Friday, 27 November 2015

Model Spotlight: Neelam Gill

Racial diversity within the fashion industry has been hotly debated for a number of years now, with the number of non-white models making up a tiny percentage of faces seen on the runway. The Fashion Spot looks into diversity each season and noted that of the 3,727 spots on the runway during New York Fashion Week’s SS16 season, 71.6% of models were white and a mere 28.4% were non-white – 10.7% black, 8.7% Asian and 4.2% Latina. This is up from 24.4% from AW15 and just 20.9% in SS15.
While change is achingly slow, the industry IS increasingly casting more models of colour than before. Naomi Campbell has been one of the most vocal advocates for diversity, regularly speaking out on the issue and mentoring models such as Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls and Malaika Firth. She has also spoken out about wanting this to be a long-lasting change in the industry rather than a trend, in one season and out the next. This is something that Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci fully supports. His second couture show at the house opened with 9 black girls, he was taken aback by the media coverage of his casting stating “It shouldn’t be a big deal – it should be normal”.
I appreciate and support the increasing diversity, as supported by model scounts, casting agents, creative directors and editors. As a woman of colour, it’s important for me to feel represented within fashion; fashion needs to feel attainable, not alienating. As someone with Indian heritage, I’ve never really seen many women who look like me outside of Bollywood. This is why I’ve been obsessed by 20 year old Indian model Neelam Gill, the first British Indian woman to break into the international fashion week circuit. Get it girl.
First scouted at The Clothes Show aged 13, Neelam saw Models1 aged 14 but focused on her studies…until repeated called from Burberry led to her catwalk debut at their AW14 show. I still remember when I saw her hit the runway, thinking ‘WHO is this girl?!’. Neelam was then shot by Mario Testino for her first Burberry campaign, earning the accolade of the first Indian model to be featured by the brand. Fast forward just two years and Neelam has agency representation in New York, Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Milan as well as London and has worked with the lines of Vogue, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Hunger and Wonderland. As well as being handpicked by Kanye West’s AW15 Yeezy show.
What I like most about Neelam is that she has a maturity way beyond her 20 years. A self-described feminist, she makes no apologies for earning more than her male counterparts – she’s well aware that the gender pay gap often swings in the other direction for the majority of women. A strong woman and great role model, she sees herself as ‘breaking boundaries’ of gender, race and class. She also has great taste in music, citing Tupac, Nas, Future, Krept & Konan and Kanye as favourites.
It’s strange to say this about someone that you’ve never met but I’m so happy and oddly proud of her continued success. I’m not the only one, she regularly retweets fans thanking her for representing brown girls on the international fashion stage. Finally, a girl in magazines who looks like me. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

British Fashion Awards 2015

Last night saw fashion’s finest descend on the beautiful Coliseum in Covent Garden for the highlight of the British fashion calendar – the British Fashion Awards. The likes of Anna Wintour, Lady Gaga, Karl Lagerfeld and Karlie Kloss were in attendance alongside the Brit fash pack to celebrate the best of British fashion. Highlights of the night included noneotherthan Patsy and Edina (of Ab Fab) presenting Stella McCartney with Brand of the Year, the wonderful J.W. Anderson winning both Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year and a fashion showcase midway through the ceremony.

Here is a full list of the night's winners: 
Emerging Womenswear Designer: Thomas Tait
Emerging Menswear Designer: Grace Wales Bonner
Emerging Accessory Designer: Jordan Askill
Red Carpet: Tom Ford
Model: Jourdan Dunn
Outstanding Achievement: Karl Lagerfeld
Creative Campaign: Burberry
International Designer: Alessandro Michele for Gucci
New Establishment Designer: Mary Katrantzou
Establishment Designer: Erdem
Brand: Stella McCartney
Isabella Blow Award For Fashion Creator: Nick Knight OBE
British Style – Fashion Innovator: FKA Twigs
British Style - Red Carpet Ambassador: Gwendoline Christie
Accessory Designer: Charlotte Olympia
Menswear Designer: J.W.Anderson
Womenswear Designer: J.W.
As usual, the red carpet was as inspiring as the awards themselves with British designers featuring heavily. Here are my favourite looks:

Martha Ward in H&M and Temperley
Erin O’Connor in Giles
Jourdan Dunn in Mugler
Karlie Kloss in Chanel
Arizona Muse in Ralph & Russo Couture

