15.10.14

Trend Watch: Statement Scarves

As our car windscreens freeze up on chilly mornings, we are plunged into endless months of shops announcing the impending festive season is upon as subtly as bludgeoning a Christmas tree with a human sized cracker, before setting it alight with a flaming pudding filled with coins which will in no way at all back up A+E in the post-dinner binge; it would indeed appear that the winter season is upon us. 

Being a die-hard fan of autumn/winter trends, there is nothing I love more than whipping out the tweed, (faux) fur and leather like a recently graduated drama student desperately vying for an audition in Game of Thrones. Of course, with each season, brings the added bonus of hats, scarves and gloves (otherwise known as the Scottish Bitch Trinity of Accessories) along with the promise of micro-trends gone by of Davey Crockett inspired hats and fashion's personification of IKEA - an infinity loop colloquially known as the "Snood."

Thankfully, February's showcase of autumn/winter trends were substantially more forgiving than last years choice of accessories as it quickly became apparent in and amongst the return of maroon tones and shaggy eyelash jumpers, the over-sized scarf was declared loud and proud by the designers that be as the new "It" accessory. To use the terminology "accessory", however, would be a disservice with notable designers such as Thakoon and Osman sending statement scarves down the runway with enough sustenance to dwarf the main event - the outfit itself.

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From runway to high street - Zara's take on the A/W statement scarf - £39.99.

In my opinion, the scarf is a horrifically underrated and underused piece within the realms of fashion, with many choosing to simply to use the piece as an accent as opposed to the statement it is truly meant to be. Prints, of course, were in no short supply this summer, and beautifully illustrated scarves by the likes of Naromode were used by the masses to layer and print clash to create a complimentary oriental-inspired style to the kimono trend of the summer. Nevertheless, this winter, designers are scaling it back on the illustration, with emphasis focused on bulky and structured textures. It seems that the outfit and the accessory have traded places, with the season concept being that of dressing minimally in good quality staples, but avoiding the full-on normcore trend by letting the scarves do the talking.

Of course, we're all guilty of the compulsive purchase of a statement pair of shoes or a truly characteristic handbag, but certainly styling an outfit around an accessory is a first. One thing is for sure - it will certainly make getting dressed, bleary-eyed on dark mornings a little more comforting. After all, who can resist the promise of a snuggle with fashion's new best friend on the morning commute to work?

Will you be investing in a chunky accessory this season or will you remain loyal to the dreaded Snood? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x


2.10.14

The Modern Fashion Week Scene: Street style or Fashion Circus?




Scottish Bitches
Source: fashionaccelerator360.com

It is Friday 17th February 2012, day one of my first London Fashion Week. Dressed head to toe in high street and armed with my secret weapon magic clutch bag, which contains one notebook, five pens, a Dictaphone, purse, make-up, smart phone and oyster card, I mean business or at least I think I do. Conscious to make a good impression I did the best I could with my student budget wardrobe and opted for a simple monochromatic look. However, I was about to discover that understated chic does not fly at fashion week.

The walk from Temple tube station to Somerset House, an impressive neo-classical building in the city centre and home to London Fashion Week, is reminiscent of a trip down the yellow brick road into Oz. Moving away from the concrete landscape of the business sector, I spot pops of colour in electric blue skirts and acid green bags. By the time I enter under the magnificent archway and into fashion week I feel dizzy. It is as if I am trapped in a psychedelic drug-fueled trance as the circus of fashionistas draped multi-coloured prints spin round and round to the theme of the magic roundabout.

Hoards of photographers snap viciously at each ridiculous outfit. In the queue for my press pass all I can overhear is talk of the larger-than-life characters outside the show: have you seen Pandemonia today; I love Susie Bubble’s take on the African print trend; apparently Lady Gaga came dressed in a Burka earlier! There is not one single mention of the first show to take place in the prestigious tent for Antoni and Alison, for which press passes were few and far between. 


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Pandemonia at Somerset House

Source:http://pandemonia99.blogspot.co.uk/


Where are the fashion journalists I have aspired to? The stylish, understated, camera-shy reporter who wants nothing more than to, simply, uncover new talent and reveal the latest runway trends. Can it be that the "black crows"- fashion journalists of the 1990s who waited outside elusive run down buildings for secret catwalk shows dressed head to toe in Commes de Garçons- have become extinct? 

