Monday, 31 October 2011

Tartan and Pink

Last weekend, my business partner and dear friend Denny and I went out in the streets of Fitzrovia  - i.e. just behind my flat - to shoot our latest product, our long dark blue and green tartan wool scarf. 

This scarf is a rare find; I dug it out of the corner of a fantastic little shop in the cool and trendy area of Garuso-gil in Seoul. What I immediately loved about this scarf was its dark tartan print, which wouldn’t look out of place in a posh, all-boy boarding school in the middle of Scotland; yet its size - it is long and wide - gives it a bohemian and effortless twist, and creates interesting proportions in an outfit. You can wrap your otherwise scantily-clad body in it, and make everything look (weather) appropriate. On my photoshoot, I teamed it with our  bright pink wool tailored mini shift dress, thereby creating my all-time favourite fashion contrast, i.e. the tomboyish-but-still-feminine beauty. I also threw on Denny's blue French Connection cardigan, which I believe looks much better on me, when used as an oversized boyfriend jacket, which I wore both opened - to stay in the androgynous theme - or tied at the waist for a more feminine and offbeat look. I finished off my outfit with my favourite Korean, 'combat' ankle boots.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Our Journey as Fashion Entrepreneurs: First Range Review - Part 2

Continuing on my previous post - which highlighted the successes of our first collection, I thought it’d be interesting to reflect on the areas that have proved more difficult with regards to sales and product marketing.

- Accessories! We have sold very few accessories so far, which we think is partly due to the difficulty of producing photographs of jewelry that do the products justice. This is quite frustrating as we bought a truly stunning and affordable range in Asia. We favoured a ‘bourgeois-boheme’ look, with delicate long gold-plated chains and quirky pendants - from a crystal-encrusted disco ball pendant on a long metal chain,to a rougher looking, minimalist metal baguette. We also selected great choker-length necklaces, so that you can layer different lengths for a subtly striking look; our unique coral necklace adds a stunning dash of colour to an outfit, while our gold-plated choker with crystal pendant is both cool and elegant. We have a couple of bracelets, which also looked perfect worn together, our double-stranded gold-plated bracelet and our red thread and gold chain bracelet. Finally, we fell in love with a unique and very edgy pair of drop earrings, with black metal cubes.
Black Metal Cube Earrings and Urban Baguette Pendant Necklace

Red Thread and Gold Chain Bracelet

 Red High-Waisted Wool Short
- We bought beautiful, high-waisted wool belted shorts from New York Blues - the designer based in Seoul that did our popular quirky polka dot jumper. It comes in two highly fashionable colours, bright red and camel. For me, they are one of the most covetable pieces of our collection, as they both look unique and effortless – a very powerful combination. We’ve had a lot of interest on ebay for this product, but it seems that online shoppers are always more wary of buying bottoms online - especially tailored ones. Though I perfectly understand this fear, these shorts are very well cut: the high-waist shape is flattering, but they are quite fitted so our only size will fit a size 8 and below. You can wear them with or without the slim wool belt that comes with them ; they also look great worn with a vintage scarf and a simple fitted cream jumper.
Camel High-Waisted Belted Wool Shorts

 All in all though, our store has been a quiet, qualified success so far; we’re learning everyday and more importantly, enjoying ourselves immensely.

Don’t forget to shop our collection on our ebay store!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Our Journey as Fashion Entrepreneurs: First Range Review - Part 1

It’s been a fascinating journey so far. Back in December 2010 we embarked in our first buying journey around Asia, with the aim of opening our very own, all-cool ebay store. It’s now been a little more than 6 months since we opened our store. Let me tell you one thing: having a clothing store is a lot more complicated and time-consuming than one would think. And, at the risk of sounding cliche, it is true that a lot of the learning process is done by screwing up. From poor buying decisions to delivery disasters, you name it, we’ve probably done it. Here are some of the interesting buying facts we’ve gathered in our first 6 months as fashion entrepreneurs:

- Our best-seller so far has been our ‘cool chambray shirt’. When I saw it at a store specialised in shirts of all kinds, I instantly loved the simple shape, the sober collar and buttons, the purity of the chambray fabric; the shirt exuded stylish minimalism, reminiscent of 1990s Scandinavian simplicity. We sold out very quickly, and to be honest, I completely understand why: i have yet to find a chambray shirt that ticks all the boxes, like this one did. My only regret is that I didn’t keep one for myself - Denny didn’t let me (the bastard).

- Second on our best-seller list is our Striped Long Sleeve T-Shirt with Suede Elbow Patches, which comes in navy blue or cream. This style was also a no-brainer for when when I saw it at a fashion fair in Seoul. The fabric is amazing - a thick, ribbed and comfortable cotton. The suede patches give a great vintage feel to the garment. The fit is slightly relaxed, so it looks perfect tucked in a wool mini skirt, or simply worn over skinny jeans for a nautical look with a twist. We only have one cream top left, so this is your last chance to snap one up, it will go very quickly!

