Matthew Williamson

When I checked my timetable at the beginning of the week and saw:

“Industry Guest: Matthew Williamson in Conversation with Emily Sheffield”

I could not wait to hear what the British fashion icon had to say about the illustrious fashion industry and his vibrant brand. It was definitely an added bonus that the deputy editor of British Vogue would be asking him the questions!

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Williamson started by describing his brand DNA using words such as jet set, bohemia, luxury, print, colour, and embellishment. His collections are always lively, unique and vivacious but how did he break onto the fashion scene (minus his Saint Martins College education and vast amount industry experience)? He didn’t follow the trends of the 90’s he took his own approach for his collection, “My work was noticed because I was not doing what was going on in fashion at the time – my brand has been very natural and it took a very organic process to get to where I am.”

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When asked about the favourite part of his job he described how much he loves the design process and how he is 100% involved in designing every collection, from inspiration to the final product. What was also evident was how proud he was about his store in Mayfair, London. He listens to what every customer has to say and declared he loves when they come to speak to him in his store (don’t all rush at once). “If the customer wants to engage with me I love it, they are they best critics.”

Sheffield probed into Williamsons use of displaying his clothes on his celebrity friends, such as Sienna Miller. He was quick to respond with wit, “Sienna is first and foremost my mate and would still be my made if I worked in a sandwich shop. It just helps that she loves my clothes as well.” He went onto say, “Unquestionably, its advantageous to affiliate yourself with somebody who reflects your collection and brand.”

Williamson described his biggest influence and motivator – his mother! He described a story that I found so inspirational. He reflected back on a time his mother saved her money to buy a Jaeger dress and how the dress made her feel special and unique. “The dress made an impression without anybody having to say anything…all the men at the party loved her and all the women hated her.” This moment inspired Williamson to create powerful clothing that would allow every woman to feel powerful and special.

Suzie Forbes, the principal at the Condé Nast College, thanked Williamson for his fantastic insight into the industry and told the students a little secret of his. He is absolutely terrified of public speaking and talking so openly about himself and his company.  “Put your hand on my beating heart, I am literally like a wreck”, said Williamson to Forbes before the talk, and we all thought we couldn’t love him even more!

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He was even a gentleman when we asked for a quick photo! #ohMW

DISNEYROLLERGIRL Blog Advice

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Navaz Batliwalla, fashion blogger extrodinaire for Disney Roller Girl, came to speak to the students at the Condé Nast College to share her top ten tips to successful blogging.

1. HAVE A POINT OF VIEW

“People need to come back for something, so give them that.”

The first thing Navaz mentioned as soon as she started was just how important having a unique point of view is. As you will know, it’s sometimes extremely difficult to make your blog different from the thousands of other ones out there. It is important to ask yourself what you like doing and make sure you stick to those things as well as learning to have an opinion.

2. BLOGGING ISN’T JUST BLOGGING

“Your blog is your brand.”

Nowadays having a blog isn’t good enough. You must integrate it with social media platforms such as twitter and instagram! View your blog as your shop window for opportunities and always remember to be ‘multi pronged’!

3. SLOW BLOGGING IS STILL IMPORTANT

“An analytical point of view is a lot more meaningful.”

Fast blogging is very important, but combined with slow blogging creates more unique content that people can always refer back to. Remember you can be a niche blog and still be very popular!

4. THINK BIG – WE ARE ‘CONTENT CREATORS’

“I think about my brand value.”

Have a list of three areas that you find most interesting and use them as a reference. Brand values are very important!

5. PUT YOURSELF INTO IT

“People relate to the human element.”

The stories that you tell about yourself are the most relevant as people can resonate with them. Be yourself and have the confidence to do your own thing!

6. USE ORIGINAL CONTENT

“It is better to use your own photos.”

Blogging allowed Navaz to become better with technology, writing and photography. It is always better to try and use original content!

7. BE CREATIVE

“Do things differently, be a game changer.”

8. KNOW YOUR WORTH

“Online has become a free culture.”

When your blog becomes better-known brands expect you do to things for free, such as endorsing products. It is important to always remember bloggers hold a unique power that allow brands to reach a unique platform to gain access to consumers.

9. WHATS YOUR REACH?

“Its more about the relevance than the number of readers.”

For Navaz, her readers consist primarily of industry professionals and students. Yet she admits she does not care about the number of views on her blog, it is more important to be aware of your reader.

