Having lived in Manchester for nearly four years now, I have become quite attached to it and, therefore, become irrationally excited when genuine emerging talents come from my adopted city. Founded in 2010 and based in Manchester, Loela is a womenswear label set up by fashion graduate Laura Baker that is set to go big places in 2014 and beyond.

When I first looked at Loela’s collection, I saw the aesthetic as the embodiment of Lolita in the 21st century. Rustic hand-made pieces are juxtaposed with futuristic woven prints, also done by hand, that create a look that successfully stays the right side of feminine and delicate. Styling long hems with clumpy boots, there is a country-girl vibe at work that is simple and earthy but at the same time incredibly stylish and covetable.

For such a young designer, Baker has created a line that is incredibly mature. In a world that is obsessed with fast fashion and trends that have the longevity of only a few months, she is proving that she is not a fad and that real style should be able to transcend each catwalk season. Producing unique pieces of quality with an inimitable Loela stamp, the line is affordable, cutting edge and deeply personal.

Shop Loela on the website and at the Asos Marketplace.

Follow Loela and find out more on Facebook and on Pinterest.

Denai Moore

On 24th January, I began my gig year at Manchester Cathedral with Irish folk musician James Vincent McMorrow, by far one of the best artists around at the moment. As well as being an incredible musician and a generally funny and endearing guy, he has a knack for picking great support acts. I saw him in London at Royal Festival Hall two years ago, where we were treated to Agnes Obel, a stunning songwriter from Denmark whose haunting voice and rural inspired lyrics captured the imagination and stayed with you long after the set had finished. This time, McMorrow had selected Londoner Denai Moore, someone, he claimed, who had seriously impressed him.

It was easy to see why. Moore came onstage very humble and modest but unleashed an incredibly powerful voice, performing a string of songs infused with folk melodies. For such a newcomer to the music scene, she was self-assured and confident, allowing her voice to fill and ring about the high vaulted ceilings of the cathedral. ‘The Lake’, the title track to her second EP, which she has previously performed on Later With Jools Holland  was particularly gorgeous. You could clearly see the influence of Bon Iver and Radiohead, however Moore sets herself apart from the rest by combining folk music with her remarkably soulful voice.

Her track ‘Gone’, however, is the absolute clincher that convinced me that Moore is set for big things. Performed only with a piano, it’s a heart-wrenching song about the mess left after a break-up that I think most people can relate to. The simplicity of the piano and the painfully honest lyrics like ‘I never know who to look for to try and fill your place / Cause I never thought that I would have to’ surely give the likes of Adele a run for their money in the muted desperation and devastation they imply about getting used to being alone.

In addition to James Vincent McMorrow, Moore has caught the attention of Band of Horses, who heard her cover of their song ‘Pt. One’ and recorded their own acoustic version. Laura Marling has been at the forefront of female folk for a long time, and I think Denai Moore is a welcome addition to this particularly male dominated area of music. With an album in the pipeline, I’m so excited to see where this incredible down-to-earth talent is headed.

Find out more about Denai Moore and her up-coming tour dates from her website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, TumblrSoundcloud.

Little Hill People

Ever on the look-out for unique and sustainable fashion brands, I recently stumbled upon Little Hill People. First of all, I was attracted by such a quaint and interesting name for a company, and secondly fell hook line and sinker for their brilliant manifesto. The company is based in Sale, Chesire but acts as a marketing platform for traditional weavers and indigenous craftspeople in North-East India. The products, ranging from bags to accessories, are comprised of incredibly vivid prints and are each individually hand woven, meaning that each piece is absolutely unique and unlike any other.

In purchasing a piece from Little Hill People, you can be sure of a fair few things. Primarily, that your bag or necklace has been produced by loom weavers operating in a safe working environment, provided with a stable and regular income. Furthermore, the artisans’ traditional ways of weaving and producing items will be preserved, so that future generations can be acquainted with and pass on the unique methods and skills required to create such amazing products.  You can also be sure that whatever you buy will inject colour and vibrancy into any outfit that you choose to wear, absolutely worthy of any of the catwalks in Europe and the USA.

The mixture of traditional production with modern and fashion forward designs is what makes this company so exciting. Little Hill People have cottoned onto the fact that many of us do not want mainstream items from the high street, but still want to be ahead of the fashion curve. This is something that they offer with their off the beaten track collections that are incredibly of the zeitgeist but are, most importantly, ethically sourced and produced. Whilst the Tribal trend appropriated by fashion designers has become something of a fad that comes in and out of fashion on a regular basis, Little Hill People provides fashion that is completely authentic and will, therefore, never cease to be a pleasure to wear.

Shop and find out more on their website, Asos Marketplace Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +