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Edward Enninful appointed editor of Vogue

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 16.09.53Ever since outgoing editor Alexandra Shulman announced her departure after 25 years at the title, the industry has been abuzz with rumours about who might fill her coveted shoes, and this week we finally got the answer in the form of W Magazine’s Edward Enninful.

While he undoubtedly has the fashion credentials, he wasn’t on the radar initially, with many people expecting the role to go to Shulman’s current deputy, Emily Sheffield (who also happens to be the sister of Samantha Cameron) or Vogue fashion features director Sarah Harris. The bookies’ were even tipping Glamour Magazine’s Jo Elvin for the role at one point.

But these were all predictable choices, and if there’s one thing you don’t want to be in the fashion industry, it’s predictable. Enninful could be just what the title needs. He was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to diversity in the fashion industry and, let’s be honest, Vogue could do with more than just a sprinkling of that.

After last year’s furore over Vogue’s negative stance towards bloggers (although to be fair, that was US Vogue), this was a fantastic opportunity for the title to prove that it is progressive and that it can make paradigm-shifting choices when it wants to. Vogue, and other titles like it, have often been accused of being a ‘posh girl’s club’ , out of touch with the reality of most people’s lives today. Hopefully the era of Enninful will put a stop to those kinds of perceptions and challenge the received notion of what it means to be a fashion magazine editor today.


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Tom Ford ditches ‘show to shop’ catwalks

Tom Ford ditches show to shopJust when we thought the future of catwalk shopping had finally arrived, big name designers appear to be stepping away from the concept of ‘see-now-buy-now’ shopping.

The idea was to make entire collections available to buy online immediately after catwalk shows, but it seems that many have been struggling to make it work. Burberry was among the first to adopt the method, with Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren all giving it a go.

Ford, however, announced his intention to drop it after trialling it for just one season, saying that the store shipping schedule didn’t align with the fashion show schedule and that it ultimately led to lost sales.

In theory this approach was a breath of fresh air for the industry – a further step towards democratizing fashion by making catwalk style more widely available, even to those who didn’t have an invitation to attend the show. Unfortunately the logistics haven’t up until now appeared to match up to the gruelling schedule of international shows that most designers are subject to.

While big design houses may struggle, could this be an opportunity for high street retailers? Being able to get limited edition or hot ticket items straight from the catwalk in your local shopping centre via your smartphone appears to be the Holy Grail for ardent fashion lovers. Unfortunately, the tight stock cycles of high street stores means that this is logistically difficult to facilitate right now – but perhaps one day technology will provide the answer…


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5 social media tools we can’t live without

5 social media tools we loveClients often ask us how we find the time to manage all the different accounts that we do at once. Well, it takes a lot of creativity, careful strategic thought and (sssh, don’t tell!) a few tools to help make our lives easier. We’re always trialling new tools to help make the process as efficient as possible, so that when you’re paying for our time to run your account, you’re getting the best value possible. Here are just a few of the tools we love right now…

  1. Facebook Insights
    We love Facebook Insights because it’s such an easy way to track your Page’s performance, providing valuable statistics on reach, post engagement and your most popular content in an easy to digest format. We don’t know how we ever survived without it, to be honest! Best of all? It’s free!
  2. Sprout Social

For social media pros like us, Sprout is a real godsend as it not only allows us to schedule posts across multiple channels all in one place, but it provides handy analytics graphs and reports in downloadable PDF format. There is a subscription fee for this one, which is why it’s a pro tool rather than for dabblers, but it more than pays for its value.

  1. GRUM

Creating content for Instagram can be very time consuming, but scheduling it in doesn’t have to be. GRUM allows you to upload pictures, do basic edits and add captions, before scheduling it for the exact date and time you want it to appear. Genius!

  1. Buffer

This scheduling tool is really useful for scheduling in your content – it’s especially useful if you like to share links to multiple news sources as there’s a handy little icon you can add to your tool bar that allows you to buffer a page right there and then without leaving the website you’re on. Easy peasy!

  1. Tweetreach

Ever completed a campaign and wondered how your hashtag has performed? Simply enter your hashtag into Tweetreach.com and it will tell you how many accounts your hashtag has reached, the number of impressions it gained and the top contributors to it. If your hashtag gets a lot of use, you will have to pay for the full report, but at just $20, it’s worth it if you really want to prove the value of your campaign and knock their socks off.


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‘New York, Paris…Bristol!’

Henry HollandHaving worked with Bristol Fashion Week for the past three years, Style Tribe are well versed in west country chic, but we were delighted to be able to share it with the readers of Grazia Daily, via the genius that is Henry Holland!

We like to think of Bristol as the UK’s second fashion capital after London, but it’s also among the most underrated in the country. Until Style Tribe started work on it, for example, not many people were aware that it had its own Fashion Week and boasts an excellent independent fashion scene, as well as all the top retailers.

As part of our mission to help address this, we spread the word to our friends at Grazia while working there recently and, to help make our point, we brought in our pal Henry Holland (whom we’d also booked as presenter of Bristol Fashion Week AW16) to tell them exactly how great it is.

Henry gave a fabulous interview to Grazia Daily (written by Style Tribe’s Gina Jones) where he sang the event’s praises – as well as spilling the beans on his upcoming fashion lines. Read the full interview here.

Not only was the event a sell-out, but Henry was so popular that we welcomed him back for SS17 – roll on summer!


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Five top tips for hosting a successful blogger event

5 top tips for successful blogger eventsBlogger events are a fantastic way of marketing your brand and gaining online coverage. Here’s how to make the most of your event…

1. Mix strategy with fun

If you’ve decided to host a blogger event, you obviously have a business reason for doing this – perhaps you want more online coverage, or to increase your social media following. But there should also be a clear benefit to the blogger for attending – on receiving the invite, the first thing the blogger will want to know is ‘what’s in it for me?’ and if you want your event to be a success you need to be able to answer this question.

Successful events are those in which the benefit is mutual. Why should the blogger promote your products? (FYI ‘because they’re great’ is not the answer; there are loads of great products out there!) What your event needs to do is give the blogger an experience they might not be able to get elsewhere. Inviting them in store for a preview of your products is fine, but they’ve probably had several preview invites from different brands. Why not make yours different by adding a little fun?

