Tuesday, 30 November 2010


If your style were a song, what song would it be?

"'Oogum Boogum' by Brenton Wood."

Muse to Phillip Lim and Beck, fundraiser and member of beachy band Little Joy, Binki Shapiro is the epitome of Californian cool. With her beach waves (that no Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray could ever truly achieve), virtually no make up and a wardrobe that is an enviable mix of vintage and designer, she has made effortless style look chic. Scott Stenberg, of Band of Outsiders says of Shapiro: ‘When I first heard Binki, she conjured images of those rad girls in the band, like Nico from the Velvet Underground. One of the guys yet uniquely feminine.’ Despite describing Madonna has her style ‘hero,’ Binki reminds me of a seventies front woman as she manages to be both sexy and effortlessly fashionable. With a wardrobe consisting of Isabel Marant coats, Margiela ankle boots, vintage nightgowns, cut off shorts and plenty of Band of Outsiders and 3.1 Phillip Lim pieces, Binki is fast becoming the girl crush of the moment. Also, let us not forget Binki’s perfect accessory, alongside her studded 3.1 Philip Lim bag, she has her gorgeous boyfriend and bandmate Fabrizio Moretti (check out their spread in US Elle to see how adorable and bohemian they are). Binki Shapiro is reminiscent of the girl you would want to be your Californian best friend; effortlessly stylish, cool and more than able to lead a singsong around the campfire.

Below is the video to one of my favourite songs for the summertime, Next Time Around by Little Joy (forget it is snowing and freezing outside and listen to this, admiring the Californian sun and Binki).

Harriet Tisdall

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Founded by Blake Mycoskie, Toms stands for a better ‘tomorrow’, a tomorrow I want to be a part of.

Travelling through Argentina and South Africa, Blake Mycoskie stumbled across a community which he found suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating foot and leg disease. The majority of the community are too poor to afford shoes. This disease enters the body when bare skin comes into contact with the earth. As such, a lack of shoes is perpetuating the spread of the disease and thereby greatly decreasing the possibility of any children getting any education at all which is an education the Western world so readily accepts as a right of passage.

Shocked at such poverty and the implications that this simply lack of shoes has for the community’s future, Mycoskie proposed a charitable idea with the potential to eventually provide an entire Third World community with shoes, and in turn eradicate the disease and ensure the possibility for education. However, all too aware of the instability associated with charity, a reputation caused by the unreliable charitable nature of the West, Mycoskie cleverly consulted the commercial world on his journey to making a difference.

Toms is one of the few brands that has successfully addressed the ‘other’, which in a modern world obsessed with the self-satisfaction of all things charitable, is a shameful surprise. Fuelled by the Western world’s preoccupation with socially responsible consumption, Mycoskie has implemented a charitable business solution, with the guarantee of a continuous return. As the majority of claimed charitable brands essentially fail to achieve a relationship with the ‘other’ which penetrates through the material world, Toms are the proud owners of the sought after recipe for bona fide charitable business success.

So what is this golden business strategy that essentially implements the impossible? Soon to be sought after by the commercial world, the sustainable strategy, one-for-one, provides a revolutionary platform for Mycoskie’s valuable vision. When the consumer purchases a pair of Toms shoes, Toms pledges to donate an identical pair of espadrilles to a child without in the Third World; the result being a successful shoe brand and an equally salient, sustainable charity. Through such a vivid, yet effective, business procedure, a solid relationship between the brand and the consumer market is formed. Taking full advantage of the socially responsible movement of the moment, whilst effectively mediating between charity and brand, Toms' priorities to their cause withstand the overbearing consumer desires of the West.

A sacred element to Mycoskie’s model of business and charitable success is the donation, made with every purchase. Importantly viewed as a direct donation from the consumer, we are empowered by a sense of connection, hence becoming part and parcel of the charity’s challenge to heal the lives of the less fortunate ‘other’. We become a crucial player in the West’s commitment to the Third World. Such engendering of deep commitment is stimulated by quirky marketing gestures. Receiving a flag when purchasing a pair of espadrilles, a community of protesters are born, goaded to wave the Toms flag with pride and in protest to consumption, a consumption that comparatively becomes banal.

