Birdsong

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It’s a new year and so I guess I should acknowledge the fact that this is the first post of 2015. Happy New Year and all that!

Now that’s out the way let me introduce you (if you’re not already acquainted) to Birdsong. Last autumn a friend told me about it and I’ve been meaning to do a little write up for a while. Birdsong is a great online shop which sells “handmade products by inspirational women’s charities in London”. There are currently three women’s enterprises that Birdsong works with, creating the clothing and accessories for sale on their website.

Sweet Cavanagh is responsible for the beautiful, ethical jewellery on the marketplace. The jewellery is made by women recovering from addictions and eating disorders and all profits from this social enterprise are invested back into the charity Free Me, which the jewellery brand Sweet Cavanagh is a part of. So if you’re looking for some new accessories to jazz up an outfit then have a look at their unique creations here.

The super cosy scarves on Birdsong are made by a group of ladies who meet weekly to knit and natter over a cup of tea (which is pretty damn cute). The knitters meet at The Bradbury, a part of Staywell, which is a day centre that provides the over 50s with a whole host of activities and services from line-dancing to Spanish classes. All profits from these scarves are donated to The Bradbury. So you can wrap up warm AND help the elderly.

The third organisation Birdsong currently works with is Heba. Having been around for 25 years this is a well-established project that provides women from a wide variety of different backgrounds with great opportunities to meet others and gain new skills in a safe, welcoming environment. They also create simply beautiful, chic garments.

(All images from the Birdsong website)

 

Discovering platforms in the fashion industry like Birdsong, and the inspirational projects they work alongside, is encouraging. It’s always nice to be reminded that there are so many other options out there; that not having a clue who made your clothes, and the doubtful ethics behind them, is not the only choice. I will be writing more about such shops and projects in future posts and if you have any good ones to share then please do get in touch!

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Salon International

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Last weekend I was at Salon International modelling for Vidal Sassoon and the launch of their Nu-Pop AW14 collection. This new collection draws inspiration from the 1960s and combines it with a grungier edge, the concept being an imaginary meeting between Kurt Cobain and Peggy Moffitt. The collection is divided into three main looks: Nu-Op, Nu-Scene, and Nu-Psych.

I was part of the Nu-Scene group styled particularly on the late 60s with Edie Sedgwick as the muse and The Velvet Underground’s ‘Femme Fatale’ as the song for our routine. Hair colours were shades of red, coppery tones and pinks (hence my hair now being a mixture of crimson and cherry red!). The outfits were brightly coloured, inspired by the YSL Mondrian dress, complete with oversized colourful sunglasses.

Nu-Op also drew direct inspiration from the 60s with psychedelic black and white patterns influenced by Op artist Bridget Riley and darker hair colours featuring some beautiful deep blue and purple tones. Finally Nu-Psych brought out the more subversive, grungier side of the collection; dusty pinks and pale purples were the predominant hair shades with the clothing being loose and layered. For their make-up the Nu-Psych models had a colourful, glittery star drawn around one eye which I particularly liked!

Nu-Op outfits

Nu-Op outfits

Nu-Scene shoes

Nu-Scene shoes

It was a busy but fun weekend full of choreography rehearsals, hair prep, make-up, and the shows themselves which go insanely quickly when you’re onstage! If you want to check out the Sassoon photos from Salon International I’ll leave you with the links below to have a browse through.

Salon Live: Backstage Pass; Front Row

Fellowship of British Hairdressing Stage

Brighton

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Super cute Brighton street art.

Super cute Brighton street art.

Hello again! Sorry it’s been so terribly long since my last post, I’ve been meaning to write about my visit to Brighton earlier in the summer but, well, you know how it goes… Anyway, back to the wonderful treasure trove that is Brighton.

