Sunday, 27 June 2010

Top Ten Websites For Fashion Bloggers

As both a fashion blogger and a bit of a social media geek I spend most of my day when I'm not at class, hanging around with friends or taking photos on the internet. Sad, but true. That got me thinking about what websites I just couldn't live without as a blogger...

I remember, before Twitter became THE craze to sweep the online world sitting in the sleek and swanky offices of Idea Generation (the web design company) in London having Twitter explained to me.  At the time I didn't see what was all that brilliant about a site where you could only type 140 characters, and I barley used the account that was set up for me for about a year afterwards. However, I got back into the groove just before Twittermania hit and I was glad I did! I'm 101% in love with Twitter now, and using sites like Tinyurl and the shortcut condenser on Tweetdeck Twitter is perfect for letting people know about your latest blog post. Twitter is also perfect for updating your readers and interacting with other bloggers and your readers!

I regularly read 82 different blogs. I just counted. It would be quite some feat to bookmark all of these sites in my bookmark bar, and look at them every day to look for updates, especially when some of these update at least five times a day. I know a lot of people like using Google Reader, but I think Bloglovin' is where it is at for fashion bloggers. All my followed blogs fed into a handy and visually pleasing feed as they are published, with the options to mark as read, bookmark as a favourite and break your stream down into different groups of blogs. You can also edit how your own blog is displayed on the site, add follower counters and follow me on Bloglovin' widgets on your blog and recently they have launched a lovely little widget to display what blogs you follow on Bloglovin' complete with screen shots on your blog sidebar.

Especially if you want to list advertising on your blog, you need full and comprehensive statistics for who visits your website and when. If you have the option to put custom pieces of code into your blog Google Analytics is the most fantastic piece of free software I've ever used. It lets you know how your readers found your website, from what country, even city they're visiting from and a whole load of other interesting information too.

The original and best international networking site for fashion bloggers, created by The Coveted's Jennine Jacob. The blog has some really great articles about and relating to blogging and their Links A La Mode each week links you to the weeks very best blogs and blog posts.

I have to honestly admit that I am a procrastinator of epic proportions. Therefore since I found this handy To Do List site I have been in love, and its helped me get so much done! If your one of these people who like to schedule your blog posts this is perfect for you!
Brainchild of Amy Claire Thompson of Confessions Of A Fashion Editor, British Style Bloggers is the, well, British version of Independent Fashion Bloggers. They also have great e-Book, some killer giveaways (I've won a Lush gift bundle) and a different theme on the blog each month - this month it's festival season! Personally I'm looking forward to the British Style Bloggers meet up in York this summer!

My obsessions with magazines + My love of blogging + Fantastic tips, advice & content written by bloggers for bloggers = Style Sample Magazine. THE online magazine for fashion bloggers which can be viewed online for free, or ordered online in print.

The perfect blog is never complete without pretty, pretty images. If your not a photographer fining these can be difficult, but We Heart It is a handy bookmarking tool for images across the web. you can 'heart' images that over people have imported to the site, or you can install a browser plug in to grab and bookmark any image off of any website onto your We Heart It page to use later!

Formspring sets up a page people (aka your readers) to ask you questions. Usually, your readers have loads of questions about the person behind the blog, and this site is a perfect way to answer them!

Allows you to make and put together outfits out of any items of clothing on the web, and their extensive collection into handy graphics you can embed onto your blog. And it's strangely addictive!

What websites would you not be able to blog without?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Wardrobe Raid: My Mum (part 1, Clothes)

I've recently had a brilliant idea for a new blog feature - so I hope you all like it! It's called Wardrobe Raid, and it will feature three part posts (Clothes, Shoes & Accessories) of different people who's style I admire. So, this is part one of one of the people who's personal style I love most in the world; my Mum.
Sorry all the photos have been taken hung on the shower door, but that was where the best light was the shoot the clothes!
This is her summer cardigan (like me she's a sucker for knitwear, that must be where I got it from!), and we brought this in Whistles on our last shopping trip. she wears it all the time now with dark jeans, heels and camisole tops or dark cotton tees.
This is one of the few colourful tops she owns, and it's from Karen Millen. I was really unsure about it when she first showed it to me on it's hanger, but when I saw it on her paired with straight leg black trousers and patent black heels I was sold. However it is one of the few items in her wardrobe I wouldn't wear myself and I haven't attempted to borrow at some moment in time.
No label but I have a feeling it is by Max Mara - if it's knitwear it usually is! Though I have a feeling it may be by Meadham Kirchoff. I really like this poncho wrap/ cape cloak thing... the only wrap thing she has I love more than this (but I unfortunately couldn't find to photograph) is her fur edges black hooded cloak she wears to some events instead of a coat over evening gowns and dresses. I just to steal it when I was little when I wanted t dress up like Harry Potter!
She brought this brown Zara jacket (a store she doesn't usually shop in actually) the same day I brought mine in tan, and both in very similar styles. Again fabulous with dark jeans and heels!
I didn't even know she had this, because she doesn't wear it enough, but this skirt from Coast is gorgeous! I love the way it pleats and appears sheer at the bottom - I think it may be a little long for my style (it's not a height thing, I'm taller than her!) but if that was not the case you would have seen t in an outfit post; as I would have borrowed it from her to wear at some point and I would have most definitely known about it!
She's had this pretty green semi-formal dress from L K Bennett for a while now. She's got red hair, so green looks fantastic on her - red heads are so lucky for how beautiful they look in jewel colours.
These two slightly more formal summer skirts from Coast are the same style, but the peach one is slightly longer than the green. I really want to borrow them this summer, hopefully she'll let me as I love that style of skirt, and my only one like it is a navy blue number from Ted Baker.
Boden. I tried to steal it to wear to London Fashion Week but it didn't fit me properly. Out of her wardrobe one of my one true loves. Boden tnd to only alter their styles from season to season, so I'm hoping to grab something similar once the winder collections come out!
Weekend by Max Mara, along with most of the rest of her knitwear collection that I didn't feel the need to photograph - it takes up all the shelves in one of her wardrobes!
This is her latest evening dress, again from L K Bennett. I was really tempted to buy it in purple for a family do I had to go to, but when I found out she was planning on wearing it I had to head over to All Saints as we couldn't turn up wearing the same dress just in a different colour!
I don't have a clue where this brilliant blue Spanish style gown came from, I know she's had it for years and I just had to photograph it - it's so beautiful!
What I have not included is her black Diane Von Fustenburg wrap gown she let me wear at my 17th Birthday party - I was too scared to take it out of it's protective bag!
Make sure you look out for my next Wardrobe Raid post where I raid her designer shoe collection, its to die for and I think you'll understand my overwhelming jealousy when you see it!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Ten Questions with Temporary:Secretary

