the back and a collar. It was one of the most popular ones we've ever made. Because it was made from recycled materials, each one was a slightly different, it was definitely one of my favourites. It's edgy and girly.

 You can shop online at
Take a look at the gorgeous dresses and irregular choice shoes, and remember there's student discount in store!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Britain's Next Top Model Live

Britain's Next Top Model Final contestants and Guest Presenters.
From left: Alesha(2nd), Tiffany (1st), Emma Willis, Charley Speed, Charlotte and Joy
Britain's Next Top Model Live took place across three days from 22nd-24th of October, at ExCel London, providing the ultimate experience in glamorous shopping for followers of fashion and beauty.

11am on Friday's press itinerary, Fashionstrand were invited to capture the opening of the event. Lucky VIPs also filtered in as the flashing of cameras increased. When the ribbon had been cut, we rushed off down the red carpet entrance to the bloggers bar!

A refurbished 1950s Airstream Caravan was home to all the bloggers, who were posting live from the event.

The Kiss Live Open Catwalk
The TV presenter and model, Emma Willis wore a Yumi dress whilst presenting on the Kiss Open catwalk. The public enjoyed air and make-up demonstrations from beauty bloggers Pixie Woo, and a stylist told the crowd "never buy shoes that wobble" as she demonstrated the 'flick test'.

Xfactor star, Diana Vickers, headlined the Kiss Open Catwalk on the Friday with her hit singles 'Once', 'The boy who murdered Love' and the brand new single 'My wicked Heart', all from the number one album 'Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree'. Her vocal range and stunning performance attracted a huge array of fans. She also wore an interesting structured dress, which reminded us of Alexander McQueens Spring/Summer 2010 collection.

The casting coach from Models 1 invited the public to enroll in his catwalk workshops and strutt their stuff on the Kiss Open Catwalk, Evie actually took this opportunity at the spur of the moment! The enrollment list filled up drastically after the first workshop, as the girls were really up for it regardless of their shape or size.
The coach is primarily a dancer/actor as he told us the Alexander technique, ballet and yoga can really improve posture. He was asked by Models 1 to help with the models' composure even though he usually choreographs, explaining to us one of his proudest moment was performing Shakespeare at the Globe.
The tasks for the public got increasingly difficult as the old 'book-on-the-head' challenge was incorporated. He also told us his plans to include an exercise about going from a mad rush backstage to  emerging serene and composed for the catwalk, to mimic this aspect of being a model.
Most girls think they can't walk in heels because the shoes give them excessive pain. The runway coach advises girls to wear newly bought heels around the house a fortnight or so early, or even to take the dog for a walk in them to avoid pain on a night out!


As part of Global Cool's 'Turn Up the Style, Turn Down the Heat' campaign, the lounge offered customers to rework a Vintage jumper for only £5 using the materials offered by company. Global Cool offers a more interesting twist to charity fashion, they toured music festivals in a refurbished route master bus recently.  
The idea of the campaign is to wrap up warm and save money on the heating by designing and reworking jumpers, and the campaign is backed by many celebrities including our favourite George Lamb!

The public customising their newly bought Vintage jumpers

'Frock me' and Radio 1Xtra presenter, Gemma Cairney, was involved in the creative workshop throughout the day. The 'I love my jumper' competition gave BNTM Live goers the chance to win £100 in Topshop vouchers, the winner being determined on a basis of votes. However, Fashionstrand, along with 15 other bloggers, have been invited to judge the runners up who will each recieve £25 in vouchers.
You can also download knitting patterns from the website, our reaction is "Please Grandma.. For Christmas?"

Models Alisa and Natalie laughed saying "Models DO eat" when we asked to take a sneaky picture of them with their lunch! 
 As you can see the hair was extravagant and sculptural on the catwalk, these models told us hair stylists used a toilet roll to keep hair up and wrapped duct tape around it. Both have been models for around 4 years so many of the shoots "jumble together". However some stand out, Natalia opened a Stereophonics gig and Alisa tells us she enjoys working with Ted Baker as they're a nice client.

Fashionstrand interviewed and took some photos of two top models representing Models 1 at the event, but unfortunately we're having technical issues with the pictures along with a few others! However, it was great to see how the models changed drastically from smiley to a striking pose. They told us being a model is great because you get to travel and experience exciting events that you wouldn't normally do as the girls are being whisked off to Sri lanka soon for a charity fashion show, which they describe as "such an opportunity". They also said that being a model does have its down-sides, as you can be placed in extreme conditions with little clothes on whilst having to maintain your focus.
The two would describe their style as minimalistic, advising any one who wants to be a model to invest in staple garments such as jeans and a plain vest top or a simple dress, as they need to be blank canvases for designers to manipulate into look to what they want.

Ryan Frost, from Models 1, answered a few questions about what the agency look for in a model. The minimum height for girls is 5'8 and boys is 5'11 ( so pretty tall!). The agency take girls from as young as 14 years, as many walk catwalks of Chanel and other top designers at as little as 15 years of age.
His advice for our readers who are considering a modelling career is to simply speak to an agency. However he warns most agencies are "scams" who require a portfolio, so visit the association of model agents to enquire to approved agencies.
Ryan Frost tells us the next big names from Models 1 will be Sophia Fisher and James Smith.

Company magazine were also offering mini print outs of your face on the a prototype of a cover. The queue was always long, but well worth the wait, as the images were high quality and the perfect souvenir.
The images were chosen by the magazine representatives and digitally altered, replicating the process of a real cover. The wait was exciting as participants didn't know what the photo would look like until the finished product.
Customers could buy all of the images for £10 by email or £50 to be burnt onto a CD, but the mini print outs were an exclusive free bee to BNTM live entrees.

