One of our last crushes is Ayumi LaNoire. Officially “The Pole Dancing Geisha“, “ultimate entertainer of Pole, Fire, Modelling & Acting“, her Instagram feed is an ode to subcultures, empathic night and fantasies.
Her snapshots are a tender escape; not aggressive sexuality there: just this nice feeling that whatever happens, tomorrow deserves to be seen.
We’ve been following @flicka_elisa for quiet a long time now.
Elisa is the muse behind Buff.
“Buff is a brand that focuses on cut and sewn pieces. Fairly new in the clothing industry, the brand was brought about by the desire of its owners, to create a line that would be able to provide affordable, well-made leisurewear that would reacquaint the local industry with the beauty of clothing.”
An intriguing world, post or pre-punk, who knows. Enjoy!
London has this bubbly energy you can’t defeat. And when it comes to fashion meeting culture, the British capital is massive.
We’ve recently met Tess Rees for a secret project (we swear we’ll share the secret soon :) ) and we’ve discovered a very interesting designer. Student at Central Saint Martins, Tess is a Fine Artist who says that she “creates fun clothing for the fanciful“.
Something we’re very, very keen to buy as we think that fashion can change the world. And that smiling and dreaming should be written in the fashion Bill of Rights.
“All pieces are 100% lovingly handmade, unless otherwise stated as vintage and all fabrics are sourced in London. All tops are one size only at the moment, this size fits a Size 10 snugly and a Size 8 loosely. As well as producing handmade clothes, Tess aims to find and sell vintage clothes at affordable prices. About 75% of the vintage pieces are found in Charity shops. So whilst spending your money in our online shop you can have peace of mind in knowing you have made a donation to a worthwhile cause.“
How do you create “fun” clothing? Do you need to enter a specific state of mind?
Working creatively everyday makes generating ideas and designs seem like second nature so I wouldn’t say It’s a specific state of mind, it’s more when I think of something I want to wear and can’t find it!
Where does your inspiration come from?
So so many places, I’m constantly doing research for my Fine Art degree so colour and form are always on my mind and this definitely feeds into my clothing and the vintage I search for. Inspiration also comes from my friends and the people around me, I often take what I love most about their styles and try to create something I love and hopefully they would want to wear too! My Granny is also a major influence, she gave me an Ostrich feather fan and a gold chain mail handbag last Christmas! An enormous stack of Vogue Paris’ sit in the corner of my bedroom that remain as a souvenir of a subscription she gave me years ago and I still look through them occasionally.
Your T-shirt can give a super-power to a customer: what is it?
Oooh if I could create a top that doubles as an invisibility cloak I would be one very happy lady.
What’s next for your young brand?
I’m currently working on some content for the website which will hopefully be launching very soon. Long term plans are to develop a recognisable visual style that will hopefully result in a collection rather than sporadic designs being made here and there!
OK guys: if you had told me about knitting few years ago, I would have Laughed Out Loud. Come on grannies.
But the thing is that I was wrong.
Knitting and DIY in general is a sort of precious escape, a daily achievement with meanings. And with Social Media, this whole trend became a digital daily telling.
I had a chance to ask few questions to the 2 Jen behind Stitch and Story. And it’s dramatically inspiring.
When did you start Stitch and Story?
Stitch & Story began in Feb 2012, founded by two friends – both called Jen! It started off naturally with us wanting to share our passion in knitting so we began blogging about all things woolly. In April this year, we’d taken this hobby and created a business with the mission of showcasing knitting in a more contemporary, fun, and easy-to-learn way.
Who’s Stitch and who’s Story in your duet?
Our name doesn’t represent anyone but rather, an idea. Knitting is a way of embedding our creations with emotions and memories i.e. on all the careful time spent crafting; the cakes and coffee accompanied with curious minds; and the victory of finishing your hand-knitted item, quirks and all! We want every knitted project to be meaningful, whether it’s for gifting or for yourself – there’s just a great sense of achievement in having knitted an item yourself and that adds to the richness of stories behind handmade products and thus, every ‘stitch‘ knitted builds a ‘story‘…!
Knitting…how come it’s now fashionable?
