Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

I can safely say that I had never encountered before the Fash Ed pointed me in the direction of this relatively new website, which claims to be revolutionising the fashion design industry. That's a pretty big claim, so I thought I would have a nosey around to see what was going on.

The homepage, which explains the Garmz process.

At first glance, it does seem like a pretty nifty idea, and one that will appeal to an army of shoppers sick to the back teeth of the same fashion items, in the same chain stores, across the globe. 

Garmz offers anyone (no qualifications, work experience, internships etc necessary) with a smidge of design talent to submit their designs to the public website. Then registered users can chew over these designs, vote for the best, and voila! Garmz produces the most popular garments and sells them via the online store: giving the designer unprecedented profit and exposure in a massively competitive industry. Shoppers get to buy something slightly more unique and special, and can sleep soundly in the knowledge that they are helping a fledgling designer on their way to global domination.

I continued my research with a look over the products that have already made it through the judging process and into the online shop. There is a very limited range, with only three items for sale, a few for pre-order, and a few that have just been selected as winning designs. All are elegant and interesting, with clean lines and nice details (a turned up cuff there, a faux-fur collar there) but none are completely groundbreaking. Put it this way, Gaga won't be shopping at Garmz.

 This badly named yet pretty jacket is the most expensive item on the site. It's faux fur, and inspired by a hunting jacket (which is clearer in the original design, below)

 The price range ranges between 49 and 279 Euros, which immediately turns me off, because there is an awful lot of polyester listed in the product fabrication. However, there are happy customer reviews under each garment, so there is obviously a loyal Garmz following already (nearly 3000 'Likes' on Facebook, that universal resource for true customer feedback.)

The press have been raving about the site, especially in Europe and the US - even Perez Hilton got involved. I'm sure it's about to get a whole lot bigger here too, but I am genuinely concerned about who is actually going to be profiting from this 'fashion revolution'. As highlighted by Miggy of Miggy Loves The Internet, read the small print and it states that designers will receive 5-10% of the profits if their design is successfully sold. In monetary terms, that means if a garment sells 100 times at £100 a pop, the designer will get £500, whereas Garmz pockets £9500. Something about that doesn't sit quite right, in my humble opinion. Maybe Garmz isn't sticking it to the 'big fat fashion industry', as it claims, and instead, is just another great business idea designed to capitalise on fresh, inexpensive talent.

What do you think? Has anyone shopped at If so, what was the experience like, and how do you feel about the company's mission? 

All images: Garmz


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

A wave of bright colours are to make their way into our wardrobes for spring/summer 2011. While Summer 2010 fashion was characterised by pale camel and blush tones, this year expect every concentration of pink (my all time favourite colour) from candyfloss to cerise, multiple shades of blue thanks mainly to Armani's La Femme Bleu collection, and saving the best for last - green. Not any shade of green; one very specific hue: emerald.

This colour has lightened my mood all week. Drinking it in feels like I'm getting my vitamin D or something. It started when I bought an emerald silk blouse from Urban Outfitters sale for £20 two weeks ago (sadly, no longer available). Then at the Golden Globes Angeline Jolie, Mila Kunis and Elizabeth Moss all chose to wear emerald tinted gowns. In my Golden Globes blog post I initially referred to the shade as forest green, and was corrected by someone commenting on the blog, she suggested emerald and she was right. The colour is that of the precious jewel and it has become my colour of the moment. Am looking forward to buying and wearing more emerald coloured items - especially from Celine and Lanvin. Also for leaves to bud and days to become lighter and brighter. Until then I will simply enjoy the colour.
Lanvin's emerald silk dress for SS11, available from Matches

I particularly like this by G. Stolyarov II, a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator. He says on his website "This work of Abstract Orderism depicts an arrangement of layered regular polygons (polygons with all sides of equal length). From the center outward are depicted a triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon, hendecagon, dodecagon, tridecagon, tetradecagon, pentadecagon, hexadecagon, heptadecagon, octadecagon, nonadecagon, and icosagon (polygon with 20 sides). As the polygons become larger, increasingly darker green colors are used, thus giving the painting a three-dimensional appearance -- as if one were viewing an emerald from one of its poles."
The new Celine advertising campaign by Juergen Teller with Daria Werbory 

The Emerald City of Oz


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education
Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

I have a confession: I never wear jeans. It's a sad fact, because I am a huge fan of the jeans + old t-shirt + beaten up leather jacket combination, but have unfortunately never been able to find a pair of denim wonders that truly flatters and fits me correctly. The kind you can just throw on without thinking about it.

