Archive for May, 2011

Details: Fringe Benefits

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I’m a well known fringe fan (saves on the need for botox), and we’re delighted to report that the fringe has gone beyond a mere hair-do option and become a fashion moment in its own right. We’ve been spotting fringed accessories for some time, but recently with increasing frequency, and the fringe has moved beyond the hippy handbag and looks great on knits, jersey and soft wovens too. We love the movement and texture that a wonderful fringe or tassel adds to any outfit. Go minimal with a tasseled necklace or fully embrace the fringe with a fabulous statement jacket.

Roberto Cavalli

Firetrap

Browns Focus

Browns Focus

Diesel

Topshop

Sonia Rykiel

For more posts on fashionable details, just click here. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Lucy

Blink Interviews: Boys&Girls

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

As some of the most stylish folks I see these days are the offspring of some of my very stylish friends, I think its fair to say that fashion knows no age limits. We were really excited when we heard about a new British kidswear brand that combined brilliant aesthetics and a brilliantly ethical approach so it didn’t feel too much of a stretch to feature them on the blog.

Each garment is made using the highest quality organic (GOTS certified) and fairly traded (FLO certified) cotton for garments that are soft yet strong and easy care. A small section of the range is fully Fairtrade certified and carries the Fairtrade Mark, the aim being to eventually have an entirely Fairtrade certified range. The Boys&Girls ethos is ‘created with care’.
The Boys&Girls brand has steadily been building momentum since its launch and now has 50 stockists in the UK and Europe, a great blog as well as a Facebook page and a growing Twitter following. The full range is available from the Boys&Girls website.

We decided that we wanted to know more about this brand and its founders so we asked them for a quick interview…

So, what is the main inspiration behind launching ‘Boys and Girls’?
The inspiration behind Boys&Girls is to prove that ethical retailing can be mainstream, look really cool and need not be ‘green’ or ‘hippy’ just because it’s created with care.
We also feel there is a gap in the kidswear market for a more down-to-earth  British brand that is design-led and reflects today’s vibrant urban lifestyle– more parks and playgrounds than paddocks and ponies. We purposely use just normal kids (not models) to allow their individual personalities to shine through. Boys&Girls styles are comfy, practical and great everyday play clothes yet bright and attractive enough to wear to parties.

Why incorporate sustainability/ fair trade/ organic?
We really just feel it’s the right thing to do. The 3 of us have all worked with organic and Fairtrade manufacturing and it would have been hard to go back to working with conventional cotton again once you are aware of all the positive consequences using organic and Fairtrade manufacturing practices can bring.

Do you think sustainability, fairly traded or organically produced clothing should be a specific focus for kidswear?
We think it should be a specific focus for all clothing manufacturing.

Where do you look for inspiration for the collection?
We are lucky to be surrounded by endless sources of inspiration here in London’s East End– great markets, vintage stores and lots of interestingly dressed people. We always try and make sure our styles can fit the description of play clothes and so we do like retro sports clothes. We are also all about colour– we get very excited about colour palettes and the designs just seem to follow.

Have you considered recycling or upcycling with your products and packaging?
We do try and incorporate sustainable practices into anything we do where possible. So, for example, our paper mail bags are made in the UK from sustainably managed sources and are recyclable. We haven’t done any upcycling yet, but it is a great idea and definitely something for the future.

What is your dream for ‘Boys and Girls’ in 5 years time?
To be the No. 1 British brand for design-led and ethical kids clothes!

Who is the team behind ‘Boys and Girls’?
There are 3 of us in the Boys&Girls team all with a background in clothing retail, but luckily from different head-office roles; Buying, Merchandising and Design. Between us we have worked at some of the main high street retailers including, Topshop and BHS, but all met while working at the organic baby retailer, Green Baby.
However, there is also another Boys&Girls team as in all the various suppliers, free-lancers and friends that have helped us turn our original idea into the fledgling brand it is today and continue to offer their invaluable enthusiasm, support and advice.

What has been your favourite product so far?
I can’t decide between the yellow striped towelling sundress which makes every little girl look like a ray of sunshine, or the Out To Play sweat top which completely took us by surprise with its popularity and has now become instantly recognisable as Boys&Girls.

