Ashish is for lovers


If you love extravagance, big logos, avant garde style, sportswear vibes or are partial to a sequin plastic carrier bag, you’ll love Ashish. A London Fashion Week favourite every season, Ashish Gupta’s designs are a nod to brave, bold fashion with a street twist. I’m obviously bias, maybe because I’m a 90’s baby and hyperventilate over anything shiny, sassy or involving a scrunchie, but the genius craft and technical quality of the garments is what makes Ashish’s designs so brilliant. I was more surprised when going through older collections to find his design aesthetic has travelled through his work from as early as his 2005 S/S collection which features his signature use of logos, sequins, bold colours, prints, street silhouettes and textured detail.

'Making tacky tasteful'

What made me inspired to make a blog post was the upcoming release of Ashish x Topshop in May which features those light up buffalo boots (above) that have been highly anticipated since Lily Allen wore them to Ashish’s AW14 show in February.

The AW14 show’s collection in five words has been deemed, 'princess peach meets sporty-luxe'; think marshmallow pink, tiaras, street cinderella, 90s sportswear, pastel coloured hair and of course - shed loads of sequins. Ashish’s aesthetic influence is something to look out for this season, and be sure to get watch the SS15 show at London Fashion Week later in the year to see what other delights Ashish creates.

In the mean time, heres some Ashish slogans, just because.

'Shut up your not my real dad'
‘I’m serious’
‘Sorry you look basic’
‘It’s getting haute in here’
‘I’m having a shit day thanks’
‘Piste off’
‘Same old chic’

3 Stripes

Naturally, I was majorly excited when Adidas recently announced collaborations with both Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. The joining of the hip hop, cool, stylish creatives with the iconic sports brand are highly anticipated, as are their other recent links with the likes of Rita Ora under the Originals brand. Adidas’ ability to synchronise technically excellent products rich in heritage, craftsmanship and expertise with an inspirational, professional, yet street edge is unique in the fiercely competitive market.

With the backing of world class athletes and sports stars, as well as ongoing contracts with renowned designers such as Stella McCartney, Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto, Adidas is an undefeated global driving force. Now the brand is a world away from its humble beginnings in founder, Adi Dassler’s, mother’s wash room in a small town in Bavaria, Germany in the early 1920s. Now Adidas can be seen all over the world where sport, art, music and creativity is present.

As always, they will be a big part of the Fifa World Cup, hosted in Rio, Brazil in June 2014 as an official partner and designed the official ball for the games, the ‘Brazuca’. So far this year, the brand has been releasing exciting innovations such as the ‘PrimeKnit’, the first knitted football boot, and rereleasing old classics such as the Stan Smith range which was promoted with a giant shoebox pop up in London in January, masterminded by former Topshop CMO Justin Cooke’s marketing agency, Innovate7.

Speaking of Topshop, Adidas Originals recently collaborated with them on a stylish range to sell in stores to avid fashion followers around the world. Incorporating the classic 3 stripe tracksuit and sport aesthetic with creative graphic designs oozing attitude and street style. Adidas’s dedication to its female market, not only lies in its aesthetically driven product ranges, but also its ambitious, ‘girlpower’ approach seen on my favourite instagram @AdidasWomen an intersection of sport, street, style and lots of positive motivation that satisfies my inner feminist/spice girl.

Ultimately, whether it be on the track trying to beat your pb, taking up a new sport you never would of dreamed of, pushing your limits and aspiring for the best (yes, I mean those Adidas x Rick Owens SS14 trainers!) Adidas is all about going All-In & I’m super excited to be joining them as a graduate intern in June!

Marketing Moments Of 2013

I’m late to summarise my favourite marketing moments from 2013 but with final year stress and craziness, I’m going with ‘better late than never’.

