Where I’ve Been…

You know when you blink and then all of a sudden 322 days have passed without writing a blog post on a site you spent years loving and caring for?

Yeah that happened to me.

I never stopped thinking about my little place on the internet (cue the violins) and I did give this site a little make over at some point in the last year. However, never being able to prioritise this blog along with having other life commitments, meant it fell to the wayside. I’m not sure why I think now is a good time to come back, being busier than ever, but some force has given me the push.

For now, I’m attempting to make a return, it may be *temporary *permanent *long-ish term (I’ll pick one that fits as we go along) because ultimately I always come back to this place. It’s mine. It’s familiar. And let’s be honest it’s a permanent space for my thoughts/life/career events than Instagram’s terrible algorithm ever will be.

So enough of me guiltily excusing myself to the Internet, where have I been?

Graduating

Finally, after three years of hard work I graduated from University of Bolton with a First Class Honours Fashion Degree. That meant the beginning of this year was spent working my a** off trying to get the best grade I could possibly achieve. Without giving too much away, *blog post of the day incoming* I’m pretty happy with myself and the collection I created. It’s been an unexpected transition to get used to life without working towards such a creative degree and I’m still trying to process the emotions attached to that. But I’ve managed to not quite escape the education system just yet…

Entering the ‘Real World of Work’

I try to stand by the mindset of everything you put into life, is what you’ll get out of it *imagine a more succinct version of that quote here*. For example, a time doesn’t come to mind when I’ve ever turned something down because you just never know what saying yes will lead you on to. It’s also basically the no.1 rule of a graduate that you take every opportunity offered to you because they won’t come around often.

It was through making contacts with different people that lead me to my first part time position in the working world. I’ve learnt a lot in such a short space of time and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’ll *hopefully* have a post uploaded fully introducing the role, what it entails and how I’ve been multi-tasking. And if you are too eager to find out who I’ve been working with, I did upload an instagram post announcing it a few weeks ago (@sophiesamantha_fashion).

Back to Uni

It’s an intimidating prospect to have to decide what to do with your future, at any stage. But when it came to finishing my undergrad, I knew I wasn’t quite finished with education. Weird, I know. There’s still so much I want to learn, I knew studying an MA had to be on the cards. Cutting a very, long story short, I started studying at Nottingham Trent University in International Fashion Management. Ultimately, because I want to learn the business side of the industry and understand how I could potentially one day manage my own brand. It’s a huge culture shock and a completely different educational framework to what I’m used to but I just have to focus on the end goal, reminding myself why I’m here. Overall, I’m still in the early stages of the course but it is really interesting. However, trying not to burn out early on in the semester is proving a real balancing act, so wish me luck on that one.

Phew.

Coming back to this blog has been less daunting than anticipated and a comfort to fall back into the rhythm of writing. The important question is, how long will it last?

See you next week, I hope.

What I Wore in New York

Like many isolating from home, I’m thinking of all the day-to-day tasks I was taking for granted; being able to shop without restrictions, leave the house for longer than an hour and having social interactions with someone outside of my household. Of course I’m willing to comply for as long as needs be to ensure the change that ultimately slows down this deadly virus.

However, whilst it may feel as though we’ve been on lockdown an eternity, (how have two weeks felt so long?!) the U.K in particular had the first couple months of 2020 to enjoy. Personally, the start of my year couldn’t have gone better with a trip to New York in the back end of January. And whilst I’m not here to ignore Covid-19, I want to continue what this blog once was, a space to share my interest in fashion.  Meanwhile I’m sure posts on the virus will appear, just once I’ve collated the right words to use…

DAY ONE

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Speaking to those who’d been to the city, all advised the same thing; LAYERS, LAYERS AND EXTRA LAYERS. So I tried to go for warmth as much as possible with my wardrobe to ensure I could comfortably explore New York. For the first full day, I had the idea to experiment with layers visually rather than thinking about practicality and thermals. Pinterest and Instagram are my go to sources for streetwear inspiration, so it must have subconsciously stored in my brain at some point to layer a roll neck under a jumpsuit. Quickly, this jumpsuit has become a favourite of mine because of its versatility, being able to layer underneath with different weights of garments or on its own. Trying to keep your wardrobe to key pieces can be done through finding garments that can be flexible through seasons.

xdf       Outfit Details:

  • Jumpsuit: Topshop
  • Roll Neck: Zara
  • Boots: ASOS
  •  Coat: Topshop

DAY TWO

7Throughout the trip, we were really fortunate with the weather, I’m pretty certain it didn’t rain during the day and whilst it was cold it wasn’t unbearable. I was really happy with the styling of this outfit, I think the beige and white work well, going with the earth tones vibe. With the white jeans, it was a purchase I really took my time over, I wanted to know I was sure I’d be able to pair it with a lot. But I think it effectively contrasts with the other garments and balances well with the black coat.