- Another very good seller has been our Boyfriend Checked Shirt. We bought it in the same store that did our chambray shirt. Among their wide array of tartans; we picked a fabulous deep blue shade with blue, green, and white checks. I never get tired of check shirts, particularly this season, as relaxed androgyny is a key silhouette. I wear mine opened - I did keep one for myself (Denny may or may not know about this), over a girlish mini for a great casual autumn look.

- As days are getting shorter and colder, our jumpers and coats have been picking up. Our Crewneck Preppy Wool Jumpers have been popular; they’re nicely fitted and look great layered over a peter pan collar shirt. I also wore mine a lot this summer, throwing it on on cooler nights with my denim cut-offs. I’ll reproduce this look this winter by adding wool tights, chelsea ankle boots and a leather satchel. They come in light grey, charcoal grey and light blue, in a lovely soft wool.

Our Quirky Polka Dot Jumper is also selling well, in fact we only have one left. When buying for my store back in December, I knew that polka dots would be a major trend for Autumn-Winter ‘11. I was looking for a polka dot print which had a bit of an edge. I found just that at an independent Korean label called New York Blues; their collection - combining bold colours and prints and clean shapes - really stood out for me.

- Our coats - after a slow start - are now doing well. I am admittedly obsessed with outerwear - I have douzens of coats of all sorts at home, so nothing short of perfect will do for me when it comes to cover-ups. We found so many great coat options when buying our collection around Asia. For Autumn-Winter ‘11, I wanted something tailored but still very much relaxed, which I could throw over casual outfits and would make me look like a stylish, androgynous but still feminine college girl. One of the option I ended up selecting was a classic Tailored Top Coat, in both dark green and brown. I initially preferred the green one, but am now seriously eying up the brown; indeed it is quite rare to find a flattering brown hue, but when you do, you end up with a look that has a very easy heritage feel to it, with a quiet nod to the 70s.

Our second coat option is a slightly shorter, almost blazer-like Tailored Belted Overcoat. It has the same college-girl-on-her-way-to-the-library appeal as our other coat, but is a more feminine interpretation of the definition of cool outerwear. The beige/grey melange colour, the pin-tuck tailoring and the breaded brown belt give it a definite vintage feel. More importantly perhaps, it looks like nothing else I’ve seen in the shops in England, or even - let’s not be modest here - in my many shopping trips around Europe.

In my next post, I will review the products – in no way less amazing than the ones review above - which have proved more challenging to sell.

Don’t forget to shop our great products in our ebay store!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Looking forward to fall - Part 2

Continuing on my previous post on the fall trends that we love, here are the other themes that we will play with this winter:
- a great top coat for classic yet interesting outerwear: another thing that stylish Seoul girls manage to do - something they have in common with Parisian girls - is to use a very classic piece of outerwear to pull a whole outfit together. This season, top coats are the the shape of choice. Rock them with your craziest outfits and stacked high heels, like we did with our Belted Tailored Coat at our latest photoshoot:



- an opened shirt for a beautiful boyish look: checked shirts - along with white shirts - absolutely never go out of style and give you this sexy androgynous look. To stay on trend this season, wear your shirt opened for a relaxed feel, and combine with bohemian accessorising - think headscarves in the hair and layered necklaces.


- all things red: a pivotal colour this season. It makes cosy knits and tailored separates a whole lot more interesting.



- the shift dress: the shape of choice this season for dresses. The shift dress is a very versatile piece and great fun to experiment with. Obviously our unwavering love for bold colours made us choose a great style in both bright pink and mint green, which we bought from an independent designer in Seoul called Urban Blues. It’s short and tailored, and we adore it:


And don’t forget to check out our trends at our ebay store!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Looking Forward To Fall - Part 1

When scouring the fashion fairs and boutiques of the coolest cities in Asia last autumn, we had to think about what would be relevant for Autumn/Winter 2011-12. We didn’t only look at the trends on the catwalk, we were really inspired by girls in the street, especially in Seoul. Seoul girls seem to have an enviable innate sense of relaxed and playful stylishness, a sort of mix between Parisian, Stockholm and LA fashion attitudes. Here are some of the colours, prints, shapes and themes that will inspire us this winter:

- quirky polka dots : polka dots were everywhere both on the catwalks and in the streets. It’s a great, flattering print, but for autumn we prefer quirkier, more whimsical polka dots. We love our Quirky Polka Dots Blue Jumper at thebod. We got it in a little boutique in Seoul and thought that the print looked rather unique. In our most recent photoshoot we paired it with a lace skirt for a romantic look with a twist, but it would also look great with dark washed skinny jeans this winter.


- statement colour/fabric with a classic striped tee: the coolest girls are always the ones who can pull off look-at-me hues and fabrics. Good news, bold colours are still crucial this winter, and leather separates have become absolute must-haves. At thebod we like wearing a statement piece with a good basic; stripes are one of the few ways to make a leather mini work. We teamed a red suede mini skirt with our relaxed boatneck nautical striped top (see photo below).  Coloured denim - still big this season - can be given a 70s retro touch with a vintagesque striped tee with a relaxed fit, just like our Vintage Striped Tee:





Shop our trends at our ebay store!