With such powerful marketing tools, Toms is one of the few brands which gets away with a total disregard for advertising. As advertising plays a quintessential role with the major players in the shoe shop, such as the global giants, Nike and Adidas, Toms prove that nothing is impossible. Toms relies on targeting consumers through social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Addressing their desire to create maximum circulation of their initiative, the charity targets the active, savvy and socially aware. Furthermore, it strides ahead of the social media curve, instilling a variety of viral marketing stunts, throwing their products and services into the cultural lifeblood of relevant subcultures. Toms engages with such subcultures, propelling a sense of global community into the lifestyles of their consumers. Such stunts include encouraging the West to spend ‘One Day Without Shoes’, giving Toms consumers the opportunity to physically relate to the distant ‘other’, invited to step into their shoes, or lack thereof.

With the creation of a physical relationship, Toms provokes a vivid sense of connection with the West and the rest, arguably illustrating the charitable brand’s ability to not simply create the impression of global connectivity but, furthermore, to create a positive impact towards the reality of a globally connected world.

Rose Brownlow


Sooo… Apparently the in thing to do is embrace twitter. If you can’t beat them, join them! x


Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Whenever I think about vintage, I remember those really wrecked Levi’s I bought for a shoot from Absolute Vintage in Shoreditch. They had seriously ambiguous sizing, cost £22 and didn’t even fit the model. I also think of the time when my friend and I waited for 15 minutes just to get inside One of A Kind in Notting Hill only for her to suggest that I buy a lacy nightie for £50. There have been countless times where I’ve thought to myself, why do I keep trying to sift through heaps of crap in hope of looking as cool as Alexa Chung when a) I don’t suit any sort of ‘out there’ patterns that are usually spread like a disease in many vintage shops and b) everything makes me look like my aunt Mildred.

However, there is something really smug and uplifting about someone complimenting you on your really unique top or whatever, asking where you got it from only to be plummeted into jealousy when you say you found it in some quirky little sale in a far away place. This rarely happens for me since I can never be bothered to make it to these fairs or sales.

So when at our ritual Sunday night x factor/ dinner night, a friend was talking about a vintage sale that was happening in a couple of weeks time, I blaséely (not sure if that's a word) asked if it was bloggable and after a nod from my friend, we all redirected our attention back to One Direction. A week later, I asked her for the details and emailed her two friends Lizzie Jackson and Florrie Thomas (both 22) about what it was all about and ended up in their studio one night to discuss things over.

I had had a look at their blog (http://www.landflondon.blogspot.com) and realised I was drawn to their approach to vintage fashion. They had somehow made things look wearable and used models that didn’t necessarily make you feel fat and ugly in one go, but had concentrated more on how to make vintage contemporary by translating inspiration from the catwalk to their handpicked garments. The blog also gives style advice on how to wear certain items this season which I think is a great idea! Anyway, it drew me to their studio right near Putney Bridge.

I took Harry Walker with me again. I guess by now you’ve sussed that I bully him into these things and quite frankly I can’t do this stuff without nattering at him afterwards or during. What we hadn’t realised prior to the meeting was that we had already met Lizzie before at Newcastle University so it was a nice surprise to see her beaming face in the doorway before she led us inside from a truly heinous evening and immediately put the kettle on for a green tea – from University binges to green tea, god it’s only been a year! Despite having met each other before, the interview remained extremely civilized and professional. Florrie who is interning at Grazia hadn’t arrived yet so I took time to soak in the amazing studio and the rail of clothes that they had already very kindly displayed so that I could start rummaging. I have noticed of late that I have a tendency to grab and sort of man handle clothes whenever I’m looking at them so I decided to take it easy, especially when the girls had obviously taken so much time and preparation to make them just right.