10. THINK LONG TERM

“Remember the brands that you love!”

The possibility may arise where brands you like will ask you to collaborate. Remember to have a list of your favourite brands (Navaz loves Levi and collaborates with them regularly) and pitch ideas where you can work together!

STREET STYLE

Today we learnt the art of street fashion photography. Bill Cunningham led the way in his documentary. He is truly inspiring. I almost felt like crying when watching it due to his caring nature, although the most beautiful part was his passion for something that he truly loves, the money incentive never taking part.

This is definitely worth watching!

The afternoon then consisted of taking to the streets of Soho and trying out street photography for ourselves. Here are a few images that I managed to capture:

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It was a lot harder than you would expect and asking strangers to take their photo was a rather daunting task. I take my hat off to the likes of Bill Cunningham and Scott Schuman for their fantastic photography in sometimes difficult situations.

Below are a list of some great fashion street style blogs (kindly given to students by our great lecturer Katie Friedlander-Boss):

Hel Looks

The Sartorialist

Street Peeper

Fashion Beans

Face Hunter

Carolines Mode

Style Arena

 

Advice from Fashion Assistant at Vogue, Lucy Walker

Ever thought you wanted to be a fashion assistant? If so, you need to intern.

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Lucy Walker, Fashion Assistant at British Vogue, discusses her job roles and the do’s and don’t’s for interns wanting to pursue this as a career.

One of Lucy’s main roles is to assist the freelance contributors for the magazine, with the newest contributor being the beautiful Kate Moss. I am so excited to get my December issue of Vogue through the post to see her new shoot with John Galliano. I mean, who isn’t?

Research is also a massive part of her job title. For a shoot to come together Lucy creates boards with the outfits that she needs for the shoots, using sources such as style.com. Another role is assisting on shoots. Lucy described, “If anyone needs something on a shoot I am the one that makes it happen.”

She gave us interns some invaluable advice:

  1. Your CV must be short, concise and efficient – one page and definitely no work experience such as baby-sitting.

  2. When emailing a company make sure you get the correct name of the person you are writing to. As much as this sounds obvious, she described how many people don’t actually do this.  Make sure you do this even if you have to call the company to get it, do it!

  3. TEAM AWARENESS – it is extremely important that you get on with everyone in your team.

  4. You must be good at speaking on the telephone, always being as friendly as possible. Remember everyone is a contact who you need to build a relationship with.

  5. Must have the mentality of “nothing is ever too much trouble” even if that includes making cups of tea or running over to Starbucks.

When listening to Lucy describe her job, most of all what glimmered through was her absolute love for it. This is exactly what I admired and hope that one day I can find exactly what she has!

Yasmin Le Bon

Yasmin Le Bon took time out of her extremely busy schedule as a super model, mother and wife to come and talk to the students at the Condé Nast College about her experiences in the fashion industry. She started her career in the 1980s, but does not plan to stop any time soon. She explained that being in the fashion industry at her age puts her at an emotional risk, however luckily she expressed, “I don’t want to give up, I feel guarded in this fashion bubble…it becomes a little like a drug, its addictive.” The ‘fashion bubble’ for Yasmin comes in the form of her modelling family she has made over the years, including beauties such as Naomi Campbell and Helena Christensen.

Whilst starting her modelling career, Yasmin did not feel a connection to the clothes that she was selling as they were not the type of clothes a female of her age would be wearing. She describes a shoot that she did for Vogue UK in 1988, photographed by Andrew Macpherson, as the first time she felt a ‘spark’ with the outfits she was modelling. I have added some images of the shoot below:

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When it comes to capturing the perfect photo, Yasmin has had to ban everyone from sitting around monitors whilst she is working. She very professionally stated that every focus should be on her, “the most important relationship is between me and the photographer.” The second key ingredient is the connection of the ‘team’ on set from stylists to make up artists; everyone should be fully involved in capturing the perfect photo.

