Category Archives: fashion

How the fashion industry has assisted during the pandemic

The outbreak of the coronavirus is still lingering in the air. With the NHS on the frontline across the UK, there has been a drop in stock for medical garments.

We had begun this crisis in an ‘act-fast’ movement, whereby panic shopping was at its peak. The government have put in place various restrictions on buying goods that have now flat-lined. However, the shortage of supplies for precautious gear has seen to come as a demand, especially now that we are advised to use PPE (personal protective equipment); such as masks.

As the pandemic has caused most stores to close, this has affected the distribution for supplies. Although there are many online distributors still operating; receiving stock will be delayed or even cancelled due to less transfers depending on the departure location. This has taken a toll on the NHS, whereby there is a lack of scrubs and protective gear to ensure that they are equipped sufficiently.

It goes without notice that the fashion industry has adapted to this health crisis. Throughout this period, there have been fabric suppliers donating materials to make scrubs and masks for the NHS, along with the help of fashion students.

Interview with a Fabric Retailer – The Director of Classic Textiles UK Ltd, Aniza Meghani

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

How have you been able to adapt to this recent pandemic?

Have you had customers approach you for help?

The Director of Classic Textiles explains that the Queens dressmaker, Stuart Parvin has been in contact with her for fabrics, to ensure scrubs and masks are made for the NHS.

Do you believe the lockdown has effected your business?

She explains that the store is open only for an hour for booked-in clientele, who wish to help the NHS during this pandemic.

After the lockdown is lifted are you going to take any further precautions when opening?

The help of online presence through retail

The fashion market have been able to make a statement even in lockdown. While their online presence still stands, they are pushing their creativity to build a foundation for the NHS and for charities across the UK; to give back to the community.

  • Pretty Little Thing: The PLT crew have designed T-shirts to support the NHS with 100% of proceeds to be donated to the heroes.
  • Trapstar London: The well-known brand are using their creativity to help out during this health crisis, by designing garments for their ‘Charity Collection’. All proceedings will be donated to support London based charities and key workers.
  • Boohoo: The online retailer have developed attire with the symbolic rainbow print to spread love and faith during the pandemic. All profits will go to the NHS Trusts.
  • Asos: Known for their ‘Asos Supports’ community, the British retailer have designed unisex charity T-shirts and hoodies in support for frontline heroes. 100% of sales from this collection will be donated to charities that are supporting local NHS trusts.

What about Europe?

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels
  • Intidex: The textiles manufacturer commonly associated with Zara has produced medical garments for Spain.
  • Prada: In Milan, the co-CEOs and chairman of Prada have assisted three hospitals by donating intensive care and resuscitation units.
  • H&M: The Swedish retailer known for its fast-fashion market, have helped the EU through sharing purchasing operations and logistics to provide supplies via donation. As some retailers have cancelled orders for manufactured products, H&M is the first retailer to agree to pay its suppliers for cancellation according to just-style.

Featured Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Fashion student raises money to make scrubs for the NHS

Katie Winter-Wright is a Year 2 fashion student at the University of Westminster. She has been raising money via her social media platforms in order to make scrubs for the NHS workers.

Katie has used all the fund to buy specific fabrics that the scrubs needed.

This is an interview with her, let’s see what she’s got to say about the experience of volunteering. 

(image by: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash)

by Vivian Qui

Retail therapy on lock

With the lockdown banning people from leaving their house (unless absolutely necessary), less money is being spent on things like travel and impulsive buying, but one spending habit that consumers have been able to maintain is that of online clothes shopping.

Many businesses and establishments have had to close, meaning limited access to restaurants, shops and education establishments.  Here are a few places that are still running online:

Next:

Next’s online presence has wavered since the start of lockdown, but the retailer has re-opened its online store. ‘The retailer, which typically makes more than half of its sales online, was forced to suspend its online operations on 26 March’, the BBC reports. Their clearance stock is likely to have a greater range of products so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

ASOS:

Throughout the lockdown, retailer ASOS has continued to make their fashion accessible to consumers. Catering to both male and female buyers, ASOS offers styles in a range of sizes, which makes this online store a good alternative to physical retail outlets. Despite not having a childrenswear range, the website sells over 850 brands, and with consumers hoping for quarantine-free summer, it may be worthwhile to check out their summer stock.

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Photo by Negative Space from Pexels

Amazon: 

Despite not being known for its fashion, Amazon houses a range of clothing brands, with popular brands such as Nike and Adidas also being available. With more free time to take on hobbies like baking, the online market store also offers a range of electronics and kitchen appliances. Aside from clothing and electronics, Amazon is also a great place to source home essentials such as washing up liquid, detergent and shower gel.

