Ethical Fashion : Primark Labels … Hoax?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, and if you’re UK based, you will have heard about the controversial labels claimed to have been found in items of Primark clothing.  There was extensive news coverage at the time of the ‘discovery’ of these labels,  and it’s fueled a lot of debates about the conscious of the fashion world.

Primark label with a message in Swansea

Claimed to be a  “cry for help – to let us people in Britain know what is going on” the hand stitched claims were found in two separate garments bought in the UK.  Primark of course sprung to action, and promised a full enquiry.  But it’s already too late- the debate has begun.  They’ve come out today to declare the labels a hoax but the conversation is ongoing, and most people seem almost certain of Primark’s guilt.  But will shoppers put their money where their mouth is? It’s too early to say but it will certainly be interesting to see how this has affected Primark’s sales figures for this quarter and their (already fragile) reputation on the high street.

One Dress : Two Ways



One of the smartest ways to pack for a holiday is to make sure you outfit build.  With the use of accessories one simple belted coral maxi dress can be worn for both day & night.

The daytime look features casual styling, with a straw trilby, fun flip flops and a canvas bag for trips to the beach.  I’m picturing this with beachy waves… beaut.

To switch it up for night, scoop your hair up in to a high bun, and pop on a rosebud crown.  Throw on a pair of wedge espadrilles and a cute straw clutch, and you’re ready for dinner, drinks & wherever the evening may take you.

Do you outfit build when you’re packing for holidays? Which outfit do you prefer? How would you style this dress?

Vogue Festival 2014 : My Fashion Life

Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny warm day, when I made my way towards the Southbank Centre, near Waterloo station on London.
All the action at the Southbank Centre kicked off at about 10.30 that morning but as my tickets were for the 4.30 talk, I had foyer access from 4.00-6.30.

Once inside there were lots of different activities laid out on the first floor, including a Kerastase styling area- offering complimentary hairstyling (you got to choose between five classic french styles) and make up consultations with Burberry’s beauty stylists. They also had a fabulous ‘show and tell’ opportunity, where you could bring your own designs to the festival and meet with Vogue editors to receive personal advice about your product. I had a quick look around the various activities before queuing to go in to the talk. I booked my ticket quite late, and it was a sold out talk, so my seat was pretty far back- but it was still amazing! I’ll definitely be more prepared next year and book earlier.

On the ‘My Fashion Life’ panel we had Tory Burch, Angela Missoni and of course my icon (and I confess, my main attraction!) Manolo Blahnik!

First up was Tory Burch, someone who I confess I didn’t know much about before yesterday. Tory worked in marketing for years, before launching her own brand and opened her first boutique in New York in 2004. She set out to create a ‘lifestyle brand’ and I have to say she came across as a engaging and inspiration woman. She talked about juggling her home life (3 sons and 3 step daughters!) with her business. She said that she takes them to school in the morning, and is home by 7 most days. I love that. Something I debate with myself quite frequently is whether it is possible to ‘have it all’- in my eyes that is both a fulfilling career and a child. I also love that she started out working in marketing (I work in this area) and still managed to achieve her dreams. Inspirational. The first Tory Burch store opened in London in 2011 and it’s definitely on my radar to pay them a visit soon.

Next up we had Angela Missoni, daughter of one of Italy’s most famous fashion dynasties. She talked about her upbringing, the wonderful home life in contrast to the glamour of the industry (she met Manolo when she was 10!) Angela Missoni came across as down to earth and committed to her family and their brand. I loved that she brought her mum with her (she was in the audience!). Her own daughters are now involved in the business and she was passionate about developing the company further. Her runway debut in 1997 signified a rejuvenation of the brand and their iconic print.

Last, but by no means least, the legend that is Manolo Blahnik. Manolo was fabulous, so witty! He talked about growing up on the Canary Islands, where he used to make shoes for the lizards (luckiest lizards ever!). He studied law but decided he didn’t want to be a lawyer but instead a set designer. It was while doing this that he was told not to bother- and to concentrate on shoes instead! He talked about how he prefers to work alone than with a team (something I can totally relate to!) and how he himself has a part in all areas on the design and production of his shoes (“except for the sizing… I don’t like numbers”) Manolo was one of the first men ever to appear on the cover of UK Vogue, and was awarded a CBE in 2007. He won the British Fashion Council Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012 and in his 40 year career is widely considered to be one of if not the most successful and influential designers. Yet he was so down to earth and talked about his home in Bath and his latest addiction- Netflix! I love that. They always say that you should never meet your heroes, that they might disappoint, but I have to say- I was so impressed, and inspired by Manolo, and I’m so glad I went to see him.

