Monday, 31 October 2011

Photoshoot Past

In July 2011 I finished my job at Club 21 working in the buying office, and I was pretty bummed out. Beyond bummed out, really. But I saw it as my chance to really chase something full time I've been passionate about since forever. It was pretty nerve-wracking completely changing from retail to a more creative role. And with every subsequent buying job I declined it felt like I was making the wrong decision, feeling financial stability slipping away from me. 

Since then, it's been a whirlwind three months and I am finally really starting to feel the results of my work - which makes me relieved and excited about the next career chapter. 

It got me thinking about the past year and how supportive my friends have been to get me a firm footing. I've got friends like you wouldn't believe - they all have scientific backgrounds, and no experience in putting together photo shoots but they gave me their best skills and together we made what fully is my portfolio, and something I would consider one of my greatest achievements. Photo shoots don't just take one day. They are weeks of prep putting together ideas, sourcing equipment, people, clothes, props, make up....everything! Then its non stop starting at the crack of dawn and lasting the whole day; Then there's the post-processing and editing; And my friends did it for me for free and even outright paid the hiring costs for certain things. They are the best people you could hope for in life and despite struggling to keep the roof over my head, I'm the happiest I've been for yonks.

Here's a round up of one of those days I'm talking about, and simply a great memory.

The studio pre-shoot (and pre-stress): also known as my living room with my bed sheet nailed to the wall. And who said fashion was glamorous?!

Hair and Make-up room - my kitchen. Not so bad: endless cups of tea and lots of natural lighting.
Make up artist Working her magic

The photographer - showing you how it should be done :)

Demonstrating the angular poses I was looking for from this shoot.
Photographer and stylist: Blue steel and Sex Face
Next outfit - final touches

Next outfit: Final touches with the wonderful make-up artist who is also very beautiful. Beauty shots to come later!

Here are a couple of pictures from the shoot :)

This is the best thing about working with your closest friends :)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Burberry Vs. Topshop

Everyone should own a trench, and if you can afford it a Burberry trench is the way forward. This updated number with leather sleeves modelled so well on Emma Watson graced the SS11 catwalks and clearly the high street buyers picked up on this innovation immediately as it is all over their AW11 high street collections. Topshop has done a great version and very affordable - recently even more affordable - I picked this up for £45! The Topshop sleeves aren't leather which normally I wouldn't go for but since it was only the arms I wasn't afraid of excess sweating. Usually, with synthetic materials which imitate leather aren't so breathable and just make you too hot!

Today I'm wearing my new trench with other amazing mid season deals I've picked up recently: an H&M red silky dress for just £10, and a long grey cardigan also H&M for £7! Mental....

 And of course my best friends - Danny Sullivan might just be my fashion soulmate.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


On my final day of interning of Gok's Clothes Roadshow I was fortunate enough to meet Alicja Jasnikowska who had filled in last minute while we were filming the haberdashery section of the show. I was instantly charmed by her genuineness, her down to earth energy and of course her wisdom of the industry.

Since then I've been really lucky to work with her on two other projects where she has taken so much time to teach and share everything she knows! It's been such a positive experience that she has inspired a blog post :)

Alicja is a freelance fashion stylist and writer, she is in her early thirties and completed her Fashion Design degree at Manchester Met Uni in 2001. It seems she was bitten by the styling bug from her very first year at uni and despite concerned tutor's warnings of the difficulties of the industry she was pretty determined to go ahead and fulfil her passions.

Following a plethora of work placements including the fashion desks at The Guardian, The Times, Sunday Times Style & WGSN, Alicja's first full time job was Fashion Assistant on the launch of Star magazine in 2004. Since then she has contributed to various publications - She, The Sun’s Buzz magazine & Ahlan in Dubai (where she lived & worked for 18 months).  Her experience is also in TV shows where you have undoubtedly seen her work in Gok’s Fashion Fix, Hotter Than My Daughter, Pop Goes the Band and due out later this year, Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew.

Here's what she said in a quick interview:

Three words to describe your style?
Stylish & classic with a tough edge

This season's key accessories?
Snakeskin is everywhere – on bags, shoes, bracelets, clothing – so definitely worth investing in.  Otherwise bright jewel-toned bags or shoes in clean simple shapes reference the modern minimalist trend – heavily influenced by the clashing colours of Jil Sanders collection from last season.  Or get in early & invest in a ladylike granny bag (or better still borrow one from your nan).  These were spotted at Miu Miu & Gucci this season & this trend is going to be huge for next spring/summer 2012 too.

What is your career highlight so far?
There have been several (& hopefully many more to come).  I dressed Danny Dyer a few years back, who I’ve had a secret crush on since I saw him in Human Traffic.  Another top moment was interviewing Ewan McGregor, whilst doing a placement at Sunday Times Style  & working on three series of Gok’s Fashion Fix was such an amazing experience – it’s amazing how popular this show is and makes you truly appreciate the quality of British high street fashion.

Who/what influences your work the most?
Street style is my biggest influence (& something that I really missed whilst living in Dubai). I love checking out how people put things together.  London is fantastic for this – people really do mix things up and never look too polished.  Obviously the catwalks are also a huge influence.  I always check out what Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Prada & Burberry Prorsum are showing as these designers heavily influence the high street & usually dictate the season’s key trends.  I am also loving what Raf Simons is doing for Jil Sander & personally adore brands such as 3.1 Phillips Lim, Alexander Wang & Phoebe Philo for Celine - if I had the money I would live in these brands.  I also like to reference art & architecture for inspiration for shoots.