From my introduction to the fashion industry described in 2012 to the present day, my experience has indicated that the age of the label, of elaborate fashion week shows by revolutionary designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier, is approaching retirement. In its wake stands the power of the blogger and "street style". Social media has offered the crows a replacement of colourful preening peacocks dressed in multi-coloured prints and raised by club sandwich wedges.

Today the courtyard of Somerset House has been described by some as a "fashion circus" of celebrities who are famous for nothing other than being famous. Others have welcomed the entry of street style into the high fashion industry, which is often portrayed as exclusive. There are two questions I would like to ask. Firstly, can this fashion week display really be described as street style, or is it more correctly depicted as a fashion circus? And, secondly, will this change democratise a notoriously closed door sector or will it denounce a professional industry to nothing more than a laughing stock?

For the uninitiated the term, "street style" refers to fashion that has emerged from the grassroots of youth culture rather than from label's studios. To put it simply it is the style worn by youth groups, which can be seen on the streets rather than in a industry controlled environment.

The first references to "street style" originated in the 1960s. The generational gap of the late 1950s and 1960s witnessed the origins of the phenomenon. This cult form of self-expression was born out of the Teddy Boys: a British sub-culture of young men who expressed their xenophobic attitudes through a revival of dandy drape jackets and drainpipe trousers from the Edwardian period. The power of street style as an outlet of rebellion for socio-cultural groups gave birth to both the Mods and Rockers and the 1960s hippy persuasion, into the punk movement of the 1970s and the Goth influence during the early 1980s. Ironically, the rebellious Vivienne Westwood designs worn by punks in the 1970s challenged the "dictatorship" of high fashion that was emerging.



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The original street style posse: The Teddy Boys

Source: http://psycolofashion.blogspot.co.uk/

Born to two punk enthusiasts, I have always understood the social relevance of street style as a form of anarchy created by the dispossessed youth against the oppressive social norms of a particular time period or at least as a form of self expression. During the sixties and seventies, it held a crucial place in current politics and stayed true to its name in the clothing of those on the streets.

Indeed, many cite Bill Cunningham as the first democratic street style photographer. Starting his career in 1968 he snapped shots of the everyday man and woman in the street and found trends among them. His subjects in New York city represented the diversity of society whether they were old or young, tall or short, rich or poor. 

However, in the twenty-first century context,  street style seems to have lost its very meaning. Street style spreads and images in magazines only occasionally show images of the everyday man or woman. Instead, photographers such as The Sartorialist’s Scott Schumann has immortalised the definition of the two very words by replacing real people with those who compete for attention in the courtyard of Somerset House or on the steps at the Lincoln Centre in New York City.  Amongst all the furs and perspex on the street, the power of the runway and the buzz surrounding the revelation of never-seen-before collections has been lost.  


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Source: The Satorialist

On the other hand, one could argue that the invasion of street style into the fashion industry has democratised an notoriously closed door industry. Developments in social media and has offered "regular Joes" the opportunity to act as journalists using blogs as a platform and, thus, the popularity of a new kind of street style in "What I Wore Today" posts has risen.


Though blogs provide students with an accessible media platform, they have also added baggage to an already over saturated industry. I am not trying to put all bloggers in the one category. As someone who is posting on a fashion blog and actively follows others, I know there are genuine blogs that contain balanced reportage of the on-schedule catwalk showcases. Unfortunately, these are heavily outnumbered by  ‘What I wore today’ picture blogs, which feature clothing by designers who, fearful of the fact that a fifteen year old from the Midlands is gaining more attention from press, anxiously send items as gifts to gain the credit deserved for their work. This was first noted in 2008 when Marc Jacobs named a bag after the blogger Bryanboy.


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Bryanboy with his Marc Jacobs bag

Source: Tresspassmag.com

Three seasons down the line and I still shiver when I hear those four forbidden words: "I was gifted it." Adhering to the golden journalistic rule that reporters do not receive gifts, I am astounded by the way in which bloggers announce proudly which designer has gifted them what. Don't get me wrong, some journalists accepted gifts back in the 1990s but it seems more commonplace now. It is narcissism in its most public form: ‘Look at me in these shoes, with this bag! Come photograph my outfit so it can be featured on 20 different websites!’


