Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Snow and Style this December

When you know it's Winter
So tomorrow is the 1st of December. We've got out advent calenders, hats, scarves and wellies, yet we're not sure when we're going to fit in all of the Christmas shopping...
The run up to Christmas is set to be crazy so far for Fashionstrand. Here's what's in store:
Tomorrow, we will be going to Nottingham Contemporary as we were lucky enough to get our hands on one of ten pairs of tickets to a talk Paul Smith will be doing at the Gallery. On Friday, we're heading to a Daniel Hanson sample sale and party, maybe finding a few Christmas gifts in the Nottingham designer's creations. Sunday is Nyssa Wheeler's Vintage Dolls fashion show at Escucha, if you haven't already got your tickets, click here, it's not a night to be missed. On Monday we're off to Birmingham NEC for the Clothes Show Live event, and when we get back in to Nottingham, we'll be popping in to The Attic Lock in. The last thing we'll tell you is that Tuesday holds something extremely exciting for us: the British Fashion Awards.
Oh, and when we're back on Wednesday, we're going to see Harry Potter...

As you can see, this may just be our busiest week yet. We're off to a Vintage Dolls rehearsal now, remember to follow us on Twitter, where we'll be posting pictures and quick notes about all the goings on! Also, if you haven't already, check out our guest post for the wonderful blog, Fashion For Lunch

Have fun in the snow! Love H & E xxx 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

'Frock On Vintage' - Old Clothes, New Twist.

When our travels took us to Birmingham for the Vintage Fair a few months ago, we came across Pam Cheema and her stall of magnificent hand-picked vintage items. Whilst having a good look through, we got talking and she told us about her plans to open a Vintage Studio.
 We kept in touch with Pam, and as she recently acquired a studio as planned, we were invited to the Custard Factory to take a look around. The Custard Factory is situated just six hundred paces from the Bullring, and is a growing hub for creative companies. Pam's got a really sweetly decorated space at 214 in the new Zellig building. Basically, the idea behind the studio is 'to shop quite comfortably and not have the hustle and bustle of the high street'. 

Pam offers people something that's 'good quality, affordable, and one off'. She's put a lot of thought in to sourcing pieces that people really want to buy, she says she's 'quite particular' and 'has a good eye' which is plain to see throughout her masterfully hand selected rails. There's a real selection of clothing, from evening glitz to winter warmers, Pam explained 'I love the 80's, I'm an 80's child! Glamour, bright colours, sequins. But at the same time I love the 60's as well.'

 When Pam first told us the concept of booking an appointment to have a look around, we were a little confused, as like everyone, we're used to just popping in and having a good look around local vintage warehouses. However, after visiting and experiencing the space, featuring a few rails of irresistible clothing, we now understand and love the personal take. Pam told us: 'I think it's really nice for people to be able to come to somewhere like the studio here. It's got a nice atmosphere, which I think makes a difference.' 

The studio is also another space for Pam's other ventures, as being a Stylist is another string to her bow: 'It's my own little Birmingham base, to style for fashion shows and magazines shoots. It functions as a little shop as well so I can style (shoppers)  so it's not simply just a styling base.' Pam feels that Birmingham 'hasn't quite got vintage yet like other cities' and is 'more attracted to the high-street', asking: 'why buy the same at 5 million other girls, when you can have something that's totally unique?' And we think she's right, don't you? 

To get in touch with Pam to book an appointment or find out more, visit

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Exchange Christmas Fashion & Shopping Event

If you fancy an evening of catwalk shows, exclusive discounts and a bit of street magic, make sure you're at the Exchange, Nottingham, on Wednesday 24th November. Models will be wearing outfits picked from the shops in the festively decorated centre, giving onlookers a bit of inspiration for what they might choose to purchase on the night for their Winter wardrobes. Plus, with a chance to win £1000 in vouchers for the centre by filling in the invitation (pick one up from the centre!), and posting it in the Exchange postbox, need we give you any more reasons to come along?
We'll be there admiring the collections from stores such as Jaeger, Warehouse and Karen Millen, interviewing a few people and praying that our names get picked out of that post box...

Clothes Show Live Tickets Winner

Thank you to everyone for entering our latest competition to win a pair of tickets to Clothes Show Live, we've drawn the winner and can announce that Hannah Smart is going to be paying Gok Wan a visit on 3rd of December!
We hope that she has a great time and doesn't break the bank too much on all of the exciting brands that are exhibiting...  

If you'd like to buy tickets or find out more about the Clothes Show Live, visit

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Fashionstrand have Clothes Show Live tickets to give away!

Once again, we're running a competition offering tickets for a huge fashion event that's on every shopaholic's calender.