I once attended an event for a shoe brand where they provided bloggers with samples from their new shoe line and asked us to customise them. The invite was so different to anything else I’d received and it sounded like a lot of fun, so of course I said yes. At the event, they displayed all the customised shoes and the winning design was featured on their website. The winning blogger also received a free pair of shoes. The bloggers loved it and got quite competitive. Not only that, but we spent the whole night touching and getting to know the products, as well as posting pictures of them on social media while we worked on them. It was a win/win for both brand and bloggers. The best events are those that take a much more collaborative approach, allowing bloggers to do what they do best – be creative – whilst also providing you with the coverage you’re after.

2. Allow online registrations

Most brands organising events tend to send individual invites to bloggers via email, but by allowing bloggers to register online via services like Eventbrite you can collect a bit more data about your attendees and make it easier for them to share it with fellow bloggers. Eventbrite is great because it allows you to set a limit on the number of tickets and create mandatory fields in the registration process (e.g. tell us your email address, blog URL and Twitter handle). You can also set it to send out reminders to bloggers before the event to ensure they attend, and follow up with them afterwards in a thank you email.

3. Hashtag it

Make it easy for bloggers to share your event by creating a specific hashtag for it. A good hashtag is short, unique to your event, and ideally mentions your brand name so that those searching for it knows who is organising it, e.g. #StyleTribeBlogMeet. Having a hashtag means posts about your event can be easily grouped together and you could even include a widget on your website that pulls in all tweets that use your hashtag, providing great live content.

It also offers you a great way of measuring the social media impact of your event – tools like Tweetreach or Hashtracking will be able to tell you how many mentions your hashtag received and the potential reach of this.

4. Provide reasons to share on the day

To maximise the social media impact of your event, you’ll want bloggers to post as much as possible while they are at your event, but how do you get them to do this? It helps if you make it fun for them – for example, if you’re having a cocktail party, why not create a branded ‘photo booth’ area with props that they can pose with and post selfies? Or if you want them to feature your products, you could turn it into a competition and set them a challenge – e.g. the most creative product pic taken on the night wins a prize?

5. Follow up

After the event, don’t forget to measure the impact by looking at your social media stats – things like hashtag mentions and reach and @mentions for your brand by date will give you an idea of how much of a boost the event has given you. As well as quantitative research though, make sure you get some qualititative information too – read the blog posts and see what impressions the bloggers came out with. You could even create an online survey and email it out to them to see if their opinion of your brand has changed as a result of attending the event. Events are a great opportunity to learn from customers and drive your brand forward, so don’t waste them.

Still new to working with bloggers? Watch my video, five ways to engage with bloggers to help get you started. 


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Five ways to engage with bloggers

With some 2 billion people worldwide using social media and 84% saying they always or sometimes buy based on personal recommendation, the role of bloggers can’t be underestimated. If you’re looking for ways to reach out to bloggers and promote your business, watch the video below for some tips to help you along…


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#ThrowDownTheLadder

Thoughts on being a mentor and why women should champion other women.

It’s not often we touch on the subject of feminism here on Style Tribe, but we’d like to think we’re an inherently feminist business. We think men and women should be equal in the workplace and everywhere else.

In fact, it’s thanks to a series of inspiring women that this company was formed. From the female agency boss who showed me how to interpret a brief and kick ass in meetings, to the accountant who made me realise we can do anything we put our minds to (by running two of her own businesses, bringing up five kids and beating cancer all at once); if I hadn’t met these women and learned from them, I wouldn’t be on the road I’m on right now.

Tina Fey, being the legend that she is, once said:

“Don’t get too comfortable being the only woman in the room. Remember to try to find opportunities to bring other women in – to throw the rope down. I try to tell young women – don’t be tricked into thinking that you’re in the field to compete with other women.”

I’ve been lucky enough to have some totally brilliant women who were willing to throw the rope down for me so I could climb the career ladder. Now I’m looking forward to my opportunity to throw it down to someone else.

Our monthly #BlogClub meetings here in Bristol are a chance to do just that – it’s where I go to meet fellow bloggers and I always come out with so many tips. The enthusiasm of the group is infectious and if there’s anyone who knows more about WordPress widgets and other bloggy tech tidbits than this lot, I’ve yet to find them!

In particular I’ve loved getting to know the younger ones, who are just at the start of their blogging journey. They’ve got none of that complacency that we more experienced bloggers sometimes get after having done it for a living for so long. They simply have a passion for what they do.

One of them told me once that she considered me a mentor and, once I’d gotten over how scary that word was (surely I’m not old enough to be one of those?!), I realised that it’s actually pretty cool. Sure, I’ve made my share of mistakes, but if someone else can benefit from that experience, isn’t that just fabulous? I still have my mentors that I look up to and learn from, and now I’m getting to a place where I can pay all that forward. And I plan to make a conscious effort to do that more.

So now I’m encouraging you all to do the same. Wherever you are in your journey, there’s someone else who’s trying to follow in your footsteps. Make sure you throw down the ladder and give one of your sisters a leg-up. You never know, she might do the same for you one day.

Tweet us @StyleTribeUK with your thoughts on #ThrowDownTheLadder


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Insta-success

How to make thousands from your Instagram account – and other popular myths…

“You could charge £500 to £2000 per image!” yelled one Facebook post, advertising the joys of turning your Instagram account into a money-spinner. But, as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

This week Facebook served me a sponsored post from Stylist Magazine about social media/blogging – pretty good targeting since I’m an avid reader and work in social media. What they dished up was completely off base though. Essentially they were flogging a message about how to use your Instagram following to make extra cash, but their headline and intro promised you could make “thousands a month” just like the superbloggers they interviewed in the piece.

I can’t tell you how infuriating it is when I see this kind of rubbish being trotted out online or by magazines I actually read and respect. While some of the advice might help aspiring bloggers, more often that not what it actually does is create unrealistic expectations.

In reality, it’s a very small section of the blogging community that gets paid this kind of money. Not everyone can or will achieve this. That doesn’t mean they should stop trying, but it just doesn’t happen for everyone like this. I work with so many talented young people who are making amazing progress with their blogging but constantly feel like they fall short thanks to pieces like this.

