You might remember that I held a giveaway a while ago, received over 50 questions and have been trying to answer them ever since! I think I underestimated how hard it would be to pick a winner and what exact criteria I would use. It’s really hard to explain, but I had to pick the question I instantly connected with (and that even inspired a blog post). There is so much inspiration all over the Internet, but how can you not get overwhelmed by it and make it work for you? Behold, the winning question and answer…
I think my need to try new things and experiment inspires me. Even though the clothes I like might change, I always like to try and take risks and step out of my comfort zone. Some great examples are Alexa Chung, Chloe Sevigny and Susie Bubble, they don’t always play it safe and go with what is expected of them. I hope to carry this theme throughout my whole life.
I’m not totally sure if I ever suppressed my fashion sense, I guess when I was younger and I was still on pocket money, there wasn’t really a Primark where I could buy a new outfit on a whim. When I went through the obligatory ‘grunge/skater’ phase (though I never actually skated) I guess that was a way of expressing that I wanted to seen as different and alternative and have something to stand up for and defend. I take any feelings of self consciousness as a learning experience, and try and wear things differently the next time.
Jessica asked: If you were to go to a desert Island what three fashion items would you take with you?
I’d definitely take this Asos spot bikini that would miraculously appear in my size. I’d also take my knitting needles so I’m forced to finally finish my cardigan and a magazine like Self Service to work my way through.
Voni asked: How would you define ‘vintage’ clothing? Does it have to be from a particular era etc to be considered vintage? Have high street moguls sort of re-branded old clothes as ‘vintage’ and therefore cashed in on the recent cultural phenomenon of recycling, eco-fashion, and second-hand clothing made ‘trendy’ by the likes of bloggers, celebrities and looking to street style over the catwalk?
I guess that I am probably one of the culprits that assumes anything 90’s backward is ‘vintage’. To me vintage is a term I’ve attached to desirable items such as floral prom dresses, crazy fairisle jumpers and brown leather bags. It’s a feeling of nostalgia, looking back at decades gone by and making it relevant for this new era. I guess brands are selling that sort of feeling to people of something that is authentic, one-off and not mass produced. If you wear it you are seen as alternative, thoughtful and as a true individual. Whether the origin of such clothes can stand up to the textbook definition is a mystery, as I often see items I recognise as 5-year-old H&M sold as ‘vintage’ on various websites. I guess stores have realised people want to buy into this trend and are doing whatever they can to promote such items, as they evoke such feelings in people. This post is also a good read.
Laura asked: From a fashion perspective, if you could time travel backwards and write a blog during any period of history, (computers were SO invented) what era would it be and why?
The 1960s were an intense period of fashion and social change so it would have been interesting to blog then. I probably would’ve been a massive Biba and Mary Quant fan and have some epic hauls of paper dresses and miniskirts. I would never throw anything away so that my future (grand)children could blog about them too!
Melani asked: If you could choose a designer with whom you could work, who would you pick and why?
Probably Missoni. After seeing their exhibition I became fascinated with all the machines, colours and pattern calculations. Proenza Schouler and Rag and Bone would be my second and third choices.
Southerners from the North asked: What inspired you to start blogging and what is your favourite fashion store?
I can never seem to answer a question with one answer, so my favourite fashion stores would have to be Topshop and Asos. This is where I seem to buy most of my items due to various forms of discount and I just know I’m going to find trends represented there in some way. The answer to the blogging question will be further down.
Maria asked: If you could only wear one colour (excluding black and white) for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? This is head to toe, from hats to socks 😉
I might be boring and say grey! I love how different shades look together or separately and the contrast of lighter shades against my skin. A a lot of my jewellery is metallic and could technically be classed as grey, so would jazz up the look a bit.
Danielle asked: During your life have you ever felt oppressed or unable to express yourself through your individual fashion sense and was there a specific moment or gradual time scale where your fashion really started to take form and your fashonista came out? Why?