Until now - I have had a denim epiphany. Last week, the Fash Ed mentioned Bodymetrics at Selfridges to me, and I was intrigued. This revolutionary fitting service uses a machine to scan your whole body and calculate the shape you are, according to their own special categories (I was relieved to note the absence of 'apple'  and 'pear' terminology that has such a negative effect on female self esteem - who wants to be compared to lumpy old fruit?!) Instead, the Bodymetrics service tells you whether you are an Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby, which then means you can select any of the Serfontaine jean styles, that have each been tailored to the three different shapes. In short: the same style of jeans, tailored three ways, for different women. Sounded good to me...

I'm an Emerald - Fash Ed is a Ruby

On the day of our appointment, I was more than a little nervous about stripping off in the presence of total strangers, but thankfully the Tron-like body scanner in the Selfridges denim department offers total privacy. It all feels very sci-fi, as a beam of red light gives your spread-eagled body the once over and beams a silver android scan of your form over to the fitting assistants.

Melanie getting her Tron on in the Bodymetrics scanner

Apparently, I'm an Emerald shape, which is because my waist and hip measurements are fairly similar. At first I was confused, because I'm about as in-and-out as a Coke bottle, but I discovered denim companies measure the 'waist' a lot lower down than our natural waists, because no-one wears their jeans that high anymore. Therefore my 'waist' in jean terms is actually more like the top of my hips. The sales assistant also told me I had slim thighs, at which point I wanted to kiss her.

Into the changing room we went, for fun and games trying on a selection of styles all shaped for Emeralds and Rubies (in the case of the Fash Ed). Although there was still some wriggling and hopping to get our jeans on, this was officially the least stressful jeans-trying experience I have ever had, because for once, they actually fit right. And yes, I came out with the most flattering pair of jeans I have ever worn, which officially makes me a denim convert. At last!

Changing room fun with Mel and George:

As you can see, we both tried on many, many pairs, but unfortunately none were 100% perfect for the 
Fash Ed

(Excuse the stupid facial expression) This was my favourite black pair, with stealthy zips for extra ankle hugging-ness.

We both liked this pale stonewash pair...

 ...which turned out to be my personal winners.

The Fash Ed's experience:

On the other hand, I am a denim obsessive. My first Saturday job was as a denim grader for Rokit (the famous London vintage store) back in the early 1990's. By the time university was complete I was a denim expert. To this day I can still tell a person their jean size from looking at them (who needs a Bodymetric scanner when you've got me). Over the years jeans have been a key component of my everyday wardrobe, until recently when they have been usurped by J Brand Houlihans and Dom & Ruby leather skinny trousers.

Bottom line is while the Bodymetrics scanner found perfectly fitting jeans for me - and I mean PERFECT, they were like a second skin - they did not suit me. Being a Ruby means I have a teeny waist swooping out to a rather cuvaceous hip and thigh. The jeans they gave me were too low-rise, and made me look like I had a long body and thigh handles. But I'm going back to Selfridges next Friday 4th February to host a bloggers event at the denim area, and am trying again with some more high-waisted pairs that are about to come onto stock.


Me and the fashion junior will be hanging out with Paige from Paige's Premium Denim, and Kristen from J Brand at Selfridges Destination Denim area om the 3rd floor from 5 to 8pm next Friday. Please come by for a chat

Melanie & George


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Pop culture, fashion and art are three of our favourite things, so we are very excited about the new exhibition opening at White Cube tonight.  ‘Most Wanted’, is a collection of paintings by New York artist Richard Phillips. Phillips’ distinctive paintings are created using traditional, large scale oil techniques, but their subject matter is a little more 21st century...

Using found imagery of some faces you might just recognise, this artist addresses the marketability of our wishes, identity, politics, sexuality and mortality.  He thus examines the iconic nature of pictures, which the media and art world use daily – each according to its own agenda.

 Captions are not necessary for these portraits of some of the world's most recognisable young stars, all illuminated by a coloured halo which references Richard Bernstein’s illustrations from Interview magazine. They are depicted against ‘step and repeat’ backdrops, or "backboards" which display a variety of luxury brand logos and are what is used to promote brands atred carpet events. There is more than a touch of the 'trading card' about these images - 10 points for a Momsen, you get the idea!