In the interest of balance, I think we should look at some of the things that make these bloggers stand out from the rest and what we can learn from them.

They have oodles of followers

If you want to get paid for championing brands on Instagram, it’s a lot about the quality of your pics but mainly about the numbers. Brands need to show a return on investment, so if they are buying your services, they need to show that it’s had an impact; how many eyeballs have seen my content? How many of those people bought it afterwards? For this reason, many won’t look at you until you have followers in the thousands. Patricia Bright (mentioned in the Stylist piece) has 272,000 followers. That’s more than the circulation of some popular national magazines for women. It’s a numbers game, so if you want to get paid you need to have the numbers first.

They’re connected with the right people

Bip Ling’s mum and dad both attended Central St Martins and run a fashion illustration gallery in Mayfair. She has said she was around fashion shows from a young age and even went to Louis Vuitton HQ in Paris aged 14. Before starting Style Bubble, Susie Lau was commissioning editor of DazedDigital.com, so she wasn’t new in media circles and probably had a pretty good contacts book already. These people didn’t come from nowhere; they were in the right places at the right time to make things happen. That’s not to take away from the incredible talent they have or the hard work they put into making their blogs a success, but if your mum and dad work for the council and you live on a housing estate, you’re probably not going to have the same opportunities these people have had. You might have to put in a bit of extra effort to make some of the connections you need. This could take a bit longer and be more difficult than you think. (And I say this as someone whose dad works for the council and who grew up on a housing estate). You can do it, but just be prepared for it not to be easy.

They have an agent

Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, touted in the article as earning upwards of $5,000 per post is actually on the books of Next Models. This means there is someone out there whose job it is to put her photo in front of brands and sell her. Not many ordinary bloggers have this kind of help and just because you’re posting it on Instagram, it doesn’t automatically mean brands will spot you and suddenly want to pay you lots of money. If you don’t have representation and want to make money, then a big part of your efforts should be concentrated on getting yourself in front of the decision makers. Enter contests, tag them when you wear their products, talk to them a lot. It’s a long road, but you’ll need to prize the door open somehow to start a conversation with them.

They have the right look

Having a strong following is really important when it comes to attracting attention (and money) from brands, but so is having the right look. Brand managers need to make sure that the person representing them fits with the brand’s image. Zoella’s ‘girl next door’ look and tween appeal made her an ideal fit for Superdrug. Tess Holliday’s gorgeous curves and outspoken attitude were a match made in heaven with Yours Clothing. You might have lots of followers and look great, but if you’re not what a brand is looking for, they won’t book with you. It’s as simple as that. There’s not a lot you can do about that really, apart from look like whatever they think is cool right now, and trying to do that is usually infuriating and a bit of a losing game. You’re far better off just looking like yourself and if they like it, then great.

Their photos are professional standard

A lot of articles about monetising your Instagram feed make it sound like you can make loads of money just by snapping any old thing with your iPhone and posting it, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Many bloggers work with a professional photographer to get those awe-inspiring shots and all use editing tools to make them absolutely perfect before posting. It’s called Insta-gram but it ought to be called ‘A lot of bloody effort’-gram.

They work bloody hard

There’s no denying it, these people put a lot of effort into these perfect-looking Instagram feeds and blogs. They make it look easy, carefree and natural, but very little about it is. They plan out their content strategy in advance, spend hours and hours crafting the content and schedule in their postings at exactly the right time for maximum impact. It can take years to hone the type of skills they have. And you shouldn’t feel ashamed about that. You have to start somewhere, so even if your blog isn’t perfect yet, it’s lovely to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Finally, I just want to add that blogging and getting into social media to try and get big money deals with brands is kind of the antithesis of what made it cool in the first place. You should be doing it because you have a passion for something, because you have a talent you want to share, not just because you want to make money. Brands are buying into bloggers because they want a piece of something ‘genuine’. Just be genuine, be yourself and you’ll make progress.

Did you read the article? Share your thoughts over on our YouTube channel. 


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Bristol Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015

Bristol Fashion Week underwent an epic restyling this season, with Style Tribe helping to lead the PR and social media change.

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The south west’s biggest fashion event attracts some 7,000 visitors each season and, as an established event of many years standing, the organisers felt it was time to clear out the closet and bring in some new elements to keep the show as fresh as ever.

New host Lucy Watson from Made in Chelsea brought a breath of fresh air to the event, drawing a whole new audience to the shows, whilst veteran TV stylist Mark Heyes held up the fashion credentials, satisfying the show’s existing fans and wowing a new generation of style hunters.

16790076270_83807d7365_oOn top of this, we put together a brand new event aimed at the next generation of fashionistas called So You Think You Want To Work In Fashion? A panel of leading fashion experts, including top designer Jørgen Simonsen, Cosmopolitan magazine’s Fashion and Style Director Shelly Vella, fashion entrepreneur Grazziella Pinto, answered questions from students about their varied careers in fashion and gave some top tips to help them carve their own careers in fashion.

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Before the catwalk action even began, Style Tribe set about connecting The Mall’s retailers with prominent fashion bloggers, hosting a Bristol Fashion Week preview evening at Oasis and Warehouse. This ensured that bloggers and their key audience of 16 – 30s fashion lovers were already aware of the key trends and pieces that would be hitting the catwalk this season and were already talking about the event before tickets went on sale.

This season’s event attracted a wider range of fashion bloggers and press than ever before, with social media buzz eclipsing previous years, and #BristolFashionWeek becoming one of the hottest topics being discussed locally for the week preceding and during the event. Ticket sales were also up on the previous year, with a wider age range coming into The Mall to discover their fashion offering.

We’e already getting stuck into the Autumn/Winter 2015 show planning, but before we get to that, check out this video from Spring/Summer – it was an epic season!

 

*Images 1 and 2 by Charlotte Stone

 


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The great PR vs blogger debate

What bloggers should understand about PR and vice versa; we’re all in it together, so let’s be friends

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In the last few years I’ve made a transition from being a journalist and blogger into what my friends jokingly call ‘the dark side’ – branded content and PR. I now straddle the divide.