Home to Snooper’s Paradise and many exciting shops, Brighton is one of my favourite places. The North Laine area is always bustling, full of lovely cafés and a diverse range of shops where you can find anything from fudge to Moomin paraphernalia (there’s a huge Moominpappa cut out on Kensington Gardens which is hard to miss!). In amongst all this is Snooper’s Paradise, a chaotic antique store full of second hand bric-a-brac, furniture, clothes and more (there’s even a photo booth). I collect old photos and so can very easily spend ages rummaging through boxes deciding which ones to buy! Upstairs is Snooper’s Attic, a vintage and independent artists’ boutique. The Attic is more orderly than its downstairs counterpart, offering a range of higher-end vintage clothing and delightful, quirky accessories.

On this particular trip I got a super 60s shift dress from To Be Worn Again on Sydney Street. With another store on Kensington Gardens, To Be Worn Again offers a great selection of affordably priced vintage clothing and their Kensington Gardens shop is a must if you’re looking for shoes.

To Be Worn Again To Be Worn Again

Also on Sydney Street is Wolf & Gypsy Vintage. The carefully handpicked clothing and effectively minimal presentation make this a beautiful shop to visit, especially great for chic vintage items.

Brighton’s Beyond Retro is slightly hidden away on Vine Street so make sure not to miss it. I have many a great Beyond Retro purchase from their various stores, so definitely worth a browse as these guys know their stuff when it comes to on trend, affordable vintage and retro.

Undoubtedly this is only the first of many posts on Brighton, but for now I’ll leave you with some photos of my snazzy 60s dress!

(P.S. Thanks to my lovely friend El for the great pictures below. She has a delightful blog which you should check out here: http://eleanorloftie.blogspot.com.es/).


Outfit: Dress - To Be Worn Again; Coat - charity shop (1 euro bargain!); Shoes - JuJu Jellies.

Outfit:
Dress – To Be Worn Again; Coat – charity shop (only 50 cents!); shoes – Juju jellies.

Berlin

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The perfect city for wandering, Berlin is full of cafés, bars, and beautiful shops to browse with photo booths dotted around and no shortage of second hand offerings. Even just walking to our nearest station in Friedrichshain, where we stayed, there were plenty of thrift stores and antique shops to browse!

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After visiting the Bauhaus Archiv museum (which I recommend, especially if you can catch the Vassily Kandinksy exhibition they have currently) we came across Garage, a sizeable retro shop where we easily whiled away a good hour or so. With a kilo sale section, this is the place to go for an impressive range of 60s through to 90s clothing and accessories in all patterns imaginable at a reasonable price.

Wandering around Neukölln particular highlights were Aura, which had the most beautiful collection of vintage kimonos I have ever seen, and Sing Blackbird, a vintage boutique and café. Both on Sanderstrasse, these shops were well laid out with a carefully selected array of items and I got myself a lovely little 80s tapestry handbag in Sing Blackbird.

We dedicated our last day in Berlin to shopping in the Prenzlauer Berg/ Mitte area. Made in Berlin had some great garments and my friend got a wonderfully colourful 80s jacket. We also found the most beautiful white dress with embroidered fruits and vegetables on the bodice…I would have totally bought it had it not been, unfortunately, slightly out of my price range! I am definitely going to jazz up some of my clothes with little embroidered fruity delights.

Around the corner from Made in Berlin there was an Urban Outfitters which I can never resist popping in, and I got a new eye ring in their sale (I have a bit of a collection of such jewellery!).

A little further on was Garments, a very high end vintage boutique with beautiful clothing and lots of lovely shoes. There was a particularly eye catching multi-coloured sequin number on display at the front which initially enticed us into the shop.

Aside from vintage, Berlin is full of beautiful boutiques and independent designer shops such as Potipoti which had some fabulous watermelon knitted dresses in the window.

Urban Outfitters ring

With such a wealth of thrift stores, vintage shops, and flea markets to explore I will definitely be returning to Berlin as soon as possible!