Coca Cola’s ‘Share A Coke’ Campaign


We all rummaged through Boots’ shelves to find the bottle with our names on, this personalisation touch amplified the brands ‘sharing’ and humble values, humanising the family favourite. However, it doesn’t beat their ‘hugs for free Coke’ vendors distributed during their 2012 global ‘Open Happiness’ campaign or their 'Small World Machines' that act to try and bring the people of India and Pakistan together.


Nike’s Live ‘Fly-Knitting’ Billboard in Shanghai


This was a little bit insane to say the least. Nike China teamed up with advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy, to stage a live knitting session on a giant billboard to advertise their Nike Flyknit shoe technology. Amazing concept realisation, I just wouldnt wanna be one of those guys suspended from the building. Kudos for Nike’s efforts a little closer to home also, with their creative, interactive exhibition, ‘The Art And Science Of Feeling’ in Shoreditch, London through October 2013.


Oreo’s Real Time Marketing & ‘Daily Twist’


Oreo made the biggest touchdown during the 2013 Superbowl when they capitalized on the blackout which put millions of viewers on edge over the world. Their quick wit and response (‘you can still dunk in the dark’) and social presence blew up and became a memorable moment for marketing in 2013. Also their ‘daily twist’ campaign made sure that Oreo made a mark and was relevant everyday, strictly for fun.

Chanel’s Mothers Day Flower Stall Covent Garden


To mark mothers day, Chanel installed a flower pop up cart in Covent Garden, London, making flower shopping tres chic. I wish this was a permanant fixture! They gave away beautiful bouquets to customers buying 100ml bottles of fragrance, specifically chosen for their floral scents found in the cologne. Think personal messages by an in-house calligrapher, embossed cards and choices of Mademoiselle Chanel quotes - J’adore.

Burberry Kisses


Leading the luxury sector for its innovation of digital is Burberry. Joining forces with Google+, they created the ‘Burberry Kisses’ campaign which allows users to send their personalised kiss print all over the world using experimental facial recognition technology which detects the users lip outline through their webcam or Iphone screen. A mix of sophisticated coding and digital fairy dust with the help from Google’s location data and expertise made for a statement digital campaign which evoked emotion, encouraging interactivity and brand loyalty. You can find my analysis of the campaign here, which I prepared for an interview recently.

Topshop’s ‘The Future Of The Fashion Show’


Topshop also collaborated with Google+ to create a forward thinking, interactive run up and projection of their London Fashion Week show on Feb 17th. This included model blog diaries, competitions, live ‘model cam’ during catwalk, live streaming over the world, live hangouts with designers and bloggers and becoming the ‘buyer’ by selecting your personal favourite collection from the show and sharing it. Topshop are always praised for their digital creativity, which is always a key aspect to their beautiful catwalk shows. I also loved their ‘Dear Pinterest’ campaign, where they used Pinterest to power their online gift guide. Users were encouraged to pin their favourite items for the holiday season, and also had the option to interact in store with large oversized tags on instore merchandise and giant touchscreens in their New York and London flagships during November where shoppers could pin and share as they shopped

Kate Spade’s 24hr Shoppable Interactive Windows


Taking window shopping quite literally, Kate Spade Saturday (‘the weekend brand’) set up their ‘wall as a mall’ at 4 window fronts in New York city for a month from June 8th. The windows made a huge high street statement with their vibrant yellow framework and bold black and white graphic designs serving as the backdrop for a range of brightly coloured clothing and accessories hung boldly. Shoppers could use the giant touchscreens to shop looks and fill their online baskets, checking out VIA PayPal with a free one hour delivery service. Are interactive shop windows a solution for keeping the physical store alive?



Some other notable favourites were…


- Carrie Telekinetic Coffee Shop Stunt
- Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches Viral Video
And this major branding backlash for A&F with over 8M views #FitchTheHomeless

Skater Chic



As I mentioned in the previous post, Dimepiece’s Tupac Skateboard is kind of a big deal, and they arn’t the only brand adopting the skate style trend for this season.

