Saturday, 25 June 2016

why vintage fashion is better than fast fashion

Yesterday I finished work experience at The Tab at their offices in Shoreditch. I spent most of today catching up on sleep and reading. I loved working in London last week. I wrote and published so much everyday as well as leaving the office to go and talk to other people. On Tuesday I shot the best street style on Brick Lane and asked people their opinions on rogue summer trends. You can read that piece here. The next two weeks will be quite relaxing, but I am excited for the rest of the summer for festivals and going on holiday. 

After my last exam earlier this month I went to COW vintage where they had a huge sale on summer dresses. I bought three to complete my summer wardrobe. Sheffield has so many amazing vintage shops that I frequent often. Most of these visits just involve browsing because student budget. I wish that there were more vintage shops near me at home, but the closest is London and they tend to be more expensive there. I prefer vintage clothes because they are unique, do not directly finance unethical practises such as sweatshops and animal cruelty and give you the smug hipster satisfaction of answering, "it's vintage" when someone asks where you got your dress/shirt/jeans/skirt from. 

This dress is very cool and comfortable because of how light the fabric is. I tied a scarf from H&M round my waist as a belt to change up how I had worn it earlier in the week. Antonio took these photos after we drove to a field to see an abandoned bridge. These photos remind me of a People Tree campaign, which is fitting given how in this post I am going to talk about the ethical benefits of wearing vintage clothing.

Vintage items of clothing are to be treasured. They are a fuck you to throwaway fast fashion. Once you are done with vintage items you can recycle them back into another vintage store where they will be worn and loved by someone else. The more people that shop for predominantly vintage clothes, the smaller the demand for sweatshop produced, environmentally unfriendly fast fashion. The fact that vintage has become so stylish is a huge step in the right direction for the fashion industry. Now when I look round Topshop, I think that I could buy similar but more unique pieces for much cheaper in vintage shops. One of my most recent high street purchases was from Alexa Chung's archive collection for M&S, demonstrating how vintage has really integrated into the mainstream.

However, you can still only find quality vintage stores in cities. Small town charity shops that smell of old people and are full of last season Primark do not quite have the same charm. I applaud anyone who has ditched fast fashion completely, but I still make the occasional Topshop or Zara purchase. At the moment I am trying to cut down on the clothes I buy because I really don't need anymore. For years I've justified satiating my desire for new clothes because it means I can post them on this blog, but you don't need a lot of clothes to be creative with the ones you have. Going to uni made me realise what I actually wear, with the clothes I left at home rarely being missed. Plus, having less clothes makes choosing what to wear much quicker. 

I have just read the sad news that Bill Cunningham has passed away. I owe a lot to him as an inspirational influence in my life and the fashion industry owes even more to his vision and work ethic. He shaped street style, without which fashion blogs may not exist. I'd link to the post I wrote in 2012 after I watched the Bill Cunningham New York documentary but it was essentially just a 15-year-old fangirl rant. I've been searching for the perfect Cunningham-esque blue jacket to wear for when I'm taking street style photos for The Tab. I didn't think that an 80-something year-old man would have such an influence on me as a teenager, but he has definitely helped shape me. I hope that by the time I am 87 I have lived as fulfilling a life as he did. Bill, you will be sorely missed. 

Thursday, 9 June 2016

stay inspired

This week I realised I'd been in a creative slump for quite a long time. I had been writing and collaging in my journal and writing occasional poetry,  but I had no source or outlet for constant inspiration.

I used to feel inspired all the time when I first started this blog and in my early teen years. I was still so young that there was no pressure to be chasing success. I wrote and blogged mostly for the sake of writing and blogging. I didn’t feel weighed down by anything. The competitiveness of what I wanted to do excited me. However, as I started to see other people around me having more success, I started to worry that what I was doing was not worthy enough and its difficult to stay inspired with that negative mindset. 