Curious to hear the opinions of other bloggers on the modern concept of fashion week street style, I took to twitter. In favour of the showcase of "street style" at high profile fashion events, Jude from The Wee Blondie commented on the power of some outfits to inspire creatives: "Street style is amazing and a great way to get styling ideas." Jennifer from Glasgowfashiongirl agreed: "I love seeing the street style sometimes more than the shows" but also noted, "some people try too hard to be photographed."

Personal style blogger Charlotte Goodayle from The Goodowl said, "I love seeing people be able to express their style, however, the focus on designers needs to be brought to the forefront more. I have interviewed people who had no idea what shows were on or had zero interest in them." 

Like Charlotte, I cannot help but have mixed feelings. As a child of the nineties, I watched the cult of designer unfold before my eyes, even if it was through the dresses of Victoria Beckham or the iconic Jean-Paul Gaultier corset worn by Madonna on her 1990 ‘Blonde Ambition’ tour. Thanks to the power of celebrity, fashion became intertwined with other popular culture outlets such as music and television to gain an international audience.


Moving away from the street, style found its home on the runway and in the pages of fashion publications. Creativity reached new heights and avant-garde runway shows became more akin to theatre, for example in Alexander McQueen’s SS 1999 collection machines were used to spray paint the dresses in front of the audience.  It was during these years that labels such as Calvin Klein and Burberry became household names and tickets to such shows became notoriously exclusive.


Scottish Bitches
McQueen SS 1999 runway

Source: jaseniasgoodiebag.com

Whilst this exclusivity can be draped in a negative light, we must consider the fact that Fashion Week is an industry only event for professionals such as buyers and journalists. These people have the power to bring high fashion to the masses in magazines and trends which influence affordable high street wear. The runway show is where it all starts and there is no denying the power of such an event. It saddens me that some who grace the courtyards of Somerset House or Garden Path in Paris have little or no interest or knowledge in the designs on showcase.

The insincerity and feigned interest of some who attend fashion week was recently brought to light in an article by Hannah Ewens published in Vice Magazine titled: "I dressed like an idiot at London Fashion Week to see how easy it is to get street snapped." Working under the facade of a fashion blogger, the 22-year-old set herself a target to spend no more than £10 on "three of the dumbest outfits" she could assemble. The first outfit, which consisted of a roll of synthetic fur, a pair of broken neon glasses found in a skip, an England beanie hat, a bum bag and one man's golfing sock sparked quite a response in the courtyards of Somerset House. Ewens was snapped by numerous photographers who did not even stop to question her facade, which speaks volumes.


Scottish Bitches
Ewen's mock outfit

Source: Vice magazine
Moreover, in her article Ewens mentioned that some street style togs asked where her pieces were from to which she responded saying that most of her pieces were vintage Vivienne Westwood. She commented: "They all nodded enthusiastically, and one man said: "Oh yes, I remember this bag. A big one that year." Such articles support Charlotte Goodayle's verdict that many are disinterested in the brands and runways themselves and have, perhaps, only attended to document the other spectacle.

With such articles and revelations at the hands of the media will seminal events such as the "big four" fashion weeks in Milan, Paris, New York and London be denounced to a laughing stock? Will all editors, journalists, stylists, buyers and bloggers be portrayed as plastic members of the Fashion Circus who gather bi-annually in the city centres to preen and pose alongside the likes of Pandemonia?


Currently, in spite of the parade outside, the show always goes on. With a devout love for the artistic talent of fashion designers and three highly enjoyable seasons of London Fashion Week under my belt, I will continue to show face. There is no use in trying to hold back the digital revolution; after all smart phones have made the life of a journalist much easier.

Though it seems as if the fashion world is in turmoil, the design-focused industry we once knew will no doubt be revived in some form. Already the faces of fashion PR look tired as another multi-coloured alien enters into the tent at Somerset House. Perhaps soon, such public preening will return to its rightful home in the streets as fashion events regain their mysterious reputation elsewhere.