This gives me a unique perspective on what is often perceived as an adversarial relationship – that between bloggers and PR people. Each thinks the other fundamentally doesn’t ‘get it’ and has an easy life. That’s not true on either side. I’m not saying I’m perfect; I’ve made mistakes on both sides of the coin, but here’s what I do understand having done both…

Paid, owned and oh my gosh

When it comes to media, there’s paid, owned and earned.

  • ‘Paid’ refers to the things you buy, like adverts.
  • ‘Owned’ means the spaces the company creates and manages itself, like its own social channels and website.
  • ‘Earned’ is a big headache that no one knows how to deal with.

Essentially, ‘earned’ is word of mouth – things people say about the company that makes other people want to buy from them. This is the space that bloggers typically occupy. PR professionals are hired (in part) to work with bloggers and help generate some of this positive word of mouth. They might offer free products, or invite bloggers to events where they’ll ply them with free food and drink and try to win their favour. That’s their job.

Not all bloggers are created equal

Recently I came across a campaign called #FairPayForBloggers. They want brands to cough up for bloggers’ time and content. Bloggers spend time and energy creating their posts and growing their audience, and they argue they should be compensated for this. Unfortunately, this isn’t how most PR people and brands understand the relationship and to see why, we need to step back a bit.

Historically, journalists were the ones who were wined and dined to get good word of mouth. They didn’t get paid by the brand for their reviews (they were paid by the newspaper/magazine), but brands bought advertising in their magazines and newspapers, which paid their wages indirectly. The journalists had no part in this, and so were able to keep their reviews impartial in the main, whilst still earning a living.

Unfortunately a lot of market forces converged that meant ads were no longer taken out, publications struggled for money and loads of journos got the sack. It became all about branded content – magazines created and paid for by brands but written by journos to add credibility. Alongside that, bloggers were creating online content independently which people didn’t have to pay to read. And all of these things affected how people perceive the value of content.*

Content is now free, available at the click of a button. So who pays? Well, the journos mostly work for the brands now. They get paid by ‘The Man’. On the other side, the bloggers have mainly had day jobs, so they haven’t been getting paid. They gave away their content online for free, and might have received the odd gift or review product if they’d written about a brand.

However, over the last few years, there’s been a new development. Brands have been realising the value of online content and started investing in ads on blogs. And then some of them invested in content – promoted posts and such. Many bloggers have been giving up said day jobs to blog professionally. It suddenly got a lot more confusing. Who were the ‘professional’ bloggers and who were the ‘hobby’ bloggers? And what was the difference?

Pros and hos

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to bloggers. Some want to be paid for any brand mention, while others are happy to talk about products in exchange for some freebies or an interesting event. (By the way, I’m not saying people who love freebies are hos. I just like rhymes).

Skill levels also vary wildly. There are some extremely talented bloggers on both the professional side and the hobby side. What can be confusing is when someone positions themself as a professional blogger but has no discernable training or skills; that happens more often than you might think.

Making the cut

When it comes to blogger outreach, for better or worse, it can often be last on a very long list of things for PRs to do for a client. And contrary to what many bloggers might think, PRs aren’t always paid that well for their time. They’re usually under huge time pressure, with about 15,762 things to do on top of dealing with bloggers and 10 different clients to provide for. They don’t necessarily have time to read every post on a blog and find out everything about that person. And some bloggers make it really hard to find that information out – they don’t fill out their ‘about page’ or explain it clearly, and a lot aren’t on LinkedIn.

On top of that, PRs have to find people who fit the brand’s specific style. So a lot of the time, they’ll get an overall impression of that person from their posts and then bite the bullet and make the approach with whatever the brand has told them they are allowed to offer.

And this is where complications can arise. There are different expectations on both sides.

The negotiation

Brands will have invested money in the ‘freebies’ they are offering and in the associated PR work to research and approach bloggers (usually as part of a package with lots of other PR work). In return, they will be under pressure to get as much online exposure as possible and, depending on how much stuff they’re giving away, might set requirements on how much coverage they receive.

Bloggers get offered free stuff all the time and, if they’re a professional blogger, need to pay their bills. If blogging is their job, they quite rightly want to be compensated accordingly for their time and effort. Ultimately though, professional bloggers need to understand this: you have chosen to do a job that many other people are doing for free already. That doesn’t mean they’ll be as good as you, or that you don’t have something to offer that is worth paying for, but it does make it a lot harder for brands to see why they should pay you.

Also, where the above brand position is true, there isn’t a budget put aside at the outset for this. If they’ve gone via a PR it’s because they want coverage for free. And herein lies the rub.

So what happens now? Cut out the middleman, get rid of the PR? Ah yes, but then who does all the research, compiles the blogger lists, manages to and fro conversations every day and spends time measuring all the activity afterwards to prove the ROI and secure future marketing budget? If the brand doesn’t have the capacity in-house, then this function and insight is crucial.

How about cutting out the bloggers? Brands could get their in-house journos to write up all the content and distribute it online, although it wouldn’t fill the same slot as an ‘earned’ blogger piece, it might not sound as authentic and they’d still have the issue of getting people to come to the page in first place.

So you see, we all need each other. The brand, the PR, and the blogger. We’re all in it together. You’ve got to the end of this interminable post and you’re expecting an answer. I don’t have it. All I can say is that everyone needs to try and be as open and honest as possible and not take the piss out of each other. We’re all trying to get along, at the end of the day, so it’s about finding an equitable exchange that works for everyone on a case-by-case basis.

And finally, pity the poor journos who spent a fortune getting qualified and are now stuck in the middle earning 20p per article** and not even getting a free lunch anymore. That sucks.

*FYI – it was a lot more complex than this, I’ve condensed it down for the purposes of this post.

**Obviously I’m exaggerating, but the pay really is crap in many cases.


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London Fashion Week AW15

Style Tribe spent some time at London Fashion Week recently and discovered that what’s on the street is fast becoming just as important as what’s on the catwalk…

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As dedicated followers of fashion, London Fashion Week is one of the highlights of our year. Of course we go for the shows, but it’s also useful for networking and scoping out industry trends. This time around we hooked up with our favourite blogging duo, She and Hem, who were in town to soak up the trends and promote their blog.

