Monday, 31 December 2012

December 2012: #TeamBargainBitch

So boxing day is the biggest and most anticipated day of the year for any and every fashionista in the world looking for a bargain. And here's the very best of what is in the sales at some fantastic prices from the high street! Happy shopping!

















Found a bargain on the high street? Tweet us @TREND__FASHION and use the hash tag #TeamBargainBitch to show us and the rest of our fashionable followers your boxing day bargains!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

November 2012: Shopping Just Got Personal

After three years of working for the British High Street department store Debenhams at their Workington store, and gaining more and more interest in fashion I thought it only right that we as a store should offer a free personal shopper service to help customers who aren't too sure when it comes to fashion or the right clothes for them, and around 10 weeks ago that's exactly what we got.

Kirsty Armiger is our personal shopper for our store, and has done a fabulous job so far at helping customers and giving advice. She has hosted a 007 James Bond theme fashion night in store to raise money for the fantastic charity Hospice at Home and to introduce herself and her services to the local people of the town. From accessories to bridesmaids, trends to complete wardrobe makeovers, she's get it covered! So I caught up with her to see what she thinks about fashion at Debenhams and the High Street.

Red Herring
H! by Heny Holland

H! by Henry Holland
Red Herring

Can you tell me a little bit about the personal shopper service at Debenhams and what you do?
The personal shopper service is for anyone that doesn't have the time or energy to shop or that just needs that bit of help and inspiration in finding the perfect outfit for any occasion. It's a wonderful relaxing experience for customers to sit back with a cup of tea while I do all the leg work for them. I will ask the customer some questions about what they are looking for today, what occasion is it for? Do they have any celebrities style that they admire and do they have a budget? Then while they sit back and relax, I will go and select items from the various designers that will suit the customers shape and style.

Why did you decide to become a personal shopper?
I have a passion for fashion and it gives me great joy to dress people in clothes that gives them a boost of confidence and makes them feel happy in the clothes they put on. Great style isn't simply about fashion. It’s about understanding what works for you. Creating your own look that makes you feel confident, comfortable and this what I want for my customers.

How do you think Debenhams compares to other stores on the High Street?
Debenhams is a store that gives customers a unique mix of designer brands that are always bang on trend and caters for all ages and styles.

What is your favourite trend for Autumn/Winter 2012?
My favourite trend for Autumn/Winter 2012 has to be the military trend. Army Gear was given a pinch and a twist this year. Camouflage prints were everywhere this season and the parka was mixed with leather or sequins. A trend that got us very excited this year!

What is your favourite department in Debenhams?
My favourite department in Debenhams . . . so hard to choose! Red herring, it hits all the on trend buttons such as peplum and military and also comes with fantastic affordable price tags.

What's your favourite item hanging in your wardrobe?
My favourite item in my wardrobe is my peplum lace blazer with leather lapels from Star by Julien Macdonald, it completes any outfit.

Do you have a favourite designer at Debenhams?
My favourite designer for Debenhams is a tie between Jasper Conran and Matthew Williamson they both ooze class and creativity in their designs.

what's your favourite department to dress people in? Does it always depend on the customers age/personality?
It all depends on the age, style and personality on the person. Through careful questions I will decide which brands I will choose from.

Why not check out Kirsty's Facebook page or visit the Debenhams website to book an appointment with a Debenhams personal shopper! Don't forget, it's completely free!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

December 2012: When Sharlene Met Natalia Kaut

There is a real Russian charm about the Natalia Kaut studio. Tucked away in the heart of London, it is adorned with a blend of stunning contemporary interiors and traditionally intricate furniture. There was no question that this studio belonged to somebody with a real appreciation for style and glamour. One side of the room housed an array of the creations that had not only been designed, but also hand sewn under this very roof. If there is one word that springs to mind when describing all of Natalia’s dresses, it is innovative, yet not the kind of innovative that renders a garment unwearable. These dresses are the kind of innovative that signifies thorough creative thinking. Soft fabrics, chiffon and organza, are juxtaposed with the lines of leather and Perspex detailing. The creator herself, Natalia Kaut, arrived in one of her latest creations, a deep purple blazer with lime green details on the collars, a piece that, if it had been available, would currently be in my possession.

A demonstration of class: (left) Wall art at the Natalia Kaut studio and (right) a photo from the latest photoshoot styled by celebrity stylist Nadya Sotnikova.