Clothes Show Live is back, returning to Birmingham's NEC from the 3rd to the 8th of December. The event brings together hundreds of your favourite fashion and beauty brands and boutiques, non-stop catwalk shows and the UK's hottest celebrities, expect to see Gok Wan presenting and Lucie Jones singing this year! It's the ultimate destination to kick start your festive party season, and what's more, you could be going for free!
Clothes Show Live is giving one lucky Fashionstrand reader a pair of tickets to this year's show. Whether you're looking for a girly day out, inspiration for your Christmas wardrobe or a chance to see the impressive dance and catwalk shows, make sure you enter the competition, as Clothes Show Live has it all.

We're particularly excited by the prospect of the new 'Sknitch' zone, where you can watch presentations and demonstrations for an insight into everything sewing, knitting and embroidery. Learn new techniques and browse through beautiful fabrics, as customisation is back for the budget way to create statement pieces this Winter.
Running alongside Clothes Show Live is the most exciting new dance experience – The Dance Show. Pick up advice and take part in classes at what is set to be the most spectacular dance event of the year.
To enter, answer this simple question: Who is presenting in the Fashion Theatre from 3-8 December? A. Gok Wan, B. Fearne Cotton, C. Alexa Chung.
Email your answer, along with your name, phone number and address to
Winners will be notified and revealed on Fashionstrand on the evening of Saturday 20th of November. Good luck!

Monday, 15 November 2010

J&KE Collection of Curiousities Shop - The Private Launch

Fashionstrand were back in Fashion's capital, London, on Thursday 11th of November for J&KE's private launch party of the Collection of Curiosities Pop-Up Shop. 

J&KE is made up of the three design graduates from The University of the Arts London; Joyce, Kethi and Emma. The Pop-Up Shop, situated on Theobolds Road in Holborn, was generously lent to them through the Camden Council , allowing their ambitious project to take place over 12 days, in order to showcase pieces from the most inspiring yet unseen designers London has to offer. 

The J&KE Thursday cocktail in a cup!
Whilst sipping the cocktails and munching of french fancies, Fashionstrand caught up with J&KE and the other designers featuring in the shop, to find out more about London's best kept designer secrets...

Joyce-Addais Davis, part of J&KE, specialises in woven textiles for couture clothing. After having a studio for a year from being a winner in the Cockpit Arts Awards, she explains that since starting her work she's done a '360' with tailoring and woven textiles. However, as she's progressed, her collection of weaving machines and patterns have equally increased.

Have you always been interested in fashion?
I used to hate fashion actually (she laughs). I studied Fine Art, but after a while that led into my interest for couture clothing, where I was trained by a woman who had 40 years of experience in the industry within pattern cutting.

What is your business ethic?
Well since couture has become a prominent part of my work, the fitting of the garment is absolutely essential. I'm inspired by the fabric, the structure and the colour.

What's the best part of being a designer that's experienced having a studio for a year?
The freedom, definitely. I love being able to play with beautiful fabrics.

To see more of her designs and what Joyce gets up to check out her blog


Kethi is a multidisciplinary designer who combines screen-printed graphics with three-dimensional paper sculptures and public participation projects. Her work uses humour to engage with an audience with the belief that there is no limit to the
tools that can be used for communication


Emma Hamshare aims to create bespoke pieces that blur art and fashion. The Swedish designer finds inspiration from musical notes and her childhood, with laser-cut fabric and 200 year old lace.
The London college of fashion BA graduate is the one of first to use digitally cut pattern pieces, by printing the pattern onto the fabric in the pattern piece shape.

What's your favourite piece?
The intricate white laser-cut dress (pictured above) which embodies my Swedish heritage.  In Sweden, as well as having birthdays, we have name days, so basically the laser-cut material on the dress is chained stencils of that.

What's the inspiration behind the hanging bottles?
The textile installation (pictured above) was directly inspired by my Grandad, as he always used to make us watch beautiful black and white1940's videos of him at work, he was a bottle blower. I also wanted it to represent the conflict of alcohol, as it's essentially bad for your body, but by making the bottles out of lace  the beauty contrasts with the conception of a drug.

It appears that art and fashion are combined in your work, do you always intend to create an intention for your pieces?
Even though behind my work there is definitely a clear intention, I've become more open to the fact that people interpret it in different ways. For example at any one's degree show, they are so worried to the reaction of what everyone might think, but now I'm happy to listen to other people's opinions. However, now I try to incorporate conceptions whilst keeping my designs commercial, as at the end of the day they have to sell. Business vs Art is a very hard skill to master.

