Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Mooks, Blogebrities and Augmented Reality

Today I went to the Print vs Online panel discussion over at Sketchbook Magazine's pop-up shop which was very insightful with lots of thought-provoking points mentioned. The panel was made up of blogger Susie Bubble, graphic designer and writer Adrian Shaughnessy, trend director at Style Sight Sandrine Maggiani and Becky Smith, previously of Lula Magazine and now of Twin Magazine.

The moderator, art writer Clare Acheson, opened the discussion by inviting the panel members to talk about what they do and if they were more print or online based. Adrian believes in a hybrid future between print and online. He says there will always be a place for books and it's just a matter of finding a way to have best of both worlds. Becky talks about how Twin, unlike Lula, is more a book than a magazine (hence the term Mook) which is completely online with daily updates of the blog and video content. Susie dabbles in both worlds but is primarily online and Sandrine embraces both worlds.

The panel then go on to discuss the differences between print and online and the pros and cons of each medium. One of the points that were raised was the ease of the web in its navigation and in setting up a blog or website, giving individuals a platform to express their opinions without the costs and other setbacks with setting up a printed publication. However with the rise of bloggers, especially fashion bloggers, there's almost a blogger overload (as Becky called it) with bloggers getting younger and younger all trying to become blogger celebrities - blogebrities, like the Bryan Boys and Tavis, and they all want to rise up the ranks and get to seat front row at fashion shows. Can we deal with these many bloggers, should there be regulations for bloggers? Will it be possible to regulate, afterall isn't the beauty of having a blog the fact that you have freedom of speech? Susie and Becky both think blogging is simply another established way of media, especially with fashion. However is it just a thing of the moment, or will it die down eventually?

Going back to print, everyone generally agrees that it's something that shouldn't necessarily die out. It's always nice to have something tangible to flick through and also to be able to disconnect from technology, not having to always read things off a screen. Adrian does make a point that the next generation growing up might not care so much about books, especially if they have gadgets like the Apple iPad. He also says that magazines will probably be fine and newspapers are more likely to become extinct, if you can read all the news on your mobile applications or on BBC online why would you buy a newspaper? Susie agrees and points out that editorial and long features are the positive points about magazines and to that effect bite-size mumbo jumbos and revamped press releases will eventually become more redundant.

A question was asked by the moderator: how do you make a living as a blogger (because with online you expect the content to be free) and also as a magazine like Twin that has very little advertising? Becky and Susie agreed that it was hard, especially with the recession but it's all about being creative. Adrian tells about how people would often sell books or DVDs after talks or events to generate some income and most often have a day job to fund their blogging - a strange hybrid economy he calls it. Sandrine brings up the importance of collaborations and gives the example of Garance Dore collaborating with Vogue Online and stresses the point of being multi-talented. Susie then brings up the point that of course bloggers like Garance and Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist are brands in their own rights and of course this won't apply to every blogger.

The discussion continues on the internet and advances like video and 3D and now Augmented Reality (AR) and and how it will change the way we communicate and media as a whole (AR was first used by Esquire Magazine and recently by Grazia Magazine). Sandrine suggests it as a way for publishers to offer exclusive content only to subscribers but Susie comments that she wonders if locking content will actually hinder people as opposed to letting them access it for free.

 Mini Cupcakes from Love Bakery after the panel discussion

The discussion brought up a lot of other points but it would definitely make too long a post. I did go away from it with two big questions in mind:

1. Just WHERE will technology take us? With 3D printed shoes and AR bar codes in magazines meaning you can actually BE in the photo shoot what else can we expect? Is anyone else even slightly worried about where we could be in say 5 years?
2. Bloggers and blogging, how long will the fascination last for? Especially with some blogs containing less text and more pictures maybe we'll just start having photo/video blogs and no one will even care about words anymore.