Another interesting paradox thrown up by Philips' use of a laborious, old-fashioned painting style is that the time it takes for him to produce and present one of these artworks totally conflicts with the normal light speed at which we are used to consuming celebrity images. Also, by allowing them to be posted all over the Internet, he is returning the images back to their original context. It's a mind-bending concept. He also exaggerates the rehearsed element to these familiar red-carpet poses with the intensity of colour and size of canvas (fancy seeing R-Patzz's face 2 metres high? Oh, go on then.)

I will be checking out these paintings in the flesh, so to speak, tonight and will be happy to report back on just how accurate Leo Dicaprio's eyelashes are, or if Philips has got Taylor Swift's sparkling earrings just so. Not that I have seen the real thing to judge them against, but I have a feeling these portraits will be the closest a civilian can get to the A-list!


'Most Wanted' was the hottest ticket in London town last night; the gallery was heaving with beautiful, creative types and the exhibition looked stunning. With the male portraits lined up on one wall and the females on the other, the visual impact of these vibrant images was huge - although this is partly due to the collective effect of all ten paintings shown in one space. I particularly enjoyed the smaller pastel sketches that Philips had also displayed, mini versions of the final products, which gave you an insight into his work process. There was a crowd gathered around the Zac 'ridiculous eyelashes' Efron portrait, but my personal favourite was the Taylor Swift for sheer beauty and attention to detail. 

Fashion spot: One of my favourite people in the world dropped by, the goddess-like Florence Welch, looking incredible in a cobalt dress. Here she is with the artist himself:

Richard Philips and the beautiful Flo

Images: Richard Philips/White Cube/Getty


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by Fashion Junior & Fashion Editor at Large

This week, two major events are making an impact on the fashion industry; the first, obviously, is the Paris Haute Couture shows, and the second was the announcement this morning that the UK economy has actually shrunk by 0.5% in the last quarter. A third infuence, the ongoing awards season,  is also playing its part, albeit unknowingly. Now, fashion is a subject we know, but the economy is not something we could claim expert knowledge of. What we do know, however, is that the government's so called 'austerity' measures clearly haven't been working, and that the downturn in economy is having a clear effect both on fashion designers and fashion wearers, especially those in the brightest glare of the public eye.

The look of the couture shows (and indeed what the upcoming month of RTW shows are likely to look like) are intrinsically linked with the economic climate; this is plain to see by casting an eye over the pre-fall shows. Subconsciously, whilst editing the collections, we both picked out sombre, conservative outfits that revealed very little skin, with a very subtle approach to glamour. Indeed in our Golden Globes post of last week we noted a heavy dose of covered-up Austerity Chic. Most of the best-dressed actresses showed skin only from the neck up and wrist down, with only a peep of leg or shoulder.
Valentino prefall

Celine prefall

Lanvin prefall

 Givenchy prefall

 Francesco Scognamiglio prefall

These high necked, maxi-length outfits seem totally appropriate for the current fashion mood, and are a better reflection of the moment the world currently finds itself in. In short, covered-up is the new sexy.
This austere feeling also calls to mind the ultra-reserved style of dress worn by Quakers and Amish people, known as 'plain dress'. Again, we are not experts on religous tradition, but some Google research seems to suggest that their method of extreme conservatism and covering of the head is an attempt to be closer to godliness; modest apparel and community conformist standards offer a visual representation of their religion and remove distractions from their faith.
Quaker 'plain dress' circa 1927
Twenties, 30's and 40's fashions are undergoing a major fashion resurgence both on the runway and off the runway on HBO's newest much lauded addition, 'Boardwalk Empire' with its first episode directed by the legendary Marty Scorsese. The costume designer John A. Dunn used the Fashion Institute of Technology's historic tailoring books as inspiration, and only used fabrics available during the period in which the series is set. It's no coincedence that the costume below echoes the shapes and styles of the pre-fall collections; everyone is on the same, austerity-led wavelength.

 A still from HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire'

The mood of subdued glamour continued at Adam and Lanvin, where gowns in muted tones were layered with heavy knitwear. These looks make me (Fash Junior) think of I Capture the Castle - a novel about a formerly wealthy family living in a ramshackle country house, the two daughters wearing their best frocks until they literally fall apart. It's a very English aesthetic, in that we want to put on our finery in the face of adversity, but our innate sense of propriety means we chuck a cardi over the top.