You could tell that each garment had been carefully picked and the labels lovingly sewn…. ‘Yeah they’re sort of the bane of my life at the moment.’ Lizzie sighed. ‘I’m sewing each one on.’ It appears that despite my la-di-da preconceptions of the sale, the girls work to a specific process that is quite opposite to the flimsy idea I had in my head.

Looking at the rail, there were some surprisingly good pieces that were extremely classic and wearable for a variety of different occasions. Minimalist, silk, white shirts, pussy bow blouses, Breton tops, denim jackets and the odd Prada jacket! A lot of camel and leopard print kept popping up which was very in keeping with this season as well as a lush old flying jacket which is dying to be bought if you’re fed up with the mass produced Topshop ones. There seemed to be something for everyone. The collection looked contemporary and chic, in pure contrast to the offensive stuff that I initially associated with vintage. Little subtleties can be seen in the customisation e.g. Celine-esque leather pockets and elbow pads which were sewn onto the country type jackets or new ribbons on the shirts which will save you a trip to John Lewis. Each garment has been loved two times over and merely resuscitated rather than changed and the best thing about it is…they keep it simple. Everything is wearable… even the leather shorts. So far L & F had displayed a real respect for practicality and simplicity without losing the all important sense of trend and edge AND not a lacy nightie in sight so you can imagine my reaction to that!

The concept was insinuated at University when Lizzie and Florrie sold all their old clothes on EBay. However, Lizzie explained how bugger all profit was made. ‘We made a bit, but we were selling stuff that I would never sell with my name on it and we technically weren’t making a profit on anything because it was something that we had anyway.’ However, now it is clear that Lizzie is very happy sewing her name onto the items of clothing on this rail in front of me that she has hand-picked herself. Both girls said how hard it would be to let go of the pieces they have grown to adore. When asked who came up with the idea Lizzie answered, ‘I think both of us. It’s something that we’ve both thought about separately over the years and I got an email when I was in the library from Florrie being like ‘Shall we do it?!’ And I was like ‘yeah maybe we could’. This might seem a bit blasé or whimsical to the average eye but learning that the two of them had been friends since the age of 10 made me understand their relationship and its ease that had developed throughout years of groundwork.

So when Florrie entered the room, I then had a bigger picture of this dynamic duo. Watching them bounce ideas off each other and react to each other’s enthusiasm was a real treat. Even though they were two different, confident individuals with a distinct sense of style, you almost find yourself in safe hands... e.g. when you’re a bit of a tomboy like me who looks like a twelve year old when shoved in a frilly dress, it’s nerve racking spending money on clothes whilst following the style advice of a sales advisor who is wearing a pink baby doll dress and never worn a pair of jeans. However, even though Lizzie and Florrie have quite different style (Lizzie wearing a lot more shirts, trousers, boots and Florrie emulating the girlier look), the diversity proves to be an attribute when buying the clothes – there’s something for everyone.

So tackling the vintage problem…the difficulty and cringe all lies in the overboard. It’s horrible seeing people’s best intentions go really over the top ending up looking like, as Lizzie put it so delicately, ‘the East End’s been sick on them’. I mean obviously some people want that’ Lizzie carried on ‘but not that many people, and I also think it’s nice to keep it a bit more current. At the moment the high street is so expensive and obviously it would be lovely to have designer pieces but they’re just not really affordable for us and it’s nice to get something original without it being hundreds of pounds.’ Some of L & F’s stuff is really reasonable, the shirts sell from around £8.50 to £15 at the maximum and the same for tops. Don’t worry, there will be price tags so you can avoid that embarrassing question of whether your overdraft can take another hit simply because you can’t bear to put the item back on the rail in front of masses of people… the shame. However, it all seems very relaxed. When asked if they were going to give any style advice on the day, the girls are adamant on letting people style themselves. ‘Yeah that’s the thing’ explained Florrie, ‘we’re trying to make it so anonymous and not like ‘hi (in ditzy stereotype voice) my names Lizzie, my name’s Florrie, we think you should wear this! (with scary shop assistant smile).’ However, they are putting pictures of their shoots on the walls and mannequins with different outfits. ‘It makes it all very visual and ties in with people who maybe don’t have the imagination, which I know sounds patronising, but people can be scared of vintage and don’t want to look. And so styling it with your American apparel t-shirt or whatever makes people hopefully think ‘oh I actually could wear that.’ So that’s another aim. It all ties in with taking someone who doesn’t like the trawling around, doesn’t like the smell of vintage, maybe doesn’t have the imagination and making it all accessible’.

