In Pursuit of Fashion: A New York Exhibition

At the start of the year, I was fortunate enough to get to New York before the world came to a standstill. And whilst it feels like it was a lifetime ago- thanks corona– I couldn’t not share one of my favourite exhibitions.

Can we start with where it was? Only the flippin’ Metropolitan Museum of Art. My brain isn’t sure what to reference first, Blair and Serena on the steps, ‘The METS suck’ – FRIENDS fans will understand- or of course the MET Gala, one of the biggest Fashion Events of the year. If you didn’t understand any of those, I apologise, but I can assure you standing on those steps, I definitely shed a few happy tears inside.

Anyways, onto the exhibition itself. It was titled ‘In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection’ and the 80 pieces on show were an incredible archive of Fashion’s history.

Christian Dior ‘Du Barry’ Evening Dress Autumn/Winter 1957-58

Starting with one of my favourites, I adore everything about this one; the silhouette; the bow detailing and of course the pale blue silk satin. For some reason, Cinderella vibes come to mind?

Moschino Cheap and Chic ‘Art is Love’ dress Spring/Summer 1993

Apparently taking inspiration from YSL, Moschino replicated the modernist art. The complexity of ownership is arguably highlighted with this piece.

Charles James Evening Dress 1952-54

I love the elegance of this garment, with the head piece only adding to its beauty. OBSESSED. Also majorly appreciate the layers of tulle adding depth, yes please.

Whilst I think one positive to come out of this year is the accessibility of exhibitions and events after the shift to online platforms. And I hope that doesn’t ever disappear. I’ll be very happy to step inside a museum/gallery/anywhere different at this point. Future note to myself to not take for granted new experiences ever again.

Finally don’t forget if you want regular updates, Instagram usually sees it first: @sophiesamantha_fashion

What I Learnt from Fashion Revolution’s FREE Online Course…

On the 22nd of May I finished my second year of University. And by the 13th June I had completed Fashion Revolution’s 4 week course on Fashion’s Future and the Sustainable Development Goals. Some might say I couldn’t bare the thought of having zero form of education. Realistically, I just had to take advantage of the resources available before Future Learn made me pay into a subscription- #poorstudentlife.

Anyways, I thought it would be beneficial to document somewhat of an overview of the month. For my own reference, and with the possibility that something sparks an interest or at the very least, sits in your subconscious until triggered.

Week 1

The first week seemed to be a general introduction into how sustainability can be defined; holistically in the industry and generally how it should be achieved within planetary boundaries (Johan Rockström, 2007). Finally, briefly including which of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) would coincide with the course- circled above.

Week 2

The second week dived into SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). The Fashion industry- in particular fast fashion- have arguably a lot to answer for when it comes to garment workers receiving in most cases, a ‘below the living standard’ income. Deloitte Access Economics for Oxfam found that 4% of the price of a piece of clothing is estimated to make it back to the workers. Side note: If you haven’t been following #PayUp on Instagram, then get to it! The pandemic has caused BIG brands to cancel BILLIONS of dollars worth of orders, leaving garment workers in crisis mode.

Meanwhile, I found it equally as interesting that CARE International included 1 in 3 women working in garment factories had reported sexually harassing behaviour in the last year. That already doesn’t sit right with me, without thinking about all the times it wasn’t reported. However, one initiative worth researching is the Good Business Lab. Their projects include; unlocking female labour; improving work environment; closing the skill gap and building holistic health.

Week 3

From the third week, I was learning about the damaging, waste culture of the industry. For example, its estimated the fashion industry emits 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2e a year. With clothing as the 4th largest environmental impact after housing, transport and food in the U.K (WRAP).

More specifically at SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources. Synthetic fibres such as polyester, are made up of microfibres that can shed over its lifetime, particularly when put in the washing machine (Environmental Audit Committee, 2019). 35% of all microplastics come from clothing and textiles and its expected by 2050 for there to be more plastic than fish in the sea. Fortunately from the course, I learnt that France are leading the way for improvement. In February 2020, the country brought in legislative steps for microfibre pollution. Including that by January 2025, all new washing machines will have to include a filter to catch the microfibres before they’re released into water systems.

Week 4

By the final week it was time to look at the industry’s options. The initiatives already in place such as Lenzing’s ‘Refibra Tencel’ fabric that uses pre-consumer cotton scraps and wood pulp. Or Swedish government proposed a 50% tax break for repair on shoes, clothes and bikes which supports the ‘make do and mend’ mentality we should have. Finally, the industry should try to implement circularity through rental or resale. Furthermore, circularity through manufacturing which would phase out hazardous chemicals.

Overall, I was thoroughly fascinated by the Fashion Revolution course, through the amount of topics covered and the quality of content. Moreover, because of its impact, I’ll be uploading another post based on one of the assignments I had to complete for the course. Until then, as Fashion Revolution states:

Be Curious. Find Out. Do Something.

Easley Magazine – 2019

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

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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Bowes Museum- Photography

What a tiring couple of weeks it has been. Does anyone else have a busy/stressful time and as soon as it starts to calm down you end up feeling ill? Well anyways, a little while ago I took a trip to the Bowes Museum in County Durham with my University. I wanted to post about this last week but my Mum unexpectedly ended up in hospital, hence why I didn’t get to post anything. Anyways, she’s feeling a lot better now so I thought I’d share the pictures I took.

1The exhibition itself was so much better than I could have imagined.

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The sparkle on this dress could only be appreciated in person. You can also tell how luxurious it is because it was one of the few garments behind glass.

63This Comme des Garçons garment really took my breath away.

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9It was such a beautiful stately home which created the most elegant setting, contrasting well with the garments.

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I spent the majority of the day in absolute awe of the garments. But a couple of garments caught my attention immediately, this being one of them. To the point where I had to get a selfie. During a-levels, Vivienne Westwood was a big inspiration, particularly the pirate collection. So to see the garment in real life was amazing. I also got to see the other big garment that inspired me a lot during my design was the Alexander McQueen, The Horn of Plenty collection.

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Sorry for the shorter post this week, life should resume as normal now and its officially the start of Christmas?! How very exciting…

Lots of Love,

           Sophie


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How I Organise my Wardrobe

A quick read of a post from me this week, (college has been MAJORLY hectic).

I’d consider myself to be a fairly organised/tidy person but when it comes to my wardrobe, it ALWAYS ends up in a mess. So every so often, I have to go through it to put things back on hangers, find appropriate places for my shoes and usually put one or two things away for charity.

Today, was one of those days that I had to tackle the wardrobe and thought I may as well make a post out of it.

IMG_3925I’m ashamed to say this is what it was looking like before I managed to get a hold of it all. In all honesty, don’t be thinking this ends up looking like a whole new wardrobe, I’m not that good of a tidy uperer. (not a word? ok.)

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First thing to do is obviously put your clothes in colour order? It was my first step anyways. I made sure to put all tops together, then jackets and then dressy outfits. Then when they were each in their category, I put them in a bit of a colour order. I know it won’t last, I’m definitely not a Monica from Friends.

IMG_3923Next, it was to tackle the over head bit, I’m sure it has a proper name. Oh wait, its probably just a shelf, nevermind. Anyways, I like to be able to see my shoes and take great pride in my heels I probably only wear once a year. So, I realigned them and got rid of anything on that shelf that wasn’t a shoe.

IMG_3922Finally, I had to have a place to put a couple of my favourite bags. Which had to be in the last available space which was on top of my wardrobe. I have to admit, I’m not the fondest of having things on there, but I really don’t have anywhere else to put them.

Where do you store your bags?

Love, Sophie 

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