One reason why I have recently come out of this creative slump is because I have started blogging frequently again. Being able to create something for other people to read, that I never get with writing in my journal, is inspiring in itself. It forces you to create high quality content. I was recently accepted onto The Tab Fellowship programme to write for their Babe site. My first piece was submitted last week. (You can read it here.) Although inspiration and creativity should exist even if you are getting nothing back other than the satisfaction of having created something cool. However, a little bit of recognition and encouragement goes a long way in motivating you going forward and being published on a site that has so many readers felt like recognition. People say you should fake it 'til you make it, and that becomes a lot easier if you are getting something back. 

Last weekend I went to a student paper alumni event. I spoke to a lot of journalists and people working in the media industry. They were all very encouraging and no one was patronising about our ambitions. I’ve had a why me kind of attitude about my goals for a long time, but now I’ve started to ask why not meReading work by others used to make me feel inadequate, but now I see each article I read as research and a way in which to collate ideas and expand my mind.

Another thing that helps me stay inspired is to constantly be busy and working on something. I want to try and keep this up over the 3 month summer I have ahead. I have started planning my days more effectively by having lists of things to do, but approaching it as more of a guide than a plan because I've found that being a slave to my own constructed schedule limits inspiration. However, being busy means I don’t get bored, which is when the creative lethargy sets in. Tavi Gevinson said that she has a note on her mirror saying, “There is not enough time for hating yourself. Too many things to make. Go.” I have been thinking about this more and more lately. It is only when you are not actually working on something that you have time to overthink it and become overly self-critical. 

Self-doubt is a cruel cycle because it often leads us to stop altogether, when that is such a backwards solution. We have to keep practising what we are passionate about, even if that means we’re embarrassed by what we’ve made in the past. Self-doubt never goes away completely. The world’s most successful artists still possess it. However, instead of that being frightening it should be inspiring, and comforting because the feeling is universal.

I find that the more I do, the more I want to do. This is a much more positive cycle. A certain amount of introspection is good, especially for writers, but I won’t be weighed down by it anymore. I get such a rush from writing, researching, reading, and the more I do it, the better it gets.

//Vintage shorts and top, eBay choker, Topshop socks, New Look sandals//

photos taken by Ethan on the steps behind Sheffield Cathedral

Hope you're having a good week x

Friday, 3 June 2016

does fashion really need to exist?

Rodarte Fall 2016 (via

I recently read an interesting article on Washington Post about the existence, or lack thereof, of Rodarte. Rodarte, the 10 year-old brand designed by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy and named after their mother's maiden name, has scores of fans all over the world who admire their ethereal designs. However, their clothes are very rarely seen off of the runway, as if they only exist in their own elegant bubble of aesthetic perfection. But how influential actually is the brand?

Meadham Kirchoff Spring 2015: the brand's last collection (via

Brands that lack business savvy often burn out quickly, no matter how large their cult following is. Meadham Kirchhoff, who went bankrupt in 2014, are a prime example of this. Their iconic collections made them instant fashion industry favourites but, like a shooting star, their brand shone brightly then disappeared. So, the answer is yes, probably. Fashion does need to exist outside of its own sheltered fantasy world.

Balmain Fall 2015: using celebrities to sell clothes (via

It's a sad state of affairs when a brand has to focus on business more than the integral creativity that should be at the core of fashion. Building a successful brand more often than not involves selling out and using social media stars as models and creating clothes that will realistically sell or be a success with it-girls. (See: Balmain, Chanel, Calvin Klein.)

The Mulleavy sisters designed the costumes for Black Swan (via

However, Robin Givhan's article suggests that brands should be awarded for their financial success rather than for their artistry. If Rodarte's clothes are barely worn or seen, do they deserve so many awards? I think yes. Otherwise we'll end up only rewarding corporate sell-outs. A number of Givhan's points seem contradictory, leaving us questioning, not whether or not Rodarte actually exists, but if the article actually should? Givhan raises interesting ideas, but of course Rodarte exists. We talk about the brand. We see their collections online and on social media. They designed the costumes for Black Swan and helped Tavi Gevinson's blog become a success. They have clearly had an impact on the world, no matter how small it may seem compared to global luxury brands.