What do you think the future holds for street style and fashion week events? Share in the comments below!

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut.

C x

1.10.14

Chanel SS2015 - Political Genius or Exploitation?

As we enter into the month of October, fashion week season is wrapping up in a flurry of press lounge carnage and after parties of Gatsby proportions. Over the past month, we've seen emerging talent and established designers present their latest designs, continuing to offer cutting edge innovation in the use of textiles and illustration - from Erdem's ready-to-wear depiction of a rainforest to Alexander McQueen's fetish-meets-feminine visual juxtaposition, it was nothing short of a spectacle.

Scottish Bitches
Reporting from the frontline, Alexa Chung tweeted the protest live.
Yesterday, the penultimate day to mark the end of the season, bloggers, editors, photographers and hardcore fashion fans alike waited with baited breath in anticipation of perhaps the most sought-after runway of all - Chanel spring/summer 2015. Following creative director Karl Lagerfeld's A/W 2014 portrayal of fashion in a logo-embellished supermarket, buzz for the brand had only continued to grow - with fans anxious to fill the theatrical catwalk-shaped gap left in their hearts as a result of Marc Jacobs resignation from Louis Vuitton. 

The industry were thirsty for extravagance, and Lagerfeld delivered by the bucketload. 

Enter "Boulevard Chanel" - the reconstruction of the iconic wide streets of Paris - with beautifully crafted pavements, precisely placed puddles, zebra crossings and, of course, elegant architecture capturing the romance of France - all within the confines of the Grand Palais. With models nonchalantly strolling down the runway, Chanel's offerings of tweed, check, wide-leg trousers and pops of colour were gorged upon by the audience on either side of the street. It was a visual triumph, with bold prints, bed head hair and tunics presenting some very enticing trends for the season ahead. 

Scottish Bitches
Model Kendall Jenner snapped behind-the-scenes photos via her Instagram of the slogans.

Never known for the word "subtle", it came as no surprise upon the finale that model of the moment, Cara Delivigne, equipped with speakerphone and army in tow, sounded the battle cry of "Come on!" leading the high end pedigree models, including Gisele Bundchen and Georgia May Jagger down the runway in a depiction of mock protest. Brandishing statement signs with predominantly feminist slogans such as "History is her story", "Free Freedom" as well as a nod to the UN Women's campaign "He For She", Lagerfeld's statement was crystal clear.

With photographers flooding onto the runway to snap the on-coming finale amongst the buzzing swarm of VIPs and Twitter trending like there was no tomorrow, it was a sure sea l that the SS2015 collection would be discussed, dissected and demolished by the press and media for the foreseeable future. 

The collection itself was regarded as a success - with the return of silhouettes missed for many seasons and the re-emergence of tweed paying homage to founder, Coco, herself. Without a doubt, the show was aptly topical given the recent launch of the gender equality campaign fronted by UN ambassador and actress, Emma Watson and opinions were divided on the concept of the protest. Certainly, it was not the first emergence of designers making a political statement this season, with Vivienne Westwood voicing her opinions on the recent Scottish Independence referendum, not to mention Meadham Kirchoff's outlandish pro-feminist tampon trees and unsurprisingly the arguments about the SS15 show came in thick and fast across social media platforms. 

Many felt that the statement made by Lagerfeld was further backing to the cause of gender equality, with fans across Twitter delivering proclamations of love for the brand - and praising Chanel on its social commentary of current times. However, with the female standard size zero model sauntering down the runway, many felt that this was not an accurate representation of diversity, but in fact was reflective of a stereotypical male ideal. 

Youtube Vlogger, Sam Fazz tweeted, "Chanel's execution at PFW was a mess. The signs did nothing to promote gender equality/feminism. It didn't make sense." Sam, unalone in her thoughts, was backed by fans across social media noting the distinct lack of male models on the runway - with many feeling that one male model throughout the entire runway was also a poor representation of true gender equality.

With the statement "Ladies first" also making an appearance on one of the many placards, it is easy to see how this opinion could be formed - with the sign itself arguably promoting female superiority - or indeed "man-hating" - therefore contradicting and diminishing the intended message of the protest itself.