Why did you want to work in the fashion industry? 
Fashion has always been my passion. Since I was five years old, I have always made my own clothes. I used to steal my grandma’s fabrics to cut up and destroy! A couple of years ago, some of my friends encouraged me to start a label because whenever I went out, everyone always loved my dresses and style. I tried so many things; I studied classical music and am a classical pianist. I also did some painting, specialising in oil, and had my own exhibition in Ukraine. Despite that, clothes and fashion have been my only passions for many years.

How did winning the V&A award help the development of Natalia Kaut as a brand?
Winning the award definitely gave me more confidence in my designs because I could see that people liked what I was making. It gave me the confidence to do more of what I was so passionate about.

What are the best things about being situated in London?
The celebrity following is definitely an advantage. But apart from that, this house is great. My house is also the main studio, as I have to be here every hour of every day. When you create something, you always have to be around to check the fittings and whether the design needs any changes, so the main thing about living here is the convenience.

Do you use British fashion as inspiration?
Yes, I like that British fashion is a mix of classic styles and sporty elements, sometimes with a bit of vintage too. Natalia Kaut dresses fit into British fashion really well because they can be worn in different ways, depending on how you style them.

What else do you use as inspiration?
My classical music background, architecture and my travels. And of course, women, a lot.

Which brand would you class as iconic and inspirational?
Alexander McQueen, for the creativity, the sheer genius and the fact that there is always something new. A McQueen jacket might look unwearable on the hanger, but when you put it on… Ta-da! You feel like a star.

What is your favourite piece from the latest collection?

The Angela dress, because it has a rock & roll, sexy feel about it. It also has a removable skirt so you can style it different ways. I also love the Corrie dress, otherwise known as the ‘Rita Ora dress’.

Attention to detail: (left) leather cutouts on the Angela dress and (right) ruffle details on an S/S ’13 piece.

As you mentioned, we have seen Rita Ora in some of your pieces. Which other celebrities do you see wearing your creations? 
Firstly Rihanna, because it fits into her rock & roll/cool style, and because Natalia Kaut dresses would look really great mixed with her sneakers! Anna Dello Russo, also, is amazing because she can pull off anything. I see Lady Gaga in our dresses in the future too…

How do you think fashion bloggers are changing the face of the industry and of journalism?
It’s nice to see the younger generation come up with new ideas and new questions concerning the fashion industry. Fashion bloggers represent the view of the next generation and we like to have a connection with them because we feel like we can learn from them too.

Do you have any advice for fashion bloggers and others wanting to succeed in the industry?
Leave the shyness behind and remember to always be open. Create images as you would like to, because it’s your time to shine. Feel free!

What has been the most memorable moment of the Natalia Kaut journey so far?
The first Natalia Kaut fashion show in 2011 was really special, because it was held in this very studio. We removed everything from the studio so that we could have a runway and seating space. A reception with champagne followed. It was truly great because everybody was invited and I had organised everything myself, from the music to the models to the interiors. People always ask me whether I get nervous before fashion shows, but I never am, because I’m always just so ready to go and have so much confidence in my designs.  It’s nice to see the appreciation that others have for my work, especially when stylists, magazines and celebrities send in their requests for garments! One of the most exciting was the request from Grazia.

What is in store for the future for Natalia Kaut?
We have more stockists and retailers now, and we look forward to having more stylists and more of a celebrity following. There are new colours and new shows in store- we are currently negotiating another catwalk show in March at the V&A!

The lovely ladies at Natalia Kaut also gave me a Spring/Summer 2013 catalogue to take home with me and admire. I sat on the tube marking my favourite pieces… there is now a little loveheart on every single page of the catalogue! They also emailed me some photographs from their S/S’13 shoot, exclusively to TREND! The Capucine dress features one of my favourite combinations of colours, purple and white, making it both striking and subtle. The second outfit, of the Callie top and the Carinia skirt, demonstrates not only an understanding, but an appreciation of the female body, flattering from all angles. From a mere two images, we can see how Natalia Kaut caters for a variety of styles, from classic to rock, and this is a quality I truly respect in a designer. Natalia Kaut’s S/S’13 will be available in January 2013.