I only really felt ‘oppressed’ when I had to wear a boring uniform for my first retail job (in Primark of all places) but tried to get my point across by wearing my cowboy boots under my black trousers! I think my style started to evolve around the age of 16, where I swiftly left the ‘grunge phase’ and the friends that went along with it, and realised that skirts were not the enemy. Even though I shudder when I look back at photos, it was an important time for me as I started to play around with colours and embrace my figure more. Starting my Art Foundation opened up a whole new creative world of dress and I gradually started wearing jeans less and slightly more vintage. When I started working at Topshop all hell broke loose and I was trying every trend I could get my hand on! I’m only truly happy with the style that has emerged in the past year or so, though each of these phases of dress were worthwhile and I don’t regret anything.
Sara-Louise asked: British Fashion is incredibly diverse. And i think you are an amazing example of this – who are your British inspirations from past/present. They don’t even have to be famous – just whose style do you admire?
I think I’ve always admired people who don’t play by the rules and end up creating something new. My style icons are a bit of a mixed bag, it could be someone you see on the bus or my Mum in a photo from way back when in a silver dress she made herself. At the moment I’m most likely to look to blogs for style inspiration, but I love the fact that Helena Bonham Carter just does her own thing, gets slated on the red carpet but carries on expressing herself regardless. I think certain celebrities can have a great style concept, even though I wouldn’t wear their looks myself.
S.Smith asked: What fashion rules are made to be broken? What are your most unexpected items that work?
I think mixing patterns and unexpected colours is always fun. I love mixing my skirt from the Angels Sale (covered in fruits and all kinds of randomness) with pretty much every colour, texture and shape I can get my hands on. Sometimes it works well and sometimes not so much, but I think it’s enough to have the confidence that somehow makes these items work.
Lucy asked: What is your favourite trend/ fashion statement and how would you make it achievable for anyone and everyone?
Unexpected tights! I have so many different colours and patterns and I would encourage people to dip their toe into the trend by starting off with a polka dot or vertical stripe pattern. Colourwise, some great variations from the usual black are burgundy, dark green and navy. Layer sheer styles over solid colour and wear them with everything, leather shorts, floral dresses and oversized silk shirts.
Bee asked: If you had to pick one outfit to wear FOREVER! What would it be?
Aaaaargh very tricky, it would have to include multiple layers of some sort! I think I’d have to go for my Barbour-esque jacket, cream cardigan, mustard silk shirt, leather shorts, grey tights and Doc Martens.
Rachel asked: Where’s your favourite place for vintage shopping in London?
I think that most vintage shops have become a bit overpriced so I’m a definite charity shop fan when I’m in that sort of mood. I mentioned Trinity Hospice in the Guardian article and even though I’ve only been a few times, I’ve always managed to pick something up. I’m also a fan of my local St Christopher’s Hospice and British Red Cross shops as the prices seem to be reasonable for what the items are.
Kelly asked: Do you think we are influenced to much by what celebrities wear; just because they wear it does it mean we should?
I think there is a certain type of person that is influenced by what celebrities wear and wants to align themselves with those they perceive as successful. I think it’s important to have a balance and to seek out things that you truly love, rather than to create an illusion of being a certain way through the latest designer handbag.
Amanda asked: Do you consider ethics of something before you suggest it? For example wearing fur or sweat shop production clothes?
I’m sorry to say that ethics don’t really factor into most purchasing decisions. It’s hard to really know how an item has been made as various bits can get sub-contracted and sent to other factories, plus companies buy items (such as knitwear) from various middlemen. Most shops will use factories of some sort and many can end up manufacturing multiple brands, so it can be really hard to regulate. I know it’s not really helping the situation by buying High Street clothing and going along with the mark ups they make but I feel somewhat powerless and priced out of the more ethically aware brands. I wish that stores would take less of a cut and pay the factories more as I believe this is what is putting the whole thing off kilter. I’m sure that even some mid-range and designer brands are not the most ethical and it’s so hard to really know the full story without seeing the factories for yourself. I try to buy a lot of vintage and to really consider a high street purchase before I buy it. With regards to fur, I’m happy with fake but wouldn’t object to a vintage number.
