Fast fashion – the True Cost.

Good afternoon to you my fashionista friends,

A short while ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix called “The True Cost” (an absolute must watch if you are as fashion conscious as I am) and it had such a profound effect on me. I knew immediately it was something I needed to research in more detail and share with my readers. Therefore, this month we delve into the world of Fast Fashion.

(All images courtesy of google images)

I was in tears by the end of the documentary as it goes into great detail about the working conditions in textile factories in some of the most poverty stricken, third world countries in the world. Mothers can be seen bent crookedly over their sewing machines whilst their newborn babies are swaddled in a blanket at their feet, whilst others earn so little money each month they have to send their children to live with relatives in distant villages because they cannot afford to provide basic human needs for their families.

It really puts a spot light on the influence of how Fashion has evolved so dramatically even in my lifetime. The demand for ready to wear collections; seen one day on the catwalk and then available in stores the very next is now the norm – but at what cost?

I was absolutely appalled to see how in some remote regions in India, because of the harsh chemicals used to dye leathers and suedes, the local rivers which provide drinking water to its inhabitants are now heavily polluted. These areas do not have access to bottled drinking water like we in the western world take for granted, so they risk severe illness and even death by consuming it.

Or when textile workers complained to their senior management about unsafe working conditions in a factory in Dhaka which was ignored, Rana Plaza came crashing down to a pile of rubble in May 2013, killing over a thousand people albeit barely making international news channels. These companies are under such pressure to produce garments as cheap as possible, with the notion of if they refuse, the fashion houses will just find another factory to fabricate their collection even cheaper.

It really puts me into such a conundrum. I, like everyone I know will shop in high street chain stores where you know you will be getting basic items at minimal prices because frankly we all love a bargain. That feeling of buying a dress which was originally £50 but only amounted to £19.99 when you go to the checkout counter is an instant endorphin boost. I wholeheartedly admit that with the world of social media and digital technology, the ideology of being able to wear a new outfit every time you socialise with your friends is highly coveted but not sustainable at all. What with rising costs of living, bills and supporting families – many of us do not have anything extra from our salaries to purchase frivolous clothing.

I also believe however, that spending a bit more on classic, well made items ensure they really do stand the test of time. A wonderful example of this is a well worn Burberry trench coat is now one of my prized possessions after it was handed down to me by my mum. It comes out in the Spring every year and must be at least 20 years old but utterly timeless in my opinion.

I guess my passion for Fashion has predominantly come from seeing masters like Manolo Blahnik lovingly going to his factory in Italy every few months where he insists on making the sample shoe of each style himself, teaching his staff the skills and quality he brings to his brand. And Dries Van Noten ensuring all of his textile factory staff are taught how to sew couture gowns and intricate sequin work by hand as he wants his legacy of dress making to continue long after his reign in the industry has surpassed. When you learn that a standard Michael Kors bag can be made in 20 minutes whereas a Hermes Birkin can take easily 24 hours as it’s all hand made – you can fully understand how the costs can vary so dramatically.

Personally I have learned that I as one person will never be able to change the world myself by refusing to wear animal products or only choosing to buy clothing from high end designers perhaps once a year instead of for that special occasion you would like to look your best for, but by consciously thinking about where the item was made and if you really need it instead of merely wanting it – day by day you can make a difference to your own life and your loved ones around you. I believe one small act of kindness or compassion achieved by us all, will collectively make a lasting impression in the world for our future generations.

Until next time,

Keya x

London in lights

Good morning my bashful Brit’s,

Yes, that time has once again come around for London to showcase its first fashion week of 2018, held in February. I always feel a huge sense of pride that my home city is one of the lucky places on the fashion calendar to hold its own fashion week amongst the greats in Milan, Paris et al. Below I give you some of my favourite looks and the key emerging trends from the S/S shows.

(All images courtesy of google images)

Victoria Beckham

Her collections up to now have always lives up to her namesake in the Spice girls and this show did not disappoint. She paired buttoned up blouses with floaty, pleated skirts and court shoes and super soft knitwear with high waisted trousers in warming maroons and lilacs. I love how VB has found her niche of elegant workwear style which can easily transcend to after work drinks with friends or an impromptu business meeting with an potential new client. There really is no excuse not to feel your best in her designs.

Mulberry

I always think fondly of trips to Selfridges when I was young wandering around the designer bag hall, gently tracing my fingers along the butter soft leathers and classic styling of this infamous accessories design house. Fast forward many moons and I have fallen in love once again with the almost princess like designs seen below in the palest of pinks against the stark contrast of the strapless body peeking out from underneath. In comparison to the matching prints shown later in the show in autumnal hues of browns and burnt oranges – it really was a show which shocked your visionary senses.

Temperley

I have always thought of Temperley as a brand synonymous with the central London elite – people who shop for their scarves and hats in Liberty, chutneys and jams in Fortnum and Masons and their stockings in Wolford – an older demographic than my generation but this years collection has hit the nail on the head. Every look that sashayed down the runway had young, fun and fresh all over it. I particularly loved the simple black roll neck sweaters teamed with the paisley print ankle skimming skirts and also the long sleeve blue panelled dress would not look out of place in my work wardrobe with a pair of buckled ankle boats and my oversized Armani high necked winter coat. Oh so elegant.