After the talk I headed out to to the foyer, and went to pick up a souvenir at the Vogue Shop. More about that, and the rest of my day, in the next post!

1 skirt : 3 ways

Have you ever seen a piece that you love but then stood in the shop and tried to justify the price? I know that I have!  I’m the queen of justifying big purchases (although my fiance remains largely unconvinced of this!) and one of the easiest ways to convince yourself that a splurge is worth it is to think of the cost per wear.  An expensive item that you get a lot of wear out of is better than buying a lot of ‘fast fashion’ pieces that you only wear once or twice.  One way to work out how much wear you will get from an item is to consider where you would wear it, and now and again you find gems that can be worn in several different ways.  I’m going to show you an example of this today, one £129 Ted Baker floral print skirt, worn 3 ways.

1 skirt 3 ways

Work: With a smart black blazer & cami, and patent mary-jane flats and you will make this pretty skirt work for your 9-5.  Of course every office is a little bit different with regards to dress code, but you can even add black opaque tights if you think that would make this more appropriate for around your water cooler!

Play: Chunky ankle boots and a slogan tee make this super feminine skirt a little bit more edgy.  Perfect for daytime wear, when you don’t want to be too dressed up!

Party: And of course if you add sparkley gold heels to anything you’ve pretty much got a party going on!  Pairing it with a sexy crop top finishes this outfit off and makes sure you’re ready to hit the town in style.

Which outfit is your favourite way to style this skirt?  Do you buy on a ‘cost per wear’ principle?

5 under 50: Handbags


It’s time for a new feature on : 5 under 50, where I’ll showcase 5 pieces under £50.  First up- handbags!


From left to right from the top:

Topshop mink colour satchel- perfect for work, classy and functional, but still cute. A real winner in my book! I love that satchels have come back in to fashion!

Teal DSW crossbody bag- so cute for a shopping trip, just the perfect size and I love the colour!

Pink Victoria’s Secret beach bag-  gorgeous bright colour, just what you need for trips to the beach this summer! You don’t even have to worry about sun cream spillages!

Silver glitter clutch from 6pm- I just adore this- so fun! An amazing addition to any outfit, everybody needs a little bit of sparkle in their lives!

Teal and pink accessorize tote- It absolutely helps that this tote is in my two favourite colours! It’s a great size and the geometric chevron print and tassle make it so fun and eyecatching- perfect for festivals!

Which bag is your favourite from these?

Prada : Custom Shoe Design

For most of us, couture Prada is something we can only dream of. But now a new service, announced by Prada this weekend, allows fashionistas to design their own shoes. On March 26th and 27th the Sloane Street store will be opening it’s doors to customised orders based on it’s Made to Order Décolleté collection.

Aspiring designers will be able to choose from 9 different styles which they can then customise with their choices of heel height, colour and material. My favourite little details- there is an option to add your initials under the Prada logo, in their signature amber metal- amazing!

The orders take about a month to be made. There is no official word on pricing but it’s safe to say I won’t be popping along to Sloane Street for this, as much as I wish I could!

What do you think of this new service from Prada? Are you a designer shoe lover?

L’Wren Scott

L’Wren Scott was proof that anyone could become anything that they want to be.

She was adopted, and raised as Luann Bambrough, in Utah.  At 12 years old she was already 6 ft tall so modelling was a natural choice. She left school at 18 and flew to Paris, changed her name and walked for Chanel.  That is the real American dream right there.

In the early 90’s she went back to the US and established herself as a stylist, dressing A-listers and icons alike.  Some of her most famous fans include Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman (a close friend of hers who has an apartment in the same block),  Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Naomi Campbell, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Hendricks,Jennifer Lopez, Sandra Bullock and Uma Thurman.

A divorcee, she had been romantically involved with Mick Jagger since 2001 and he has spoken to his devastation over her death.

L’Wren is proof that being beautiful, thin, and rich is just not enough to live on. Those are plentiful things but to be loved, fulfilled and content are worth so much more.

