About Elle Pollicott

Hi, I’m Elle and I’m a final year fashion marketing student at the University of Manchester. Having worked extensively within the fashion industry over the past few years, I now do a lot of copywriting in my current job, as well as for my own blog Girl Out on The Town, and now, for Gola’s ‘Born in Britain’ campaign, which I’m really excited about! Always obsessed with fashion, I remember attending many catwalk shows from a young age wishing I was up there, and have developed an addiction to shopping along the way– I love discovering unknown brands, both British and foreign – and now, I’ll get to share them with you! When I'm not shopping or searching for the latest trends, you'll either find me at ballet (my favourite outfit is probably a tutu and a pair of pointe shoes!) drinking cocktails, or learning Swedish. ''Why Swedish?' you're probably asking yourselves. Well, as cutting edge and cool as the British fashion industry may be (not forgetting the music, film and art scenes too!); I am a firm believer that it always good to try something new.

Lily J London

“Fashion fades while style lasts forever”.

Lily J is a London-based clothing brand that sells beautiful clothing at affordable prices.  Launched in 2010, Lily J started as a single store, and has now expanded to four; three in Camden and one in Notting Hill.

Their product offering is extensive, with dresses, tops, cardigans, skirts and coats, although there’s a particular emphasis on their beautiful dresses.  The main focus is lace, which is evident throughout pretty much all of their clothing, whether on ruffles, trims or the whole outfit.  Lily J is a paradise for any lover of girly, beautiful clothes with a kind of Alice in Wonderland feel to them.

Their outfits have been constructed very thoughtfully – they can be dressed down with tights and flats in the day, but equally, teamed with a pair of heels and sparkly jewellery, they would look great for a night out sipping cocktails at a sophisticated bar.

To have a look at some of their pretty clothes on offer, have a look at their Facebook page (although unfortunately, they’re quite inactive) or website, where you can shop online.

Gunsmoke and Lavender

Unfortunately for men when it comes to fashion, there seems to be a lot less choice out there compared to their female counterparts.  However, one male fashion brand pushing the boundaries is Gunsmoke and Lavender set up in 2010 by fashion stylist Jo Hawtree.

The basics are clear; classic tailoring, whether that be graphic tees, sparkly vests or a faux fur waistcoat.  The brand itself was built on extensive research into human emotion, resulting in controversial one-off pieces and small collections in associated colours.  Gunsmoke and Lavender’s AW 13/14 collection ‘Walking in our Shoes’ was influenced by the dark history of psychiatric facilities and with that, the intensity of a fractured human mind; showing that fashion is anything but shallow.

As mysterious as the brand itself, the Gunsmoke and Lavender man is a “dark passenger… he is beautifully sinister and gracefully insane.  Fractured and abandoned, he carves his own path; his dreams as vivacious as the contents of former patients forgotten suitcases… their possessions, once meaningful, soon to belong to an anonymous name”.

Gunsmoke and Lavender is anything but anonymous and in my opinion, it’s definitely a brand to watch.

To have a look at these intriguing creations, head to the website; or Gunsmoke and Lavender’s facebook and twitter.

 

 

Katie Darlington

Welsh-born, Kingston graduate Katie Darlington is one designer making waves in the fashion industry.  Her debut collection ‘Collecting Sentiment’, incorporating innovative pattern cutting and print design saw her win the Wolf & Badger Graduate Design award for fashion, with her collection now stocked at Wolf & Badger in the fashionable area of Notting Hill.

Katie’s collection features a combination of soft tailoring with gentle fluidity, most noticeable in jumpsuits and dresses.  The inspiration behind ‘Collecting Sentiment’ came from her great grandfather’s journal, documenting his time in North Africa and Italy during World War Two; linking the past with the present.

Another noticeable aspect of Katie’s collection is the heavy use of prints – originally meant to be digital print, following a tutorial with print designer Mark Eley; Katie instead decided to incorporate the look of hand-dyed silk, so whilst the ink print has been digitally printed on her collection, the image is blown up from hand-dyed ink bleedings, giving it a more raw feel.

To have a look at some of the pieces from Katie’s beautiful collection, check out her website

 

 

Bill + Mar

Founded in 2010, Rosie Bonnar is the designer behind the innovative brand Bill + Mar (named after Rosie’s grandparents, Bill and Marian); who creates “unique designs for fun, fashion forward gals”.

After an inspirational year in Sydney surrounded by beautiful scenery, young and creative talent and immeasurable amounts of positive energy, Rosie returned to London with the motivation to launch her own directional fashion label.

Bill + Mar does not conform to regulations and is not afraid to deviate from mainstream trends. Its mix of fabrics, prints and textures make it stand out from the crowd. It is about creating a unique personal wardrobe with a focus on silhouette to best flatter figures.