Supermarkets: 

If you’re not an online shopper, supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda all have respective clothing brands that cater to men, women and children. Buying clothing whilst in lockdown may seem unconventional, but if you are carrying out an essential shop this time can also be used to pick up any essential clothing items such as underwear and socks, if these items are absolutely necessary.

(Image source: by Burst from Pexels)

Safety precaution or fashion accessory?

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The recent Coronavirus outbreak has had its time in the public eye, while individuals try to remain precautious and positive. The real demand has sprung from the high request of products such as face masks, hand gel and even toilet paper.

The awareness has been spread over the media as to what necessities are needed to stay fit in this health crisis, but one outcome that has taken a toll concerning the fashion industry is the popularity of face masks.

It can be certain that fashion industry strives upon social trends. At present, the majority of individuals globally are wearing masks; triggering the fashion industry to take part, whether it be for health reasons or to push a fashion trend.

Fashion accessory

Due to the virus, face masks have been sold out in the majority of places. But why not pay a little extra to get a luxury face mask? The mask with many meanings was once developed for streetwear fashion, some of which are still being produced today; from companies such as Bape and Off-White. Hypebeast brands such as the duo, live off online resellers such as StockX and are seen to double or even triple the cost of this accessory.

This product is seen to be the most on-trend piece at the moment and have been worn by A-listers over the past couple weeks. At the Grammy Awards, artist Billie Eilish was dressed head to toe in Gucci with a personalised face mask. Although promoting safety measures, there is a difference between a ‘surgical’ and ‘fashion’ face mask.

At present, people are buying or even making homemade masks as there is a lack of precautious masks out there to cater to such a diverse audience. This can be misled by what can be interpreted as a precautious mask and a fashion accessory. 

This pandemic has caused the United Kingdom to act and think fast, leaving the majority of the community without essentials to protect themselves from this crisis.

What are the different forms of masks? – Interview with a General Practitioner

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An insight to the different types of face masks from Dr. Sikander Ladha a General Practitioner from Cheshire.

Surgical masks

These masks are used to protect others from oneself and does not prevent one from catching any germs.

FFP3 masks

Used in hospital settings, it has a filter mainly used in intensive care to protect yourself from any form of contamination.

Homemade/DIY masks

Ineffective, will allow droplets to seep through the fabric. The mask will not prevent germs being caught if an individual coughs or sneezes near you. One can also breath out germs through the fabric used from the homemade masks.

Fashion masks

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

A form of accessory used in streetwear. This can be used multiple times and rewashed. If not washed regularly, it can cause a spread of germs. Although It may look appealing to the eye, the most important aspect at present is safety.

The fashion sector will likely combine surgical and fashion masks in due time. Although being in a global pandemic, the fashion sector has not failed to deliver the means of safety precautions on-trend. Additionally, it can be understood that face masks are a fashion accessory.

Clothing to have the largest negative footprint

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has found that clothing has the 4th largest environmental impact after housing, transport and food.

With the bi-annual Paris Fashion Week being held on February 24th, 2020, the event reminds about a negative footprint of quick fashion. Studies suggest, that the fashion industry is producing extreme amounts of waste.

Generally, this year’s fashion was heavily focused on sustainability, hoping celebrities would reuse their previously worn dresses and tucks in social events such as BAFTAs and Oscars. None of these requirements were mandatory, yet it was expected that celebrities would follow the green theme. But not many did.

More environmentalists are emphasising the importance of reducing fashion events’ carbon footprint, because fashion industry is criticised for generating too much waste.

According to WRAP, around 1,100,000 tonnes of clothing are purchased every year in the UK. As their Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 (SCAP) suggests, one of the ways to re-invent or simply extend life of clothes is purchasing items from charity shops.

Find yourself second-hand treasures in our favourite Central London’s charity shops using the map we provided.


Seventeen again: an interview with Kelsey Stiegman

Seventeen Magazine’s Senior Style Editor Kelsey Stiegman is living her childhood dream, sharing “Fashion is in the pit of my soul.”

In the age of Instagram ponzi schemes and weight loss teas, not many people would respond to an arguably too-kind “Hey girl! Please check your DMs!” comment on one of their Instagram photos. But Kelsey is one of a kind, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Corresponding via email, Kelsey gave me an inside look into her pure devotion to everything fashion and how it drove her to leave the midwest and head to the east coast to accomplish a lifelong dream.

Born and raised on a farm in Gilman, Illinois, Stiegman’s upbringing was in her words the “polar opposite” of what her life is now – styling outfits at video shoots and attending NYC Fashion Week nine seasons in a row.

After graduating Illinois State University with a degree in apparel merchandising, she moved to Brooklyn in 2015 after telling her professor and peers that she’d one day move to New York and work for Seventeen, “and that’s exactly what I did.”