Sam tweeted her opinions further, "If Chanel really cared about women's rights, they would have had trans[gender] models and models of all sizes and heights." 

With signs boasting the likes of "Boys should get pregnant too" it is understandable that many fans of the brand are feeling the issues at hand have been trivialized by the final. After all, when the suffragettes staged hunger strikes and were force fed by gastroscopy in aid of women's rights, it does seem completely surreal that Chanel would jump onto a marketing bandwagon and attempt to use feminism, a movement with its roots firmly founded on suffering, as a trend. 

Was the message of the show well intended? Undoubtedly. Was it tasteless? Perhaps. Only Chanel's long-term future actions can truly reflect the brand's values. Here's hoping that Lagerfeld delivers on his moral compass and puts his money where his mouth is on gender equality.

What did you think of the Chanel SS2015? Do you feel like feminism is being exploited as a trend?

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x

26.9.14

SS15 Trends that will probably have you sectioned.


Ah, September. Our favourite month of the year. Massive fashion editions of Vogue, a month of runways and the celebration of emerging and established talent. However, with an industry that is constantly reinventing itself, the boundaries are consistently pushed and sometimes, just sometimes, we wish our beloved designers hadn't bothered.

Meadham Kirchoff's Fruit Bearing Runway of Bloody Tampons

 
Image Source: http://www.vogue.co.uk

Possibly London's most controversial show of the season, Meadham Kirchoff's offering of a Tampon Tree certainly created a buzz. Edward Meadham and Benjamen Kirchoff are well-renowned within the industry for encapsulating rebellion and capturing the current youth culture, although we're not quite sure this is what the Millennial generation had in mind as a means of representation. A runway taking its values from the current hot topic of feminism was depicted with bobbly textured breasts, an array of PVC leathers and an arrangement of sheer fabrics to no doubt represent insight into the vulnerability of being an woman in the 21st century.

One cannot help but wonder if this is a tad ill-placed with several major campaigns by UN Women currently launching globally to promote gender equality and stop the use of rape as a weapon of war. It is obvious to see Meadham Kirchoff's good intentions within the runway, but as women ourselves, we can't help but feel this runway, bloody tampon earrings and all, was a touch demeaning and trivializing to the very real, current and serious issues of feminism.

This being said, if you're still keen on the trend, we'd recommend shaking things up a bit by simply sticking a sanitary towel to your forehead instead of a woolly hat this winter.

Anthony Vaccarello's Necrotic Glittery Earlobes.


Image Source:  http://www.vogue.co.uk/

Admittedly, runway beauty can be a tad obscure. From green eyebrows to black lips, just when we think we've seen it all, designer Anthony Vaccarello gifts us with black earlobes dipped in glitter. Truth be told, we're not entirely sure what this brings to the depiction of "beauty" or indeed what it means, but we're sure Halloween enthusiasts loved this look. It's the perfect justification to jump on the trend bandwagon early and tart your Walking-dead inspired costume up with a touch of 90s girl-chic right on time for the 31st of October.


Rodarte's Sonic The Hedgehog Inspired Eyebrows 


Image source: http://www.vogue.co.uk
Hyping up the never-ending grunge trend, Rodarte sent the models down the runway this season with facial tributes that would make any Sonic the Hedgehog fan boy (or girl) squeal with delight. An obvious ode to single eyebrow piercings made popular in the 90s, the faux-piercings were glued en mass to models brows', making quite a statement on the catwalk, in addition to raking in high scores on the Sega Megadrive. We're hoping this doesn't translate literally to the everyday world, as it's going to make going through security at the airport more than a little treacherous.

Moschino's Barbie Apocalypse




After last season's McDonald's mania, we were truly holding out for Moschino to redeem themselves this season. We were hopeful for quirky pop culture, great cuts and quirky accessories, instead we were gifted with a visual runway depiction of a sale in Primark. It was plastic, it was fantastic and we were half-expecting the bald guy from Aqua to turn up and belt out a wee tune. From itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini prints to a good old hot pink tracksuit, the message was clear from Moschino - the tack and tat is here to stay! With the Milan-based brand backing air-heads, we're calling for a Meadham Kirchoff and Moschino collaboration. Think about it - the results could be absolutely phenomenal in a cultural car-crash sort of way.