She and Hem at London Fashion Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We soon discovered though that what’s happening out on the street is being watched just as closely as the models sashaying down the catwalk. Walking through Somerset House with the She and Hem girls we were ambushed by several paparazzi; there were probably more photographers out on the street than there were in the shows! It seems that  what  brands want most (and are most willing to pay for) is evidence of real people wearing their clothes – not just models.

Gina and Vicky at LFW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, Style Tribe got its share of attention, too. Here’s Gina and Vicky (above) striking their best pose for the street style paps. (We hadn’t had a lot of practice, as you can tell, but we gave it our best shot!)

Prior to all that posing though, we had spent the morning at the Charli Cohen catwalk show. Charli’s designs are the ultimate in sports luxe and the theme of this season’s show was #CCFightClub. The strong, athlectic models were kitted out like ninjas, with masks covering their faces, dishing out capoeira moves for the photographers at the end of the runway.

Charli Cohen LFW

 

Photo: Vogue.co.uk

We didn’t get to spend as much time as we’d like at London Fashion Week this time around because of some exciting developments in our work with Bristol Fashion Week (more on this later), but we hope to spend more time pounding the pavements next time!


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Clothes Show Live 2014

As we get ready for next year’s fabulous fashion events, we popped into Clothes Show Live this week for style inspiration.

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The colourful show took us on a theatrical journey through the United States, starting in New York with these oversized silhouettes in bold block colours.

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Stylists went big on patterns and accessorised playfully with wide brimmed hats and statement pumps, which was ideal for the young audience at the show.

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Many of the looks had a 90s twist, with leggings, beanie hats and pleather making an appearance – very Neneh Cherry!

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Next, we headed off to Studio 54, where metallic fabrics, lace and embellished fabrics took centre stage as the models danced to a disco soundtrack. An uplifting scene that really put us in the mood for party season.

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In a pleasant departure from the rest of the show, Serbain designer Ana Ljubinkovic showed off some retro inspired designs that were more than a little reminiscent of Clueless.

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Whilst at the show we were also lucky enough to catch a collection being shown by Fyodor Golan on the Olympus Pen designer catwalk, which was a smaller stage showcasing emerging design talent.

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Once again, there were echoes of 90s style with baseball caps, DM style boots and culottes… who’d have ever thought we’d see those again?!

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This stage was presented by legendary fashion expert Hilary Alexander, who was there to champion new talent.

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Although we attended on the last day of the event, it was heaving with keen fashion fans and we took away lots of fashion ideas and staging concepts which will certainly feed our event work next year. Onwards and upwards!


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Pitch perfect

When the organisers of Britain’s biggest small business competition The Pitch invited us to see this year’s crop of entrepreneurs, we couldn’t resist scooping up some tips along the way…

While we’re called Style Tribe, it’s not just fashion we’re interested in; having true style means being creative, and so it was with great interest that we listened to pitches from some of the UK’s brightest new business owners.

The event, which took place in Bristol last month, is put together by local publishers Sift Media, who run SME bible BusinessZone.co.uk. We were delighted to play a small part in the event, talking to all 30 finalists and helping to compile content for their YouTube channel, which is a fantastic resource for anyone who is thinking about or is already setting up their own business.

The big winner of the day was Rebecca Coates, founder of propertEco. Here’s what she told us after her victory…

The Pitch is now on the lookout for their next big business winner, so if you have a unique idea and want to promote your business and get excellent mentoring support, visit thepitchuk.com to find out how to enter your business for The Pitch 2015.


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Our date with Union J

As part of our work with The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, we spent the day with Union J at the big Christmas light switch on in Bristol…

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Photo: Adam Streames

What do you get when you mix one big boyband, 10,000 fans and the biggest ice rink in the South West? That’s exactly what we were there to find out last week as we continued our work with The Mall, working on PR and social media for their massive Christmas light switch on event.

The event aimed to raise more than £20,000 for The Grand Appeal, which helps patients and families at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Journalists from Points West, Heart FM, The Post, Made in Bristol TV and many other local titles came along to cover the action. Twitter and Instagram went into meltdown as fans rushed to share photos and videos of their idols.

The event marked the start of Christmas at The Mall, which houses a 1000 sq. metre ice rink, nursery rink and Santa’s enchanted ice castle as part of it’s huge Winter Wonderland attraction, which is open until 11th January.

Check out the video below to find out what happened….

We had a whale of a time working on this project – early stats suggest this could be a very merry Christmas indeed in terms of social media mentions for the attraction, all of which give us a warm, fuzzy festive feeling! We can also confirm that Union J are possibly the nicest chaps in pop right now – every bit as polite and well-mannered as they seem on TV. (Our fave was George but sssh… don’t tell anyone!)


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Zoella and the rise of celeb bloggers

She’s got three times as many Twitter followers as David Cameron, a book deal, and even her own beauty range – but who is Zoella and how is she rewriting the rules for bloggers everywhere?

A newspaper recently dubbed her ‘the most famous woman in Britain you’ve never heard of’ – and that seems apt if you’re not a blogger, because outside of the blogging world few people had heard of Zoe Sugg until this year.  She’s a 24-year-old blogger known for her down to earth style and bedroom vlogs on all kinds of topics; from what beauty products she loves right now, to her latest fashion buys and even, on occasion, her hamsters. Whatever she talks about, it seems people can’t get enough of her – the Zoella YouTube channel has a crazily massive 6m subscribers – and counting!

There’s been a lot written and tweeted about Zoella over the last few weeks and in the blogging community those who adore her are probably matched in number by those who are insanely jealous of her success. So what is it that this ‘ordinary’, just-like-us girl doing right and how can other bloggers and brands learn from her success? Let’s unpick it…

She’s ‘authentic’
Yes, we know this is a word that’s horribly overused in the social marketing world, but in this context what we mean is that Zoella’s approach reflects her personal interests and other girls relate to her. When a blog gets popular, the temptation is to accept every product and invitation and run with it. What she does so well is curate things in her own style, taking care only to feature things she really believes in. And that earns respect from followers and brands alike.