Monday, 16 November 2015

Top Five: Beauty Advent Calendars

Over the last few years, beauty advent calendars have started becoming a ‘thing’ and now, any beauty retailer or brand worth their salt has put together a little collection of treats to countdown to Christmas. Who needs a little nibble of chocolate when you can have a lovely pampering treat instead?! Here’s my run down of the best beauty advent calendars to suit all budgets:
  1. Charlotte Tilbury’s Book of Make-up Magic - £150
    This super luxe advent calendar looks beautiful and is packed with cult Tilbury producys including Magic Cream, Wonderglow and the Rock ‘n’ Kohl eyeliner. Perfect for any make up addict.
  2. Selfridges Beauty Workshop advent calendar - £60
    This advent calendar has a brilliant price point considering the calibre of products, which include Tweezerman tweezers, Eve Lom’s cult cleanser and Ole Henriksen’s truth serum.
  3. Kerastase advent calendar - £79.99
    What better way to give your hair some extra TLC during the cold winter months than with 24 iconic Kerastase products?
  4. Mark & Spencer beauty advent calendar - £200
    Marks & Sparks may not be the most obvious choice for a beauty calendar but with a host of great beauty products from REN, Still and Rituals, this is a seriously impressive set of goodies.
  5. Lush 12 Days of Christmas advent - £49.95
    If you're into natural, vegan beauty then this is the beauty advent calendar for you, chock full of treats and of course bath bombs.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Introducing Kusmi's new Tsarevna tea

A couple of days ago, on a particularly rainy autumn day in London, I popped to Marylebone for some tea. There’s something very British about being out in cold, blustery weather and warming up with a nice, warm cuppa. I pride myself on being somewhat of a tea connoisseur, I have a shelf full of various loose leaf tea and teabags and I’ve very particular with how my tea is brewed; so when the lovely team at Kusmi tea invited me to their flagship store to learn more about their tea, not even the rain could keep me away.
I’m no stranger to Kusmi tea, their Euphoria tea gets me through the mid-afternoon slump while their BB Detox tea definitely gives me a bit of a glow. Although I’m familiar with the teas, I knew nothing about the brand behind them and I was very surprised to learn that they were Russian. Founded in 1867 by Pavel Michailovitch Kousmichoff, Kusmi relocated to Paris just before the revolution – which explains why I had assumed it was a French company. Learning more about the history of the company gave me a better understanding of their history and their teas, many of which have Russian names.

While learning about their fascinating history, I indulged in a cup of Kusmi’s special limited edition Tsarevna tea. Named after the daughters of the Tsars, the tea is a wonderfully festive black tea subtly blended with spices and orange giving it a slight Christmas scent and a refreshing taste. The tea inspired by the Tsarevnas journey to the heart of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg for Christmas celebrations, complete with an gigantic tree bejewelled with pretty decorations. It’s only fitting that the Tsarevna tea is housed in a beautiful limited edition imperial blue tin adorned with silver glitter.
In addition to the lovely Tsarevna tea, Kusmi have a wider selection of Russian-inspired teas as well as classic, rooibos, flavoured, herbal and wellness teas. My favourites are the BB Detox, which is made with green tea, maté, rooibos, guarana, dandelion and a hint of grapefruit, and the Euphoria tea, which is made with maté, chocolate and orange for a natural boost. If you fancy trying one of their lovely teas, they’re available everywhere from Harrods to John Lewis but I would recommend popping into their store as the staff are so knowledgeable. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Top Five: Faux Fur Wardrobe Essentials

Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a faux fur shopping spree. I totally blame London-based brand Shimps, who have singlehandedly made faux fur cool with their fun, bold coats and accessories. I may or may not have bought a bag charm, clutch and a collar within a couple of weeks of each other. Look, they were lonely and needed company – I definitely do not have a faux fur problem! The days of faux fur being overly faux and shiny or yeti-like are but a distant memory now and there are so many chic, animal-friendly options. Here are my favourites, including a couple of pieces from Shrimps:

  1. Shrimps Abatha coat - £595This season’s update of Shrimps’ iconic coat, I love the subtle forest green shade of this coat, perked up with a bubble gum pink trim on the collar and cuffs.
  2. Shrimps rainbow clutch - £195I have a slightly different clutch in bright orange and blue and I absolutely love it. It adds a playful edge to my outfits and will be GREAT for the party season.
  3. ASOS coat with faux fur cuffs - £110I know faux fur isn’t for everyone, but who can resist this beautiful moss green coat with faux fur cuffs for a subtle addition of fur?
  4. Urban Outfitters Mongolian faux fur scarf - £39Another subtle take on faux fur, this Mongolian fur scarf looks so cosy! I love the pretty winter white colour and splash of teal.
  5. Topshop faux fur hybrid coat - £89Masculine tailoring and faux fur aren’t the most obvious combination but, as this coat shows, they really work together.
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