Iris asked: I can tell you like wearing prints. If you could only be wearing one kind of print, what would it be? For example graphic, or music inspired?
You can’t go wrong with a stripe. They can look very different depending on thickness, number of colours and placement and I would have hours of fun putting different styles together.
Morgan Bethany asked: If you could collaborate with any designer who would it be and why? What would you make?
I would probably collaborate with House of Holland and design some tights! If you didn’t know already, I’m a massive fan of patterned legwear and would love to try a few of my ideas out, maybe some random animals or types of fruit?
Ria asked: I was wondering, if you could knit something that would represent New York and London what would it be? What colours? Would it be a piece of clothing or accessory? Who would be the designer that you’d trust these designs with? And why? And which celeb would you have as the ‘face’ of each creation?
What a tricky question! Without having the time to develop a fully-fledged concept, I think I’d have to go for a simple jumper with an ‘I love New York/London’ intarsia on the chest. I think the London jumper would be grey with red writing and the New York jumper cream with black writing, but I’d probably hand it over to Elizabeth Lau to develop properly as she is great at creating quirky pieces! I would attempt to get Chloe Sevigny and Alexa Chung to wear them, but it’d be quite interesting if they each wore the ‘opposite’ city.
Rose asked: How do you find the perfect piece of knitwear? What is the way to determine a great quality of knitwear?
I always look at the yarn content, and try to buy items that contain natural fibres like wool, cotton, linen or even silk (not that I have much of the latter). If the design of the item is fantastic, I might be swayed by viscose (and even acrylic in rare cases) but the content of the item is really important to me so most things I own are cotton or wool mixes. I tend to buy a lot of vintage knitwear, so look for well made items without too many holes and a nice feel (no static please). On the high street I look for unusual stitches, quirky buttons and looser shapes. I think Uniqlo provides some great basic cardigans but it’s worth even considering all sorts of unexpected places. It’s always worth looking in the men’s department too.
I think that living independently in another country brought about a wealth of experiences; it may not seem like a different culture but there were quite a few things to get used to, even the way things were spelt! I got lost, got food poisoning and probably encountered SAD within the first week, but I didn’t let it put me off. I’m glad I survived the long working hours and didn’t get too homesick (I didn’t see my immediate family for over 6 months but Skyped a lot). The time there taught me to make the effort with people, persevere and not to just stick to your comfort zones.
If we’re talking holiday-wise, then no. I’d probably take a trip East and go back to Hong Kong, visit Thailand, Vietnam and Japan before heading to Australia. It’s a corner of the earth I haven’t really discovered yet. I’d also like to go to Morocco, Turkey and Greece, so I don’t ask for much!
Caz asked: If you could move 5 things from New York to where you live what would they be?
Crumbs – I think the U.K needs a nationwide cupcake brand and Crumbs often do themes for certain events, imagine a Royal Wedding Cupcake!
The Subway System – After paying the equivalent of £60 for a one month all zones travelcard for New York City, I’ve realised we are being ridiculously ripped off in London. The Subway also runs 24 hours which would solve a lot of my problems getting home and allow for more spontaneity.
Beacon’s Closet – I think a system where you can trade clothes for money would work well in the UK. I know that we already have nearly new agencies but they’re not really marketed (or appealing) to the younger consumer.
Metalliferous – I loved being surrounded by endless necklace making possibilities but my indecisiveness meant I didn’t bring too much chainage home with me. I would love for there to be a contemporary one stop shop for jewellery making.
Yaktori Taisho/Oh Tashio! – This is one of my favourite places to eat in NYC; no frills dining but really tasty and reasonably priced Japanese food.