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      Outfit Details:

  •  Jumper: Topshop
  •  Jeans: Topshop
  •  Headband: Topshop

DAY THREE

5Come the third day, I switched out my black coat for a much thicker and in turn warmer pink one. This released some pressure over what basics I should wear under my visible outfit because I knew how warm it would and did end up keeping me. With this outfit I turned to black jeans, knowing there was enough going on with the polka dots and pink.

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  • Coat: Topshop
  •  Top: H&M
  •  Jeans: Topshop
  •  Scarf: Topshop

 

DAY 4

The day we were flying home, I needed a comfortable yet you’re-still-in-new-york outfit. So with leggings being comfortable, they also became a must. Layered with a Jumper and a black top underneath in case I got too warm on the plane.

      Outfit Details:

  • Jumper: Topshop
  •  Leggings: Topshop
  •  Trainers: Topshop

Back soon,

Sophie

OOTD #30: A Richard Allan x H&M Collaboration?!

It’s probably fair to say that the Richard Allan x H&M collaboration was one we didn’t know we needed. But it has by far excited me the most…

Richard Allan’s bold, abstract prints have been reworked and released with H&M to create the most stunning collection, unlike anything else on the high street.

Outfit Details:

Stand-up Collar Satin Dress

Patterned Scarf

Inspired by the swinging sixties’, along with the most perfect colour scheme, each garment is perfect for Autumn/Winter.

H&M wrote up an interview with Cate Allan (Richard Allan’s daughter) introducing their ‘wearable art’ collaboration. I found it really informative to read, not only for the vibe of the collection but also details of the designer himself. Article linked here.

I am obsessed with this dress and will figure out what to pair it with in the U.K’s colder climate. I’m also going to attempt to get other pieces in the collection, the patterned boiler suit has my attention but who knows if I could pull it off.

S.S.S

Fight Against Plastic: An Experiment

With Boots announcing their plan to ban plastic bags in the news this past week, it reminded me of my aim to write more on being environmentally conscious. With time on my hands, I’m able to read up on and learn different lifestyle changes I can make. In this post, I’ll include the things I’ve started to do and the goal being by the end of Summer, I’ll post whats been maintained and added.

Muslin cloths replacing Makeup wipes

Initially, I thought the hardest one to maintain would be to go without makeup wipes. In truth, its been much easier than expected, if you don’t have something, you make do without. It’s probably better for my skin because now I have to double cleanse after wearing makeup. Muslin cloths are also much softer to use on my skin, easy to wash and zero waste.

Okay, I can’t stop using ALL wipes…

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Purely from the house I’ve grown up in, we always have wipes in the bathroom but I don’t know whether this is a standard or uncommon thing to do? Anyways, it was a ‘This Morning‘ segment I watched where I learnt that wipes don’t biodegrade and whilst they can state ‘safe to flush’, they’re not safe for the environment. So until I stop using wipes all together, I think I’ve found the best option; biodegradable; compostable; suitable for vegans and 100% organic cotton- Amazon link here.

Reusable bottle, single use plastic who?

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An obvious one is to invest in a refillable bottle because there’s really no excuse to buy a single-use plastic bottle anymore. I bought this one from Amazon and think its the perfect size because I know I can leave the house and know I’m not about to have an empty bottle within five minutes.

A cute Tote

3Similar to the bottle, there is no reason to not be using re-usable bags. My go-to is this one I bought from the design museum in Milan, I think its much prettier than any 5p bag I’m offered in stores. Also, it might be a good idea to just have one in the boot of your car, then you’re never caught off guard with a spontaneous shopping trip.

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After sharing what is probably the bare minimum of what I’m doing to use less plastic, my next read is ‘Turning the Tide on Plastic‘. Hopefully, by the end of it, I’ll have accumulated more plastic-free lifestyle changes and be able to have a more thorough post by the end of Summer.

S.S.S

How I’m Stopping Contributing to Fast Fashion

Globally, the second most polluting industry is fashion.

