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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Outfit Post: Non-LFW Street Style


Confession: I shot this outfit a month ago and saved it to run during London Fashion Week. I love the rhythm I've gotten into work my blog, posting a weekly outfit post at the beginning of the week and wanted to continue this while I was busy at the shows. As an old-school blogger, I'm at the shows in a serious capacity, to report on the collections and everything I see rather than focusing on what I'm wearing and having a semi-annual blogger catch up. 

However, things didn't quite go to plan this season. Earlier in the week, I launched a brand I've been working on for the past 6 months and I was utterly exhausted. Not exhausted in that "I'm so glad Monday is over" way, actual exhaustion. The vision going blurry, headaches for days, insomnia kind of exhaustion. The late nights and continued lack of sleep caught up with me and I physically could not drag myself in for the shows.

Honestly, I'm disappointed in myself but sometimes, your health needs to come first. In London, we make a massive deal of being busy and overworked, wearing it like a badge of honour but there's nothing great about working yourself into the ground. Instead of running around in the cold for 12 hours a day, I spent LFW holed up in my room sleeping and it was the best decision I could have made. The impact of digital on fashion week means you don't *technically* need to be there; with live streaming and images being emailed across immediately post-show, you can be there without being there. 

What isn't captured in the live stream and images is the *excitement*. The queuing and running around, especially as a blogger aka one-person publishing team, is exhausting and dull. But once you've taken your seat in the show space, the excitement is electric. The hum of chatter, PRs rushing to get everyone seated, the booming music subtly setting the tone for the show. It all adds to the frisson of excitement that can't quite be conveyed without being there. 


The other element of fashion week that can't be faked is what's going on in the streets. Street style is as influential as the clothes going down the runway, arguably more so. It's given birth to countless photographers, influencers, books and bloggers. In the early days, before Garance Dore, Phil Oh and Tommy Ton were shooting campaigns, street style was a candid, almost voyeuristic peek into someone's sartorial world. Street style is a lot more contrived, often planned meticulously weeks in advance but it's still as fascinating to see how pieces are put together. 

This brings us full circle, to a look I shot weeks before the shows. It wasn't really even supposed to be a street style look, I just happened to be wearing the outfit as we strolled past a graffiti-filled street and it all just came together. I think that's when the best looks are pulled together, a little spontaneously rather than overthought and diligently planned until there's nearly no impulsive flair left. Let's keep a little joy in dressing. 



Denim jacket - Topshop
Mesh bodysuit - Missy Empire
Khaki trousers - Topshop
Belt - Off White
Heels - Brian Atwood

Photography by Adorn Girl

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Outfit post: Pursuing Pretty


I was never a girly girl. Growing up with one brother and two step-brothers meant that my childhood was spent climbing trees rather than having afternoon tea with my dolls. My tomboy traits continued into my teenage years; I rarely wore skirts or dresses and my jeans were practically surgically attached to me. I didn't even get into makeup til I was at uni. I remember one of my flatmates was in disbelief and took me to MAC in Selfridges during my first year to buy my first ever foundation and concealer. It was a big moment! 

Looking back, I'm thankful that my parents didn't pressure me to conform to any gender stereotypes. I was happiest covered in bruises and scrapes from my adventures and so my parents encouraged me to go on more. I still love going on adventures but I've swapped forests and woods for countries like Cambodia and Kenya. I don't think any of you would describe me as a tomboy, but my style tends to have a little bit of a tougher edge rather than being ~pretty~. I'll always pair a dress with some fierce heels or a vintage military jacket to make it a little more "me". 



The one exception is weddings. Earlier this year, a very dear friend of mine got married to her wonderful husband in a beautiful English countryside setting. I'm a stickler for a dress code so I scoured the entire internet at least thrice for the perfect dress. And my goodness, I found a beauty. Pastel colour palette, florals, ruffles for days and even a little lace thrown in for good measure. My favourite detail about this dress is the lace up back, it's just the slight hint of the "real me", beneath the facade of being pretty. Roll on wedding season next year...

Dress - Y.A.S
Heels - River Island
Bag - Chloe

Photography by Adorn Girl

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Monday, 4 September 2017

Outfit Post: Go 'head Switch The Style Up


As someone who works in the fashion industry as well as being a 'Blogging Elder', I've seen a lot of change in the way style and trends are consumed. Back when I started my blog in 2008, the industry worked pretty much as it has done for the last few decades with two seasonal shows for editors, buyers and VIP customers. Trends were dictated by fashion publications which then trickled to the high street and consciousness of your average consumer. Vogue was king; we listened to whatever the editors decreed whether consciously or unconsciously. 