Like other recent boom in household crafts such as baking and sewing, the return to needles and yarn has been seen as a wider backlash against the superficiality of modern life. While manufactured goods can be functional, durable, beautiful, even inspiring, the very fact that they are mass-produced makes them disposable. In its uniqueness, a handmade item such as a knitted item carries the imprint of its creator. The very fact that you’ve made it means no one else will be wearing the same thing as you!
What are the best tricks to start knitting?
If you’re a total beginner, watch our online video tutorials! We have a short 10-seconds clip for every stitch so you’ll have the confidence to start knitting. Our DIY, all-in-one knitting kits are also a great project for wannabe knitters because they have everything you need including simple instructions and patterns.
What are your plans for the coming weeks?
We’ve had a very busy winter having just launched our online store along with doing several popup stores in London, including at Piccadilly Circus and Westminster. At the same time, we’re also planning for our first trade show at Top Drawer in January (12th-14th) and creating our S/S14 knit kits collection. We also need to finish off our Xmas knitting for our friends and family…everyone’s getting jumpers this year!
Any final word?
Knitting isn’t just for grannies – come and join our online knitting circle and be part of our story! :o)
Aimee knows how to give amazing advice to customize our clothes, while spreading her own style: poetry, freshness, Londoner.
Do It Yourself seems to explode thanks to online communities and new kits. How do you explain the rising importance of DIY?
I think there is a lot involved in the do it yourself trend, we could talk about the recession, the Internet, the ways of our society… We could analyse the trend to death ! But for a lot of people it has been a lifestyle for a very long time. I remember customising clothes and sewing bits and bobs as a child… For a few years now, we have definitely been seeing more and more of “homemade” and it is now called “DIY” which used to be building sheds as far as I was concerned ?! I think it’s a lot to do with old techniques being used in new ways. New materials, new colours, new styles. The Internet is a great way for people to share their ideas and projects and also for people to buy what they need to get making at home. I think the visual power of the Internet is also a massive part of the attraction.
Young British designers or Central St Martins graduates seem very keen to play with DIY. Do you think that DIY is a sort of political movement? :)
I don’t think DIY is political in every case but I think it is often very philosophical. For some people, making things at home is a way to express nostalgia and a certain disagreement with they ways we consume today. Others might see DIYing as a way to recycle, showing themselves and others that we can be happy with what we’ve got. However for a lot of people, I believe do it yourself is simply a great way to get a fashionable accessory at a cheaper price or with a personal twist. Everyone creates for their own reasons. DIY can definitely serve political movements however doing something yourself instead of buying it ready-made is not necessarily a political statement.
Which advice would you give to start customizing clothes?
I’d say start by getting inspired. Pinterest is great for this but you can also go old-school and just carry a notebook and pen at all times. I’m constantly jotting things down, scribbling ideas, taking quick pics and doodling. When you’re inspired, you’re ready to give it a go. Then I would suggest you start small. Some techniques take a lot of practice so you’ll want to begin with something rewarding to keep you inspired. My final tip is to never say “can’t”. I have met so many people who think they “can’t” DIY. That doesn’t even mean anything. We all do things ourselves all the time ! Don’t be intimidated by the ambitious projects we see online, there are ideas out there for everyone. Remember, the hardest part is getting started !
Have you ever wondered that you could launch your own fashion collection?
Yes… Over and over ! I’d love to launch a brand or collection and as you can imagine I have pages of ideas
Frédérique Veysset -fashion photographer- and Isabelle Thomas, personal stylist and fashion blogger, with the help of illustrator Clément Dezelus, are currently experiencing a massive success with their new book-guide-UFO called “You’re so French MEN“. Selected men with a certain style (from 23 to 75 years old) illustrate a very inspiring how to fashion guide, through portraits and morceaux choisis to feed their French Touch. From picking the right shirt, to more lifestyle advice, this book is an open bible for the sort of fashion we love: open, inclusive, teaching without dogmatism. Frédérique and Isabelle accepted to give us some insights.
What are the biggest fears of men when it comes to their style?
Frédérique: When they do worry about their style, men are perfectionist, obsessed even with very tiny details. They learn pretty quickly and are curious. They want to learn the history of clothing and fashion rules. They like to respect them or to distort them with a certain elegance. When men don’t care about fashion, nothing beats them: for some men, wearing a black skirt with pointed shoes is state of the art style!