The Writings on the Wall

Last night saw the launch of Sketchbook Magazine's pop-up shop in Carnaby as well as the release of the second issue. The ground floor of the shop had pictures and illustrations on the wall from the second issue; 5 Fabulously Colourful women in Fashion by Bryony Lloyd and Susan Keys, Susie Bubble by June Champoomidole, Lloyd Peek's Charlie Le Mindu and one of my favourites, Jack Teagle's Fashion Tips by Danielle Scutt

On descending the stairs little illustrated portraits of the team were hanging on the wall (including one of yours truly!) done by Laura Callaghan. The rooms downstairs all have a different theme, from Jack Teagle's 'office' to the dreamy room created by Annie Driscoll and the viewing den (as I've now named it) with mini-films courtesy of Sketchbook TV and illustrations by Hamza Isa. There were cupcakes (I missed out on unfortunately because I was late), wine and good music by ENL (Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux)

It was an amazing evening and one which I truly enjoyed. I think it was even more special for me because I was the Content Manager for the second issue and so was involved in commissioning most of the illustrations and choosing who we wanted to do what and then receiving the final drawings. As much as I'd seen the illustrations on a laptop screen and then on the flat plan, it was so different seeing them put up on the wall like that. It really was like seeing them for the first time. Also I hadn't seen the girls in a while so it was nice to catch up with everyone as well as putting faces to emails (June will know exactly what I mean).

If you missed it, not to worry, they still have more events up their sleeves. Besides the lectures and discussion sessions there are also two more Live Music sessions on Easter Sunday and the closing party but you better RSVP. Especially after the success of last night I'm sure spaces are even more limited now.



Love the guitarist's half-black half-white trousers

Some of the Sketchbook Girls. From L-R: Siobhan, Rachel, Beth, Sufiyeh, Wafa and I

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Sketchbook Magazine sets up Shop

My very own Sketchbook Magazine (well, not my Sketchbook Magazine but you know *smiles proudly*) launches its Pop-up Shop in Carnaby this evening. For the next three weeks it will be the place to be as they have scheduled workshops, lectures and discussions including guest speakers Maria Francesca Pepe, Lee Lapthorne, Twin Magazine's Becky Smith, Amelia Gregory and cover girl Susie Bubble. I'll be attending the launch party tonight and some of the talks over the weeks so check back here for updates and lots and lots of pictures. They've also got the Sketchbook illustrators to customise the walls so I can't wait to see those too.

Pictures are from the Sketchbook Blog. For the full schedule of events visit the blog.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Waiting for number 48

I bought a new pair of shoes this weekend and so of course when I got home I spent a while parading around in them (don’t pretend you don’t do it too). Whilst doing so this scene popped into my head – revolving around the shoes of course. Magical shoes? Well they are from Primarni. I’ll let you decide...

Samantha White was standing at the bus stop on Bishopgate Street waiting for a bus to London Bridge. The rain had finally subsided, which was just as well, I didn’t want my new cream shoes to get dirty already. I glanced down at them for about the hundredth time that day. “They’re some shoes; those studs could probably hurt someone”. I look up at the slightly dishevelled man who is now smiling at me. I smile back. He wasn’t half bad looking, sure I wouldn’t have picked out that colour shirt for him but I could tell his charcoal suit was from Zara so he scored some points.
“Thank you”, I answer “and yes they do double as a weapon”. “Well it is a dangerous world out there so protection is wise, even if they are in the form of shoes”. I smile and start to play with my hair. “So”, the stranger said, “What’s a girl like you doing waiting for the bus?” “What do you mean a girl like me?” I reply intrigued. “Well you know, you seem like the kind that would have a car, chauffeur driven even”. “Well maybe it’s the driver’s day off”. “Nah, you’d surely have a back up driver, surely”. I laugh at the thought; “I do use the bus. In fact I’ve had some of the funniest journeys on buses” “If you say so Princess”. I giggle at ‘Princess’ and run my fingers through my brown locks.
“You do that a lot don’t you? Play with your hair I mean. You don’t have to keep faffing with it, looks pretty good from where I’m standing”. I blush, “Thanks. Sorry, apparently I do it sometimes when I’m flirting” I peek at him from under my eyelashes. “So how would one know if you were definitely flirting?” I pause and then stretch out my right hand; “I would say ‘hi, my name is Samantha and I think you’re pretty cute’“. He takes my hand in a firm grip, “Just pretty cute?” he smiles. Jesus, he had the cutest dimples. “Uhm, I think a more appropriate response would have been to at least tell me your name, don’t you think?” “My name is Adam and I think you’re hot!” “Haha, you’re just saying that to make me feel bad about calling just calling you ‘pretty cute’”. “Exactly”, he grinned and I get another glimpse of those dimples. “You’re funny”. “I know, right? I get it all the time. I don’t even try you know”