Alessandro Michele Gucci Fall 2016 (via

It is extremely difficult for young, independent brands to strike exactly the right balance between creativity and business. The brands that manage this tend to be large and well-established. People will pay attention to Gucci no matter what, allowing creative director Alessandro Michele to experiment and create really beautiful collections and campaigns. Fashion is art meeting business. However, Rodarte lean further towards the art side, with their clothes being shown in museum exhibits, but rarely being purchased by ordinary, albeit wealthy, people.

Mermaid vibes at Rodarte Spring 2016 (via

Couture has existed for decades, without successful sales. No one is questioning whether it exists or not. It is one of the most important parts of the fashion calendar. However, Rodarte does not show couture. It shows ready-to-wear; only two collections a year. With more and more pressure on designers to keep producing, it is almost humble of Rodarte to show only Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections. We are in the midst of Resort right now. Some say the industry has become over-satiated with collections, but Resort sells more than any other. Perhaps if Rodarte increased their collections and marketed them differently then their sales would increase. However, their brand is said to be financially stable so there is no desperate need for them to do this. It is refreshing to see a brand following the traditional fashion calendar. It allows us fashion fans to keep up.

Star Wars dresses at Rodarte Fall 2014: Rodarte is not isolated from popular culture (via

Rodarte's most spectacular pieces are sold at almost couture price ranges. Therefore, we only see them on the runway. Maybe we see them once again on the red carpet, picked out by celebrity stylists with an eye for unique beauty, but after that it could be argued that they cease to exist.

Viktor & Rolf Fall 2015 couture in Elle Italia (via

Similarly, it could be said that other industry darlings, Viktor & Rolf, could not "exist" as well. Remember their fashion meets art collection with models walking out wearing framed artwork? It was an instant social media hit with fashion fans. It was later modelled by Magdalena Frackowiak for Elle Italia in what is possibly one of the best fashion shoots ever. However, after that it has not been seen elsewhere. Did the brand make back the money it spent on this couture collection? Probably not. Couture rarely does make its money back. That collection definitely existed. It provokes a reaction from many people and revived complete originality in an industry that tends to copy the past.

Rodarte Fall 2016 (via

What is at the beating heart of Rodarte, is a desire to return to the original art of fashion. There are no 90 piece collections, with less than 20 memorable looks, sent stomping down the runway. We will not see their dreamy designs draped over every other celebrity it-girl as they dodge paparazzi on their way to the shops. What Rodarte do is special, and if they can maintain it then it proves that this breed of fashion did not all die with Alexander McQueen. 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

a wicked gale came howling up through sheffield city centre

Here's an outfit I wore yesterday, which I spent working in my flat and listening to The National whilst staring at the grey sky out the window. I only have one exam left, so I don't have much revision to do, but I have been writing short French essays everyday which I've found a really good way to improve my understanding of the language overall. My exam is on Tuesday.

For this outfit, I decided to wear as many patterns as possible. The shirt (worn as a jacket) is possibly my favourite charity shop purchase ever. The choker is from eBay, top from Topshop, necklace from Accessorize, shorts from Miss Selfridge, tights from ASOS and Doc Marten shoes.

On Friday I am going for drinks with some coursemates which will be a nice revision break, then on Sunday I'm going to a barbecue hosted by the grocery store I volunteer at. It's strange to think that I've been at university for almost a year. Sheffield definitely feels like my home now.

There aren't many full length photos of this outfit because it was so windy yesterday so my hair was whipping all over the place. I'm going to try and find a better backdrop for outfit photos soon as well. Ethan and I plan on walking to an abandoned railway for photos, as well as finding an aesthetically pleasing wall nearby. I'll be back to taking photos in my garden over summer. 

I've finally ordered battteries for my film camera and I also picked up a disposable from Boots yesterday. I am hoping to take lots of photos of the last week of first year, as nearly all the photos I have of this year have been taken on my phone. I want something more tangible. I will probably post my favourite photos on here at some point.

Some photos from the past few weeks:


/ethan photographed spector on sunday before their gig at leadmill

/breakfast at my favourite cafe

/peddler night market

/watching clueless at leadmill 

/sheffield general cemetery

I hope you have a lovely week. I've been accepted on The Tab Fellowship programme this summer for their Babe site. My first article will be up some time next week!