Practical Princess

It has been a running joke in my family for years that everyone calls me a ‘Princess’. Yes on my 21st birthday my mum made me a Cinderella birthday cake and for my 18th I had a Barbie Princess cake. So when I told my gran I had managed to get my dream job working in the fashion industry for a company called ‘Practical Princess’, she definitely thought that fate had come my way!

Practical Princess is a company that ‘brings the complete luxury of wardrobe organisation to your life’. We go into homes and transform their lives through their wardrobes.


However, it is not just wardrobe organisation. My boss and the founder of Practical Princess, Elika Gibbs, is a stylist who has a unique eye for fashion and style that is completely different for each and every person she dresses depending on their lifestyle. Elika personal shops for client’s day-to-day life’s but also for events they have coming up. As well as buying new season pieces, it is essential to make sure that the wardrobe is working well as a whole. Therefore, we will go in and help the client edit their wardrobe, reselling or giving to charity pieces that they are no longer wearing. We also advise that in Spring/Summer only Spring/Summer clothes are in the wardrobe and vice versa with Autumn/Winter. Practical Princess owns a large warehouse where we store client’s off-season clothes for them and at the beginning of the seasons we will undergo their season changeovers! The warehouse is also home to clients ‘archive’ pieces – clothes that you no longer wear but don’t want to part with!


Another part of the business, which I find genius, is creating individual look books for clients. This process will involve Elika and I visiting the client’s house to create looks – mixing the new current season pieces with their existing wardrobes. This helps to make sure that the full potential of the wardrobe is being used whilst helping put together looks that they would not of thought of. One of the reasons I absolutely love my job is because my opinion matters. There is not one outfit that goes past without Elika asking my opinion too. I must say though, 99% she normally gets it pretty spot on!

I will then photograph every look on a mannequin, edit the photos, and write in specific details so there is no confusion on whether the heels in the photo are Gianvito Rossi or the very similar Jimmy Choo pair. Then the lookbook will be printed and sent off!

When I think I have written everything that Practical Princess does I realise that there is even more! This is why when anybody asks me what I do for a living I ask: “how long do you have?” We also catalogue people’s wardrobes, thus being an online catalogue to keep tracking of everything they own from house to house or a beautiful book.


Elika has also produced an amazing book that will help you to change your wardrobe into a perfectly functioning dream wardrobe yourself! There is also an online store selling everything from hangers to shoe boxes to drawer dividers that will give you the full Practical Princess makeover!


Lastly, I must apologise that I have abandoned my blog for a couple of months but they have been a very busy couple of months indeed (working with Kate Moss was definitely a highlight!). I have learnt more from Elika in the last 5 months than I have in the last five years – now that I have finally found my feet expect a lot more from me!

Saint Laurent or Kurt Geiger?

What can I say; I am always looking for the best deals.

I have a slight addiction to boots with heels. However, walking around London for hours everyday leaves me with the most painful feet but I have managed to find the perfect pair of flat boots!

I have had my eye of these Saint Laurent beauties for a long time but somehow I can’t manage to cough up £695 for them. I think its something to do with the fact that I would prefer to invest in something that I will have for the rest of my life and its safe to say I am not the best at looking after shoes.

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Luck was on my side and I managed to find these Kurt Geiger boots that are nearly identical for £140 (Harrods had 10% off today and managed to get them for £126, bonus!)

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I absolutely love them and they will definitely be saving my little feet!

H&M or Marc Jacobs Resort 2014?

I would like to say I have kept to my New Year’s resolution of shopping less, but lets be honest was that really going to happen?

I was just having a little browse on the H&M website as a friend recommended them for an affordable cashmere jumper. However, I came across this little beauty.

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It is a mohair blend, knitted, stripy jumper that very similarly resembles a rabbit fur jacket from the Marc Jacobs 2014 resort collection. It has been seen on fashion icons such as Kate Moss and an Olsen and has also been on my wish list from the first day I remember seeing it.

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Unfortunately, it was never in my budget at £2,410 but this H&M number will just about curb my craving for it and comes in at a much more affordable price of £34.99 and is available here.


New York, New York

New York is one of the most interesting cities in the world and it’s not just because of the shopping, I promise! My mum, sister and I took a little 4-night trip in between Boxing Day and New Years Eve to spend our Christmas money. If there is one place you have to visit when you’re in New York it is Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District.







We made the mistake of eating breakfast before we went – DO NOT DO THIS! There is the most amazing selection of little restaurants and cafés serving everything for organic produce to lobster and sushi. However, the reason we went was because of the ‘Artists and Fleas Design and Vintage Market’ and sample sales. We found a little stall selling the most beautiful necklaces with letters on them or your star sign. My sister and I got them as friendship necklaces! I also managed to pick up a Torn by Ronny Kobo dress for $60, bargain!


For dinner at Chelsea Market you have to book the Buddakan! It is an Asian fusion restaurant in the most incredible of surroundings. If you go you have to try the edamame dumplings and glazed lobster, they were absolute perfection.



My mum was extremely organised before we went and booked all the restaurants she wanted to try in advance and on the list was the ABC Kitchen. However, be careful when trying to find it. It is at the back of the ABC furniture shop and it took us two taxis and a very long confused walk to work this out. When we did find it we were not disappointed. We got the $36 three-course lunch and also shared a lovely bottle of Pinot Blanc. I had the tuna sashimi in a mint, chili and garlic dressing, followed by a salmon quinoa salad with lemon vinaigrette. Then a trio of desserts consisted of a cake pop, a warm melted chocolate cookie and a pecan biscuit (I managed to finish the majority of my mums as well). All made with the freshest, organic, locally produced ingredients. Please bring one to London soon!!

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On our last day we went to see the 9/11 memorial. I was humbled thinking of all of the people who lost their lives and felt privileged that I could pay my respects to them.

“New York is not a city, It’s a world”

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



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.


“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.


“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’!


“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!


“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!


“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!


“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!


“Do things differently, be a game changer.”


“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.


“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.


“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!


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:










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.



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 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!