Whilst we wait with bated breath for this collection to be released, you can satisfy your new-found hunger for Natalia Kaut’s garments by shopping online at, or you can follow and tweet them at @NataliaKaut.

Friday, 7 December 2012

December 2012: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

So last week I asked Sharlene to have a trip to check out what is hot and happening with all the Christmas shop windows on the very trendy Oxford Street in LondonIf you ever happen to be in London during the winter months, remember to put ‘visit Oxford Street at night’ on your schedule. Even as a Londoner, Oxford Street never fails to amaze me as Christmas approaches. London’s most famous shopping street, this year, is adorned with lights of all colours and shop windows are all set to seduce you with dresses, shoes, accessories that all promise to make you the star of your Christmas party.

Does footwear grow on trees? - Clarks
There is no Christmas like the Christmas spent at home - Muji
A salute to the females doing their Christmas shopping - House of Fraser
Who says Christmas is all about red, green and gold? - Debenhams
Looks like Santa’s avoiding the chimney this year- Schuh
Vintage inspiration and a desire for snowfall - John Lewis
master-class in how to stay cosy and dazzle simultaneously- Accessorize
The king of window displays rightfully takes his crown again - Selfridges

Photographs by Sharlene Gandhi, follow or tweet her: @Sharlene_Gandhi.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

December 2012: Cover Story: Girls Aloud

They're back, bigger and better than ever after finding there own voices with a three year break and now their voices are reunited alongside a ten year anniversary album, a fantastic single & a fabulous tour next year that is bound to filled with fun and fabulousness. It is of course, Girls Aloud.

It's hard to think that just ten years ago, these were five early twenty something girls from different parts of the country with a dream of being international superstars that were united together on the pop singing competition Popstars: The Rivals to create Girls Aloud. They are of course, Cheryl Cole, Nicola Roberts, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding & Kimberley Walsh. The girls are back together after having a three year break which in my opinion has done them a massive favor, as they have been able to shine as individuals. Even though she had her downs throughout the three years, Cheryl Cole has probably been the girl to shine the brightest having launched a solo career in the music industry with a trail of number one singles and albums. She became a much loved sweetheart of the nation when she joined alongside Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell & Sharon Osbourne to become a judge on the X-Factor and find Alexandra Burke as the winner.

Nicola Roberts is my sweetheart of the group having taken an interest in fashion over the three years, which is what her career has focused on alongside releasing her own album and singles to accompany it. In 2012 she was a judge on the T.V show Styled to Rock alongside friend and fashion designer Henry Holland and Rihanna's personal stylish Lysa Cooper to which contestants would each week battle it out to dress the it girl of the world, RihannaThe girls new single 'Something New' is a fantastic single to return with as it resembles the kind of stuff that the girls used to sing when they first started out. So with an album of their greatest hits, a fantastic single and a tour next year, it's safe to say that the girls have chosen no better time to return and I can't wait to see what kind of things they have in hold for their music, their fashion & their fans in the future.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

December 2012: When Sharlene Met Styled To Rock's Heidi

Heidi May is best known for two reasons. The first is her finalist position in Styled To Rock, in which twelve young designers battled to impress the best names in the fashion and showbiz industries including The Scissor SistersLittle Mix & Rizzle Kicks. The second is her highly popular line of jumpers from her line, Aesthetic Laundry, awaiting launch on December 10th. Needless to say, when Heidi arrived for the interview, she was dressed in a killer ensemble of a leopard print coat, chunky boots and a cute red beanie, and of course, one of her favourite, hand-sewn ‘Heidi jumpers’. Amongst parties with the greatest names of the industry and preparations for the jumper launch, Heidi has many appointments for features lined up, one of them being from the UK based fashion magazine Company (which we love). With all that AND a flawless smile, future success is basically within her grasp.

What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I really wanted to make affordable clothes that people could just feel comfortable in. My jumper line is easily wearable, so you can just bung it on without too much effort!

How did the Styled To Rock experience help you develop as a designer?
Massively! All of the designers were under constant pressure and having so much instant feedback from the judges and guest stars was definitely helpful. I learnt so much about collections, styling and whether a product is commercially viable or not. When we first started, we’d be designing a piece for about three hours but when someone would ask which accessories we wanted with the piece, we just wouldn’t know! Towards the end, I had a better view of the whole look and knew exactly what I needed. It also helped me think more professionally, especially because it was the best platform for me, and was bound to give me more credibility. 

