29 Jul 2013

Hey, There is ONE Great Reason to Smile About!

OK, so NO you cannot change the world, but YES you can change YOUR world. You can change your world one step at a time, one habit at a time, one vision at a time, and make it a fairer place. Do your bit, recycle/ upcycle, reuse, go vegetarian/ vegan if only for one day a week, buy organic food whenever possible, grow your own fruit and veg, limit/ ban the use of chemicals at home, have principles as a consumer and stick to them (ex: not purchase bananas from banana republics, boycott unethical companies, never wear fur), pick up random plastic waste from the beach everytime you go for a walk (think of all those grateful sea creatures!), give a rescue pet a chance by adopting it, turn someone's junk into a treasure, get creative with those discarded wood pallets!

DIY Reclaimed pallet wood sign (pict source)

Swallow your vanity a notch and skip those designer coffees on the go served in styrofoam cups, and get extra mileage out of your existing mobile phone instead of rushing down the bandwagon to the latest all-singing all-dancing smartphone... Remember - what is trendy in the moment will be out of trend in the moment that follows (erm that's roughly within a week of purchase!).

Huh, I'm not asking you to be(come) boho, by the way - am I 'eck? Just to do your little bit by stretching slightly out of your comfort zone (no bungee jumping involved!) to show the planet that you DO care. I know you do.

And remember, a collective of little bits, that's a whole lot of a big bit! Ingenious!

27 Jul 2013

Inspire Aspire - Nicky Clarke

Never underestimate the power of a hairdresser beyond hairstyling, for in celebrated UK coiffeur Nicky Clarke I found some lifestyle inspiration that still drives me to this day!

(Pict source)

A good trusty friendly hairdresser will soon step into your comfort zone as he attends to your tresses, becomes your confidante, favourite counsellor and best mate for the length of time you're in their salon. They will give you attention and importance, flatter you, lend an ear, reassure you, comfort you, and most of all - be on your side. I went through the ups and downs of my marriage and divorce, with Liam at Toni & Guy, then I went through the ups and downs of my new relationship, with Amy at Saks. And in between the two stages in my personal life, I found some further solace in a UK magazine interview featuring Nicky Clarke.

Besides at a time when I was at risk of spending cash like there was no tomorrow, Nicky was explaining matter-of-factly in his press interview what his female customers were looking for when they stepped into his exclusive salon and requested to be attended to by the man himself for that pricey cut and blow dry.

If you have it (the Swarovski sunnies!), you might as well flaunt it!

He described his clientèle as not necessarily wealthy. What those style epicureans were in search of was a good haircut. Within the logic of "you get what you pay for", and quality equals expensive, "good hair, good watch, good bag" fitted the requirement list, according to Nicky. Let's say, a Nicky Clarke hairstyle, a Gucci watch and a Prada handbag, in other words would-be heirloom pieces that will stand the test of time and the fickleness of fashion while giving out a statement of taste, elegance and social status. And a hairstyle that will compliment their style and make them feel a million dollars about themselves. Uncompromisingly good quality accessory basics that will carry off style essentials (outfits and shoes) with a less exclusive price tag.

Never one to fall for the cheap in the first instance, i.e. the throwaway pieces from the fast fashion circuit - bar the odd couple of items a season, I had found in Nicky Clarke the justification that you needn't be rich or harbour guilt in order to claim the ownership of an expensive designer accessory or even the odd designer item of clothing. And I did exactly that when I purchased my €300+ Swarovski sunglasses. And come to think of it, I was already doing it back in the day, with my expensive hairdos. How cheap can you go? Own 30 cheap trashy items that are not gonna last beyond a season or save up and buy one thing that will last the distance and make you feel special and exclusive? Kinda makes sense, doesn't it?

24 Jul 2013

Inspire Aspire - Vivienne Westwood

Her eccentric style and sometimes far-fetched creations mean that she may not be everyone's cup of tea, but Vivienne Westwood is certainly a cut above fashion glitterati! To her credit, she has inspired countless designers and artists in the making to go off a tangent to explore their passions rather than follow the mainstream avenues of formal education in order to get a foot in the door and get noticed. And to me, this is all down to one word which has been a driving force for the fashion darling.

(Pict source)

I remember quite vividly watching a fascinating TV documentary back in England a good four years ago. I found it enlightening and inspiring, to the extent that four years on it still plays in the back of my mind whenever I harbour a doubt as to my next direction in life, and whenever I try find a reason why I can't make it.

Casually and very humbly, Vivienne mentioned a couple of times during the programme that she was self-taught. Yes that's right, a self-taught fashion designer and seamstress. She wasn't fresh out of Central St Martins College, and she didn't have the family connections to get that red carpet out and ease that ambition up into the fashion circles. The woman who famously said: "I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world" thought outside the box. She came from punk, she came from that clothes shop on London's Kings Road outrageously called 'Sex' where she designed crazy outfits for the likes of The Sex Pistols. As far away from the lofty French fashion houses in Paris VIII as can be... And the irony of it all would be that years later those very same individuals who sniggered at her origins would cram up into her fashion shows and shell out the dough.

Anglomania Collection - AW2013-14 - Look-091

To some, self-taught might mean a roundabout last chance saloon way of getting from A to B. To Vivienne, it was a successful means to an end, where theory was experimented upon, fun was had with swathes of fabric, where ideas could just flow without the restriction of dos and don'ts, and opportunities seized in a 'right place, right time' mode. Carpe Diem. Self-taught is the best out of the school of life. And closer to us, self-taught has seen bloggers turn household names and YouTube sensations set up shop very successfully, and I can't resist the thought of this other self-taught guy - Sir Richard Branson - the very boss of the airline company whose flight uniforms are being designed by our Vivienne. How ironic indeed!