Which trends did you find a touch bizarre this season? Let us know in the comments!

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x

19.9.14

Primark x Harris Tweed - A catastrophic collaboration?

On the 15th of September, 2014, high-street mega brand, Primark announced a menswear collaboration with revered heritage brand, Harris Tweed. With each yarn being handwoven in the Hebrides, Scotland, from pure virgin wool no less, it seems utterly baffling combination that HT has teamed up with the brand that reinvented the term "fast-fashion."

With Harris Tweed blazers typically retailing at around the £200.00 mark, Primark plans to bring luxury to the masses with their genuine HT blazers retailing at just £85. Perhaps a mark of current credit-crunching times, this move seems counter-intuitive given only in 2008, former chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority Board voiced his concerns in an interview with national paper, the Telegraph that the HT industry was becoming quickly unstable due to tweed fabric selling at "Primark prices." 

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What are your thoughts on the Primark x Harris Tweed collaboration? Image courtesy: Primark.com

It's certainly not the first time we've seen high-street brands team up with high-end manufacturers and designers, but one has to wonder with the budget-friendly stigma attached to Primark, by engaging with the brand, could Harris Tweed be potentially damaging the historic fabric further? A change in the HT marketing strategy and target audience is certainly unexpected. Will the customer-base of a brand built on selling bargains really achieve target sales of £85 a piece? (Primark) Or is this indeed the beginning of a revolution, where the public base are trading in quantity for quality? Who knows? Only time will tell.

With prices beginning at just £30 and being sold in selected stores across the UK, we're holding out judgement until the end of the season. Watch this space. 

What are your thoughts on the Primark x Harris Tweed collaboration? We want to hear from you! 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x



25.8.14

Normcore or Normbore?

Do you often wish you could blend into a crowd and go unnoticed throughout your day? Do you shy away at the prospect of engaging with the public? Do you deliberately choose to avoid making awkward eye contact with the bus driver in the morning? Introverts, rejoice! Normcore is the new black.

Scottish Bitches
Normcore or Normbore?

If you like to keep a finger in the metaphorical fashion pie, then you'll without a doubt have heard the terminology "normcore" pop up within the past season or so. Derived from a combination of "normal" and "hardcore", the term Normcore is used to describe a fashion movement characterized by insipid blandness. In an industry where standing out is the objective, Normcore has thrown a surprising spanner in the works, with its sole focus being placed on "fitting in with the crowd." Perhaps, a reflection on our current social media indulgent era, could Normcore be a physical manifestation of the public desire to feel accepted by simply dressing as one of the flock? Is it cleverly staged ironic in-joke by the fashion industry? Or have we simply just had enough of dressing up in gimmicky commercialized outfits? (See: Moschino AW2014.)

Fashion blogger, Helen from the Love Cats Inc gave her opinion on the matter, "I don't mind the Normcore trend. Simple dressing is my favourite! It allows for the previously ordinary to become a style of its own, where simple pieces take centre place." 

It's not just the street-style savvy bloggers jumping on board with this trend - high street chain stores such as Zara, Gap and Mango are cashing in on the "boring" bandwagon. Providing staples to the normcore fanatics - namely, classic cut t-shirts, jeans and over-sized jumpers, there is evidence to suggest that at long last consumers may be turning their backs on fast-fashion trend-led budget brands such as Primark and New Look and swapping out five-minute-fads for mid-range higher quality pieces.

I consulted style guru Claire from Bee Waits on the matter, "My eyes can't begin to roll back fast enough at the mention of Normcore. It reeks of special snowflake syndrome - the 'I'll be the most different by dressing in an ironic way.' The thing is I don't so much hate the style but people should dress however they want. There's no need to give it a name."  

Jennifer from Glasgowfashiongirl expressed apathy towards the generic trend, "Each to their own, but I don't see it as a fashion trend as such. After all, it's just normal, basic wear." 

It does seem rather ironic to us that a fashion community can be so divided about a trend that takes its fundamental principles from apathy. It remains to be seen if the Normcore trend is a fad, but can simple basics really go out of fashion? 

What are your thoughts on the Normcore trend? We'd love to hear from you. 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x.
 

