18 March 2011


Interesting blogger review... click here


Liberty's Womenswear Buyer Stephanie Jones chooses her top ten coats for Autumn/Winter featured on vogue.com today...


Now in it’s 11th year, Hand and Lock’s acclaimed Prize challenges students and practitioners to take part in what is set to be the most diverse, exciting and challenging contest to date.This year’s brief is published in honour of Bunty Hand, the twentieth century matriarch in charge of M. Hand, who sadly passed away this year. Famed for her ability to create the most beautiful hand embroidered pieces from her ‘old drawers’’ full of odds and ends; the spotlight for entrants is firmly set on a ‘waste not, want not’ attitude, encouraging the use of old fabrics and haberdashery.With three exciting themes to choose from (for fun – full bloom – for the better) participants are asked to focus on innovative hand embroidery to create a final piece, and each entry should have supporting research and design development.
The winner of the contest will receive their piece ‘brought to life’ by exclusive designers Edward Green, a top prize of $5000, a fantastic work experience opportunity at Karen Nichol studio, mentoring by LCF, and free membership to the Embroiderer’s Guild. Second and third place receive $1000 and $500 respectively, and there are other prizes for winners of student and open categories.
As forms must be submitted by 31st March 2011, Hand and Lock are still accepting entries and encourage you to view the photographs of Bunty’s original drawers and get creating!click here for more info


A celebration of British Fibre Crafts July 23-24th 2011
Scald End Farm
Mill Road, Thurleigh, Bedford, MK44 2DP
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 4:30pm
£6.00 per person
£5 per person for groups of 10 or more booking in Advance
Children: Under 5 - free
5-16 years - £3 each
(Payment by cheque or direct Bank Transfer)
Scald end Farm is easily accessible from both the A1 and A6
If travelling by train to Bedford, taxis are always available
Fibre-East supports
The Campaign for Wool
click here for more info

11 March 2011


Forwarded by GFW Chairman Terry Mansfield, please find an exclusive copy of Lord Sugar's speech re: the UK fashion industry - delivered in the House of Lords on the evening of Friday, 04 March 2011.

My Lords,

I was brought up in Hackney, an area which in the past has been a hive of activity for the garment industry. Indeed my father, mother and siblings all worked in garment factories – my father was a tailor; my mother was what was known as a felling hand, while my elder sister and brother were machinists. These types of jobs supported many families in the east end of London back in the 50s and 60s.

Sadly, we have seen the complete migration of the textile industry to the Far East and other continents. What’s happened over the years is that the technology required to produce various fabrics has greatly advanced, allowing flexibility and speedy delivery for garment manufacturers. Regrettably, those responsible for the production of raw materials seem to have focused on the low-labour-cost territories of the world.

The retail trade as we know it today relies solely upon cheap imports. Compared to the past, when a woman’s decision of to buy a dress took perhaps a couple of weeks to build up to (bearing in mind the large financial commitment); by today’s standards the price of clothing has tumbled. So much so, that a dress which once represented a week’s wages now costs the equivalent of a round of drinks on a Saturday night.

Because of this, demand has gone up tremendously which in turn has created an appetite for more and more designs such that there is now a continuous flow of new products through the stores. This has created, in effect, a ‘buy weekly’ mentality, whereby the old traditional autumn, winter and spring collections have gone by the wayside.

As a result, I think it fair to say that we have lost the manufacturing industry for high volume production in this country, and we have to recognise this fact.

So what can we do to re-engage in this very lucrative market? I believe that the secret lies with encouraging young people who are fashion orientated to be trained such that they’re allowed to express their artistic talents in a way that translates into locally-produced finished product.

My friend Sir Philip Green founded his fashion retail academy in 2006 which currently houses 550 students. Whilst he has done a tremendous job in achieving results such as passing 65% of his students through to a full time work placement, most of those places are on the retail side with a particular focus on either buying or sales. I would definitely say that a small proportion have gone into actual manufacturing.

It is therefore my suggestion that the government starts to fund what I would call ‘incubator factories’. There are so many empty premises that could be converted into such factories – each of them with design and manufacturing facilities.