Isabelle:In our society, image is essential. Paradoxically, taking care of one’s image can sometimes appear suspicious. A lot of people are reluctant when they see someone trying to stand out with style: is he gay? is he a dandy? is he vain or superficial? Certain men can remain feeble with fashion…It’s less risky to be conform, to wear this classic suit with a grey tie! But when men are more confident or control their image, they experience a great pleasure to wear clothes and shoes…They’re definitely more maniac, rigorous, precise than women. Thanks to fashion blogs and forums dedicated to men’s style, we start to get rid of preconceptions.
As a neophyte, how should we start in order to get a proper wardrobe?
Pour un néophyte, par quoi devrait-on commencer pour se constituer un vestiaire?
Isabelle: you first need to reconsider your current wardrobe to get rid of outdated pieces, worn, or that does not fit you properly. A lot of men wear bigger clothes than they should; the jacket fall on shoulders, pants float…Men should see themselves as they really are! Then, men need to buy good basics (a nice white shirt in Egyptian cotton, a raw denim, a dark suite that fits you, jacket and derbies…). Men have then to enjoy, to play with colors, materials and forms.
You’re so French MEN is about this…French touch! What can we bring to the world? ;)
Frédérique: In fashion? A certain way of marrying bourgeoisie codes with a twist of fancy. Otherwise, French used to master courtesy, politeness, gallantry and were recognized for their spirit. It’d be great to bring these qualities back to fashion…starting from France!
Isabelle: French own a certain nonchalance, a way of wearing clothes without this Italian ostentation but with more agility than the British. French know how to surprize, while adapting to codes. He knows how to mix ancient and new, premium with high-street…The French man is more than a brand-lover: he wants to keep his personality. The French knows that even if he’s not the most handsome man on Earth, wearing something chic brings his charm and his sort of intellectual aspect to light. At least he hopes so!
What were the main differences between men and women during the shooting of your two books?
Frédérique: Men were often more available, more flattered and happy to be picked. They did it very seriously, a bit like when you attend a competitive exam: they were scared not to be approved!
Isabelle: Our girlfriends who weren’t picked for the book dedicated to women did not say anything (at least, not loudly) whereas our boyfriends who weren’t selected were grumbling: “why didn’t you pick me?!”
Will there be a next episode to your project?
Frédérique: Maybe if a great ideas comes.
Isabelle: Some people ask us if after men and women, we’re going to take care of children…Actually they already know perfectly how to dress!
We’ve been following Rachel E. Dahl‘s amazing blog for some years now. A mix of indie style and great stories to share. We wanted to know more about the delicious American woman who inspires us on a daily basis. A free soul with amazing taste. The anti girls girl. There’s an old French Song about a Baltimore girl that says:
Si tu vas jusqu´à Baltimore Quand tu descendras sur le port Va dire à la fille aux yeux d´or Que je l´aime encore
When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging in April 2010 back when my blog was called à la Modest (now à la Mode St.). I wanted to convince myself that I made the right decision to dress somewhat modest and different. I was feeling really alone and scared for a while because of that change in lifestyle. It was really hard to change how I used to dress, to go against the grain, because clothing obviously means a lot to me and the other girls were still following trends.
I tried as much as I could to blog regularly, to document how I could still be creative with my style while under restriction. I wanted to write about what I learned, how it changed my life, and how I think others could learn from it. I wanted to also find and bond with like-minded people, because even while modesty is rare today, the Internet makes our world smaller.
“Fashion can change the world”: what do you think about that?
Absolutely, I 100% agree with that. It might sound cliche, but there is no doubt that fashion has shaped our world to how it is now. Changes in fashion have led us to define what is acceptable and normal. For instance, when the bikini was first introduced, no woman dared to wear it. So when they advertised it to the general public, the people behind the bikini had to hire a stripper to model it. Women even before flapper-days showed their rebelliousness by exposing their knees. Social revolutions and subcultures almost always were accompanied by a change in fashion. An inward change has to somehow manifest itself outwards in appearance. That change, good or bad, is influenced by fashion in some fashion!
You want to “reflect a woman who is confident of her own beauty and worth without the need to put out because of public pressure”. How can you help with your blog?