Keen to gain a relationship with customers, the ‘show off’ section on Bill + Mar’s website allows customers to upload pictures of themselves in their new Bill + Mar clothing for everyone to see.  The brand is also gaining a following with celebrities too, with both Eliza Doolittle and Kimberley Walsh spotted out and about in their pieces.

‘Edgy and unique’ is a term that I would use to sum up Bill + Mar’s collection; and with products selling out fast, you’ll have to act quick if you want to get your hands on it!

To have a look at Bill + Mar’s offerings, head to their website; or check out their Facebook  and Twitter.

Pip Merrifield

A fashion marketing and management student at the University of Manchester (and a very good friend of mine!), Pip has always immersed herself in fashion; and her ambition and knowledge helped her to gain an internship at the Manchester Fashion Network, where she is involved in digital marketing.  Alongside this, Pip enjoys doing photography in her spare time (which you can check out on her website); and she was the talented photographer behind Gola’s successful on-campus photo shoot in December 2013, of which some of the images are shown here.  I caught up with Pip to talk about her love of fashion and photography, and what she hopes to do in the future.

When did you first get into photography, and what kind of things do you photograph?

I first got into photography when I was around 13, I was really interested in graphic design at the time and found I could incorporate the two to create a more distinct style. It’s since blurred with my love of fashion, resulting in street style photography and editorial-style shoots!  What do I photograph? Anything and everything! I tend to take my camera round with me so I have a bit of a visual diary which you can check out on louley.tumblr.com. I’m also really fond of taking street style photos, there’s such a diverse range of styles in Manchester and people aren’t afraid to experiment. I think it’s really important to document how the trends translate from the catwalk to everyday outfits each season.  Recently, I’ve done a lot of events and gigs around the city which is really fun too, photographing bands such as The Sunshine Underground.

What do you hope to do when you finish University?

As well as studying Fashion Marketing and Management I also work part-time doing digital marketing for a Manchester-based fashion website, The Fashion Network, which I love! I definitely want to pursue a career in a similar field after I graduate, hopefully still within the fashion industry. Of course I still plan on keeping photography as a hobby.

Which trend are you most looking forward to for SS14?

I know it sounds cliché but pastels! I’ve completely fallen in love with baby pink this autumn/winter which I’m counting on in the transition to Spring/Summer.  A baby pink scarf or shoes makes a nice change to my all monochrome wardrobe too!

Which one trend do you wish would go away?

Anything cut-out probably. The main reason being that it’s not very functional for the British weather and I think it devalues a lot of cute dresses or tops.

 

To check out some of Pip’s photography work, head on over to her website.

 

Emma Guilfoyle

A 2012 graduate from the University of Central Lancashire (with First Class Honours!), freelance fashion designer Emma Guilfoyle is one to watch.  During her time at University, the fashion industry was so impressed with her designs that she was shortlisted to the finals of George’s childrenswear competition 2012, and the Karen Millen award 2012; in addition to the prestigious honour of showcasing her collection at London Graduate Fashion Week 2012.  The collection – titled ‘Power, Parliament and Picasso’, was inspired by a combination of Cubism and British Prime Ministers.  Iconic faces and infamous quotes are emblazoned on key pieces, such as ‘We will fight the on the beaches’; with appliqued patches of tweed and sequin embellishment giving the collection a more youthful feel.  So successful was Emma’s collection, it received a six page feature in Total Politics magazine, and was worn by both Lady Gaga and rapper Eve.

More recently, Emma designed costumes for the Northern Ballet school’s latest production, entitled ‘Luminous Junc.ture’; testing Emma’s versatility, with each costume strong, yet tying in as a collection, and in no way inhibiting the dancers’ movement.

Emma is currently residing in Manchester, working as a freelance fashion designer; and I for one am looking forward to seeing what exciting creations she comes up with next.

To find out more from Emma and her collections, head over to her website.

 

 

Cwtchy Cwtchy

Fashion can seem like quite a cruel place; with the idea that the only way to look amazing in an outfit is by starvation.  One person who is shunning this idea is designer Sonia Edwards, with her new brand Cwtchy Cwtchy.  The concept is simple, yet genius, and in fact, has been protected by intellectual property rights, meaning no one can copy what is described as the “unique, distinctive cornerstone of the brand”.

The concept is this: the waistband of clothing is cut into a ‘V’ shape, creating an optical illusion of longer legs and a nipped in waist; whilst flattering and enhancing the wearer’s natural curves.

Cwtchy Cwtchy’s signature ‘V’ shapes appear to be a natural progression; with Sonia having always been intrigued with the idea of optical graphic techniques and the French ‘trompe l’oeil’ (deceive-the-eye); resulting in the creation of forced perspectives and three-dimensional optical illusions in both form and shape.