On the periphery of the factory floor there could be small ‘silo’ workshops where young designers can do their stuff, design their products and utilise the ‘core’ facilities for sampling and low production runs. This total facility would also provide employment for those who can gain skills in pattern cutting and machine utilisation.

My Lords, may I remind you that the backbone of this country’s economy is made up of SMEs – those that employ between 2-10 people. This is an amazing statistic as I'm sure most of us would wrongly assume that it is the giant companies who employ most of the working population.

Picture a scenario where a young designer is able to run a workshop and employ 5 people, including assemblers, plus a salesperson. There is good market to sell to: independent retailers, specialist shops and markets, not to mention online. People do not have to produce in thousands to start their business – and from those small acorns, mighty oak trees may grow.

One such an example is a young man I came across a few years ago. He was an alteration hand working in the menswear department of a department store. Encouraged by me he took the leap to start his business and make men’s suits. I am wearing one of his suits today. With my help and several referrals he is now in a fair way of business and employs 5 people.

Realistically, not every young person is blessed with the brain to become an accountant, a doctor or a lawyer. And it is those forgotten young people – who perhaps don’t excel academically but who do have a talent for fashion and design – that we can offer a future to.

This country is known for producing some great fashion designers, and the government needs to engage with people like Sir Philip Green and fund the incubator factory workshops to which I have referred.

10 March 2011


Today saw the unveiling of Liberty's brand new windows which are dedicated to the Cult of Beauty Exhibition at the V&A. The new windows depict the themes of the Aesthetic Period in a contemporary and almost irreverent way. Find out about the inspiration behind them on their blog: http://bit.ly/ec5hcH


Help to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day with a wonderful collection of creative women including artists exhibiting paintings and photography, hand-made crafts, fashion designers, music, poetry, participatory workshops, fabulous food and great entertainment. The one Off market
is selling a fantastic range of hand-made, recycled / up-cycled and vintage goods.
If you are in london pop along to Spitalfields between 10 - 5. Mary and Lucy have a stall...

8 March 2011


The work of Alexander McQueen is to be the subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A preview of the show, which will run 4 May to 31 July 2011, was unveiled at the Ritz as part of London fashion week. The US exhibition will feature more than 100 pieces of work from McQueen's 19-year career.
The preview at the Ritz was presented by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Samantha Cameron, against the backdrop of London fashion week .


Click here to see the Christian Dior show - the last with Galliano...


Italian designer Marco Sartorelli has collaborated with Liberty London to help revamp their menswear collection for SS11. Here he talks about the Spring Summer 2011 collection which is in store and online now, plus the inspiration behind the next collection for AW11.

7 March 2011


This is a good link - click here to see new designers to watch out for.

4 March 2011


The Dior show this afternoon ended with a bow by the forty-odd atelier staff who helped create the collection, in place of the traditional flamboyant Galliano pose, all wearing white lab coats. Christian Dior ceo Sidney Toledano made a speech to a cheering audience, before the models - led by Karlie Kloss - took to the catwalk. The collection was very much focused on the brand's heritage, with particularly strong daywear and accessories, and the finale was met by riotous applause by the assembled fashion watchers. View the full collection here.


“Sometimes you know when you are styling you have to let it go, it’s great to have total control from the beginning to the end – it’s a really great feeling,” Nicola Formichetti said of his debut Mugler autumn/winter 2011-12 collection in Paris. See Lady Gaga and the Mugler models strut and twist to Born This Way here.


Something for the weekend... check out the Ascher scarf pop-up down at 221 Brompton Road. Really something quite special. The scarves are also available at Wolf & Badger www.wolfandbadger.com


Anthropology's new home collection is all about the versatile shade of blue, showcased in soft sky tones, deep cobalts and brilliant sapphires. Take a look: http://bit.ly/BlueNotesAtHome

2 March 2011


In this compelling 20-minute film shot in Yamamoto's Tokyo studio, the designer provides a laconic, engaging and sometimes passionate commentary on his career and design values. He considers how his work has evolved since his Paris debut, explains why he designs so differently for men and women and touches on his plans to paint murals for his V&A exhibition this spring. Along the way, Yamamoto also provides a withering personal analysis of the current state of the fashion industry.