Starting as an editorial intern, she made her way up the ladder until being promoted to Senior Style Editor this past January.

I can’t remember how I began following Kelsey on Instagram all those years ago, but if fashion, travel and quirky nail designs are your thing, following her is a must. With an enviable, cohesive neutral-toned Instagram feed and an obsession with Harry Potter that many of us could vibe with (she did a whole Harry Potter vacation in London), it’s a toss up between wanting to be her and wanting to be friends with her. 

As more studies are proving that social media is harmful to your wellbeing, Stiegman showcases a healthy relationship with the app, thinking of it as a hobby, “I really love it and love creating content for it.”

We’ve entered the age where what we post online does matter, especially when it could make or break our chances of getting a job at our dream company. For fashion students looking to get into the industry, Kelsey suggests, “Instagram is a great way to show your personal style, writing style, and understanding of social media to a future employer.”

A typical day for Stiegman begins at 7:30. Out the door by 8:45, she hops on a train to Midtown Manhattan to start her day at Seventeen, a publication under Hearst Publications. She fills her day with meetings, video editing and writing articles focusing on entertainment, beauty and style – most recently stories involving A-list celebrities like Justin Bieber and makeup mogul Jeffree Star.

She still has time for the occasional after-work happy hour.   

“I love it”, admits the self-proclaimed Ravenclaw, “Working at Seventeen is more than a job, it’s really become part of my identity.”

To unwind on weekends, she explores NYC, “I’ve got a long New York bucket list I’ve been working to complete for years.”

The road to Senior Style Editor wasn’t an easy one. Work experience was Stiegman’s saving grace and what ultimately scored her her in at Seventeen. “Degrees are important, but work experience is what sets you apart.”

Her advice? “Internships are what you make of them. Just being vocal and asking for new responsibilities can give you great opportunities that could relate to your future career.”

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Getting lost in Peñíscola, wbu?

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While being an editor has its perks – including free clothes from many of our favourite brands – Kelsey “lives in jeans and sneakers” and enjoys going crazy at vintage shops throughout the city, usually leaving with a bag of clothes from L Train in Park Slope Brooklyn” where “nothing is over $35.”

The editor owes much of her 20s and 70s style to her great aunts – who left her many of their best pieces, “I think they’d really get a kick out of knowing that their clothes are now being worn to fashion week.”

However, her go-to outfit, “it’s my extra-long Teigan jeans from Reformation, a turtleneck, and a vintage blazer, with pointed-toe boots.” Currently Kelsey’s favourite piece is her vintage leather blazer.

Although the life of a fashion editor is anything but normal, Kelsey exudes humility and relatability. On the weekends, she’s clad in sweatpants. When she’s not re-reading the Harry Potter series, she enjoys books on serial killers and ghosts, and spending time with her husband.

With an Instagram boasting over 17,000 followers, a CV recounting experience from top publications like Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, Kelsey Stiegman lives and breathes fashion, calling it her “art”.

So, if you pass a girl donning cowboy boots and cateye sunglasses, that’s Kelsey. And she’s probably looking fabulous.

Becoming a blogger: Scarlett Dixon on making the jump from journalism to blogging

Scarlett Dixon is a 25-year-old blogger from London, who is perhaps better known online as ‘Scarlett London’. As the epitome of ‘Instagram goals’, Scarlett boasts over 70,000 followers on the platform, along with over 13,000 subscribers on YouTube, but it’s really her blog that kick-started her career.

Scarlett set up her blog in 2011, as an aspiring journalist looking for somewhere to showcase her work for future job opportunities but it wasn’t until she’d graduated university (with a First-Class Honours degree) and began interning at women’s magazines that she realised her blog could be more than just a hobby. ‘Magazines were going through a transitional period and there was a general unease about the future of them. It wasn’t the most pleasant environment to start working in and it definitely steered me towards my blog’, she says.

Having made the jump to blogging as her full-time career in 2017, Scarlett considers blogging to be ‘more of a lifestyle career than a traditional job, as you share lots of parts of your life as part of your blog – so the lines are pretty blurred in terms of ‘switching off’. A difficulty for Scarlett is her work/life balance – working for herself, it’s common that she feels guilty if she’s not doing something constantly, despite having frequent manically busy periods.

There’s no typical 9 to 5 day for Scarlett. Her career involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work – ‘Usually you’re working with brands (as your clients) who have a set brief to follow for each campaign. You have to put together a creative idea, essentially pitch it to them – and ensure it’s still on brief but fits with your audience. Then we plan shoots, find locations, edit et cetera. It’s all very varied and can be very busy and manic’.