Although an extremely new brand; Cwtchy Cwtchy offers an extensive collection, ranging from skirts and leggings to swimwear, all offering the flattering ‘V’ waistline.  Sonia’s clever designs have made it so that the clothing can either be worn separately with other brands; or can be mixed-and-matched with other pieces of the Cwtchy Cwtchy range; with many pieces able to connect via hooks and buttons.

To have a look at the figure-flattering collection, head to the Cwtchy Cwtchy website; or Facebook and Twitter.

The Harley Venue, Sheffield

Described as a “fun loving, hip-shaking home of legendary live music and innovative club nights”, The Harley venue in Sheffield is guaranteed to give you a night you won’t forget (or remember, as the case may be!).  Having celebrated its 10th birthday in October 2013, The Harley is something of an institution in the city, with lots of amazing musical acts having played there, from The xx and the Arctic Monkeys, to AlunaGeorge and The Vaccines.

As well as continuing to promote weekly shows at The Harley, its live music producers Harley Live  have gone on to create and run the nationally-acclaimed music festival Tramlines, whose alumni include WeAreScientists, Alt-J and hundreds more.  Hosting takeovers at various Sheffield venues, including working men’s club Queen Social Club and the Gothic Cathedral; each venue creates a new, surprising atmosphere, ensuring a memorable night!

Whilst live music is The Harley’s lifeblood, it also plays host to an eclectic mix of club nights, drawing in hundreds of students.  Dubcentral, Thirsty Ear and Club Pony are amongst some of the nights; with the music played ranging from dubstep to reggae and techno, guaranteeing everyone’s music tastes will be satisfied.

During the day, The Harley is home to the award-winning Twisted Burger Company – arguably the best burgers in Sheffield! – with an ever-changing menu that keeps fans coming back for more and more.  And as if that wasn’t enough, if you find you literally can’t keep yourself away from The Harley, they offer a 22-room hotel above the bar for you to crash after an amazing night.

If you love live music and happen to be in Sheffield on Saturday 1 February, then I suggest you get yourself down to The Harley, where up-and-coming band Algiers will be performing, promoting their new album You’re The Captain.  Trust me; it’s going to be great!

For more information, and to check out up-and-coming acts, head over to The Harley’s Facebook page.

 

Adam Jones

Womenswear designer Adam Jones has recently stormed into the fashion industry with his captivating designs.  Having studied BA(hons) Fashion at the Manchester School of Art; Adam’s inspiring creations secured him a slot at the prestigious Graduate Fashion Week in June 2013.  I caught up with him to talk about the amazing experience of his very own fashion show, and exciting plans for the future.

What made you decide to do fashion design in the first place?

I’ve always been drawing at any opportunity from a young age, or making things – fruit and vegetable animals etc at school. My grandmother was the only arty one in my family, and really supported me, I would dress my cousins up in her clothes, fur coats and crazy hats and put on shows. I have always surrounded myself with girls, and they’re always dressing up, it just felt like something I had to do, so when it came to college, I dismissed conventional A-levels and took up a National Diploma in Fashion and clothing aged 16.  I just knew.

What was it like showing your collection at Graduate Fashion Week?

It was overwhelming and just a bit mental to have all those influential people looking at stuff I’d made. I got to show at the best of show and Gala shows as well, which was just too much – I was so excited, and terrified something would go wrong! I got to meet Susie Bubble, Hilary Alexander, Suzy Menkes, it was hilarious. The competition element to show at GFW between peers was not so fun, but I guess it’s the harsh reality of this industry.

If you could have any celebrity wearing one of your designs, who would it be and why?

I want the Kills’ front-woman Alison Mosshart to wear one of my leather jackets, I’m a huge fan, her energy is just incredible.  Although she probably wouldn’t be able to move very well onstage in one, she’d have to rock it offstage!  I love Lara Stone but I’m not sure she’d wear any of it, though I think my stuff would actually really suit Pixie Geldof.

What do you hope to be doing in 5 years’ time?

Of course, the dream is to be showing at London Fashion Week; but I just hope to be solely working on my own clothing line from my own studio. I want to have stockists, I want to see the demand for my clothes, not to be just making things without a consumer.  This is not a hobby. I would love to be receiving support from NEWGEN or Fashion East.

To see more of Adam’s work, check out his blog.

 

Inthefrow -Victoria Magrath

At the University of Manchester’s Design and Fashion Business school, it’s fair to say that there a LOT of girls who love fashion, who perhaps have their own fashion blogs and dream of being the Next Big Thing. Except one girl is – doctor of fashion, lecturer Victoria Magrath decided to start her own blog Inthefrow, and from it came an award from Company magazine and over 3,400 followers (and counting!)  I caught up with her to talk all things fashion and blogging…

What made you decide to start your own fashion/beauty blog?