What additional challenges have you experienced with your decision to make the collection sustainable, fairly traded and organic?
It is a challenge for any start up clothing company to get off the ground due to small quantities being uneconomical and therefore unattractive to most manufacturers. This has been exacerbated recently by steeply rising fuel and cotton prices.
When you also throw into the mix organic and FLO cotton which has an extra cost and less availability it really does become even more challenging. Maintaining the ‘Fairtrade’ element of the range has proved to be the biggest struggle. In order for the cotton in a garment to be fully Fairtrade certified, it has to pass FLO certification at every stage of the supply chain – from the price paid for the cotton, to the ginners, the knitters, the dye house, etc all the way to the manufacturers. This is not as easy as it sounds for a small start-up company as most of these processors need to work with certain minimums of cloth in order for them to stay productive. For example, a FLO certified dye house does not stay open 24 hours a day meaning their employers all have to work overtime as most conventional dye houses do, so they need to reach optimum productivity during the hours they are open in order to remain profitable. Unfortunately we were unable to meet the minimums required by the FLO dye house on all but a small portion of our range and so although we have paid a fair price for the cotton, it cannot be fully Fairtrade certified as it didn’t manage to get FLO certification for this part of the supply chain.
The daily challenge for us therefore, is to continue to support the cotton farmers by buying the FLO cotton while trying to increase our sales and order quantities so that we can eventually have a completely Fairtrade certified range.

Well, we think that all the effort is worth it! Thanks to the Boys&Girls team for sparing us some time to give us the interview and we wish you the very best success with this brilliant brand.

Enjoy! Lucy

Blink Details: Bringing Sexy Back

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Its an exciting new focal point that we have noted over the past month or so, and our trip to Paris managed to seal the deal. The back is the new front, ladies and gentlemen. Its official. From the nape of your neck down to the top of your tushy. Whether a peak, a flash, a slash or the full reveal, its all about the back, baby. Its a really exciting addition to some otherwise simplistic silhouettes on many occasions. You see the front view and think “Well, that’s a perfectly nice, but rather plain, Tshirt/ shift dress/ blouse etc” and then you see the rear view and your heart speeds up and your pupils dilate. Its sexy, but in a whole new way. Its subtle, chic and really quite sophisticated.

So, we encourage you to put your back into it, back us up, don’t be backwards in being forwards. Sorry… ahem, we got a little carried away then. Just do it. Its sexy and you’ll look hot. What more is there to say?

YSL, Paris

YSL, Paris

Pucci

YSL, Paris

vintage at Porte de Vanves, Paris

vintage at Porte de Vanves, Paris

Azzaro at Colette, Paris

Kenzo

Merci, Paris

Merci, Paris

Enjoy! Lucy

Blink Travels: Paris Graphic, Le Monochrome!

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Here’s almost our final hit of inspiration from Paris. We do have a wee bit more for you tomorrow..

This one is for you guys who are more graphically oriented. We really love street art, and Paris has a very special take on it. We found some really beautifully executed stickers and posters, as well as stencils and sketches. The over riding mood was monochromatic, with the odd flash of colour. Here are our favourites for you.

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

Colette, Paris

For more on graphics, just click here. For more on Paris, click here. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Lucy

Blink Travel: Vintage Paris

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

One thing I always make sure there is time for is a quick flit to one of Paris’ fabulous flea markets, or ‘marche aux puces’. My favourite has to be Porte de Vanves in the south of Paris. Its smaller, more casual and most importantly, you are more likely to find a bargain here than at the mega marche that is the far more famous Clignancourt in the north.

You can head to Vanves on Saturdays and Sundays. Its a true treasure trove of wonderful vintage paraphernalia. Ensure you are fully cashed up as you will certainly be parting with some money! In particular here, there is always exceptional vintage clothing and accessories, wonderful paintings, china and glass. Here are some shots that we hope will help share what we saw on this visit. I got slightly obsessed by all of the crazy little dolls and their wonderful outfits, but none of them made it home with me though!

Porte de Vanves, Paris

Porte de Vanves, Paris

Porte de Vanves, Paris

Porte de Vanves, Paris

Porte de Vanves, Paris

Porte de Vanves, Paris

Porte de Vanves, Paris

Porte de Vanves, Paris

For more posts about our travels, just click here. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Lucy

Blink Travels: ‘Merci’ for Colour Inspiration

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

So, as we mentioned in yesterday’s post, the colour statement in ‘Merci’ was just gorgeous. There own label offer consisted of stunningly simple, ultra soft Indian cotton and slubby, easy jersey pieces all in a beautiful tonal palette of red, pink and coral tones. There were flashes of neutral and khaki too, but the overall impression was of this gorgeous, almost sunset feeling collection of colours. The silhouettes were all really simplistic, perfect for their theme of ‘Urban Picnic’ which seemed all about indulging in a relaxed beach holiday vibe right in the middle of the city, from cotton poplin triangle bikinis, ruched cotton mini dresses, throw on T shirt dresses and easy fit kaftan style tunics.

We hope that these shots inspire you as much as the face to face experience inspired us. We have tried our best to express the colours through pantones, but nothing quite compares to the varied base cloths, textures and finishes of the originals.