She’s consistent
Unlike a lot of other blogs (ours included!) who only post updates when time permits/when they feel like it, Zoella has kept up a rigorous schedule of blogging. As a content producer, she’s always on time and on point. People following her across various channels can be assured of something new to consume every day. And that has power in a community where new blogs come and go like buses.

She has representation
Zoella is one of a growing number of bloggers who’ve signed up with a ‘social talent’ agency – in her case it’s Gleam Futures. As the blogging world has got bigger, those seeking to differentiate themselves are turning to large scale networks like these to represent their interests and help monetise their blogs. Only those with the biggest stats and highest quality content are accepted into this world.

In a way, this has created a bit of a two-tier system in the blogging community – there’s the professional ones with representation, and the ‘enthusiasts’, i.e. those who write in their spare time from home from their bedroom and make up the majority of the community. They should probably come up with a new name for the ones like Zoella because in reality, she’s not like other bloggers writing from their bedroom anymore – it’s a new phenomenon. The tricky part, if you work with brands, is educating them on this – many of them expect professional quality responses and content from bedroom bloggers, and this just isn’t going to happen – well not free, anyway!

If you’re new to this scene, this summary of blogger networks from Bonjour Blogger is a good introduction.

She has a carefully defined target market
Zoella has been ruthlessly promoted as the tween girls’ blogger of choice and her content is strongly geared towards a younger audience. Zoella is 24, rents her own flat and probably has access to things normal girls couldn’t dream of – e.g. invites to red carpet events. In reality, her life is probably moving further and further away from the experiences of the 14-year-old girls who read her blog every day and idolise her. Yet she’s still pumping out stuff they want to watch – back to school make-up tutorials, break up advice, girls’ nights in, etc. We can’t help but feel that perhaps this is under the guidance of her agency, for whom this demographic is probably a lucrative bargaining tool, but she’s doing it such a natural and un-forced way, it’s still working for her. Whether she’ll still be able to do it aged 30 is another thing, though…

She’s gorgeous
It sounds superficial, and you definitely need more than this to be as successful as she is – but it helps. Brands like to see a pretty face alongside their products, so the fact that she’s impossibly photogenic only works in her favour. As avid Zoella fans and readers, we’ve yet to come across a bad picture of her – they’re shot with care and edited well, and she’s always beautifully lit in her videos. Even when she’s wearing no make up in her tutorial videos, she still looks great. How is that even possible?! Oh yeah, she’s 24…

Anyway, there’s no denying that appearances matter, but from a brand perspective what’s also important is uniqueness. There are so many gorgeous girls out there, but what makes you stand out? Working out your point of difference and playing up to it is the name of the game here.

We’d love to hear your opinions on this. Are celeb bloggers like Zoella changing the game for everyone in the community? Tweet us @StyleTribeUK with your thoughts! 

 


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Bristol Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014

How quickly a new season comes around – last month we were back at Bristol Fashion Week, helping put the style buzz back into Bristol…

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Looks for the show are put together up to six months in advance, so the team works with a carefully selected group of stylists and trend prediction experts who visit all the international shows and provide their tips for what will be in style for the season ahead. (You can read our summary of top trends for Autumn/Winter 2014 here). This season’s major colour is red, so the style team interprets the high street’s offerings into a themed collection, like this one above from Lipsy. (FYI that red jumpsuit on the left is now flying off their shelves!)

Here at Style Tribe, we’re really proud to be part of an event that’s not only fashion-forward, but accessible and affordable for everyone. Our role in the event includes PR, marketing, blogger outreach and creating social media content, which you can see on The Mall’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram channels.

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One of the most important aspects of Bristol Fashion Week is that it features fashion for everyone, so all the items are available on the high street at affordable prices, like the sets above from Ann Summers, which retail from about £40. They also do their best to book models with a range of sizes and body shapes, as well as different age groups, which means that whatever your age and size, you should find something for you in the show.

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Another important factor that the stylists take into consideration is wear-ability. This is not the show for flimsy fabrics you’ll only wear once. As you can see from the Western-inspired outfits above, these are looks that are designed to last, whatever the weather and regardless of what you’re doing. So these outfits will be just as at home on the school run or a night out with your mates as they would on the catwalk!

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Finally, the key ingredient that makes Bristol Fashion Week such a successful event is FUN! The models and dancers on these catwalks dance, sing, and laugh with the audience, making it a welcome change from the surly international catwalks.

If you want to see what out bloggers wore to Bristol Fashion Week, check out our street style gallery here.


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Autumn/Winter 2014 trends

Our favourite time of year is already upon us. The September issues are out and the shelves are being stacked high with all things bright and beautiful.  Not sure what to buy? Don’t buy a thing until you read this…

The art of dressing

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Bauhaus, expressionism, the Bloomsbury Group and surrealism have all inspired this season’s looks. Hand-painted fabrics and dazzling prints will be brightening up our winter wardrobes this year.

Above: Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2014

Sheep and chic

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Shearlings and sheepskins look set to have a fashion ‘moment’ this season. Dusky, pastel tones will be on our most-lusted after list, as well a trend that some people are calling ‘unexpected fur’ –which made us guffaw a little, but in fact means we’ll be seeing this tactile fabric in new places, such as on the bottom of skirts, on sleeves and in bright colours.

Above: Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Christopher Kane

Slouchy trousers

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Tailoring is here to stay, but this season it’s much more relaxed – the antithesis of eighties power dressing. Soft fabrics and loose lines are the watchwords this season, so think Jean Muir hanging out in London, rather than Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl!

Above: Christian Dior, Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Hermes

Red or dead

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If you’re buying a dress this autumn/winter, make it an LRD (little red dress). Scarlet, oxblood, ruby – it will all be there on the high street, so whatever your skin tone, there’ll be a red for you.

Above: Dolce & Gabbana Autumn/Winter 2014

Fairytale

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Whether you’re a Little Red Riding Hood or Alice in Wonderland, folksy fairytale designs will be unfolding in your wardrobe this year. Decorative motifs and handicraft touches will be the order of the day, and expect to see lots of capes, hooded coats, folksy florals and even woodland creatures (!) this year.