We met Leena from Company magazine, who snapped Harriet for their pick of the best outfits at the event to be featured on their website.

The opening of the catwalk
The 3,000 seat auditorium hosted a series of seven 40 minute catwalk shows, curated by Doll Productions and styled by Graham Cruz.
The Catwalk illustrated the story of the infamous reality TV series, Britain's Next Top Model by six themed fashion scenes.
The competition of Britains Next top model was brought to the runway by the contestants' performances  

Up and coming British musician, Jessie J, performed exclusively at Britains Next Top model live. At only 22, she already inspired the melody of the major hit record 'Party in the USA' sung by Miley Cyrus. Her soulful powerful voice makes Jessie J one to watch, as this is her biggest UK solo performance yet.

Tiffany, the winner of Britain's Next Top Model series 6, exhibited a beautiful metallic dress on the catwalk
Overall, the day was the perfect merge of modelling, shopping and entertainment. What we loved about the event is it gave a chance for Britain's girls to experience the life of a top model and even be scouted by top companies, as Reebok, Elle Magazine, Becca Cosmetics, Tia Maria, Boutique Sport, Adee Phelan, Melissa Odabash, Wondabra and Models 1 were just some of those who were looking for fresh faces for the latest campaigns.

Love H&E xx

Friday, 22 October 2010

Britain's Next Top Model Live

So it's 2 o' clock and we've seen some really exciting live acts. We're having troubles uploading images at the moment, but we can tell you that we're writing this from inside a refurbished Airstream Caravan on a Product Red Dell Laptop. We're also drinking Tia Maria cocktails (consisting of Tia Maria, cranberry juice and a twist of lime), so it's been a both exciting and luxurious day so far.

We've found that a main focus of the event is the model scouting aspect, in line with the recruitment for cycle 7 of Britain's Next Top Model. We visited the leading Agency, Models 1, who told Evie that she has 'an interesting look' but needs a few extra inches in height! We even had a chat with two of their top models, we have an interview and pictures to be posted later. We've also spotted runway coaching at the Open Catwalk, where the public were invited to strut their stuff. One task involved the infamous book balance, it seemed some girls had the knack, whilst others, just didn't.

The Catwalk show was a fusion of music, dance and fashion, creating an unpredictable and memorable atmosphere. You can hear Diana Vickers belting out her new song from where we're sat, and from watching her live it's clear to see her talent in performing and song-writing have come a long way since the X Factor.

We're going to explore now, so a more detailed catwalk report will be posted soon, along with photos (hopefully) and interviews!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

ILoveHockley Fashionshow at BaaBar: Catwalk Snipit Part 2

Xample's outfits were casual yet eyecatching, putting truly individual twist on wearable clothing.

Cow's models looked cool in playful vintage threads, high waists and ankle skimmers were paired with peek-a-boo waists.

Pink & Lily showed everything glamourous and girly. Dresses for every occasion went down the catwalk with attitude and style.

This trouser suit from Oxfam proved the store's edgy-cool potential. Charity shopping never looked so good.

We'll be tweeting all night as we're off for a dance now! Tonight so far has been great, it's safe to say we love Baabar, and we definitely love Hockley.

ILoveHockley Fashionshow at BaaBar: Catwalk Snipit Part 1

Currently watching the Ilovehockley fashion show, so far we have seen Wild, Collard Manson, Plush, The Charity Shop and Void!

Wild took the best from all eras, our favourite look is the classic Vintage faux fur coat.

Collard Manson created a dark muted colour palette with exquisite tailoring and slouchy cool garments. 

Plush showed the best in evening dresses with fine embellishments and beautiful silk and satin fabrics.

The charity shop exhibited styles of geek chic, British heritage and 80s hammer cool.

Void presented corsets, masks and long ruched dresses.

Posts of interviews and other half of the Hockley shops, participating on the catwalk, will be coming soon!

H&E xx

ILoveHockley Fashionshow at BaaBar

It's 6pm and the madness has ensued. Models are arriving, the music is getting louder, and the red carpet has been laid down ready for an evening of fun, fashion and hopefully no faux-pas...

We're at BaaBar, which is the new addition to the Hockley social scene. By day, metre long pizzas and a chilled out atmosphere are on offer, although tonight, it's all about the fashion. Complimented by the neon lights, funky music and £1 shots of '100% not natural goodness' (student heaven!), BaaBar is the place to be this evening.

We've just finished the first interview of the night, with Designer and owner of Pink & Lilly, Caroline, which we'll be writing up and adding catwalk shots to later. We're off to take some photos of the make-up artist at work, so keep an eye out and don't forget to follow us on Twitter!   

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Nottingham Makers fashionshow at Gatecrasher, a preview...

This Saturday, on October 23rd Nottingham Makers are hosting an event combining fashion and music at Gatecrasher Nottingham.  The catwalk will be featuring a large range of designers:
 Xample future retro, Mr.3 (Xample), Rith Rath (Xample), God's fav'rite (Xample), May Cortazzi (Regenerate Clothing), Merri Making, Jennifer Williams, Harriet Foster, Laura Smedley and Samatha Brooke. 
There will also be live music from DJ Metaphi and sets from Koda Cola, The black sheep band, The avengers and Delta Sun.

We were at the venue this evening for rehearsals and fittings, from our peek at the outfits, all we'll say is: gorgeous!

Organising the models and showing them where to strut their stuff

Some models photographed in rehearsal for the event
It's absolutely free so don't miss your chance to see a live catwalk featuring real up and coming designers. The 16+ event lasts from 5.30-9pm so we hope to see you there!

H&E xx