Merci, Paris

Merci, Paris

Merci, Paris

The pantone colours that we have selected to express ‘Merci’s offer are pearl (pantone 17-2601 TPX), freckle (17-1424 TPX), rouge (19-1557 TPX), burgundy (19-1726 TPX), tomato (17-1558 TPX) and apricot (13-1013 TPX).

For more inspirational colour palettes, just click here. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Lucy

Blink Travels: Bonjour ‘Merci’

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Another billet doux to ‘Merci’ for being the inspirational centre of the retail universe as far as we are concerned. If you haven’t read or heard about ‘Merci’ before, do have a look at our previous posts. Every time we pop in, its a brand new experience as the themes, layout, focal points and product all switch- but overall the mood is still the same- beautifully designed yet functional products for you and your environment, with a touch of humour and lots of personality.

This time, the theme of the store was ‘Urban Picnic’ and this translated as lots of gorgeous tonally dyed, soft Indian cotton and slubby jersey own label womenswear, from bikini’s through to slouchy T-shirt dresses, mixed with easy accessories so that you could be perfectly outfitted when using all of the innovative outdoor cooking and eating products on sale, creating a beachy, holiday vibe right in your own garden or your Parisian townhouse balcony if needed. More of that in our post tomorrow on the gorgeous colours we saw on this visit…

The charitable ethos of this store draws you in, but the product and the creative vibe is what keep you coming back, and back, for more. Every corner you turn is filled with the most beautiful things. We hope these pictures help to share our experience with you.

Merci, Paris

Merci, Paris

Merci, Paris

Merci, Paris

Merci, Paris

Isabel Marant at Merci, Paris

The Cinema Cafe, Merci, Paris

For more posts about our inspirational travels, just click here. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Lucy

Blink Discoveries: Virginie Castaway, Paris

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Its been about six months since I was last exploring Paris. It really felt a little too long and I was so excited to be going back. The room at my favourite hotel, Mama Shelter, was booked and I scored a deal on Eurostar. All was looking sweet until I went to get more euros and realized the exchange rate would make Paris as expensive as Tokyo. Where did I leave my thermos flask and Tupperware lunch box…?

The good thing about my extended absence was that I really noticed a change when wondering around my favourite retail haunts. There is a buoyancy, an energy and a wonderful creativity that is lacking a little in other fashion centres. As we dipped in and out of the intertwining streets of Le Marais, we came across a new store on rue Debelleyme, with an intriguing new name- Virginie Castaway.

Virginie’s Paris based business was born in 2006, after she spent some time in Australia soaking up the sunshine and beach-life. The collection is really lovely, sitting alongside Etoile Isabel Marant and Athe Vanessa Bruno, with a dash of Maje perhaps, in both an aesthetic and price sense. There’s a sporty, sexy feel with a touch of vintage detailing- something that innovative French brands are delivering brilliantly right now. It seems to be the new Parisian handwriting, and its really pretty irrésistible!

We found this video of the AW’10 collection online, and also swiped some shots from the Virginie Castaway website- which does have an online shop. There’s a cool Virginie Castaway blog for keeping up to date with brand news too.

in the Marais store

Virginie Castaway SS'11 collection, from the Virginie Castaway website

Virginie Castaway SS'11 collection, from the Virginie Castaway website

Enjoy! Lucy

Accessories: The Stud

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Can you believe that we went all the way to Paris and what we fell in love with the most was these incredible brogues from our very own Church’s! These have well and truly distracted us from those Prada wedge brogues and replaced them in our affections from the moment that we set eyes on these babies. This is genius footwear, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, why hasn’t someone combined these two hot trends sooner? Now we’ve seen it it makes utter aesthetic sense.

It’s wonderful to see such a historic and traditional brand stepping (excuse the pun) well outside of its usual remit. Now, where can I find a pair in size 5….?

Church's studded white brogues

Church's studded white brogues

Enjoy! Lucy

Streetstyle: ‘In Fashion’ Focus, part 3

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

And here’s the final part of our East London streetstyle bonanza for this week. Some diverse looks and some diverse takes on the question “What does ‘in fashion’ mean to you?”. Feel free to share with us your thoughts on what ‘in fashion’ means to you too. Looking forward to hearing from you…

Brooke, Brick Lane "I go to charity shops in search of unique pieces of clothing. Of course I'm influnced by what's new but to be honest I think my clothes reflect who I am and what my mood is."

Verity, Broadway Market "I've just finished work. I don't take being 'in fashion' that seriously. I always wear black and then I have some fun on top of that."

Sophie (right) and Sam (left), Columbia Road Sophie: "I don't like to follow trends and fast changing fashion. I'm not a Topshop girl. I think the important thing about clothes is that they should reflect the person wearing them." Sam: "I think I feel the same way. Mix and match!"

For more of our inspirational streetstyle coverage, just click here. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Lucy


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