I wanted to have my own voice and outlet for my thoughts and opinions. I loved reading blogs at the time and would buy so many new products on other people’s recommendations – it was my way of chilling out in an evening really. So one night I just decided that I wanted to write my own recommendations and the past year is history.

You recently won the best personal style newcomer award at Company magazine – what great opportunities have come from this?

This was such an honour and I still can’t believe I won after just a few months of blogging. I had the opportunity to go down to London and meet so many fantastic bloggers, as well as the entire Company Magazine team. Through that I also managed to get myself a three week placement at Company HQ with the Fashion and features teams, which was an amazing experience. One night we went to the Rihanna x River Island party which was just amazing! But I also grew so much from the experience, in my own confidence and belief in myself and my blog grew with that.

What’s your favourite trend for this A/W?

My favourite trend this season definitely has to be pink coats. With having pink hair, I love matching my hair to my coat; and a cute baby pink, woolly coat makes you feel so feminine and pretty. I love it. But I do also love Tartan, if it is done right. There are so many check and tartan prints out at the moment that look quite cheap and quickly done. If you find a good tartan print, you’ve found yourself a winner.

What piece of advice do you have for all aspiring fashion bloggers out there?

For any new fashion bloggers, I would say that you need to bring something new to the scene. It is so saturated now that everyone needs their own USP almost. If you can find yours, then you’re halfway there, really. Try not to copy someone else and just be yourself. People will follow you for that reason.

Victoria x Inthefrow

For daily updates on fashion and beauty, head to Inthefrow , or follow Victoria on Twitter and Facebook

Strawberry Kats

I first spotted this brand about 3 years ago, on one of my first trips down to Spitalfields Market.  Walking through hundreds of stores and thousands of people, I saw some of the prettiest dresses I’d ever seen.  After a quick flick through, I selected three of the dresses, and rotated them around for most of the summer, and (I’m pleased to say!) that whenever I wore one of those dresses, there was always someone who would complement me and ask me where I got my dress from.  The answer was: Strawberry Kats.

Strawberry Kats’ mission is to offer newness, quality and fashion forward garments for their customers who want to “own it”; and they describe their line as “fresh, femininity, fashion”.  Mainly known for their beautiful strapless dresses, they come in dozens of colours and patterns, making them suitable for both summer and winter (the pictures show a couple of the different patterns available).  My personal favourite is one I picked up at the Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model (BINTM) Live Catwalk show in 2011 – black, with a gold paisley design for a mere £15!

In addition, with ethical clothing a hot topic at the minute; Strawberry Kats makes sure to tackle any issues by keeping in close contact with their manufacturers at all elements of the design from start to finish; and they encourage all customers to wash their garments in cold water.

Whilst Strawberry Kats are only trading via a stall on Spitalfields Market on a Sunday at the minute, they’re currently in the process of updating their website, which when complete, will show off their full collection.

Alternatively, you can check out their Facebook page here.

Belle Bow Boutique

I first came across Belle Bow Boutique a few years ago at the Clothes Show Live, and I think it is a seriously underrated brand.  Founded in 2010, the brand offers feminine clothes in dainty blues, greys and pastel pinks in delicate fabrics. The attention to detail on each piece is incredible: floral-embroidered ribbon stitched around waistbands, with tiny pearls adorned on top.  If pretty dresses are your thing, then Belle Bow is going to become a firm favourite for your wardrobe.

And it’s not just dresses that Belle Bow offer (although the two bestsellers are the Tia tiered dress and Skye shift dress, both of which I own and have worn frequently; with the Skye dress probably my favourite goto outfit in my wardrobe; it’s great to just throw on and take you from day to night).  Tops, cardigans and bags are on offer too, all adorned with thoughtful extras such as lace trims, heart-shaped buttons and leather bows.

Perhaps unusual for brands nowadays, Belle Bow doesn’t have much of an online presence. No twitter account and their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2010, which is a shame because if used properly it could give them so much more exposure.  But you can shop on their website, although only a selection of their collection is available on there.  The best way to check out the full offering of Belle Bow is to head down to their stalls either at Portobello Market on Saturday or Spitalfields on Sunday.

However, such difficulty of tracking down Belle Bow Boutique provides an air of mystery and there’s nothing wrong with exclusivity, right?  I’m not going to lie, whenever I wear one of my Belle Bow dresses someone always complements me on it, and I can guarantee that whenever I say it’s a ‘Belle Bow’ the complimentor is none the wiser.

To check out a selection of Belle Bow Boutique’s offerings, head to their website.