I hate to sound like a broken record or like a parrot, because you will see a ton of different other modesty sites and blogs that have the same sort of “mission” statement— that you can “dress fashionably without being frumpy.” It’s an awesome statement, because the stigma with modesty is that you have to dress like your grandma. Fortunately, both my grandmothers were very stylish.
However, what I think sets à la Mode St. apart is its integration with a bit of non-mainstream pop culture, and pop culture (mainstream or indie) is not quite in sync with my beliefs. There are very few people who will and can marry faith and pop culture together. To show that it is possible to enjoy both, I think, gives people inspiration on how to live without having to abandon the other. So in terms of fashion and beauty, women can customize their styles without having to completely follow the trends, and trends usually show too much skin.
What are your sources of inspirations?
I draw inspiration from what I watch, read, and listen to. That could be anything, really. Lately, I’ve been inspired by a lot of brave individuals like Edward Snowden, Pussy Riot, and Ai Wei Wei. They inspire us all to be braver, to voice out our concerns while rejecting the fear of rejection, to stick with your guns no matter what you believe in. I honestly really need to kick myself in the butt for acting defeatist these days, because it has not been easy writing for me.
You used to highlight some modest clothing outfits: is it still the case?
Yes it is generally still the case. Although, I’ve been associating my kind of modesty now with what I think is trying not too hard to draw sexual attention—and not following rules for the sake of rules or guilt trips. A lot of people who try to go against culture through their faiths can get caught up with that at times. A lot of my outfits now aren’t typically “modest” and can look somewhat sexy but without showing cleavage, belly, or thighs.
I changed my name from à la Modest to à la Mode St. so that I can keep my domain name without having to be the shining example for modesty (which I am surely not) that was part of the old name. I still follow my own standards of what isn’t too sexually enticing through lifestyle and clothing but at the same time, I don’t want others to be thrown off by calling myself “modest.” I don’t want to lower anyone’s standards or confuse anyone, which I think was the problem with attaching that word to my blog name. I’m representing an idea that is controversial and subjective. I try my best to be modest at all times without self-proclaiming righteousness.
What are the blogs that you follow?
Ah, there are a lot of them including friends I have linked on my blog! Sea of Shoes was probably my first favorite personal style blog, because Jane has an amazing sense of style, aesthetic, and taste in pop culture. I like to think that her taste is almost identical to mine, but I’m not really sure if we’d be friends because of it!
Any recent digital crush?
Recently, I’ve been following a lot of yogis and Russian fashionistas on Instagram for inspiration and serious crushing. It’s an odd demographic to follow, but hey, you asked!
What can we wish you?
More open-minded people to read what I have to say who can discuss objectively and civilly. Also, a cooler summer without this horrible heatwave!
We love when fashion meets arts. We love when fashion bloggers don’t only shoot themselves but when they also try to tell us stories; to teach us wise glimpses of knowledge, with subtle ideas and great curation. We had a crush on a very young woman, Johanna K. But her words and her mind touched us deeply. We bet she’s going to rock the fashion scene in the coming years.
Dear Johanna: when did you start blogging and why?
It all begun with some unused articles that I used to write about collections I liked. I once met someone who worked at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris and he advised me to start a blog. Since the beginning, I always knew I didn’t want to post pictures of my outfits or things like that. What I wanted was to write and share my writings about fashion, in order to rehearse for my future as a fashion journalist. Then little by little I opened my fields of inspiration by posting about more diverse subjects.
“Fashion can change the world”: what do you think about that?
How could one deny this? Remember what impact YSL, Dior, Chanel, Mary Quant in the sixties and so many others had on their times. I think fashion is powerful by several aspects. It has the power to unveil (or trigger) the changes of a whole society, and then it is said that if you “give a girl the right shoes, she can conquer the world! ”. More seriously, what fashion has of most fascinating and powerful to me is that it manages to unite both art and living, contributing to turn everyday life into something aesthetic. But as beauty and aestheticism are not made to have a point, I don’t think fashion in itself can change the world. It is the inspiration that it generates that triggers some of that strength necessary for who wants to leave its mark on the world’s stage.
You mix diverse sources of inspirations with fashion: architecture, arts, films; how would you define your playground?