Yasmin looks a lot younger than her years and even manages to look phenomenal with short peroxide blonde hair (I know it is unfair). Below are a few images of her recent shoot with Elle Spain, photographed by Xavi Gordo:

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Questions were then opened to the floor and of course everyone was interested in her daughter, Amber Le Bon, being part of the modelling world. Below are some images of the beautiful ‘Le Bon’ daughter:

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Yasmin described how she did not anticipate Amber becoming a fixture in the fashion industry, although she is incredibly happy for her. “She is a very level headed girl and has been brought up around the business her entire life.” However, every mother wants to protect her children and she admitted that she feels rather conflicted about the situation. She then said, “she gets a lot out of it in terms learning about styling, photography and make-up, however any young girl earning that much money in such a short space of time is worrying.” Whilst starting as a model Yasmin had lots of issues she had to worry about but she stated, “the struggle is important, at the bottom you learn everything.” From such humble beginnings, you can tell that having such a down to earth mother will help guide Amber. That combined with her evident natural beauty (and amazing hair), I am sure she will go onto follow in her mother’s footsteps.

Starting at the Condé Nast College

I started at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design on Monday with extremely high expectations – I have to say every expectation has been met with flying colours!

Although lets rewind a little bit…HOW DID I DECIDE WHAT TO WEAR ON MY FIRST DAY?! I went for something safe that actually ended up being the worst possible outfit I could have ever picked! I couldn’t walk properly in my pencil skirt and my new boots gave me the biggest blisters ever but at least it was pretty, right?

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The jumper is from UNIQLO. I have only recently discovered this store and absolutely love it. It has every basic item of clothing you could imagine, at a good price and the quality feels great! It is also perfect if you are like me and prefer outfits to be more understated and minimalistic. My pencil skirt is about a year old but I love the lace and metallic feel about it. The boots are from Zara and can be found here but if i give you one piece of advice it is to wear LONG SOCKS and not trainer socks with them!!!!!

When we arrived at the college we had a chance to meet all of the other students on the course, which was extremely interesting as everyone was from a different country! I have met amazing people from Australia, Singapore to Paris and Lebanon. I am so excited to get to know them better during these ten weeks. We started the morning with an induction where we were introduced to the principle Susie Forbes and had talks from the Vice Principle and the Course Director. Lunch was then provided which consisted of sushi, beetroot and goats cheese salad, cous cous, wraps and little sandwiches. It was lovely! We then had further lectures about the college and to end the most overwhelming, fantastic day we had a drinks reception!

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We were also given these cute alphabet bags with our initials on them filled with the most recent vogue, induction information for the week and also an invitation to an event at Topshop tomorrow (I will be sure to fill you guys in on this in my next post)!

Today we had a London Orientation Day!

We all met at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington where we were introduced to the inspiring Helen Evenden. She took us on a tour around the museum where she told us interesting facts and history about the museum and the collections. When looking at art and design she gave us three tips to uncover research: to look at who designed the object, look at when it was designed then how it was made.

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Little coffee break – best skinny mocha I have had in ages!

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This was the beautiful, modern, colourful chandelier that was in the main reception of the V&A.

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This was a temporary part of the exhibition that consisted of 5000 mini windmills that all moved!

We then had the chance to view the ‘Club to Catwalk’ exhibition.

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This exhibition not only had great music but was also fascinating to look around. I loved the quote from the great British designer Vivienne Westwood: “I am a great believer in copying – there has never been an age in which people have so little respect for the past.” I completely agree! The best form of collecting future research definitely comes from looking at the past!

Another interesting aspect of the exhibition was the popularity of knitwear in the 80s. In the most recent edition of Vogue there is an article by Sarah Harris called “The IT Sweater”. It describes how people are now spending their money on ‘it’ jumpers instead of the new ‘it’ handbag or pair of shoes!! I am sure everyone has seen the Bambi Givenchy sweaters on every fashion icon there is! Everything seems to be derived from the past!

We then went on a little walk stopping at the Royal College of Art and then through Hyde Park to the Serpentine Gallery by Zaha Hadid.

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After walking around we went outside to view the spectacular Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto. It is meant to look like a cloud and I have heard it is amazing to view when it is raining!

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We also got a great ‘Condé Nast Family Photo’!

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As we were only a ten-minute walk away from Oxford Street, I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day than with a little shopping trip!

A/W Must Haves

I have been trying to compile a list of items every female needs for autumn/winter 2013, so I thought the best idea would be to ask some of my best friends what they couldn’t live without.

1044775_10201588903027533_1834313538_nROBYN:

1. Vintage Black Belt – This belt is slim enough to wear with jeans and with an extra button put in to wear with high waisted clothes. “It makes my random assortment of clothes look like an “outfit”. Vintage comes easy in London, take a trip to Camden or Portobello Market and I am sure you can pick up a unique belt that looks great with any outfit.