Above: Red Valentino, Autumn/Winter 2014

Kitsch cool

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Retro brands will be making a comeback via our closets with cereal boxes, brand logos and mascots adorning accessories. Leading the charge was Moschino, with McDonald’s themed looks, but even Anya Hindmarch got in on the action with soap box style purses, suggesting that this is a trend that’s here to stay – for this season at least.

Above: Anya Hindmarch Autumn/Winter 2014

Military

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Practical fashionistas will rejoice a the return of military, utilitarian styles. From simple wool pants to luxuriously crafty leathers and coats with frogging, this look is rugged and ideal for urban adventures. This look should serve us well when the weather gets cold!

Above: Balmain, Pucci, Balenciaga

Back to the future

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Sadly this isn’t a revival of Marty McFly’s wardrobe – instead, it’s a fresh take on swinging sixties. Think optical prints, mini-skirts and chic belt coats. It’s Marsha Brady meets Jackie O. And oh my gosh, it’s so wearable.

Above: Gucci Autumn/Winter 2014

Other trends to watch for this season: pink coats (dig them out from last year!), greens for all seasons (from emerald to sage), true blues, 50 shades of grey, tartans/plaids, forceful florals and metallics. All in all, it’s set to be a spectacular season!


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Uptown/downtown girl

Bristol has an eclectic style. From the chic streets of Clifton, to the back streets of Broadmead, fashion lurks in every corner…

Last year I was approached by Stella magazine at the Telegraph to snap some street style in Bristol. The feature didn’t go ahead in the end, but it seemed a shame not to share some of these lovely snaps with you all.

Below: Photographer and blogger Amy Fielding, snapped in Clifton

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The aim was to show the two sides of the city – the clean, chi-chi Cliftonites and the grimy streetwise chic of ‘downtown’ Broadmead. In fact, there’s so much more to this place than that, but it seemed like a good place to start.

Below: Sisters Beanie and Frankie (a.k.a DJ Lady Franks) snapped in Broadmead

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Below: Helen Martin, Editor of Lionheart Magazine, snapped in Clifton

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Below: Meg Pope (a.k.a DJ Megala) snapped in Broadmead

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These were just a few of the shots I took that week. What’s really special about them is that these women are all part of the creative scene in Bristol, bringing ideas and inspiration to our streets – not just with what they wear but also through the things they make and do.

Love to all my Bristol girls!

Gina x


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Bath in Fashion Bloggers

To celebrate the launch of Bath in Fashion 2014, we hosted a special fashion scavenger hunt around the city for a selection of style bloggers.

We started the day at the famous Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, where we gave bloggers a sneak peek at this year’s style-packed Bath in Fashion schedule (more on this at the bottom).

Our bloggettes were split into teams and challenged to find and Instagram as many of this season’s trends as they could within 2 hours, stopping at as many of Bath’s fabulous boutiques and shops as possible – and let me tell you, they took their task very seriously! To log their trends, the teams had post their pics on Instagram and use the #bathinfashion hashtag, as well as tagging the store they found it in.

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We then gathered at the Fashion Museum, where the girls toured their latest exhibition, Georgians: Dress for Polite Society and some got right into the spirit of things by trying on a few of the outfits…

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Thanks to She and Hem for sharing this fabulous photo! Looking good, girls…

They then had the opportunity to be among the first to see the Dress of the Year 2014, as selected by style blogger Susie Lau of Style Bubble. This year’s choice was a fabulous sugar pink silk organza dress from leading British designer Christopher Kane’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection…

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Finally, we totted up the scores and announced the winners of our challenge, Team Fashion Vultures, who took home an exclusive little green beauty box from Souk Souk - the lucky devils!

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Team Fashion Vultures celebrate their win: JessHayleyLilySophie and Amie

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who made the bloggers day possible, including our sponsors, The Fashion Museum – as well as The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath BID and Visit Bath – as well as all the lovely retailers of Bath who welcomed our bloggers on the day.

A huge shout out also has to go to our generous goodie bag sponsors, Fabulous, BiOrganics, Weleda, Anthropologie and Liz Cox.

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What’s on at Bath in Fashion…

Bath in Fashion 2014 promises an exciting week-long programme that showcases Summer ’14 fashions on the catwalk, brings fashion celebrities and authors to share their style and stimulate debate, and stages hands-on workshops, exhibitions and installations.

Events run from 3 – 11 May and tickets are disappearing fast! Tickets are on sale now. Get yours at bathinfashion.co.uk.

Highlights include:

On NOW

  • Dress of the Year, as selected by fashion blogger Susie Lau of Style Bubble (The Fashion Museum)
  • Georgians: Dress in Polite Society (The Fashion Museum)

Sun 4 May

  • Vintage Sunday: Bath VA Fashion Fair (Green Park Station)

Tue 6 May

  • Interior design masterclass with Nina Campbell, author of Vogue on Vivienne Westwood (The Octagon, Milson Place)

Wed 7 May

  • BIBA’s Barbara Hulanicki in conversation with Hilary Alexander, former Fashion Director of The Telegraph (The Octagon, Milson Place)
  • Mary Homer, MD of Topshop and Paolo Gabrielli of Clarks talk about Fashion As A Business (The Octagon, Milson Place)

Thu 8 May

  • An interview with Meadham Kirchoff: Hosted by US Vogue’s Sarah Mower (The Octagon, Milson Place)
  • Bath Life’s Fashion’s Night Out (Southgate)
  • Vintage BIBA on the catwalk (Assembly Rooms)

Sat 10 May

  • Fashion Your Future – an insight into careers in fashion (Komedia)

For a full list of events, see bathinfashion.co.uk/whats-on


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Blogger Cocktail Night

After Bristol Fashion Week, a few of us bloggers met up for cocktails and a catch up. Don’t you all scrub up well?

We met at new city style spot, Be At One, where we chewed over this season’s looks from the catwalk and compared snaps. Everyone agreed that while the tropical flavour on the runway was a definite winner, most would be sticking to florals until the weather perks up!

It was lovely seeing some new faces at our little event, as well as a few of the old favourites. We all indulged a bit in some dessert cocktails which, after a day on your feet chasing down the latest styles, went down a little too easy!

