Giving it some welly

As a born and bred Londoner, who now lives in Brighton and commutes to London, I am privvy to a few Brighton / London divides that the usual folk don’t get to see. Oh yes.

Anyhow, the biggest thing I have noticed recently is the disparity in attitude to wellies.

Now, I love a welly. I always have. One of my first memories is of a pair of rainbow wellies I had when I was about 3. I wore them every day and when I grew out of them I lied until it became obvious that my feet just didn’t fit in them and they were given away. I still remember the despair at knowing I wouldn’t see my beloveds again.

Which is why I’m over the moon when it gets a bit rainy and I can wear my new blue, sparkly with stars on wellies and go for a bit of puddle stomping. And the other day, unaware of the out and out prejudice I was about to face, I woke up to the sound of rain, put on my lovely wellies and stomped my way to the train station.

So far, so good. Lots of other sensible, puddle jumping, happy people adorned in their Wellingtons. But then… I arrive in London and it turns out it is absolutely FROWNED upon to wear a welly here. I started getting some very strange looks, from people whose jeans were trailing in the rain and were water logged up to their knees.

And the full on derision I faced arriving at work was astounding. It probs didn’t help that my office was quiet when I arrived and my wellies make a strange squeaking noise when I walk.

Anyway, I don’t have a point to make, or anything insightful to say. I just thought that was odd! Is this usual? Did I imagine it, or is there a full on divide? Maybe I’ll start a welly speakeasy in London, where other welly lovers can turn up in their high heels, then inside there’ll be loads of artificial puddles and everyone will covertly swap into their wellies and we’ll splash about! Maybe…

A day in the life of…

The wonderful Holly Pickering has been kind enough to share with us an insight into a day in her life as a vintage retailer at Freudian Slips. If that’s not enough to make you jealous, her studio is based in a converted chocolate factory. My life envy is complete.

A Day In the Life of Holly Pickering

“I always have my alarm set for an early start, but the alarm is usually beaten by Elvis, our large (think chubby Vegas period Elvis…) fluffy black and white cat, who has developed a great technique for waking me, which involves taking a flying leap from the floor to the bed, and is always effective!

“I love starting the day with BBC breakfast news on, as I like to catch up with what’s happening in the world, so I grab coffee and muesli in front of the television, before dashing out of the door. A few mornings a week I pull on my trainers and head out for a run before work, I’d love to be able to say that I run every day, but in truth I only ever seem able to squeeze in a few sessions each week…. I’m lucky that the Freudian Slips Vintage studio is only a short bus journey away, which I am always grateful for, after ten years commuting on packed tubes in my previous life as a fashion designer. I often pick up some flowers for the studio or have freshly cleaned vintage pieces to collect from our favourite dry cleaner en route, so I always seem to arrive at the studio laden with bags!

“I launched Freudian Slips Vintage several years ago, selling vintage fashion and accessories via our website, and due to the websites popularity last November we moved into our current studio, located in a wonderful converted Chocolate Factory, which has been split into light filled units.

“Once I arrive at the studio the first job is to switch our little retro Bush radio on to Radio 2, and sit down to work through any urgent emails. As many of our regular customers hail from the U.S or even further afield, we often also have international orders to process due to the time differences.

“I then work through the day’s shipping, with assistance from my lovely interns, and the studio is temporarily filled with packing boxes and reams of pink tissue paper. As with most small businesses every day is different. The afternoon will either be filled with photographing new vintage finds, adding new pieces to the Freudian Slips website, or steaming and inspecting new pieces fresh from a recent buying trip.

“In May this year we launched a Private Appointments service at the studio, to allow customers to come in and try on vintage pieces, and to enable stylists and designers to select pieces and view new finds that may not have made it on to the website yet, so many afternoons will also fly by as we help clients to find their perfect vintage pieces. Client appointments are one of my favourite parts of the week, whether it’s helping a ‘bride to be’ find the vintage 1930’s bias cut dress that she’s been dreaming of, or a frantic few hours spent helping a styling team find vintage looks perfect for a celebrity client or a vintage themed photoshoot.

“The end of the working day always seems to arrive much quicker than expected, and after another quick round of emails, I jump back on the bus. My husband and I both love to cook, so we try to make something fairly healthy most nights, so most of our early evening is spent in the kitchen.

“I usually finish the evening watching my current US drama addictions, or catching up with episodes I’ve missed. I’m a great list maker, so I often scribble a quick ‘to do’ list for the next day before heading to bed and dreaming of vintage ballgowns!”

High (store) society

Do you ever need a bit of fashion advice and don’t know where to turn? Maybe your friends aren’t quite as concerned about your worries of wearing too many sequins and feathers in one outfit? Or, you’re a fashion genius and want to show off your good taste a little bit? Or, (last made up situation I promise) you’re stuck in a style rut and fancy a bit of inspiration on new trends and shops?