It seems not only are independant street brands taking note of this movement, but also the big designer houses (whom a decade ago would of had a stroke at the prospect of trainers on their catwalk), confirming that we may all be wishing we had taken up those teenage daydreams of being a pro skateboarder to get Ryan Sheckler’s attention (california dreamin’). This season I’m really wishing I was a whizz on wheels, but will settle for hanging a deck on my wall as a more realistic aim.

London department store Selfridges are currently running a 6 week event called 'Board Games' dedicated to showcasing the world of skate through a ‘high-fashion lens’. The event will include in-store events and dedicated retail space in the flagship which attracts thousands of visitors each day. Most appealing, is the ‘Board Room’, where 50+ sets of limited edition surf and skateboards are on display. These boards have been created as collaborations with high fashion designers such as Rick Owens, Jil Sander, Stella McCartney and Christian Louboutin.

Also, not only is the event to showcase beautiful designs, but also to emerse visitors in the lifestyle. Specialists from Skate companies and designers are opening pop-ups and holding talks to offer tips, advice and create conversation around modern streetwear and sport. This isn’t the first time the world of high fashion and skateboarding have merged, did you know Kate Moss did a collab with Supreme in 2012? I didn’t either.

Not only is your ticket to the season’s coolest trend through a fancy deck, but you can have your feet firm on the ground with a pair of on trend (and comfortable) sneakers. When Karl Lagerfeld sent his models down the Chanel Spring 2014 Couture catwalk wearing trainers, the classic, sporty shoe was regarded one of the biggest accessory trends for the season. The looks were finished with knee pads, waving the flag for sporty fashionable girls. Unfortunately, we cant all afford kicks handcrafted with the finest tweed, metallic threading, embellishment, python skin, lace and pearls for an eye-watering price. Also, we arn’t all as fortunate to be on Karl’s arm as his free spirited muse, Cara Delevingne.

Luckily though, there are a wealth of stylish designs circulating for the season. A favourite of mine are the Stella McCartney for Adidas Boost 2 shoes. The power of a hot trainer is second to none; when Kanye released his Air Yeezy II collaboration with Nike, they sold out in a matter of minutes. The hype didn’t end there - a pair of the highly sought shoes were listed on ebay the following day bidding at $16million, a crazy inflation from their retail price of $245. A pair of trainers made somebody into a multi millionaire… lets all take a minute to feel sorry we didn’t grab a pair.

Its a trend you can expect to be popping up at all your favourite on trend retailers, ASOS have already coined the style with a collection available on their 'Surf and Skate' trend guide, oozing southern California’s vibe. I am personally lusting over UNIF’s Braille Backpack (amongst hundreds of other things) which does the skate style vibe perfectly. As do Sprayground, who recently did a collaboration with Chris Brown to create a range of camo print, winged backpacks. I love their artistic style seen in this video shooting their campaign in the desert.

Besides looking to your typical skate brands such as Vans, Element, DC, Cliche, Girl, HUF (etc) check out these brands for a merge of fashion, street and skate.
Souldecks
Miss Karmaloop
O’Mighty
Unif
Rollersnakes

Doin’ it right

A brand thats hitting all my buttons right now is DIMEPIECE, the go to LA brand for the coolest, up to the minute fierce street clothes and accessories for IT girls (and all of us who wish we were one). Their style, branding, promo material and designs excite me, especially their most recent nod to the the worlds of art, and of course, hip hop.

Their move to commission a fine art illustration of rapper Camron in his famous pink mink coat (‘Killa Cam’) by artist Kristofferson San Pablo has made for a range of on point statement pieces as part of their 'Dimepiece State Of Mind' SS14 collection. The painting itself was viral online, sought by other famous musicians while making the rounds on social media and blogs. It became iconic, and in the words of co-founder Ashley Jones ‘was way too dope to just end up on the tumblr graveyard’. The print has been used in a range of ways (tee, sweatshirt, bikini and naturally… a skateboard) translating an iconic hip hop art statement into casual wear perfect for stylish girls making a street statement (affordably too!). They’ve also done a Tupac skateboard which is insane.