Being a lifestyle blogger, Scarlett’s online content is heavily focussed around fashion, beauty and travel, amongst other topics – but she doesn’t feel pressured to keep up the image that she portrays online. In fact, her online style is typically what she would wear in her every day, offline life – ‘when I’m out and about with friends/family – I tend to wear the same kind of stuff I’m pictured in on my Instagram. The only difference is that I might not have my hair extensions in. I’ve always been a very low maintenance kind of person’, she says.

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But things haven’t necessarily been easy in Scarlett’s blogging career – ‘I think dealing with online vitriol is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with’. Within the last year, Scarlett has come under fire by online trolls who criticised her Instagram for being ‘fake’ – one tweet turned into criticism on a mass scale, through newspapers and national TV. As someone who describes herself as ‘a pretty sensitive person naturally’, Scarlett says ‘It was such a tough time, because thousands of people who have never met you are attacking your character and making wild, defamatory assumptions about you. I’ve pretty much read everything I possibly could about myself and feel I have a much thicker skin.’

The biggest lesson she’s learnt? ‘Just to go for it. There’s no time like the present and the best way to learn is through experimenting with different things. My blog didn’t start out looking like it did now – and no-one expects you to be perfect either. Don’t try and emulate anyone else, offer something unique and different. Think about what you are offering to your readers. You are your niche, so let everything that makes you you shine’.

So, what’s next? For one, she’s publishing a book in April – ‘it’s very exciting and has been in the pipeline for a little while now. I blog a lot about taboo subjects – such as chronic illness and digestive health, so all I can say is that it’s linked to that! Watch this space’. And that’s something she hopes to carry on with – writing is and has always been Scarlett’s main passion and she hopes to publish a fiction book in the future. If her current work is anything to go by, it’s certainly something to look forward to but, for now, you can find her work at scarlettlondon.com.

5 Reasons why Azzedine Alaïa exhibition at London’s Design Museum is a must see

Six months after passing away, Maison Alaïa has decided to celebrate the legacy of Turkish haute couture designer Azzedine Alaïa.
The exhibition, running from 10th of May to 7th of October 2018 at the Design Museum in London, is Alaïa’s temple.
It showcases the couturier most recent works, including a gown modelled by Naomi Campbell during the very last show of Alaïa, held in Paris in July 2017.

Here, it is what you can expect…

1.You get to see Alaïa obsession for perfectionism up close
“Azzedine would not release any design unless he was satisfied with it, so there are no deconstructed pieces on show here, only the finished works,” Mark Wilson, long time friend of the couturier, explains to Vogue.
Renowned for working like a sculptor, Azzedine would take care of every step of a garment production. From the fitting on the model to cutting the patterns and polish details of outfits before the show, Azzedine would do everything himself, which is quite unusual for a designer in modern era.
There is no need to deconstruct his famous one-shoulder leather dress to appreciate the creation, you will be able to value the piece in all its details right at the entrance of the exhibition.

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Campbell during the last Azzedine runaway

2.You get to see pieces worn by Alaïa muses
Among the 60 pieces collection, you will get to see creations worn by supermodels of the like of Naomi Campbell and Grace Jones and singer Tina Turner. What they have worn has now become iconic and distinctive sign of the designer style.
As Wilson explains to Vogue, when Azzedine passed away they were 90% done with the preparation of the exhibition and the designer ensured there was a balanced theme throughout the showcasing. He included a series of famous bandage dresses, versions of the flamenco dress that are embroidered in metallics, and pieces that show use of rivets or exotic skins.

3.You get to appreciate Alaïa knowledge of good presentation
Before passing away, Azzedine recut every piece to adapt it to the mannequins. He was aware of the elongated figure which would have made his creations look much more impressive, knowing the relevance of a great silhouettes.

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Famous Maison Alaïa flamenco dress

4.You get to see how Alaïa empowered women through fashion
More than once throughout his career, Azzedine affirmed his main obsession was to make women look good and comfortable in their clothes, which were supposed to be uniquely designed to fit women with different bodies and features.
At the exhibition, you will be able to check out how all the dress can be re-adjusted to ensure the owner feels special in it.

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Azzedine Alaïa with model Frederique 1989

5.You get the notion of timeless fashion
Maison Alaïa pieces might have been created 30 years ago or tomorrow. They are timeless and you cannot put a date on them. Indeed, as explained by Wilson to Vogue, the unicity of Azzedine work was that he did not follow a theme throughout the season, but he would follow his own style and inspiration, often working on the same piece to reach his ideal of perfection.
To prove Maison Alaïa is still very much love by the public, last year in June, they opened up, a boutique in New Bond Street, London.

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Interior designs at Maison Alaïa, New Bond Street, London