Definitely! Of course there are differences to the way things are done here (random taxes added at checkout, confusing tipping system, paying for healthcare) but I think it all evens out somehow. I felt as if I could go anywhere, eat anything and do the most random things. I would definitely move back for a few years, but I think I’m a London girl at heart.
White chocolate would probably contain more calories than a roast dinner but it’d be wonderful if done well!
Becky asked: Who or what has inspired you the most? In terms of fashion or life in general?
Is it cheesy to say Oprah? She is a bit of a powerhouse with her own TV network and is probably worth about the same as a small country but it’s great how she’s broken down so many boundaries.
Ultimately, it never really crosses my mind when I’m blogging as I would never let my race hold me back from anything in life. I never let myself be seen as ‘different’ and I would never automatically assume that anything negative occurred because of it, although this could well be the case. The thing I like about blogging is that it showcases many things that the magazines choose to overlook and breaks down any pre-conceptions and stereotypes that people might have about race. We’re all individuals really and fashion blogging is largely an accepting world. You are only really categorised by what you blog about and skin colour doesn’t really come into it. I’m glad that blogs can also showcase different forms of beauty and in turn help others feeling insecure about their features. I would encourage anyone that felt under-represented in this world to start writing or at least posting about their inspirations.
I think it would have to be passing my driving test. The intense moment of relief I felt was second to none (after failing the previous three tests and spending £££s) and I think I ended up crying!
Veronika asked: If you can change for one day to some other person from present, past or future, who would it be?
Maybe Anna Wintour? It would be interesting to see how people responded to you with that much status and power. This is a really hard question and the one that took me the longest to answer; it’s the kind that you’d have an answer prepared for in your head but my brain has failed me! I would most like to swap with the people whose lives are different to mine and in another location.
Hannah asked: You’re stranded on a desert island with only your favourite Valentino scarf, a packet of wine gums, £1.30 and some buttons. What are you wearing and what will you do?
Eat the wine gums, pop the scarf on my head and arrange the buttons and coins into some sort of pattern on the sand. I am wearing my lace maxi dress over a black swimming costume.
Filipa asked: If you were to write a book, what would it be about and what would the title be?
It would probably be a continuation of the story I started writing when I was about 14, ‘Mizzy’s Diary.’ It was written in the style of ‘Angus Thongs…’ and I had each chapter planned, plus a sequel, but I never ended up finishing it. The subject matter was pretty bog standard really, about a teenage girl and her very different friends and experiences. It would be nice to revisit it someday.
Bibi asked: If you could have one piece of art, what would you choose (person it’s by too ) + your reasoning
Probably something by Jackson Pollock or Cecily Brown. I love ‘messy’ art and a strong mix of colours and any of their pieces would totally transform a blank wall.
Alison asked: If you had a boat, what would you name it and why?
I would probably name it ‘The Pam’ as I love that Friends episode!
Sassy asked: What’s the one thing in your life that changed you?
It’s hard to really pinpoint one thing that has changed me, ultimately I like to think I stay the same in essence, but somehow refine certain qualities about myself. The main things would probably be working at Topshop, going to University, starting this blog and moving to New York for 6 months. They’ve all helped contribute to the person I am today.
Fiona asked: Marry me? Seriously.
You’ll have to wait Fi, I am focusing on my career and cannot be tied down!
Lottie asked: If you were an odd pink sock in a draw… where would your other half be?
New York! Then I’d have no excuse not to return.
Lo-Lo asked: I love the Layla Graffiti topcoat, because it’s so effective and takes seconds to apply. What’s your recommendation for a high impact nail art technique or product that is a bit of a ‘cheat’?
I don’t really know of any others apart from Barry M Nail effects (which sounds similar) but I’m looking forward to seeing the new Wah Nails Models Own collection when it comes out. I have my eye on the white and purple colours. I wish they could somehow create a version that could make instant leopard print or polka dots but I don’t know if that’s even possible!