The old theory of hemlines rising in boom time and falling when things go bust seems to hold true in 2011; fashion and the economy are, for the moment, walking hand in hand. Even at the DSquared2 mens fashion show in Milan last week, the Caten twins who design what is normally a flesh-revealing sexy fest took inspiration from the Amish. What the Caten twins begin with their menswear, they usually carry through into their womens collections. DSquared2 women not wearing micro-shorts a bra top and a smile? Now that will be somethoing truly different.

DSquared2 Mens AW 2011

DSquared2 Mens AW11

Likewise at this weeks ongoing Haute Couture showings in Paris, covered up is the order of the day as evidenced at Chanel, Bouchra Jarrar and Armani Prive.

Armani Prive Spring/Summer 2011

Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2011

 Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2011
Bouchra Jarrar Spring/Summer 2011
We expect to see fashion's 'Austerity Measures' continue apace as we move further into Autumn/Winter revelations.

Prefall photographs: Courtsey of the designers


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Busy first day at Paris Couture viewing Haute Couture shows and prefall collections. Am rushing to launch of Lipstick magazine at Colette now, so here I'm just sharing my snap grabs of the day so far. Will fill in further details here later!

Marni prefall shoes

Marni prefall bags

Vionnet designer Rodolfo Paglialunga shows me his feather print coat from his gorgeous prefall

Vionnet prefall divine shoes

My favourite Vionnet dress

Divine Dior

Crazy Dior shot

How amazing are the fabrics at Armani Prive?

Armani taking his bow less than an hour ago!


Crossing the Blues, University of the Nations, Social Work and Education, Shop Clothes Online, Radiology Information Social Work and Education Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Anna Dello Russo, I thank you for inspiring this post.  There is nothing like popping a cut-out of one's oversized head onto an outfit to judge its suitability for the wardrobe, (and to laugh quietly to yourself at said images while colleagues look on with a concerned frown.)

Now onto the serious business of how good the pre-fall collections are for AW11. Designers and brands are definitely putting more time, thought and effort into them. In fact, when I do have enough spare cash to buy from catwalk labels, I rarely, if ever, buy catwalk pieces. I buy pre. Not consciously, it's just what I gravitate toward. All the Celine I bought last season was pre, for example. This will happen again next season. To my mind these clothes are just more wearable for everyday life. They are a stylish fashion statement to go back to time and again. Much preferable than buying a catwalk piece that has massive impact, but that can be worn less often because it is so memorable. (Of course I do make exceptions!) So here are my top ten buys from the pre-fall collections.

There is something so appealing about this sleeveless denim coat by Alexander Wang. Think of the variety that can be achieved with the sleevage!

I am in love with the work of Peter Copping at Nina Ricci. His work has a fragile toughness that is so appealing and chic. I would dare to say Copping is my favourite designer at this moment.  Also he is English, not that this should be a moot point, however its a qualifier for me.

The last couple of Balenciaga collections were fabulous, but to my eye hard to wear. The pre-fall on the other hand was full of great, approachable  pieces. Balenciaga designer Nicolas even reprised his Alsatian head intarsia knit that I remember from the mid-noughties. The structure of this dress is elegantly bold and can work as an amazing fashion statement all year round. 

As a child my favourite teddy was Rupert the Bear; this is the only way to explain away my obsession for plaid trousers. These from Celine will be mine.  

This zingingly vivid violet outfit by Derek Lam is addictive.

Does Phoebe Philo actually know me and study the workings of my mind? This is my dream work outfit. 

Really like how Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy has given a sexy twist to the new covered up austerity sweeping through fashion. There seems to be a competition to see how much of a woman can be covered up, and to edit sexiness out of fashion altogether. This look thumbs a nose to that with its transparent layer.

Oh Alber! Beautiful fashion in motion.

When I was a kid my favourite two TV shows were Magnum and Charlie's Angels re-runs. My favourite Charlie's Angel was Sabrina the boyish one whose wardrobe consisted of flares and tight tops. This is an "uber-Sabrina" look by the other Peter, Peter Dundas of Pucci, my second favourite designer of the moment. This makes me want to leap off pavements busy going places...

Big respect to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen whose collection The Row is super-sophisicated and modern dressing in the masculine mode that is so wildly popular in the contemporary collections. Hands up: the above look is how I dress almost every day, and I would very much like to update my basics with these from The Row.

Photos: Courtesy of the designers