I love this creative use of design and perfect branding move. Scrolling through their Instagram shows their flawless consistency and stylish communication, making it no surprise they have a strong following of girls over the world who are tired of repetitive, copy cat fashion. All eyes on Dimepiece for their excellent knowledge of their target consumer and their genius moves that are both bang on trend and refreshingly distinct. Watch and learn.

Fave pieces: Real Men Wear Pink Bikini, Gangster Chic Deck, Dimepiece Original Logo Sweater & State Of Mind Tee in Pink

Meeting WGSN’s Claire Varga

Whilst at Company I was lucky enough to interview Claire Varga, WGSN’s head of youth, street and sport to find out how cool it is to be a trend forecaster for the industry’s holy grail. Heres how I got on…

WGSN
You’ve got your ticket for Moschino’s AW13 show and the sweat is already perspiring down your face. Its 6 long months you’ve waited since your last fashion show hit and cold turkey doesn’t cover it! Shakes, nerves, nail biting - you name it! You’re an undiagnosed fashion junkie. They might even have support groups for this kind, huddled around a coffee table at Vogue. Do you wait 6 months to be ahead of the fashpack each season and feel like a pug chasing your own tail? Well, imagine being 5 years ahead (that’s 10 fashion weeks!) of everyone else? Cool huh? It’s like time travelling (sort of!) The trend forecasters at WGSN do just that.

WGSN is the industry’s bible for all things trend and fashion, don’t believe us? Check out their Tumblr! Their client base includes the biggest fashion design houses across the world. Researching and selecting our trends, these geniuses practically hold the crystal ball of fashion – less mystic Meg, more intelligent chic! It’s enough to make even Anna Wintour turn a little green with envy. They track trends at the coolest events and locations around the world - think Coachella, New York street style, Ibiza culture, catwalks (dreamy). This is why between lectures you’ll find me induced in WGSN comas, the best kind. So when I went to visit WGSN HQ, excited doesn’t cover how I felt. Walking into the reception area of their office building in Piccadilly felt like I had stepped into the future (honestly!) The building itself speaks volumes with marble flooring, walls and pristine beautiful receptionists.

Kitted out with my guest pass I headed up to floor 2 (VIA very confusing posh lifts) to meet Claire Varga, WGSN’s head of youth, street and sport. Claire is so passionate and clever as well as being so lovely and humble (yep, shes the whole package!) Her career journey started at Newcastle University studying Fashion and Marketing from which she landed her first job at Reebok where she worked her way up through the design ranks, heading womenswear then becoming creative director! Her passion for sport shines through while shes telling us about her time at Reebok in the early 90s, a golden time for sports casual wear in the North West Manchester scene. She joined WGSN 2 years ago and here I am interviewing her in a room stacked to the ceilings with books (taschens, designers, artists, history, you name it) and trendboards stacked against the walls. If theres an Inspo heaven – this is it!

Claire was truly inspiring and I came away in a day dreaming bubble of WGSN magic, feeling my way out of the building. Yes, there’s lots of magic, but Claire insists on it being balanced with a lot of math, strategy and collaboration. These people know their stuff. In short, trend forecasting is knowing what has been, what is now and determining what is next. ‘Trend days’ held at the V&A see the brains of WGSN from all around the world join together to analyse everything from fashion, art, film, graphics to scent and pull out the main sociocultural themes to help kick off a season’s trends. So that’s where the trends start, but when does Claire’s day start? She is up with the birds at 5.30am and already on the train by 6.30, checking her emails and the WGSN Tumblr blog to stay current with updates from colleagues around the world. She insists there isn’t a normal day at WGSN; it’s never the same (job envy!) however her idea of a good day is working on creative content such as features and reports.