Casper Chan, graphic designer and illustrator for Disinlok, happily told us of the excitement of graduating from his MA course at LCC on the Thursday! The designer actually originally studied his Grand Design BA in Hong Kong, drastically changing his career as he was spotted by LCC to come and study in London. Casper describes London as 'fashion-dominant' and 'refreshing'.

There's a lot of diversity within illustrations, How would you describe your work?
I focus more on the handwork, rather than fancy additions to illustrations. Sometimes my work can be graphic with various dynamics but mainly I like to be poetic so I draw in black and white.

Despite graduating on his MA that day,  Casper Chan has already contributed to Wallpaper* magazine and continues to make his mark on fashion...
Early today actually, I saw a scarf that I have illustrated as a collaborated with a Vienna designer, Anna Aichinger. It was really exciting to see it full scale!

Now you've graduated, what's in store for the future?
At the moment I've been chosen along with 10 other designers to rework the backpack company, EASTPAK. I'm also collaborating with a Dubai graduate Salma Khan, to create a unique design. Our aim is to differ away from ordinary patterns to create an interesting more couture backpack, for example with lace sewn on in places, that kind of thing.

Fashion design graduate, Alicia Rose, uses her love of textiles to create illustrated cards from embroidery. Alicia explained to Fashionstrand the delicate beauty that comes from embroidery that "you just don't get with pen and ink". From being "hooked" on the technique at school, Alicia has gone on to experiment with an interesting range of media, as she's discovered dissolvable fabric. After the thread is merely left and she compares the final product to being 'almost like a skeleton'.

Have you always been creative with cards?
Yes I have always given handmade birthday cards to my family-once I even made a whole book for my friend! While I was at art college I used to go to charity shops and buy old clothes to customise. And then then was the very unfortunate incident where I cut up my mums favourite skirt because it was made from such nice fabric!

What inspires you?
Ooh all sorts; I have an obsession with flying things at the moment, so I created the hot air balloon design. Often my designs can be so far away from my initial inspiration, for instance I looked into 20s flapper style, which linked into art deco, then deco houses which I then made fly with hundreds of birds (James and the Giant Peach style). This then lead me to create my LOVE card, which shows a big pink heart being held up by birds.

What's the best thing about being a designer?
The best thing about being a designer is the blur between work and play, even visiting a gallery could be classed as research! I work everyday but being a designer is exciting, you are always looking for new inspiration to create new designs and you never know what's around the corner!


Para Manko has come a long way from graduating at LCF.
You'll find her clean line garments on Asos and she has interned with the smaller highly regarded fashion houses of Johnathan Saunders and House of Holland, adding that hands-on industry experience is essential besides creativity.
At both, she experienced various offerings of fashion, from the lead up to the collection to actually being involved in Fashion Week.
Para tells us the best part of being a designer is essentially the excitement of waking up and not knowing what your hands would have created by the end of the day.

Have you always been interested in design?
Yes, from a very young age I have been drawn towards the use of colour in different aspects of design from painting to fashion. I would travel a lot with my family and was always interested in visiting galleries and museums and seeing art from different cultures.

What are you favourite fabrics to work with?
My main focus is on print design, i love creating surface pattern on silks. Colour and feel of the fabric are important to me as i find that is what draws someone into wanting to interact with something hanging on a rail.

Who do you design for?
Anyone who has a genuine feel for what they wear, its not about definitions but more about the personal effect the piece has on the wearer.

As you are well aware, MA graduate Nicole Murray is one to watch, with her recent collection in Harrods and the designer signing with a PR company that morning, we expect her glamorous garments to be must-haves for seasons to come.
Click here to see our interview with the designer, and photographs of the garments from Autumn/Winter 2010 and Spring/Summer 2010.

Emma Ashford creates quirky, desirable reinventions of Britain's favourite neck wear, from slim-line ties to eccentric dickie-bows. Emma uses an eclectic colour palette to make these patterned pieces the perfect addition to any shirt. Her designs are inspired by London's multicultural  scene and historical fashion cults. Fashionstrand loved the embroidered tea pots in different shades of glorious green!

Watch this space as the interview will be coming soon..

Bodhi P

A playful mixture of colours, electric blue being key.

Kaleidoscopic prints on luxury fabrics.

The extravagant bows and candy colours reminded us of the playful designs from Fashion House Mui Mui.

Fabric oragami!