How did working alongside successful designers and global style icons help you?
It was just mental! Even though I had to put it aside to be able to concentrate a lot of the time, especially with Henry Holland, I worked really hard to impress him at each stage. Off-camera, he would constantly remind us how lucky we were by saying “You have this opportunity that I wouldn’t have, take it!” We even got twenty minute critique sessions each with Katy Perry and that definitely helped to ground exactly what stars want.

Your Heidi jumpers are really popular on Twitter (#heidijumpers)! How are they coming along? 
At the moment, I am freelancing four days a week and then spend the rest of my time sewing the jumpers. As well as that, I’m doing work to set up my website and ASOS marketplace - I’m on a really tight schedule! Just yesterday, I bought so much material, including 15m of sweater jersey and an entire roll of patterned material that I got for just £1! There was so much that I had to run back and forth from my car with two bags at a time. I carried more than 50m of material back home yesterday!

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
People. That sounds really clich├ęd! I get inspiration from anything really. (She points to the corner of the table we are sitting at.) For example, this corner could be used as a neckline or a shape. At university, I did projects on cracks in the pavement and balloons! I prefer to move things forward rather than go back and try to incorporate, say, 1920's fashion into current trends. I think this quality of mine is what got me so far in the Styled To Rock process.

TREND is a blog that specialises in British fashion. What is your opinion on British style?
I love it! And I’m not just saying that being I’m patriotic. I love that we are so ahead and not afraid to wear certain pieces. It’s also so diverse, if you go to Liverpool for example, the style is totally different from London! Even in London itself, style is so diverse and you only have to walk down the street to be inspired. Even American celebrities, some of whom were on Styled To Rock, look to London for style inspiration and trends.

What are your favourite shops?
I love charity shops so much because I know I’ll find something I love in there. They make me think more creatively about how I can style something up. I also love H&M and rummaging in the Topshop sales. COS is amazing for smart wear. While I was working at ASOS though, they had rummage sale where everything was £2! It was at the headquarters, and only 30 people were allowed in at one time. It was absolutely hectic but I got a pair of Chelsea Boots for £2 and these earrings (she points to her stunning drop earrings) for 50p!

Do you make your own clothes? 
Yes because I like to be in control. A friend of mine has a factory and a pattern cutter, but I prefer to do the work myself, because you get ideas through your mistakes. You can put it on at each stage and check what needs to be done rather than receiving samples, not liking them and having to send them back. I like adding sporty elements to my outfits - I often mix and match with other styles; like I was wearing an over-sized Heidi jumper with a tutu the other day. It looked nice, I promise!

What is the most expensive piece of fashion you own?
I’m more of a bargain hunter, but I do have a £120 pair of boots. I also once found a £1000 Moschino jacket in Barnardo’s for £25!

Any style icons?
I love Kate Bosworth’s style! The Olsen Twins too, I’m obsessed with them. 

If you weren’t in the fashion industry, what would you be doing?
Packaging (there is absolutely no element of doubt in this!). I studied Fashion design with Manufacture, Marketing and Promotion at university and I love branding. When I was younger, I used to work with graphics, so I would be making boxes and nets for products. I love the creative side of marketing and you will all definitely be seeing some guerilla marketing with the Heidi jumpers and Aesthetic Laundry!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like Aesthetic Laundry to be stocked at shops like Urban Outfitters and Topshop, and also to be showing at Dover Street Market. I’ve always said that by 30, I’d like to be a household name with a celebrity following.

Finally, any advice for people wanting to work in the fashion industry?
Firstly, do not expect people go give you opportunities. In the fashion industry, you get out what you put in. But if you are really passionate about an idea, keep going with it because you will eventually find the inspiration that you need to continue. The fact that you keep mulling on it shows that there must be something worthwhile in there!

We just want to say a MASSIVE thank you to Heidi for taking the time to meet for a chat, we are super excited for the launch of the Heidi jumpers which are to be followed by the launch of her own brand, Aesthetic Laundry in 2013. Join in the Twitter - mania an hashtag #heidijumpers, and while you’re at it, be sure to follow and tweet Heidi at @STRHeidi!

Written by guest Blogger Sharlene Gandhi, follow or tweet her: @Sharlene_Gandhi, and as always guys, let's be social:

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