He’s going on and I’m thinking Oh no, not another arrogant guy. I’ve dated his type before. Thank God, saved by the bus. “This is me” I say to Adam and move towards the bus that’s just arrived. “You’re getting the 48 too? What a coincidence”. I couldn’t help but smile at his cheeky grin, coincidence my backside. Adam steps aside to let me get on the bus first.  There aren’t any seats left so I stand in an available spot. I bring out my Blackberry; I need to tweet about my handsome encounter. Adam comes and stands next to me just as the bus begins to move; I’m thrown off balance, into his arms and onto his right foot. The look on his face as he tries to play hero but also hold in his scream is so endearing I have to bite my lip to stop from laughing out loud. “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” “Fine” he manages to get out, “Are you okay?” “Yes I am. I’m so so sorry”. “Jeez I know you said those heels were a potential weapon but I was trying to help”. “I know and I said sorry. Stop being such a baby”. “I should step on you and see how you like it” Adam retorted. “Now wouldn’t that just be childish?” “Perhaps, but I’m in too much pain to care”.
We both fall into an awkward silence, me because I didn’t know what to say and I guess he was still in pain slash sulking. As the voice on the bus announces London Bridge I glance over at Adam and wonder if I should say something.  “Well this is me. It was nice to meet you Samantha, even though you almost maimed me” Adam’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “It was nice meeting you too Adam. Actually I’m getting off at London Bridge too”. “Uh huh, you wouldn’t just be getting off because I said I was”. There it was again, I guess at least it meant he was feeling better. We both get off the bus and I’m about to walk off towards the station when Adam calls after me, “Will you have dinner with me next Thursday?”
I turn around; “You’re not really my type” I say, “No offense”. “None taken, I just figured that after saving your life the least you could do is agree to have dinner with me. Think of it as a proper way to say thank you for saving your life instead of having stomped on my foot. What do you say?” I hesitate, he is very good looking but the arrogant ones always are. Jonathan was good looking and look at how that relationship turned out. Adam is looking at me expectantly, what do I say? Damn those dimples!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Flying with your feet (firmly) on the ground

Check out these heels! Aren't they glorious?


I came across them whilst reading Susie's blog, they're part of the Finsk by Julia Lundsten A/W collection. You should read the rest of her post on Style Bubble

That is all I had to say :) I hope you all had an amazing weekend

Friday, 26 March 2010

5 reasons why I won't be wearing clogs

When the rumours of clogs coming back into fashion surfaced I was one of the first to scoff. Clogs? Yeah right. No one's going to want to wear clogs again. Surely not. Even when the March issue of the British Vogue came out featuring Alexa Chung wearing the Chanel clogs I was still desperately trying to resist.
I have to admit that my resistance has been weakening more and more ever since. But just when I thought I was getting over my addiction slight interest in the idea of clogs Kurt Geiger changed their home page image to this:

Amazing, beautiful, graceful, long, long limbs... WEARING CLOGS!

Why Kurt Geiger? Why do this to me? *sniff* And I was doing so well you know...

But I shall still resist. I can't and won't go back on my word. I said I wouldn't wear clogs and therefore I shan't *smiles to herself as she makes her mind up* However, I can't stop the rest of you lovely ladies buying clogs. I will say that if I were to indulge my... let's call it interest and purchase a pair (or 3) these would be my top 5 purchases:

(again, this situation is purely hypothetical)

So there you have it, my would-be purchases if I gave in to my 'interest'. Basically I would buy the shoes right off their front page. What do you think, will you be 'clogging' this summer?