The internet, or web 2.0 as we called it back then, changed everything. The birth of social media has had a profound effect on the fashion industry. Suddenly, editors and stylists like Taylor Tomasi-Hill and Katie Shillingford were rising to prominence for giving a direct and real insight into their world as well being lauded on street style blogs. Fashion shows also became immediately accessible to the public and bloggers were sitting alongside editors and buyers. Social media ushered in the democratisation of fashion. 

Fast forward nine years and fashion is even more accessible than ever. The industry has evolved; brands are combining menswear and womenswear, showing off-season, operating see-now-buy-now show formats and even doing away with shows altogether. At the other end of the spectrum, it's never been easier for new brands to take off too. I wrote about the rise of the Instagram brands a couple of months ago but even brands like Manu Atelier have risen to prominence seemingly overnight, mostly due to the impact of influencers. 

Fashion isn't dictated to the masses anymore. As Coco Chanel herself stated several decades ago, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening". I'm more inspired by what I see on Instagram or the street than I am by the pages of Vogue...in fact, I can't remember the last time I picked up a copy. It's an interesting time of self-expression, style has become a melting pot of influences from art or the shows to the street.


Over the last few years, my style has been fairly refined and pared back with the odd statement piece for a bit of drama - usually my heels. You might have noticed a little change in the last few months though; more sneakers and the odd streetwear brand making an appearance.

Six months ago I got an exciting new job which saw me swapping a storied luxury department store with a Shoreditch-based start up. Being in a new area of London and working in a new sector of the industry has given me a renewed joie de vivre when it comes to dressing...and a lot of diverse inspiration to boot. Saint Laurent and Chanel have been replaced by Supreme, Off White and Heron Preston to name but a few of the new brands in my brand rotation.

Being inspired by new influences is super exciting but rather than adopting a whole new aesthetic, I've simply peppered these elements into my look. Whether I'm throwing on a Palace tee with some shorts and Nicholas Kirkwood heels or belting an oversized Supreme tee and slipping on a pair of Jimmy Choos (like in this look), being true to my own style is the most important thing to me. No matter what influences you, authenticity is the most important thing to convey. How you dress tells a story to the world, wouldn't you want your story to be about you? 



Tshirt - Supreme
Belt - Off White
Bag - Chloe
Heels - Jimmy Choo

Photography by Adorn Girl

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Outfit post: Bright, Bright Summer


It's that time of year when summer slowly chugs to an end. Oh who am I kidding, I live in London and summer is as brief as the dresses on the Cannes red carpet. I've resisted pulling my boots and coats out of storage but jumpers have slipped their way into my wardrobe rotation a little too early for my liking. It's still August! To remedy this, I'm giving summer one last hurrah with an ode to my favourite season.


While I love cosying up in winter, the crisp morning air of spring and the colours of autumn, for me nothing beats the feeling of summer. From the feeling of the sun on my skin, the smell of sun cream, the thick sea air... I love it all. When winter starts creeping in, I always tell people that "I'm too brown to cope with this weather" and I suppose it's true. My parents grew up in Kenya and India so hot weather is in my genes. I've never had a sunburn ever and my body always seems to function better in 30c heat!





There are two things I love about fashion in summer. Firstly, it's so carefree - just throw on a dress or shorts and a vest and you're good to go. No complex layering or heavy fabrics to contend with. Secondly, the colours are so vibrant. I love wearing brights and citrus shades in summer, like the sunshine yellow dress in this outfit post. So when I saw this carefree clementine swing dress with its fun pompom detailing, I just had to have it. It's the epitome of unbothered summertime dressing. I simply paired it with a pair of lime green snakeskin lace up Brian Atwood heels for the perfect bold summer look.


Dress - ASOS (also available in Curve and Petite)
Heels - Brian Atwood

Photography by Adorn Girl

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Sunday, 20 August 2017

Jambo, Kenya


I'm heading to the airport to start an exciting adventure but this is a very special trip. One that has been years in the making. Today, I fly to Kenya and I'm going to be exploring the country my mum grew up in. I have wanted to visit for years and I'm over the moon that I'm finally making the trip this year. Having grown up hearing stories about the two cities my mum grew up in - Nairobi and Mombasa - I can't wait to visit and see them for myself. 

It's my first trip to Africa proper, after spending the last few years focused on traveling around South East Asia. I'm so excited to experience a different culture and different people as well as different cuisines. 


I'll be writing about my journey on my return to London but in the meantime, keep up to date by following me on Instagram @reena.rai


Much love,

Reena
x
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