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


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 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


Monday, 17 July 2017

Outfit Post: Let's Talk About The 'Gram

I think it's time we settled down with a cup of tea and talked about Instagram. As one of the blogging elders, I've been on Instagram for more than half a decade and I've seen it evolve from a sea of Valencia-filtered snaps documenting the ordinary to its current airbrushed and editorial. Change is good, particularly when it means no more blurry Starbucks pics in your feed but Instagram has changed so much over the last few years, I can’t help thinking its current landscape is problematic for a few reasons. 

As a blogger/influencer/content creator (what are we calling ourselves these days?!), Instagram is arguably the most important channel to promote your work. Despite not being able to include links in posts, it offers influencers the opportunity to visually communicate who they are - after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. A quick scroll of someone's feed gives you a snapshot into their style, lifestyle choices last holiday and even what they had for breakfast. This is why its’ such a key form of social media for content creators, it's invaluable to promote who you are and who you stand for.

This is particularly important for fashion bloggers. Fashion is a visual form of self-expression, so of course, Instagram is vital for the entire industry, not just fashion bloggers. I work for a brand that uses Instagram to establish a visual identity, using obscure art references or archive imagery alongside current product images. This helps to build substance behind the brand, establishing a personality and point of difference - which is exactly what influencers seek to do on the ‘gram. 

Learning about Instagram and how to harness it to build an audience is all well and good until Instagram decides to rewrite the rules. This happened last year; the infamous algorithm change which saw the feed change from simply displaying images in chronological order to a feed which uses an ever-changing algorithm to determine which content is displayed and to how many people. The upshot is brands and influencers alike have struggled with plummeting visibility and engagement ever since. For people who make a living from Instagram, it’s been disastrous. 

Influencers have had to start taking Instagram "seriously". By that I mean the fun has gone and it's now become increasingly strategic, laborious and stressful to maintain a decent presence on IG, both in terms of engagement on individual posts and to grow your audience. For brands and agencies, it’s all about the numbers. First and foremost, they judge influencers on how many followers they have. Engagement on posts in a secondary consideration, mainly to ensure there’s no discrepancy to indicate that an influencer has bought their followers. 

From hashtagging to comment pods, influencers have tried various different tactics to increase engagement and attract new followers. Perhaps the most extreme act is to engage bots to comment, like and follow/unfollow people in a bid to grow your audience. This is problematic, as brands will engage and pay for bloggers' services based on false inflated figures it essentially boils down to fraud. But I think it’s important to ask why people resort to such lengths for social media.

The pressure on influencers is insane. When I started blogging there were a few dozen fashion bloggers, we all knew each other pretty well. Nowadays, there are literally thousands. Everyone is vying to be the best and partner with brands or agencies, who only see the numbers. Instead of valuing micro-influencers, who have smaller but much more engaged audiences, it’s only ever the huge bloggers who are selected by brands - which is exactly why there’s so much pressure on numbers Bloggers also perpetuate this issue by judging other bloggers on the number of followers. We’ve all become obsessed with chasing a number which ultimately means nothing in the grand scheme of things. And Instagram keeps changing the goalposts make it harder and harder to reach that number. Isn’t that crazy?! 

For a while, I was obsessive about the number of followers and likes each picture got. I was invited to a couple of comment pods, I focused on making my Instagram look prettier. And honestly, I was adding a bunch of needless stress and worry to my life. Instagram began to rule my life, it was ridiculous. I've now given up chasing numbers, trying to keep up with comment pods, being a slave to a theme and all the other needless stress. I'm so much happier for it. It's liberating to take a step back and not put unnecessary pressure on yourself to live up to someone's expectations. 

Tshirt - Theyksens' Theory
Jeans - Zara
Belt - Off White
Heels - Aquazzura

Photography by Adorn Girl
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