Oviedo Sunday Market

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Flea markets of some kind or another are to be found in every city and Oviedo is no different. Seeing as the past weekend was my last here I made sure to make the most of my final trip to Oviedo’s chaotic offering of oddities.  Where the normal weekday market takes place, on Sundays the square is filled with stalls piled high with second hand items. The neighbouring park is even more chaotic with the sellers literally just spreading out heaps of clothes and dubious electricals wherever they can find space. If you’re prepared to have a good rummage through the seemingly endless mounds of fabrics there are plenty of great items to be found!

Over the past year of living here I have most definitely availed of this haven of second hand tat and have made some great purchases. Probably my best buy has been the denim jacket (you can see that in my Barcelona post) which cost only 5 euros and I managed to get a floral shirt thrown in for the price too! I also really love this colourful 80s skirt I got a few weeks ago.

I didn’t intend to buy more clothes on Sunday, but this floral top caught my eye and I just couldn’t resist the “todo a €3” sign (nor can I ever say no to another floral addition to my wadrobe!).

 

Barcelona

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A few weekends ago I was in beautiful Barcelona. Having previously visited the city earlier this year and fallen in love with it, I was super excited to be back. This time a bit of vintage shopping was definitely a priority.

We headed to Carrer de la Riera Baixa, the main vintage shopping lane where every Saturday they have a street market. I was particularly excited to come across the Kilostore; back in London these are some of my favourite places to find retro gems at a great price and it’s been a while since I’ve been able to go to one! I can genuinely while away hours in such places but managed, more or less, to restrain myself this time and got a pair of subtly sparkly black trousers, French chic style, and a floral patterned dress. In De Faralaee, a little further down the street, there was more of a mix of old and new clothes. This being me, I instantly found the 5 and 10 euro bargain rail where I got a great 80s abstract print dress (definite wardrobe staple of mine). Also worth noting is the lovely Lullaby run by a super friendly couple where my friend got a unique original 1950s poncho, as well as Motel, probably my favourite shop on the street. If I could have bought everything in there I would have done – decorated in the style of a 50s motel room the range of items on offer were perfectly selected.

Kilostore photo (SO many amazing patterns).

Whilst meandering around we came across Domingos, a wonderful little second hand shop with a range of clothing and some vintage homeware too. This was where I made my favourite purchase of the trip, a black silk full-length jumpsuit with sequin detail back. I love it as it is one of those outfits you can dress up or down, depending on the occasion and it is super comfy.

I also took the opportunity to stock up on plenty of shiny trinkets in Rosselló, an amazing bead shop on Carrer de L’Hospital, which should be appearing in my Etsy soon!

 

Introduction to The Five and Dime

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Let’s start with the name. In John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink there’s a scene in which two of the super-rich girls turn to Andie and snidely remark, “where d’you get your clothes, five and dime store?” (Note: if you haven’t seen said film, here is where you need to go watch it and come back when you have, it’s essential). Andie can wear whatever she wants; she always looks fabulous (well, perhaps excepting the slightly disappointing final dress – we’ll gloss over that. She still rocks it).

Anyway, as a film that contains some of my greatest style icons (we haven’t even mentioned Duckie yet but he will feature, a lot) my blog definitely had to have something to do with this 80s gem. Also I like to think I had my own ‘Andie moment’ when in 6th form one day, meandering to class in my habitually slightly away-with-the-fairies state, I heard a small voice with a heavy south London accent call, “ ‘Scuse me, where d’you get your clothes from, the charity shop?”. I wasn’t even wearing anything that eccentric; as far as I recall my mum’s Fair Isle jumper (which at the time my sister would not be seen in public with but shortly after adopted into her own wardrobe), and probably a floral dress – a pretty staple outfit for me. I found it all quite amusing and the truth is yes, a lot of my wardrobe does come from charity shops, boot-sales, vintage markets, and the like. The majority of my clothes (genuinely 90% of my wardrobe at least) are second hand, which, in brief, I prefer because it’s more sustainable, ethical, individual and exciting than buying the latest high street trend.

So there you have a little introduction to my heavily 80s infused fashion influences, and for now I’ll leave you with some super looks from Pretty in Pink featuring the ever dapper Duckie and Andie.