Well. There’s a website for that. Indeed, a social network – this is the age of web2.0 y’know (I sneer at web1.0 I really do).

storesociety.com is a new website connecting a community of fashion-lovers to the latest fashion from stores and boutiques. By joining storesociety.com you can share your outfits, thoughts and questions with thousands of members who are as excited about shopping as you are. The site provides an eclectic mix of fashion worn by real people, not models; where you can search the best of the high street as recommended by people like you.

The concept for the site was created by 21 year old Kristina O’Connor (daughter of TV entertainer and singer Des O’Connor) who saw the potential of a site where members can upload and tag photographs of their new purchases and share their coolest looks with a network of friends similarly passionate about fashion and style. The site uses a combination of features you’ll already be used to on Facebook, Twitter and Google but is dedicated to giving you an instant fashion fix every time you visit storesociety.com.

In summary:

a) This is a very good idea and lots of fun

b) Why does everyone who comes up with good ideas seem to be very young indeed? Why wasn’t that me?

Biker biker biker jacket (to be sung to the theme tune of Biker Grove)

Lots of pictures ahoy! Well, 5. But over 50% of these have celebs in!

Anyway, this post is an homage to the Schott Perfecto biker jacket – the original. The company was founded in 1913 by brothers Irving and Jack Schott. Schott NYC was the first company to put a zip on a jacket – thus creating the classic Perfecto motorcycle jacket, made popular in movies like The Wild One (1953).

AND in Lady GaGa’s video for ‘Love Game’ she and all her dancers wear Perfectos. I shit you not:

With Julien Macdonald declaring ‘scuba is the new biker’ it’s a good time to take a walk down memory lane into the history of the biker jacket before it disappears all together and we are left wearing wetsuits and flippers.

A day in the life of… Rocket Dog (or dawg as I would say, due to being hip and rad)

Another day in the life of! This time it’s from the wonderful Jon Lawton who works in fashion PR for the shoe company Rocket Dog.

Take it away Jon…

Hello you.

My name is Jon Lawton and I’ve been asked to write ‘A Day In The Life’ piece about what’s it like to work in PR in the fashion industry. You see I work for the women’s shoe company Rocket Dog (www.rocketdog.co.uk) and I work on the team that does their PR & Marketing. Now I know it seems odd to start with an apology, but I must as I’m very lucky in that no two days are ever the same in what I do – I know, annoying isn’t it. But rather than give you ‘A week in my life’, I thought it best to give you a couple of days from this week just to give you a flavour.

DAY 1.

I’m usually in the London Rocket Dog office by about 9:30am. I must say it’s a really modern big open plan office as well where all departments are in the same space. Oh, and shoes. LOTS of shoes. Your browser may not support display of this image.

I start the day with Facebook. Sounds odd doesn’t it, like I’m admitting some guilty secret. But I genuinely did as I’m in charge of Rocket Dog’s Facebook page. Then I got stuck into my emails, some interesting stuff in there as well like one from Sugar Magazine wanting to confirm a price of a pair of Rocket Dog’s that they are putting in a forthcoming feature. There were some other emails from journalists who were looking to call shoes in so couriers had to then be organised.

Jumped on the phone for a bit and one of the calls I made was to my contacts Natasha and Clare at Cosmopolitan Magazine. I got Natasha today as Clare was out the country on a shoot. Got to say I love these ladies, they are an absolute riot. I never spoken to either of them and not laughed – they’re professional fashion journalists who know what they’re doing and know what they want, but they have fun doing it!

Had lunch on the go as I had an offsite meeting with a guy in a factory about ‘melting/bending plastic’ for an in-store project I’m working on. All a bit hush-hush, but if all goes to plan you’ll see my idea next summer in all our stockists up and down the UK like Schuh and Office etc.

Back in the office I worked on a new design and layout I’ve got for Rocket Dog’s online store www.rocketdog.co.uk.

Your browser may not support display of this image.We’ve had some new images shot so wanted to run my possible colour scheme ideas past the Managing Director of the company. Whilst I’ve got him for five minutes to talk about one thing, I take the opportunity to discuss four or five. The great thing about his office is the relaxed nature of it. Oh, and the signed picture of Girls Aloud thanking him for the shoes! One of the things we talk about is which trade shows we want attend in 2010 as my team is responsible for organising our presence at the show. He wants me to go to a show in Berlin next January, so I spent the next few minutes booking a flight and making various other travel arrangements.

I then went to the Camden offices of one of our creative agencies called ROAR. We signed off the final design of the latest in a series of in-store dogs they have been making for us for a while now.

Your browser may not support display of this image.They have a great team there and with the working day being over, it’s not long before we’re in a local pub having a few early evening drinks talking…….about work. Well, that and Rafa Benitez’s insistence on still using two holding midfielders at home games as there is more than one Liverpool fan around the table!

Home early evening, with enough time to get stuck into a bowl of pasta and a Bond film!