3D Printed Shoes

Now when I first read this article a part of me thought "come on seriously, everything can't be 3D" but I was also very intrigued because shoes were involved. Sarah Barnes' post on Fashion156 talks about Melonia, the world's first pair of wearable printed shoes and the science behind how it works; a very interesting read. I am yet to watch the YouTube video and therefore a bit sceptical still but the rate at which technology is growing I wouldn't be too surprised.

Check out the article, what do you think? Just how close are we getting to year 3000 in 2010? If it were true however I would immediately print out these uber cute Emilio Pucci printed shoes - they're just crazy enough for me to want a pair.

Melonia is a creation of two students, Naim Josefi and Souzan Youssouf and their shoes made their debut during Stockholm Fashion Week.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Fashion Interviews for Dia Boutique

I'm on my way out so this is a mini post - micro even, but I just got sent links to these so I wanted to share them with you. I interviewed two ladies: Serra Turker and Zena Baroudi for Dia Boutique (the Middle Eastern equivalent of Net-a-porter) and they are now live on the website.

Click here to read my interview with jewellery designer Zena Baroudi and here for 5 minutes with Serra Turker (who I have donned the Clutch lady)

Come back and leave me comments please, they'd be much appreciated.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Mr Louboutin goes to Broadway

Christian, dancing? No, you didn't read wrong. The amazing shoemaker Mr Louboutin puts on a pair of his own jazz shoes and danced to 'We should Kiss' by Joe Stilgoe in the exclusive film 'Dancer in a Daydream' for FASHIONAIR. The video starts of with Mr Louboutin in his studio sketching a pair of sparkly brogues and we are then transported to Broadway where the man himself swishes and sashays with two dancers also in red-soled beauties. I love the boyish side of Mr Louboutin that the film brings out, he looks like he is having a ball!

Watch 'The Making Of ...' video here and as the video premièred today you can now head over to Fashionair to watch the full video.

Still images are courtesy of FASHIONAIR

Shop Louboutin at the official website and on Net-a-porter

A Peek inside the Designer's Studio: Christine Mhando of ChiChia London

Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria I've always had a special place in my heart for all things African; the weather, the food, the colours and the beautiful fabrics (some of the stuff you don't see on TV - it's not all corruption and poverty). As a designer myself with Renaissance of our Roots I love to see other designers that are also using African fabrics - there will come a time when African print won't just be a trend but be norm, you heard it here first!

I first mentioned ChiChia London during fashion week; I saw the collection at the Untold Fashion show on Day 4 and got to chat with the designer of the brand, Christine Mhando. See how we got on after the jump:

MHIINYC: Tell us about growing up in London? Do you go back to your hometown in Tanzania often?   
Christine Mhando: My family moved to London when I was 10 (my dad got a job working for the BBC World Service) so I went to High school and had my teen years here in London. It was quite a normal one. Once we moved to London we’d go back to Tanzania at least every 2 or 3 years but in recent years I’ve been going back 2 or 3 times a year. Love it!! 

MHIINYC: How did you get interested in fashion? 
CM: From when I was very young I was always fascinated when I saw really well dressed women. My mum always made/makes an effort with her appearance so I guess I was influenced by her. My aunt (mum’s younger sister) used to make clothes and I’d watch her turn a piece of fabric into a dress. I thought ‘Wow, it’s like magic!’ So I started making clothes for my dolls.

MHIINYC: What was it like studying at London College of Fashion and then later Kent University?
CM: I went to study at London College of Fashion from when I left high school at 16 and that’s where I learned to sew and pattern cut. LCF was where I learned the construction side of fashion but as a teenager going to school in the heart of London can get a little bit distracting so I decided to complete the last 2 years of my degree at Kent institute of Art and Design (now known as Kent University) and that’s where I really found my “creative” feet, the course leaders were really good at encouraging us to accentuate our strong points.
 Khanga maxi dress from 'Mwangaza'. I love that it has pockets
MHIINYC: What inspires you when you are designing your collections?
CM: I’m inspired by many different aspects but I would say first and foremost, the fabrics and prints. 