18.8.14

Beauty Lessons from a Fashion Photographer

When I began my career as a fashion and beauty photographer at the age of 18, I had some pretty firm opinions on beauty. As far as I was concerned, it came in the form of a lady with impossibly long legs, hair with enough extensions to rival the coat of a highland cow and of course, perfectly symmetrical features. Over the years as I progressed on my journey, I came to realize that not only was the job not quite as glamorous as everybody else thought it was but it also acted as mentor, bestowing wisdom on the topic of beauty that I had previously been so naively sure of.

Growing up in an age where actresses and pop stars alike are frequently over-sexualized, it is hardly unsurprisingly that by the time I had reached 18, I had a pretty superficial concept of what true beauty was. From sleeping on an airport floor at 4am to watching a puppet show on the metro between runway shows - as a working fashion photographer, I found myself in some pretty surreal situations. It became 'normal' to rub shoulders with celebrities and the elite. I ate, danced and dressed like a queen. I shot 5,000 frames a day. A four hour sleep was a lie-in. A soak in a bath became a rare luxury in a fast-moving industry. I made friends like no other. But, above all else, my job gifted me with the meaning of true beauty.


Scottish Bitches
Scottish Bitches yet again proving that a sense of humour is far more important than the latest Mac lipstick.



A bad attitude is a fool-proof recipe for instant ugly. 

For some unfathomable reason, in an industry based on looks, from time to time you will undoubtedly work alongside people with an over inflated sense of self importance.  A lady can be done up to the nines in enough make-up worth the equivalent of a small fortune, but the instant debeautifier is that of treating others with disrespect. If you personally think back to an individual who has treated you poorly or disrespectfully in the past, do you view them as beautiful? My guess is probably not. To quote the the age-old saying, treat others as you would liked to be treated yourself. Nothing shines brighter than an individual who is respectful of others, their culture, choices and heritage.



Too many people base their value and self-worth on their physical beauty.

It's 7am. You rise to the bathroom, brace yourself for the day ahead and bleary-eyed look in the mirror...BAM! Massive spot. The day is ruined before it has begun. Of course, in reality, it is likely nobody will so much as notice your spot, but throughout the day you will have feel like the human personification of an out-of-date bag of Monster Munch. In a world where according to the media that beauty equates to success, not enough focus is being placed on immeasurable qualities such as intelligence, kindness and compassion to name a few.

Self-worth is increasingly associated with dress size as well, with often substandard diffusion "plus-size" ranges made available by major retailers to ladies of a curvier disposition - giving the impression that these voluptuous ladies are not worthy of the same style as a lady of a slender figure. Personally speaking, as a lady with the grand height of 5 ft 3" and a fully fledged UK size 12, I often feel baffled as to why friends close to me feel ugly as a result of their curves. Often, I ask my friends to place themselves into my shoes and look at the world through my eyes - do they find friends with similar body builds repulsive? No, they think their friends are beautiful - and not just because of their body shape, but indeed also by their morals, actions and personality.


Imperfections are what make beauty.

It is said that we are our own worst critics, and I happen to know this to be true. I recently stopped bang smack in the middle of chastising myself for putting on a few pounds. It occurred to me that I was indeed not only my own worst enemy, but a hypocrite. If a friend or loved one was in the same position, I'd more than likely see them as beautiful, feminine and kind - not the grotesque monster that exists purely in my own personal mind mirror. All too often we treat ourselves worse than we would ever dream of treating our worst enemies.

Imperfections - be it freckles, snaggle teeth or scars are what help to define our beauty. Without imperfections, how would we notice striking eyes, plump lips or even cute little snub noses? If somebody offered you the operation of a lifetime to completely change your body and face, would you really feel comfortable waking up to an alien staring back at you in the mirror?



Beauty comes from within.

Fundamentally, all of these lessons come with one connecting moral - that beauty comes from within. No matter how genetically blessed a person may be, that person has to make the choice to consciously become beautiful through their actions. Beauty is not defined by a lipstick or mascara or whoever has the longest lashes, but by the decisions a person chooses to make and their approach to their day to day life. 

How do you define beauty? 

Live by the catwalk, die by the donut. 

L x