The main thing that interested me at this interview was the fact that it was like a chat between old friends and the common, creative interests that we all had. It wasn’t just fashion that had brought us together but the fact that we, like so many other young people, are stuck in a world where jobs which make you happy are scarce so try and keep the ideas flowing by doing your own thing on the side. ‘Well that’s what we’re aiming for’ states Florrie. ‘Our generation of people, just left Uni, needing something else going on rather than just their 9-5. We could ask people who have roughly made it but a) they won’t be as interested and b) everyone’s helping themselves by doing something creative. It makes it really fun.’ Florrie re-iterated this idea of inclusivity: ‘We want to make it a brand and we’re also trying to do what we’re doing but we want lots of other people, people who make films, people who make music, you know people who can all contribute to the brand, so we want people who are good at different things other than pretending we know everything because obviously we don’t an we don’t want to seem like that.’ I echo that this is the same idea that we have for Rookie Creative and how it’s important for us to help each other out. Well that’s the aim ‘like our friend Dohey (Georgia Doherty) is an amazing businesswoman, do you know her from Brookes (my university)? She’s got her own catering thing with loads of good ideas. Her cousin was also at Brookes called Ocki (my amazing friend who created the Rookie Creative logo). She’s really keen on getting all these young, entrepreneurial people to all work together and I think it’s a really good idea ‘cos it is tough for us.’ How…Very…True…I’m thinking.

So with that in mind Saturday will be more of an event. Music, people and even food and drink in the evening! Georgia Doherty is doing all the catering including some of her bespoke gingerbread houses…Christmas gorging is about to commence!

So what next for L & F? – A sale in the New Year and an attempt to tackle menswear…hhhmmm I think but Lizzie reassures me, ‘We’re probably going to lure them in with beer’.

Good luck Lizzie and Florrie and see you Saturday. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day xx

The L + F launch sale is this coming Saturday 27th November, 1pm-8pm, 6 Burlington Lodge Studios, Rigault Road (Putney Bridge tube).

Sacha Harrison

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Here at Rookie Creative, we are big fans of Somerset House and having previously visited Maison Martin Margiela ’20’, I wondered down the river last weekend to visit Dior Illustrated: Rene Gruau and ‘The Line of Beauty’. The exhibition celebrates the work of fashion illustrator Rene Gruau (1909-2004), who created some of the most instantly recognisable and enduring fashion and beauty images of the twentieth century. Galliano has described Gruau’s illustrations as capturing ‘the silhouette and spirit of Dior and a new era of fashion and femininity.’ Chronicling Gruau’s career at Dior, which lasted for over fifty years, the exhibition contains a variety of original images from the artist’s back catalogue. These feature alongside Dior Haute Couture gowns chosen by Galliano himself, vintage perfume bottles and specially commissioned pieces inspired by the illustrators artistic legacy. The variety of images serves as a fitting tribute to Gruau’s long relationship with the house, with illustrations inspired by everything from Dior’s favourite flowers to the ‘man about town.’ The Christmas cards designed yearly by the illustrator for Dior’s couture customers were a particular highlight, as they are more a piece of art rather than a season’s greeting. Set out in the airy embankment galleries, Gruau’s powerful images (all drawn before digital technology) are especially striking. The exhibition serves as a reminder of the power of illustration in the digital age; it is notable that Gruau remained a success even after the rise of photography. A visit to this exhibition is necessary for any fashionista and is the perfect way to spend a quiet Saturday morning.