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We’re hoping to do lots more meet ups in the coming months and we’d like to meet lots more of  you next time, so do keep your eye on the South West Bloggers Facebook page, where we’ll post details of all the upcoming meet ups.


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Bristol Fashion Week

One of our favourite jobs of the year is helping to co-ordinate the live bloggers day at Bristol Fashion Week. The heat was definitely turned up this season, as the stylists went for a tropical flavour…

We’ve been helping to run the Live Blogging Show at Bristol Fashion Week for the last two years and this year was more popular than ever, with bloggers flocking from far and wide.

This carnival queen closed the show, which ended on a high with beachwear inspired by glamorous Rio.

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There was also a touch of spice thanks to a Bollywood inspired beach scene from Ann Summers, which really brought the house down in the fashion pavilion…

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I’ve always loved the pink/orange combination, so this was probably one of my favourite scenes in the show. The colours were so sharp and reminded me of my native land Seychelles, which really has a special place in my heart.

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Of course there were the obligatory florals for Spring/Summer. The standout ones for me were these tropical shifts from Ted Baker (at John Lewis) which offer a more sophisticated take on a very popular trend.

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I was really impressed with the offerings from John Lewis this season. They’ve brought in a range of new concessions to up the fashion ante and it’s really working. I especially have my eye on this flattering nautical inspired one-piece, which is modest yet glamorous and perfect for giving an hourglass silhouette.

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Nautical looks like the one above are a perennial favourite, but resident stylist Mark Heyes recommended adding a flash of yellow to our wardrobes this season to update the look.

I’m a little bit in love with this very simple dress from Bank Fashion, which is business on the front and party on the back, with a cheeky neon yellow strap.

56Finally, one style staple I’ll definitely be investing in this summer is the 7/8 trouser. It’s great for elongating legs, and I love the clashing prints of the trousers and jacket in this look, which was also from Bank.

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We took so many pics at Bristol Fashion Week that they didn’t all fit on this post, but if you want to see more, check out our Bristol Fashion Week Board on Pinterest. 

Gina x

 


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Bristol #blogclub

Blogging can be quite a solitary activity, so once in a while it’s good to step out from behind your computer and interact with other humans. It’s good for your soul and, if it’s Blog Club you’re attending, it can also be good for your blogging, as I discovered this week.

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This monthly gathering was set up by Hayley of Bonjour Bloggerand hosted by the lovely folks at VAN with the aim of getting bloggers together to swap tips and renew our enthusiasm for blogging.

This week’s topic was writer’s block, which everyone admitted to suffering from at different points. We all had different reasons for it – some, like me, do it for a living and so the block comes from viewing it as ‘work’. Others were anxious about what people might think of what they’d written, and felt pressure after reading other blogs to keep up intellectually. This spun me out a bit because usually I forget that anyone else might read this and to be honest, this is my space to be silly. It hadn’t occurred to me that people seeing this might think that silly is all I do.

Having said that, I do think there’s a space in this world for silliness. #BlogClub was full of intelligent, resourceful women of different ages (although I think I may have been one of the oldest in the room) and I learnt things from everyone. I was super impressed by Emily from Pretty Please, who manages to juggle uni with all sorts of activities, including organising her own blogger events. I was super impressed by all of them, to be honest. But if there’s one thing I hope I passed on, it’s that blogging doesn’t have to be serious all the time.

The point (for me, anyway) is to have a little fun with it. That’s true even if you’re doing it to help hone your writing skills and enhance your career prospects. No one wants to hire a robot. You need to have personality, humour and heart, which all of these ladies have in spades. People need to remember you. Even if it is for saying that Siri sounds like a sexy butler…. *ahem*.

*P.S. I totally nicked this intro from Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion, but I figured she wouldn’t mind, since it is the actual rule.

P.P.S I’m not in the photo, because I took it. I was too full of cake to even consider being in front of a camera. 


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Spring/Summer trends

The regional fashion weeks are just around the corner and everyone has been asking us what trends we can expect to see on the catwalk this year. Spring/Summer trends can often be less imaginative than Autumn/Winter looks, with a few motifs like florals returning year-on-year, but this year there are a few novel ideas. It’s still quite early to tell which ones will stand out the most, but here are our predictions so far…

3D florals

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As sure as death and taxes, you will always see some kind of take on a floral trend every Spring/Summer. This season, embellishments are what makes it stand out from the crowd – extra shimmer, layers and costume jewellery style accessories. Sheer floral fabrics layered on a block colour will also feature heavily – like this one from the Erdem Spring/Summer catwalk.

Nice in the 90s

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Logo tees were really big on the catwalks for Spring/Summer 2014, so experts are predicting lots of subversive statement shirts to hit the high street this season. This one, by Alexander Wang, is a classic logo that’s been given a modern take with some sheer panels.

Fondant fancy

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Burberry Prorsum hit the nail on the head with this little number – this Spring/Summer (like many before it) is set to be all about pastel colours like mint green, pale pink, light lilac and lemon sorbet. Basically, if there’s a macaroon in that colour, you can wear it this season! This is a very ladylike look, which I personally love.

Mermaid metallics

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Metallics in every colour graced the catwalks this season – I especially liked this futuristic design from Christopher Kane’s London Fashion Week show. Statement dresses like this one in metallic fabrics will filter through to the high street, but I expect metallic separates like skirts and jackets might be a slightly easier sell for most stores. I fully expect to see lots of bloggers in metallic pleated skirts with woollen jumpers come April.

Long lines

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This season lots of designers have been playing with proportions, from skirts with dropped waists, to jackets that finish just above the knee like this one from Jil Sander. I’m usually a fan of Sander’s minimalist looks, but I have to say I’m not too keen on this trend – it’s really hard for petite people to carry off! If you’ve got a figure that’s straight up and down you’ll look great in this, but for anyone who is unbalanced on the top or the bottom, proceed with caution!

As ever, it’s likely that micro-trends will emerge as the season wears on, and I’ll be interested to see which of these looks succeeds the most on the high street. If previous years are anything to go by, it’s likely to be more subtle than what we’ve seen on the catwalks, but the British high street can sometimes have a surprise or two up its sleeve!


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