From left to right: Kethi, Joyce and Emma
 J&KE: the designers and organisers of the Collection of Curiousities Pop-Up Shop
 J&KE met at the Cockpit Arts competition, where they chose 10 designers to win the opportunity to create their pieces in a loft space for a year, due to their design talent. During the course of the year the lucky few experience business training to help their business as an artist become animate. “What was nice is the experience wasn’t lonely, but we were all working individually on our own crafts.”
By January they were working tightly together, and they first thought of the idea of opening a Pop-Up shop due to the fact “ I always see these empty shops and we all thought ‘I want one’.”  The space was lent to J&KE by Camden Council, after approaching them for a business proposal for the shop. “We’ve learnt there’s other ways of doing things, without money.”
J&KE offered all the designers in the Pop-up shop advice which they had learnt through Head for Business training. They explained to Fashionstrand that many artists price their work too low due to self-doubt. J&KE offer help to designers who they feel can learn from J&KE’s experience, as after a year of training they feel “we know what we are talking about”.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Nyssa Presents 'Vintage Dolls' Fashionshow & After Party at Nottingham's Escucha.

For us, December is kicking off with a fashion show, as Nyssa Wheeler' designs will be taking to the catwalk at Escucha Bar on Fletchergate for the second time this year. After the success of her 'Wild Summer Nights' collection in August, which was one of our first reports, Nyssa's back with something fresh after months of hard work sewing. 
This time around, Nyssa has been inspired by vintage styles, but told us her twist of originality with the likes of mixed prints will still be a main focus. We loved the previous collection, but Nyssa has told us, without giving too much away, that this is going to be completely different.
Expect the 5th of December to be an eventful evening, with several changes for the catwalk (we're nervous, Harriet's walking and Evie's dressing!), performances from DJ S Dot Phillie, DJ Bertie B & Smiler, and happy hour drinks deals for the after party! There'll also be a charity raffle in aid of Breast Cancer charities.
Check out Nyssa's facebook page for more information, and get your tickets here. There's even limited early bird tickets for a tiny £5, so book now or regret it later...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Designer Sample Sale is BACK for 5 days only!

Burberry trench coat from the last sample sale, Was £539 now £134!
A Paul Smith exclusive sale was hosted on the 6th Novemeber with allocated tickets to Nottingham's luckiest! Unfortunately Fashionstrand were already engaged with work, but if like us you missed out on this opportunity, don't despair...

Remember a month ago, when Fashionstrand bought designer garments for a fraction of the price!
Well we invite you to join us to find designer treasures for up to 75% off this weekend in Nottingham! are once again hosting an exclusive sample sale in unit 3 at Bridlesmith gate, Nottingham.
The event is from Wednesday 10th to Sunday 14th, with opening times on Wed-Sat from 10am-5pm  and Sunday 11am-6pm.

Get there early and grab the best of the best designer can offer!

If you desperately want to go, but haven't a clue where to find it contact us on, we look forward to seeing you there!

P.s we advise, go with caution, as we guarantee you'll damage your bank account.

Friday, 5 November 2010

TOPSHOP presents Pop-Up Magazine

At Topshop Victoria Centre, the magazine format was brought to life for the 'Pop-up magazine' event on the 3rd of November. We found it was the perfect way to pick up the new Season's must-haves in a far more luxurious way than we're all used to, with pink bubbly being served throughout the evening, make-up artists on hand, and expert style advice. The public were kept busy from 5-8pm, as Topshop provided them with the ultimate shopping experience.


Rosa-Safiah Connell, the fashion assistant to the Editor-in-chief of Elle Magazine, came to introduce her pick of autumn/winter 2010's best trends, and how to create the looks favoured by the team back at Elle. She explained inspirational outfits, carefully constructed with the most fashion-forward pieces, whilst eager listeners (including ourselves) swooned over her tales of attending every show at London Fashion Week. From the struggle to find the perfect shirt to the new influence of the 70's, Rosa-Safia left Nottingham's stylistas as experts in how to rework the trends into their own look using the best of Topshop.

The first look was Topshop's take on the minimalism trend mixed with The Snow Queen style which encapture a mixture of textures by wearing this seasons must have leather underneath a woven fur gilet. The look focused on layering luxurious staples. Rosa-Safia's favourite items were a clean cut blazer with a longer line and Elle's obsession, 'the perfect shirt', all of course in feminine neutrals.

The second trend was The Outsiders, as Topshop's answer to classic english heritage adding extra warmth to the season ahead with thigh high socks and grandad cardigans worn by celebrities such as Alexa Chung. The advice was to invest in quality fabrics including tweeds, cableknits and wool. Rosa-Safia emphasised on the key cover up for this Autumn/Winter '10, the cape, telling us "I love the silhouette it creates when you walk".