This alarming information appeared in Stacey Dooley Investigates ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ (BBC, 2018). Since then, I’ve gained a growing awareness to the state of the environment and the particular effect the fashion industry is having on it. After reading various sources, I’ve accumulated my own list of ways I can help alleviate the problem.

1. Don’t Throw Unwanted Clothes Away.

As tempting as it is to throw away old clothes- 3/4 of Britons do (Perry, 2018). It’s much better for the environment to take those garments to a charity shop or re-use them. Is it necessary it goes in the bin? Or is there a creative way it could get a new life? For me- on a fashion degree- any extra material can always be cut up and used in some way.

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Figure 1- An example of my work, re-using a curtain.

2. Awareness of Where to Shop.

Do we always know the ethics of a store when we’re shopping in it? Of course not. But 5 minutes of research can give a plethora of information on where a store stands on sustainability. It seems simple, but I want to be supporting the brands that understand how important it is to be aware of the environmental state and be positively contributing to the issue. For example, & Other Stories have a ‘Textile Recycling‘ solution to help minimise the effect of fashion on the environment (& Other Stories, 2019).

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Figure 2- & Other Stories top.

3. Quality of Clothes.

One of the main features of fast fashion is the price, clothes are more often than not on the cheaper side. Which in turn, happens to also be a downfall of the industry, the better the price, the more we buy. But we’re forgetting the garments aren’t as durable. I’ve always tried to make a conscious effort to save my money, to be able to buy the clothes I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of.

4. Shop When and as Needed.

If we all stopped falling for the next fast fashion deals, brands would have to listen to consumers. Production would slow down and there wouldn’t be as much waste going to landfill. By decreasing our shopping habits, we’d only be purchasing items when we needed them. Ideally, with less demand, designers could focus their energy on how to use less fabric for multiple garments.

5. Washing Polyester Fabrics in Bags

For £5.99 you can buy a set of laundry bags from Amazon. Washing polyester fabrics in bags, stops the microfibers coming off the fabric. Ultimately, when this happens the microfibers add to the already astonishing amount of plastic in our oceans and affects the sea life.

If we all just started one of these points, we’d be making a difference.


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The Effect of Fast Fashion

Currently, the fast fashion industry is catastrophically damaging our environment, and whilst it’s doing so in numerous ways, I wanted to research a particular avenue; water. That being arguably one of the most important factors- we need to look after- that needs to also be sustained.

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Figure 1- Jeans

Something that can be found in the majority of our wardrobes are jeans. But not all of us are aware of the true cost of owning them. According to the BBC: ‘it can take over 15,000 litres of water to grow the cotton to make a pair of jeans’ (Sanghani, 2018). Not only this, but because of the continual consumer need for these cotton garments we’re seeing whole lakes drying up. The Aral sea- once globally the fourth biggest lake- had ‘completely dried’ (Hoskins, 2014). Whilst this obviously leaves residents with no water, it also seriously affected their health. Pesticides were released from the exposed sea bed and affected people and farm land (Hoskins, 2014). Also, dust has replaced water, causing respiratory problems for people nearby (Hoskins, 2014). From watching a documentary a few months ago, I understand the surrounding residents have been slowly trying to recover the sea (BBC, 2018). However, I think that’s something that shouldn’t have to be done, the problem of water usage should have been addressed much sooner before a whole lake emptied.

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Figure 2- Water

From the decrease of vast water to the quality of it: ‘fashion is the cause of 20 per cent of water pollution globally’ (World Bank cited in Nahyan, 2019). During the textile dyeing procedure, 85% of the water used pollutes the local water sources (Cotton inc cited in Nahyan, 2019). Greenpeace are seemingly very invested in this matter and have created a ‘Detox’ campaign: ‘which exposed the links between textile manufacturing facilities using toxic chemicals and water pollution’ and aims to encourage fashion brands to eliminate the hazardous portion of manufacturing (Greenpeace, 2012). The chemicals ending up in the water are highly toxic to the wildlife and people who rely on those water sources. Azo dyes are commonly used in the textile industry, when some break down during the process another chemical is released, that one being able to cause cancer (Greenpeace, 2019). Furthermore, heavy metals are used in certain dyes which once in the body, can have irreversible effects (Greenpeace, 2019). Overall, I think it is a basic human right to have clean drinking water and it leaves me feeling guilty to think many people don’t have that, just so we can have highly-toxic-made clothing.