Dior Illustrated: Rene Gruau and The Line of the Beauty runs from 10 November 2010 - 9th January 2011

Adults: £6, Concessions: £5, Under 12’s: Free. (Price includes a small catalogue of the exhibition)

Harriet Tisdall

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Been doing some music research and there are some things that I would like to bring to your attention.....

1. Gentlemen's Dub Club- really fun dubstep group playing 3rd December at Barfly in Camden. Tickets are £6 for this.

2. Bonobo. DJ's who play all their instruments live are playing in London and Brighton on the 10th/11th December. Tickets more expensive at £20, but very worth it I have been told.

3. Nicholas Jaar playing December 10th in East London - new Dj.

All really good music and something to just let you all know about...

Love Jules x

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Ever since Christopher Kane sent a succession of skater dresses down the catwalk in 2008, velvet lost its eighties connotation and became the festive season’s must have fabric. Originally a fabric considered fit for a monarch, velvet is a luxurious alternative to the sequins that dominate every dress, skirt and jacket each Christmas. Today’s velvet is no longer the crushed, tacky material worn by Wham groupies, it is a far more refined, better quality fabric. A well made velvet piece is an investment as the wearer will feel luxurious and spoilt for years to come. For Autumn/Winter 2010 designers including Richard Nicoll and Antonio Beradi sent a variety of soft, feminine, wine coloured dresses down the catwalk; which, have spurned copies all over the high street. As well as the obligatory party dresses, velvet has gone in a new direction this season covering shorts, trousers and even jackets. Just in time for the party season, here is our selection of the best velvet pieces.

O&O Velvet Maxi Dress (£50)

Embracing this seasons maxi trend, this dress is reminiscent of Courtney Love in her nineties heyday or possibly Jen Lindley on a night out in Capeside. The stunning wine colour, super flattering nipped in waist and scoop back give the dress a 2010 update to ensure it will turn heads. This also has the added appeal of becoming an of the moment maxi skirt, if paired with chunky knitwear.

Topshop Premium Velvet High Waisted Shorts (£36)

These shorts are a great alternative to this seasons leather trend, they are not only warmer, but are similar to a pair from Alexa Chung’s much talked about Madewell collection. Just team with a silk blouse, heels and lipstick and you will have created the perfect party look.

ASOS Velvet One Shoulder Playsuit (£38)

This asymmetric playsuit, which comes in black and oxblood red, is the 2010 update to the questionable seventies velvet suit. With a nipped in waist, one shoulder detail and moulded cups, this is one of the most flattering pieces on the high street, can I get one in both colours?

ASOS Velvet Skinny Trouser (£32.00)

For those who wish to try something different this season, there are a number of pairs of velvet trousers available. A personal favourite are ASOS’ skinny berry style which will look stunning with heels and a simple top. ASOS have even created an alternative for those of us who have eaten one too many mince pies, their tapered velvet joggers (£28.50) with a drawstring waist are perfect for overindulgence.

MinkPink Floral Velvet Blazer (£94.00)

This blazer, a true statement piece, is reminiscent of the floral, leather look seen at Christopher Kane. Team with jeans and a simple blouse to stand out whilst avoiding resembling your eccentric RE teacher. For those who prefer a simpler look, Silence and Noise have created a plain black blazer (£60) that would be perfect for any party.

Velvet is all over the high street this Christmas and this is only a very small selection of what is available. For those looking for a party dress, Oasis’ one shoulder number (£75) is reminiscent of eighties power dressing at its best and TBA have created a wonderful peter pan collar number (£150). If you are not brave enough to wear an entire velvet piece, there are headbands, clutches and even shoes available (Topshop’s Premium Patti Sandals, £100 are a favourite). Just remember, simply add lipstick and a glass of wine and wear with confidence!

Harriet Tisdall