Ever since I featured her in Lipstick Royalty Magazine (even before it was called Lipstick Royalty, it was Inside Out back then!) I have loved the beautiful kitch jewellery Sarah from Temporary:Secretary produces. Naturally I had to catch up for her under the guise of yet another edition of Ten Questions!

What made you start Temporary:Secretary, and where did the name come from?
Temporary:Secretary is a song by Paul McCartney. When I worked as an intern at fashion company, they always played it and it has stuck in my mind ever since. It’s very catchy. The song is electro and a bit crazy and it is different to all the other stuff that Paul McCartney’s done. I started the company whilst I was still at university. Looking back, I’m not sure how I managed to cope with the business and my final year of studying. I studied Fashion Marketing and being a fashion student means that you often have to spend a huge amount on art materials and fabric – and those things aren’t cheap. So, at the time, it was just a way to earn some pocket money so that I didn’t have to live the typical student lifestyle every week (pasta does get extremely boring after a while!). I love making things so throughout the few years that Temporary:Secretary has been going, there’s been bags and clothes on the site – ones that I have made myself. It took a while for me to find me feet but accessories has become the main focus. 

What inspires all of your different and whimsical designs?
I find inspiration in everything. I have an archive of sketchbooks from my fashion student days which is filled with things that inspire me. I love it when designs have a story behind it and a strong cohesive concept. My customers also inspire me. So much. I take on board all the suggestions and feedback from each and every one.

Have you always wanted to be a jewellery designer of work in the fashion industry?
I never considered being a designer but I have always known I wanted to be part of the fashion industry. Whether it be PR, buyer, stylist etc… I had more of an interest in clothes than jewellery and then lots of quirky jewellery started to appear and I can’t resist quirky!

Do you remember the first ever sale you made?
I do, indeed. It was for a pair of sunnies!
What is your favourite piece in the collection?
It changes from time to time. I went through a phase of wear with the Sweetheart Necklace. My favourite at the moment is the skull ring. I love it.

Where did the inspiration for the Alice's Teapot necklace come from?
The Mad Hatter’s tea party from Alice in Wonderland. I love miniature things and this teapot always reels in compliments, it is so cute.

What is the most memorable experience you've had running and designer for Temporary:Secretary?
There’s been a few. But one that always sticks to mind and the one anecdote I often tell is the first time I was featured in a magazine. I’d only just started Temporary:Secretary for about 2 months and I was contacted by a magazine to provide some jewellery for a photo shoot. A few months later, I saw the magazine in the newsagents and Fearne Cotton was on the front cover wearing a Sweetheart Necklace! I didn’t expect that at all and I was so happy about it. At the time, Temporary:Secretary was just a hobby but the moment I saw that cover, I wanted to take it much more seriously.
Have you seen any celebrities wearing your designs? Who would like like to see wearing them?
Only Fearne Cotton (for that photo shoot) and a band called the Pipettes (for their gigs) – I love the Pipettes! If you’ve not heard their old stuff, then you should definitely check it out. I would love to see any celebrity wear our products, I’m a total celeb junkie!

Are there plans to add anything else to your line other than jewellery?
Definitely! As mentioned before, I used to have a wider selection of products. From my university degree, I have an understanding of how to design, pattern cut, and manufacture so I would like to put those skills to good use one day and expand into clothing.

Anything exciting coming up for either you or your jewellery you'd like to share with us?
Exciting things that hasvealready happened so far this year are:

The new website launch; giving the site a make over was fun and I hope everyone is enjoying the new look.

Being featured in a book, a real book! One you can buy from WHSmith. I was dying to tell everyone about that and I finally could when the book was released a few months ago. (Hello Kitty Fashion Journal)

Having lots of our Alice In Wonderland jewellery featured in the magazines earlier this year.

I usually do things on a whim, or things kind of happen by luck. What I do know, though, is that lots more new products will be on the website and the website will be going through some changes throughout the year. Keep an eye out for Twilight theme pieces! 2010 has been a fab year so far and it is thanks to girls like yourself and your readers!