The points I’ve put together in this post apply to fashion as a whole but with the alarming rate of the fast fashion industry, it’s safe to say the latter is also very much accountable. Finally, whilst I think we’re all starting to become more aware of the issues that lie within the fast fashion industry, I think we still have far to go.


 

Italy Photography

Towards the end of March, I went on a University organised trip to Italy. Each day was very different but also packed with a plethora of places to visit. I of course, took many pictures that inevitably were going to end up in a blog post- this one if you hadn’t guessed by the title.

Sunday 24th March

We arrived at Como in the early evening, so we had little time to explore. But we did manage to have our first taste of the mouth-watering ice-cream.

Monday 25th March

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Figure 1- Funicolare Como- Brunate

The morning of our first full day started with a trip up a hill. It’s actually called Funicolare Como- Brunate which sounds much better than a hill. Once at the top, it was breathtakingly beautiful and it was really surreal that that was our view.

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Figure 2- Villa Carlotta

Around lunch, we got a boat to Tremezzo to look around Villa Carlotta. It was fascinating to walk around a place that started to be built back in the 16th century.

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Figure 3-  View from Villa Carlotta

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Figure 4- Villa Carlotta Gardens

The villa sits on about 8 hectares of botanical gardens and I can’t imagine how much more beautiful it is once all of the flowers have blossomed.

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Figure 5- Bellagio

Late afternoon we arrived at our final stop of the day; Bellagio. It was a stereotypical Italian town; narrow, cobbled streets and colourful quaint buildings.

Tuesday 26th March

This day, we travelled to the Comocrea Textile Trade Show. It was so inspiring (and kind of intimidating) to see the vast amount of work from so many designers.

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Figure 6- Villa Erba

Understandably, I couldn’t take pictures inside the trade show. However, right next door was the beautiful Villa Erba. Collectively, we all decided that this would be the place we’d all very much like our wedding to be held.

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Figure 7- Cernobbio

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Figure 8- Cernobbio view

We then got to explore the rest of Cernobbio (whilst eating ice-cream) and I was beginning to wonder if its at all possible to find a place in Italy that isn’t picturesque?!

A highlight of the day was having the opportunity to go into a Como design studio. Watching people hand paint their designs was captivating and slightly therapeutic. It was also eye opening to see their work ethic and how quickly they can get their designs out there (around 2 a day).

Wednesday 27th March

We had a tour of Mantero- a textile company- which was easily the most inspiring part of the whole trip. I watched Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton fabric all being printed, so to say I was in awe would be an understatement. We also got a look-in at their archive room, which looked like it easily went on for miles! I’d love to work in such a large open plan office like there’s, with so many people everyday! And I loved how the factory was attached to the offices, I’d never thought of that before but I like the concept of it all happening in one place.

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Figure 9- Duomo Cathedral

Then it was off to Milan! The top tourist spot is definitely the Duomo and was one of the first things we saw, stepping off the metro. It is architecturally beautiful and leaves you speechless with its structure.

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Figure 10- Duomo View

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Figure 11- View from the top of the Duomo

After 200-something steps we made it to the top to look over the city.

Thursday 28th March

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Figure 12- Entrance to the Fashion Houses

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Figure 13- Centre of Milan

Our last full day was all about SHOP, SHOP AND MORE SHOPPING. Being in the fashion district, we couldn’t not treat ourselves and window shop at the big brands like Louis Vuitton.

 

Figure 14 & 15- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

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Figure 16- Milano Design Museum

We ended the day at the Milan Design Museum, where I found the whole exhibition ‘Broken Nature’ very thought provoking.

Friday 29th March

We flew home! It was such an incredibly inspiring and interesting trip, I’d love to go back and explore more of the beautiful country.

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Figure 17- Duomo at Sunset


 

What I Wore In A Week: Italy

I’m back from an unintentional hiatus (Wi-Fi problems) and I’m so excited to share pictures from my trip. On Friday, I got back from Italy! I started the week off in Lake Como and ended it in Milan. It is such a beautiful country.

Anyways, to start off the Italy themed posts, I thought I’d share what I wore whilst I was there.

Monday

3We arrived on the Sunday but we were all far too tired to get any decent pictures.

For the first day, I ended up wearing a skirt because it was supposed to be the warmest day of the whole week. I really loved this outfit and I was much more comfortable than I thought I was going to be wearing a skirt.

Stradivarius Skirt

H&M Top

Tuesday

1The following day I wanted to dress a bit smarter because we were going to a Textiles Trade show.