One of the coolest aspects of working at WGSN has to be their BWOW system (better ways of working) where you set your own hours of work and sit wherever you want, changing your desk daily to avoid any creative ruts! Even their office policies are ahead of everyone else! The company’s outlook is totally refreshing, Claire even credits their interns for keeping the company fresh (so cool!) So, where do I hand in my CV?

Q&A with Claire

Fave Blogs http://www.girlisnota4letterword.com/ http://issuu.com/freshmag http://thegentlemansurfer.tumblr.com/

Inspiration Magazines, blogs, people watching, everything everywhere! Open your eyes

Perks of the job Meeting Ussain Bolt at Puma Launch for 2012 Olympics, travelling the world

Tips for aspiring trend forecasters Lots of writing! Get social by blogging your ideas, analysis and get involved, go with your gut! Start with what you love and what moves you

Qualities needed for the job Flexible, organized, outside the box thinking, proactive attitude, easy going, perfect balance. In the job you learn to see things differently and look at everything analytically.

On Street Fashion ‘We look at street as anything worn with jeans and the trends that derive from the streets’

Secret to the success ‘It’s a sum of the parts, it’s the colour expert, the textile expert, the industry expert, the sum of our expertise that makes it amazing!’

Average assisting starting salary £20k

#COMPANYGRADS

I recently finished my 2 weeks as a company grad and loved the experience! I was chosen as one of 7 students/graduates to be part of Company Magazine’s 2013 CompanyGrads team. After having my application accepted and passing the interview at Graduate Fashion Week, I started work experience with them to work on the October Issue.

During my time there I wrote a number of features in the issue, organized PR call ins and communication, used image stock websites to pull images for features, assisted behind the scenes at the cover shoot with BINTM winner (top secret til the final!) and interviewed her for the issue, handled the social media outlets such as twitter and took part in a beauty haul video, conducted street style photos for web content, visited WGSN’s HQ and interviewed Claire Varga (head of street, youth and sport) who is absolutely lovely and got stuck in with other tasks around the office. A feature in the magazine is focussed on Prezi (online presentation tool) which I used to make my application, of which the Company team said was one of the best they’ve ever seen. Images of my presentation can be seen in the feature or you can view my application on this blog!

As part of #COMPANYGRADS I was selected from the interview to style and art direct a photoshoot for George’s G21 Collection to be featured in the issue. This involved putting the final collection looks together, choosing the model’s hair and makeup, steaming, dressing and preening the garments on the model to create the perfect shots while directing her movements and the mood of the shots. I then helped choose the final shots used for the mock up moodboard for the feature. I loved taking part in the creative aspects of styling and art directing and experiencing what goes into making the perfect shots.

Now I cannot wait for the October issue to come out! Go buy it!

FEMININE WONDER: SIMONS’ DIOR DEBUT

PARIS IN BLOOM






Exceeding expectations and making the cynics retrace their criticisms; Raf Simons debut was a firm show of excellence and Dior classic heritage in Paris today.

Garments of overwhelming elegance with modern clean finishes cascaded through the flower encompassed intimate domes, five rooms with different floral decor mirroring something of the Alice in Wonderland themes seen in Cruise 2013 collections such as Chanel’s.

First there were tailored smart looks, stiff shapes and wasp waists, then excessive feathering, tie die and pointed bust lines followed. I particularly am drawn to the pastel floral embellishment on a ballooning dress pictured below – pastels were a consistent trend through to A/W couture with sorbet pink peplum and elegant gowns.

Simons’ architectural background was evident in the collection, carrying a positive forward thinking outlook for the future of Dior under his design. After the success of this show, lets hope we see more of his innovative structural ideas come to life. It is thought Simons might be single handedly revolutionising the contemporary haute couture scene, and we can’t wait for more. For those of you not lucky enough to attend the show or watch the live stream, I have picked some pictures of the debut to surface so far.