Another bright star in the fashion sky gone too soon. So very sad for all those who loved and respected her.


Fashion Debate: Vanity Sizing

This is a hot topic in the fashion industry, and in women’s changing rooms up and down the country: Vanity sizing.


Vanity sizing means that someone who may be a size 14 in one brand, is a 10 in another, but can barely squeeze in to a size 18 elsewhere.  It’s not right, and it can play havoc with our self esteem as women.  I know that personally I have flat out refused to buy an item of clothing that I like, and that fits me well, just because of the number on the label.  I used to think this was just me, a throwback to my disordered eating past, but this  phenomenon seems to affect an increasing number of women.

Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, has recently come out with some opinions (some of which are not going to prove popular) who said recently that being overweight had become ‘normalised’ in our society, where even clothes manufacturers alter the number on their labels so that people carry on buying their clothes without actually realising that they’re getting bigger.  She emphasised this point by revealing that a woman that a current UK size 14 would actually have been a UK size 16 in the Seventies. Similarly, a size 10 waist has grown from 24 to 28 inches in the same period, according to a recent study.  

It comes as no surprise that studies have found that smaller sizes on labels have a direct affect on the self esteem of customers. Obviously a customer is going to be affected by this.  It doesn’t matter how rational, educated or intelligent you are; if you fit in to a smaller size than expected you feel this rush of happiness… and you buy it! Simple as that- vanity sizing sells clothes.

What do you think of the phenomenon of vanity sizing? Do you think women’s clothing sizes should be standardised as menswear is? (I used to work in men’s fashion and was always so jealous of how easy it was for guys to buy jeans- pick waist size, pick length, pick cut, pick colour DONE.  I think I speak for many women when I say that jean shopping is genuinely almost always a painful experience!)


Barbie Girl

Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders found that to look like Barbie, the average woman would have to “grow two feet taller, extend their neck length by 3.2 inches, gain 5 inches in chest size, and lose 6 inches in waist circumference”.  Barbie is stated to be 5’9″ tall and weigh 110 lbs — a whopping 35 lbs (2 and half stone for my fellow Brits)  below a healthy weight for a woman of that height. Barbies neck is so thin she wouldn’t be able to lift her head and her ankles and feet are so tiny (childs size 3!) that she would have to walk on all fours… not so glamourous now eh?

In the pursuit of research on this subject I came across this amazing, terrifying, website:

Yes, Barbie is an unrealistic role model… but is she really a role model for the little girls of today?

I had barbies growing up.. loads of them. I had the ski lodge, the pink convertible, and the wardrobe full of tiny clothes and shoes.  I also had disordered eating in my teens.  Do I think these things are related? No!

I know that people could argue that in my subconcious, I, like many other young girls, thought that being thin, and blonde, and pretty= success in life. And while it’s true that I do have very long blonde hair, I do love make up and fashion (as evidenced by this blog!)… that’s not all I am.

Just like Barbie! Yes she is thin, beautiful and popular. But she also ran for president, and has had pretty much every career from doctor to astronaut. I’d argue that makes her a better role model for young girls than many real women out there.  Hello, Miley Cyrus anyone? Even Angelina Jolie.. all the papers talk about her charity work, her adoptions, and they forgot that she used to be the weird girl who wore a vial of her boyfriends blood round her neck (yes really…google it. and yes I’m team Jen, can you tell?)

The whole point of a Barbie doll.. the whole base of the story… is that she can be whatever you want her to be.  I love love love recent Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o’s thoughts on the matter.  She’s quoted as saying:

“Finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be”


Will I let future children of mine play with barbies? Yes. Without a doubt.  But I will make sure I tell them that they are so much more than plastic.  That there is so much more to strive for in life. That sitting in a sunny beer garden eating pizza with friends is more important than losing a pound that week. I worry, pretty constantly, that any child of mine is going to be genetically disposed to ‘end up like me’ and I tell myself how terrible that would be… and then I realise.

At 24 years old, I’m only just now beginning to make my own kind of peace with myself.  I may not be as thin, or beautiful, or popular as I want to be. I have been on an almost constant diet for the last 10 years of my life. But I’m educated, I’m articulate, I can make people laugh, and I have people around me who love me.  I’m fortunate, I’m brave, and I’m a survivor.

If my child ‘ends up like me’ … then they will be just fabulous.