I am a book lover, art amateur (I know too little to say I’m a specialist), and aestheticism seeker. The horizon of my sources of inspiration broadens everyday more.
What are your sources of inspirations?
In a few words, I can say that it has no limit. Everything can inspire me. It can be the sound of high heels as well as the scent of a fragrance, a collection, the color of a lipstick, an afternoon with a pink light, the furtive sight of a face, as well as an exhibition, a text, an atmosphere whether real or fictional, a friend, something I read…I can find beauty in everything even when I don’t expect it and that’s what makes life so moving sometimes. My playground is life and the limitless resources of nature or spirit it contains. Both spontaneity and sophistication have their part of seduction.
What are the French blogs that you follow?
I’m often disappointed by fashion blogs, but some are of real quality. I love the universe of Miss Pandora. She manages both to stage herself and to post very clever and instructive writings. Her blog should be an example for some, though I hate nothing more than compulsive similarity. I also love Les Garçons aux foulards, and I’ve followed them for nearly two years now, even if I don’t have the time to read them as often as before. Their articles are unvarnished, and they do not hesitate to criticize the world of fashion although they are part of it. I think this is important in our time when conformism and hypocrisy are so present. Any recent digital crush?
YES ! I recently discovered this website, The Red List. Anyone in lack of inspiration just has to surf for half an hour and will be totally cured. It is the best rehab ever.
What can we wish you?
Nothing but hard work for the next two years…In September I’m starting a prep class for literature studies in Paris !
Time for a new interview with another top fashion influencer! Today, meet Fleur Huynh, fashion editor for Apollo Novo, a France-based men’s fashion magazine. Together, we’ll enter her back-to-black wardrobe, and ask about her favorite pieces of clothing.
Rumor Time! Does every fashion editor have a house-sized closet?
Well, how to start… when you live in Paris, it is pretty hard to have an house-sized apartment to hold the house-sized closet, but I luckily have quite a big space to store it all…in my bedroom, in my living room, but also at my dad’s, and I don’t even mention what I left in Australia! (I was supposed to come back for a three-month holidays break in Paris, and in fact, it’s now been two years. The city has kidnapped me!) Funnily enough, I always wear the same things. My closet is always full of pieces I am pulling out for work from designers showrooms… Pieces come in and out, I mainly do menswear so the temptation isn’t killing as much as when I have to give it back.
Are you attached to one piece in particular? What’s it’s story?
My leather jacket and my capeline hat. If you know me a little, you would know that my closet is like a private club, whatever isn’t leather and black do not go in. I look like a raven most days. My leather jacket was a present from my Mum five years ago and I don’t think I have ever worn a piece more in my entire life. It is not a designer piece, it is from a little shop in Australia. I had doubts the few first time I wore it… now it is THE staple piece of my wardrobe. The day it will die on me will be a hard time so I will do everything for it not to happen.
The hat, very Saint-Laurent. It is an extension of myself now. I got it as it was raining and I was lazy to hold an umbrella at that time. It is one piece that brings any of my outfits to the next level.
Who’s your favorite designer? Does he/she affects your work?
I have an undying love for the designer Jean-Claude Jitrois artistry. He truly masters leather and I can not deny my passion for it. Any pieces has its sexiness and sleekness, and make you feel like a vixen, strong and powerful. I also adore Zana Bayne who designs modern leather harnesses. I love mixing styles and textures within my work, like adding a harness to a sleek Dior Homme suit. This balance of chic, sexy and edgy, mixing texture, culture and gender… I must say I love my job.
Moving on to the bag, any unexpected item to declare?
My bag is what inspired the souks of Marrakesh I believe… Ipad, sewing kits and cutlery… I live for picnics with my friends. If the picnic becomes too opulent and the clothes tear apart, it can be fixed. Always. I am like Mac Giver.
Tell me more about a weird fashion habit of yours.
Wearing exclusively black is not that weird of a fashion habit… Though, when your friends ask you how you are feeling today with a concerned voice because you are, for once, somehow wearing that royal blue jacket… It seems good enough to be pointed out.
If you could hide any fashion piece from this season in your bag, what would it be?
Ryan Gosling and his white t-shirt from Drive… That is totally an “In trend fashion piece”, right?