New Look Top

Topshop Trousers

Wednesday

4I didn’t want to wear the whole suit together as I thought it would look too dressy. Instead, I wore the pieces separately and I think this worked well.

Pull & Bear Jeans

Pull & Bear Sweater

Topshop Suit Jacket

Thursday

2For the last full day, I wore a top I haven’t worn since my 18th. I’m not sure why its taken me over a year to wear it again but I really love it.

H&M Top

Pull & Bear Jeans (Same as above)

Things I had with me Everyday:

Yoki Bag

Park Lane Trainers

Lots of Love,

          Sophie


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The Suit of Dreams OOTD #26

Friday night was everything I’d been waiting for and more. I took a trip back home to see family I hadn’t seen in 6 months. Which was definitely too long of a time. Anyways, for the occasion I got to wear a recent purchase for the first time…

Suits have been a big thing for a while now and since I have a trouser obsession I don’t know why I didn’t stumble upon suits sooner. However, I am so happy that this suit in particular was the first one I’ve bought. ITS STUNNING (if I do say so myself). I LOVE the check but also the yellow that runs through.

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Windowpane Check Suit

Underneath the suit I wore this ribbed high neck jumper, which I think compliments the suit quite well. I can’t find the exact link but I did purchase it from Pull & Bear.

1These boots feature a lot on my blog. I must have had them for at least a couple of years now and I get so much wear out of them. So I can never link them directly but they are from River Island.

The bag is a recent obsession, that will more than likely feature in the next favourites post. I love that its small because it means I can just fit the necessities in; phone; car keys and purse. I bought the bag from ASOS, but back in December so there’s no direct link. I think I only paid £16 for it and it was down from £50.

Overall, I am so happy with how this outfit looks together and it was very comfortable (an extra advantage).

Lots of Love,

         Sophie


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Taking Inspiration to Organise my Wardrobe…

Just as I was about to write a book club post, I changed my mind last minute. The cause of this, was me watching ‘Tidying up with Marie Kondo’ on Netflix. I wanted to try what she had suggested and thought it would be interesting as I’d already consider myself to be a fairly organised person.

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Starting with my wardrobe, there really wasn’t much to do. Since moving during the Summer, I had the biggest clear out of clothes, so everything pictured gets a lot of wear. However what I do like to do, which is maybe a step too far, is put the clothes into colour order. I just think it looks so much more aesthetically pleasing and its just easier if I have in mind the kind of colour I want to wear that day, I can just see straight away my options.

Side note: My wardrobe definitely doesn’t look like this all of the time. Also to put it into perspective, the other wardrobe right next to this is such a mess with coats and dresses. There’s no way that’s ever going to look aesthetically pleasing enough to appear on the blog. 

4Since getting into this post I’ve realised the four primary colours in my wardrobe are black, white, mustard and pink. What a weird combination that is…

Anyways, I thought I’d show you the bottom of my wardrobe which is pretty basic. I prefer this area to be as minimalistic as possible because otherwise it can just look really cluttered. So I have my most loved shoes and my gym bag. I guess not the usual look for a gym bag but its the perfect size for what I need it for.

2Moving on to where I really took advice from Marie Kondo and annoyingly I didn’t take a before picture. But her folding technique really works well, I thought I wouldn’t get the hang of it or that I just wouldn’t like it. However, it was easy enough to do and now I can clearly see all of my tops. One thing I’m not sure on, is how long it will stay this way. Although it does seem that it would be difficult to break the pattern and just pile clothes on top, so maybe because of the unique order I’ll naturally have to keep doing it.

3Finally, I remembered to take a before picture and I must say my ‘tops’ drawer was a lot tidier in the before stage. This always ends up in a mess because every time I go to the gym, I feel differently, some days I want my darkest gym clothes to blend in. Other days, I’m feeling more confident and reach for a bolder print. Hence, the drawer ends up in a cluttered state.

1Here’s the after, I really liked the outcome of this drawer and think it will be the easiest to maintain. So I didn’t see the need to stand the leggings up like I had done with the sports bras but I still think it all looks clearly organised.

Overall, I thought Marie Kondo’s views on tidying were really insightful and I’m now tempted to buy her book so that I have something to read further up on. Also, I thought I had done a wardrobe organisation post recently, turns out it was over a year ago! So if you’d like to see how my organising has changed (that sounds SO sad, please don’t go read that) you can here.

Have you watched Tidying Up on Netflix?

Lots of Love,

         Sophie


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