2. Bright Lipstick – “I wear a lot of black clothes so some colour on your lips brightens up any outfit that isn’t very exciting.” My personal favourite lipsticks are all from MAC and I am wearing Russian Red a lot at the moment. Another trend that I am going to try out is wearing a brown colour that was seen on the catwalk at 3.1 Phillip Lim.

391949_2791100861721_936573842_nRACHEL:

1. Trench Coat – The weather isn’t quite cold enough to bring out your cosy winter jacket just yet and a trench is a perfect alternative. “They are timeless, classic and the key definition of smart/casual…perfect for after work drinks.” Rachel has recently started working in Hobbs and has been using her discount wisely, and invested in an amazing new trench.

2. Dark Wash Skinny Jeans – These are a definite must have in any wardrobe, “they are flattering, versitile and great for day to night outfits.” I just invested in Topshop Leigh Skinny Jeans (they have the added benefit of being extremely comfortable).

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KATIE:

1. Heeled Boots – Everybody needs a classic pair of heeled boots for winter. If you manage to find a comfy pair it is perfect as they make any outfit look better..they also make your legs look longer (a definite bonus).

2. Jumpsuit – When the weather gets a little colder a jumpsuit is a perfect alternative to a dress. “I love this black backless one from ASOS, black is a little boring but it is easy to dress up with a nice belt and jewellery.”

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LUCIE:

1. Fur Gilet – Can dress up an outfit to make it look smarter and can also be worn over a coat to make it warmer. “I am in love with my new gilet – it is definitely my best purchase for winter.”

2. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Lip Balm – When the weather starts to get a little colder, your skin and hair suffer the most. This lip balm is so moisturising and is great to keep chapped lips away. I would also recommend argon oil for your hair.

998375_10151756262785719_889520737_nMEGAN:

1. A Cape – This is a little bit different to a winter jacket and I feel it is also more feminine. There are great high street ones in H&M at the moment but be quick as they sell out fast. For those of you with a little more cash to splash the Victoria Beckham AW13 one is the dream!

2. Statement Trousers – “I am absolutely loving tartan at the moment, Zara have a great pair of woolen ones…I am definitely saving for them.” I am loving this trend too, shops are doing it great by using classic fabrics with modern twists such as big zips and pockets.

My puppy Mimi is in the photo with Megan. She is such a little angel. 

Some of my other friends have also given me some great suggestions. Chia seeds were on the list for wellbeing when it is easier to fall ill, use them mixed in smoothies. Another must have is TEA!!!!! I honestly can’t live without tea and neither can my friend Sara. I would highly recommend Teapigs Matcha Green Tea!

Last by not least my shopping list for A/W13 includes:

A fur collar

An A-Line Skirt

Zara Tartan Top and Trousers

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– BEROCCA (I need one every morning to start my day).

My sister is coming to visit me in London at the weekend and we are going to have a little browse around Camden. I will share with you all the treasures I manage to find…I am currently on the hunt for lots of nice thin gold rings and bracelets that can all be worn at the same time! 

London Adventures

London is a city that never sleeps – I literally haven’t stopped since I arrived and for the first time in my life I worked 12 days straight!

Luckily it wasn’t just any work last weekend. I got the chance to help out at London Fashion Weekend at Somerset House, helping the company I work for with a sample sale. I even managed to grab myself a pair of Paige boyfriend jeans that I wore out that night! They are my new favourite item in my wardrobe.

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I teamed them with simple black heels, a leotard and my friends black vintage belt. The best advice I have been given in a while is to buy your leotards in dancing shops. They are so nice and there are so many different varieties (I love backless ones!). I was also getting so bored of seeing everybody wearing the American Apparel one!

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The atmosphere at Somerset House is one that you do not experience just anywhere – it was the best place to people watch ever. I saw outfits inspired by Cher from Clueless to crazy animal inspired outfits – I saw someone with a hat that had every animal you could think of coming out of it. They main thing was that everyone had there own individual sense of style which was so refreshing!

At work I also recently heard about a singer who is going to be huge soon due to his absolutely incredible voice. His name is Joel Compass – everybody should take a listen to his new song astronaut. I have left a little link below ☺!