The final trend requires Topshop customers to be a little more daring as the 70's makes a comeback, not only in A/W '10 but a style to watch as the look "takes you through into the next season". New shapes are appearing on the highstreet, such as the wide leg trousers in floral prints and burnt orange A-line corduroy skirts. However if you're feeling a little less brave, Rosa-Safia advises to opt for sheer chiffon maxi skirts and peter pan collar dresses which Rosa explains "we love that at Elle" as for the October issue Alexa Chung was captured in a similar style.

Fashionstrand got an insight to what it's like to be the fashion assistant at such a world renowned magazine.
Rosa-Safia started her fashion career studying illustration at London College of Fashion, but left her degree in the 2nd year to pursue her dreams, when she become an intern at i-D. Whilst there, she worked hard through the initial running errands from simply making tea to packaging clothes, we're sure Rosa-Safia didn't know that one day she'd be seeing every single catwalk show at London Fashion Weekend. 

Richard Nicoll Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear
Richard Nicoll S/S '11 RTW show, image courtesy of
For London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011, she loved Richard Nicoll's show, where black bras were seen through voluminous maxi chiffons, translating Nicoll's fascination with "minimal glamour". Also Rosa admired Topshop's 70's vibe, with disco lights and huge bright afros as she found the whole catwalk was incredibly "fun". For the full S/S '11 report visit Topshop's Blog.

Celine Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear
Celine Fall RTW 2010, image courtesy of

Rosa-Safia would mainly describe her look as minimal, as her favourite designers are Balenciaga,  Phoebe Philo and Isabel Marant. Her style explores modern silhouettes as opposed to a retro edge. She admits even though she works at Ell,e the magazine don't concentrate on celebrity looks as such, but she loves ChloĆ« Sevigny's choice of classic clean lines.

Actress ChloĆ« Sevigny on the front row, image courtesy of

The key item in Rosa-Safia's wardrobe is an Azzedine Alaia dress which she describes as "extravagant yet timeless". She loves the fact that the Fashion House don't always exhibit a collection at London Fashion Week, which makes the designs more interesting when she's lucky enough to see them. Rosa-Safia advised us to check out Yoox, to find luxury treasures like the Alaia, as it's apparently the best online designer outlet.

 Rosa-Safia told us that the best thing about being a fashion assistant is the amount of like-minded people she meets on a day-to-day basis, and the actually reality of being around clothes 24/7. She admires the fact that in her job she doesn't just see the aesthetic but has the opportunity to appreciate the fabrics and the cut of a garment. A specific memory is when Christopher Kane first appeared on the fashion scene and i-D was collaborating with the designer on a photo shoot. Rosa-Safia valued the experience of being able to touch and look the samples of a designer who's career was about to sky-rocket.

Rosa-Safia revealed that work experience within the fashion industry is just as important, if not more, than having a degree in Fashion. She points out that Lorraine Candy, the longest serving Elle Editor, directed herself to gain writing experience rather than studying. The reality is that her job is extremely competitive to get an opportunity in, however with the right experience at magazines, it's bound to push your knowledge above any degree course.

Whilst make-up tutorials played in the background at the beauty desk, many awaited to get free makeovers inspired by the catwalk and realised with Topshop make-up. The styles that emerged ranged from smouldering eyes using the Heavy Duty Collection, to the natural look with coloured pops from the Core Collection.

Harriet, who has been desperately trying to find the perfect purple lipstick for some time, enjoyed a dramatic transformation with Ruthless, the black/purple colour and a coating of Gloom, a laquered gloss to take the look from goth to glam.
We spoke to a freelance makeup artist, Sophie McMullan, who had brought her skills straight from the Topshop A/W catwalk, as she gave Evie advice on her makeup and used a natural yet flirty look on with a Lip Glaze and the sensual Dirty Martini eyeshadow. We asked Sophie about her experiences, and she told us how she didn't realise that makeup was a career option, she first got involved in the art by theatre arts makeup at GCSE. However she luckily realised that makeup was her passion, and has gone on to work on make-up for television, catwalks and many celebrities.
With everything from Topshop's range costing less than £10, we're glad we won't have to wait for pay day for a little bit of luxury.

Topshop staff were photographing stylish attendees for a chance to win a massive £250 to spend in store. Amongst the store's readjustments for the event, a style wall of fame took to the floor, where the lucky participants' photos were pinned to it for the judging. Evie got snapped twice, once for the competition and another by students for their project on rural style. Everyone was resorting back to the wall now and again to check out the stylish competition! Unfortunately the winner wasn't announced by the night, but the lucky winner will find out soon, we vote for Evie!

With every purchase made over £40, this event rewarded customers at Topshop with a limited edition festive headpiece. With brand new trend Abigail's Party, Topshop have created the perfect look for the festive season ahead.