MHIINYC: Walk us through the process of designing one of your collections, your last collection ‘Made in Dar’ for example
CM: With “Made in Dar”, I started with around 20 khanga and vitenge prints (not all prints eventually made the cut – no pun intended!) that I had bought during a sourcing trip in Dar Es Salaam, locked myself in a room with all the prints laid out on the floor, did a few sketches and some modelling/ draping on the stand to explore shapes and silhouettes. Every single first sample from the collection I made myself and then the rest of the production was done in Dar Es Salaam.
 Yellow lace print Khanga dress from 'Made in Dar'
MHIINYC: What do you think of the new ASOS Africa range using fabric from Kenya and Tanzania? Do they do the fabrics justice?
CM: If I had a penny for every time I’ve been asked about ASOS Africa in the past 3 months, I could have saved up enough to fly to Africa and back [laughs].The African print trend is at its biggest ever so it makes sense for large companies such as ASOS to make this accessible to their customers. I’ve only just seen the collection and think it looks great, I love the jacket but can’t buy it of course for obvious reasons... A friend of mine bought it though then asked me if it was disloyal of her... I may just borrow it from her [laughs] 
MHIINYC: Do you look up to any designers?
CM: Lots of great designers are bringing out fantastic collections season by season. I love the ones that always keep it new and you can never guess what they’re going to do– too many to mention .Oh yeah one... Have you seen Alexander McQueen’s Winter 2010 collection? Phenomenal!

MHIINYC: Do you have a moodboard where you sketch ideas?
CM: Ohh how I wish I had time for moodboards (I have them in my head). I do have a sketch book with lots of messy doodles of things that are supposed to look like clothes though
 Print button up tunic with bead detail from 'Succulent'
MHIINYC: If you weren’t designing clothes what else would you be doing?
CM: I’ve always wanted to learn to play the drums, maybe I can join a band... more realistically I’d probably be a stylist or something

MHIINYC: Do you see yourself doing ChiChia for Men in the future?
CM: Not in the near future but who knows. I would do a childrenswear range first though, far more fun and a lot cuter

MHIINYC: What plans do you have for the future? 
CM: I would love for ChiChia to eventually become a worldwide recognised brand with stores and concessions all over the globe

MHIINYC: Do you have any advice for upcoming designers?
CM: Always stay true to yourself!!
 Frill sleeve dress with beading detail and print skirt from 'Understated Regal'
Quickfire questions: 

Describe your personal style

What are your five must-have wardrobe pieces?
Right now: Jeans, animal print, leather separates, dresses, dresses, dresses!!! (actually Christine that’s technically six but it’s ok because I HEART dresses too)

Do you spend more money on shoes or bags?
Oh dear... probably shoes these days

Would you ever wear underwear as outerwear?
Depends. Not JUST underwear though, no

Name something you do when you’re alone that you wouldn’t do in front of others
Google myself (*Blushes*) (I do too, I even have Google Alert setup – it’s ok we’re the cool ones)
This printed summer Jacket from 'Mwangaza' is the latest addition to my lust list

ChiChia London is available to buy at The Look Boutique, Unique Boutique and The Laden Showroom. Check out their website and Facebook page and they also tweet @ChiChiaLondon.

It's actually Christine's birthday today, have a fabulous day today from My Heart is in New York

Monday, 22 March 2010

It's all about the shoes

Another Monday means another post on Style Cartel. I blogged about my favourite topic - shoes! Glorious, amazing, beautiful, delicious shoes. Expensive shoes yes, but beautiful all the same. The shoes are the latest addition to my lust-list and are apt for this Spring to toughen up your pretty/floral outfits whilst still maintaining a soft feminine look.

You can see the whole post on Style Cartel but I've posted pictures and prices of the shoes here:

Jeffrey Campbell - Clinic ($180 from Sole Struck)

Jeffrey Campbell - Mary Roks ($125 from Sole Struck)

Camilla Skovgaard Ankle Cuff sandals (£369 from Intermix Online)

Yerke sandals for £80 at Aldo

Elizabeth and James suede cutout slingback courts; £253 at Intermix Online)

Brian Atwood Temptress studded open-toe boots; a hefty £809 also from Intermix Online

What's on your lust-lists for Spring, or in general? Leave a comment and let me know