DAY 2

I know I said no two days are the same, but if I can, I’ll always try and make them start the same way by going through newspapers/magazines/websites etc checking for the latest coverage, then getting stuck into my emails and planning the day ahead.

I spent most of the morning organising a few interviews for a couple of Rocket Dogs brand ambassadors (like World In-Line Skating Champion Jenna Downing) in various magazine and websites like Women’s Fitness.

Look, I know a lot of people think that PR is just running around London with your Starbucks coffee whilst talking way too loudly into your Blackberry on your way to a plush lunch in some fancy Covent Garden eatery, but it’s NOT you know!

OK, so it was that day. But I promise, it’s not every day.

Today was with Emily, a journalist from women’s magazine Scarlet. We talked about recent issues, forthcoming features and what shoes she wants from Rocket Dog for her fashion pages. After the work talk it’s nice to have a chat with the person – it’s very easy to actually become friends with the journalists I speak too. Emily and I for example talked about London as she’s not long moved here. A daunting task for anyone, but as someone who has done it and highly recommends it, I’m never backwards in coming forwards about my love for London. I genuinely do feel lucky that I’m from Liverpool and was wary about all those people who banged on about London being the best place on earth etc … but I honestly do think that London is the best city in the world. I always try to walk around London if I get the chance. I’m never not impressed by the architecture. Yes it’s full of people with their heads down rushing around, but if you ever bump into a chap who’s looking up then I’m sorry. Probably your fault anyway, you really should look where you’re going!

Went back to the Tube strategically. By that I mean I took a slight detour so I could stick my nose in a few shoe shops to do a bit of “shopping”. Or in other words check how all the Rocket Dog shoes are arranged in-store and to see that our POS merchandise is being used correctly.

Back at the office was a meeting about an opportunity that had come our way to see if we wanted to link in with one of Megan Fox’s new movies.

Rocket Dog has some very strong links with the global head office in California and due to the time difference late afternoon UK time is just about when they are starting their day, so it’s not uncommon for most of the UK office to be on various conference calls with their counterparts in the US and that afternoon was no exception. We had a call with the US marketing team where many things were discussed like forthcoming photoshoots, website marketing strategy, new design influences for the Autumn/Winter 2010 collection etc.

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So there you have it. There are other things I’ll do throughout a working week/month/year that didn’t happen in those two days. Exciting things like press trips, conferences, fashion shows etc, but there are also very regular tasks like website activity reports and of course emptying the staff dishwasher, but hey, on those two days it wasn’t my turn!

But on the whole, two very typical days in the life of me and the adventures I have along the way working in women’s shoes.

No wait, not actually wearing women’s shoes, that didn’t come out right…..you know what I mean don’t you…………

Fantasy / delusional shopping

I have a slight problem. I am in the unfortunate situation that:

a) My favourite things include sequins and feathers and Topshop

b) Topshop is overflowing with sequins and feathers

c) I walk past the Topshop on Oxford Street every day to get to work

d) I have no pennies for spending on sequins and feathers

So, my current hobby is fantasy shopping on the Topshop website – pretending that I have lots of money and can buy what I like. Curiously, when I imagine I can have everything I tend to become a bit more discerning and only go for the things I love rather than a desperate I WANT haul.

Here’s a little look at my latest day dream. My favourite bits are the feather collar (turns out I can’t write ‘collar’ without writing ‘colour’ twice first and deleting it) – because it’s so practical – and the sequin harlequin jacket – I seem to be having a bit of a harlequin loving phase.

Trick or treat!

Are you as tired as I am of Halloween being a time when people basically wear there underwear with nothing else and try far too hard to be sexy? For reference please see this clip from the wonderful Mean Girls:

Well, here are a couple of lovely, stylish, outfits that you can wear and hold your head high. And then you can wear them again and again as normal outfits – and call yourself a wonderful name like ‘recessionista’ because you are not condoning the throwaway culture of fashion (applicable also to fancy dress I hope – otherwise my point is redundant and I’ve been waiting months to be able to say recessionista.)

USC’s new range, fronted by the oddly compelling Pixie Geldof, offers a couple of Halloween gems, and Swedish brand Smooph dishes up this gorgeous Grecian inspired drape dress that can happily be vamped up with some hot red nail varnish and devil horns.

Pics below! Also, if you fancy a bit of silly you can haul ass to the children’s section and deck yourself out as a pumpkin.

AND, as no fashion blog post on Halloween would be worth its salt without some stats, here you go!

Online shopping search engine Twenga has kindly informed me of the top shopping trends you will be seeing this Halloween:

Top 5 Adult Costumes
1. Kill Bill
2. Sally Nightmare Before Christmas
3. The Beatles
4. Jack Skellington
5. Ninja Turtles

Top 5 Costume Masks
1. Batman
2. Wolf
3. The Dark Night – Joker
4. Obama
5. Elvis