Favourite thing about being a Freelance Fashion Stylist and Writer?
I love the variety of freelancing - no day is ever the same!  One day I could be working on a TV show such as Gok’s Fashion Fix trying to track down the perfect stiletto courts; the next a fashion shoot dressing a 5ft10 model in braces and a top hat (& clothes too of course).  Also I truly do adore fashion & love the satisfaction of tracking down a bargain or predicting a trend before it breaks.  And the fact that my job is so physical & active, so I don’t have to waste time in the gym, is an added bonus.

Some of Alicja's work:

Monday, 24 October 2011

I Knew that Doll Was Fierce

I played with Barbies until I was 17 and when I do make the odd trip back up to Northern air, my old friends greet me with sparkly blue eyes and shiny blond rayon hair - expressions never changing and their dresses increasingly showing their age. I had a VW pink beetle and the trunk was filled with shoes and the whole lot would be carted off to a friends to be looked after when I went on holiday. 

Barbie has since changed quite radically since my childhood-teenage days (most notably her smaller chest size, not the pink hair!). This Barbie below is a limited edition ($50) has had a makeover by the Italian-based, Japanese-inspired brand Tokidoki. Barbie wears all items available to buy (human-size) from the brand as well as sporting some manga-style tattoos and a cactus coated pet called Bastardino which is probably not going down too well with parents.... But who cares she is so cool. The oversized tee and leopard print leggings and sparkly heels are very on trend with that grungy style being big this season - and her accessories are banging.

After reading about the new and improved Barbie I decided to take a visit to the website which is amazing! There's so many fashion related activities and Barbie's clothes you can style, although largely pink and shiny, have become very current in styles and I'm sure I've seen the same cut out floor length number on Cheryl Cole...

My favourite Barbie online activities are the photoshoots you can create:

First you start by choosing your model she can be 'cutie', 'arty' ,'glam', 'sporty'...etc
Then, just like in real life (!) you design your set: backgrounds, lighting, floor, accessories the works!

Then you can arrange you model in all kinds of positions using the pink circles to create the pose you love!

After 4 pictures (you can choose close-ups, landscapes, portraits etc) the images are arranged into a magazine spread. Absolutely tons of fun! I also like being called a fab fashion photographer :)

My other favourite feature is the online shopping - for just $39.99 you can create your own personalized Barbie!  

It's hard to see but the middle dress is very Moschino with a black shiny waist belt with big silver letters spelling 'BARBIE'.... LOVE IT

Get online today and design some stuff!!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Behind the Scenes with Gok

Last week I assisted on the photoshoot for the new look book for Gok's range for TU at Sainsbury's!!

It was all very exciting, the new collection is gorgeous at such bargainous prices! There's some sparkly dresses and mohair wrap cardigans, wide leg on-trend trousers and a gorgeous tux all fitting neatly into a beautiful capsule collection in navy, pink and some flouncy prints to keep this AW alive.
Yes that is Gok there! giving his input on what he thinks of the shots so far....

The dress on the model above is a navy and black sequin cling dress worn with some black heels for this season's Christmas parties.

Another of my favourites above - a sparkly gold muscle top. Its so gorgeous its long as opposed to cropped so it makes your body look long. Also comes in a raspberry pink :)

 Sorry to have no better photos - these sneaky ones came from my phone between changings. Most of my day was spent steaming, organising accessories and clothes for the model. And I didn't want Gok to think I'm a loser - we still have that Asian bond thing going on!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

There's a Snake in my Boot

The simple truth and depression of  the fashion industry for many of us is that there just isn't much money in it unless you're a super duper star who has worked with some super duper names. And while we spend all our time around gorgeous clothes, trimmings, accessories and luxurious names the thought of wearing them myself is hopeless. On the positive side it I've developed an incredible sixth sense to find amazing things at afforable price. If there's a sample sale, a cool online boutique or even car-boot sale selling amazing vintage I'll find it. My latest addition to my budget wardrobe are these beautiful things. Very Jeffrey Campbell esque but instead of paying £135 (which I wouldn't have even blinked at pre-poverty days) my boots cost a tiny £26. Amazing eh?
They are simply the comfiest heeled boots I've owned in yonks and they'll carry me through this winter fine.
If you want to know where I got them from, please like my facebook page and everything featured on my blog will be credited there!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Why do You Build Me Up?

Yesterday we did some test shots to build up my portfolio as it needed Bulking. The theme was bows and we had four looks prepared.

The first look was a bubblegum pink Luella dress with a customized Luella Bow added to the base of the back of the dress; the second look was a Giorgio Armani black skirt, vintage bra and a giant make-shift bow made from organza (pictured below); look 3 was a silky cream halter with a bow on the front plus a bow brooch (pictured below); and the final look was a deep plunge black velvet vintage dress with a waist bow.

Here are some behind the scenes shots of the day. My portfolio will be uploaded online at a later date - will keep you posted! If you're interested in a sneak peek at the final shots, check out my Facebook page.

Hair and make-up started first on Saturday morning:

On location in Notting Hill

 Bit of air guitar in some studded Louboutins. HOT

 Our Photographer, P shooting the Armani skirt and vintage bra look.
 Glad the model found it funny that the old man with the hungry eyes was having a very good time spectating...