House of Holland

I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to secretly hangout at any of the members clubs around our beautiful city in the hopes of somehow becoming friends with Henry Holland. He has just always seemed like such a genuine, down to earth guy and every collection graces my favourite celebrities as soon as it is shown on the runway. This years showcase was no different. There was a play on the trusty football fan or Harry Potter house emblem scarves tied jauntily to one side over polka dot dresses which captured the London way of dressing entirely; oh wait, it’s a little chillier than I expected outside, let me add another layer….it all just worked perfectly and FYI Henry, I still want to grab a drink with you next time you are home! Haha.

Burberry

Oh Burberry, my life long friend. I remember clearly when I was in secondary school and I caught the first glimpse of one of your amazing bags in the shop window of the flagship Bond Street store. It was love at first sight. I even still have my classic camel trench coat which was handed down to me by my mum (who used to wear it when she was my age – it fits me like a glove, what are the odds!)

Although now I am more into the subtler approach to wearing this luxury brand I really loved the almost pyjama style design of the matching suits and visors displayed in this show. Also the tribute to love conquers all with the rainbow pride colours filled me with so much joy. The world is evolving so much, fashion needs to morph with it too I say.

Richard Quinn

And last but not least I cannot fail to mention our royal highness gracing the front row of the Richard Quinn show. Whilst there to present him with the best newcomer designer of the year award she didn’t disappoint in showcasing her own unique style in a matching twin set in the lightest grey and simple but elegant pearl earrings. She was the perfect backdrop to the beautifully colourful designs gliding along the catwalk in front of her.

What other city in the world, pairs fashion royalty in the likes of luxury brands which have withstood economic recession and the test of decades in the business, the ever present front row maverick Anna Wintour and ACTUAL royalty HRH Queen Elizabeth – London as always we salute you.

Until next time, take care

Keya x

Sumptuous sunnies

Hello my sunglass loving sirens,

With my upcoming holiday approaching, I have decided to dedicate this post to sunglasses. I am a huge fan of this sometimes unappreciated little fashion accessory and I am guilty of having a different pair for every occasion. Below I have outlined my favourite styles and how you can wear them with your spring wardrobe.

I remember the feeling like it was yesterday when I proudly went along to Hyde Park to watch my brother compete in the prestigious Olympic triathlon a few years ago. The Suns beautiful ray’s were beaming down on us all day so these Burberry frames were ideal. I teamed them with a slim fit white shirt, skinny jeans and my fab chocolate brown Nine West loafers.

When I was in Spain one New Year and even over Christmas last year although the weather was a little cool, we still experienced glorious sunshine and blue skies most days. I lived in my tortoise shell and orange Clubmasters by Rayban. The design and colouring are actually limited edition which just adds a sense of originality to any outfit and it’s nice to know you won’t see many people wearing them on your next break either. Below I wore them with my Italian designed fitted jacket and jumper dress and also my grey Armani overcoat over tailored chinos and a Ralph Lauren jumper. They are truly versatile.

  Even when I am training or competing in my triathlons or running events,  I love my Oakley pair which prevent glare (ideal if the sun is reflecting off cars or the road) and they have breathable panels down the side so I can avoid the dreaded steamed up look (Quelle horreur)



A few years ago at a car boot sale I nabbed this amazing vintage red aviator pair which come out of my collection every summer. They really brighten any outfit and complemented this floral day dress perfectly.

I love the classic Rayban wayfarer shape that has graced the faces of celebrities and on the runway for decades. They are my go to style for when I am on the beach or relaxing on holiday. Mine have lasted years and the black frames match every bikini or beach dress.

There seriously are so many shapes and sizes of sunglasses on the market and I would recommend that it is always better to invest in a good quality pair from a recommended stockist rather than from a high street store as they are fully UV protected and also last a lifetime (if you are not one of those people who lose sunglasses like odd socks in the washing machine)

Also what I love about this accessory in comparison to say handbags or shoes, they are a fairly inexpensive way to show your sense of style and be unique. How often in life can you don a pair of bug eyed glasses like my retro Armani pair below and feel like a child again playing dress up. Go wild on colour combos and embellishment, I promise the smile will not leave your face all summer 😀


Have a great few weeks my lovely readers, I am off from next week on a wonderful, eagerly anticipated vacation. Now where did I put my wayfarers. Haha.

Take care,

Keya x

Why so series?

Good morning my tantalising screen sirens, 

It’s that time of the year again where the cold, dark nights set in and all our favourite tv programmes return for the winter. I love the feeling of being cuddled up in my favourite marl Uniqlo trousers and a thick jumper enraptured in the riveting story telling before my eyes. Below I will elaborate on my current favourite shows and how the main characters wardrobe inspires my own. 

I remember a few years ago when everyone was talking about a new show due to start. From the very first pilot episode I was hooked. I loved the intricate links between the main characters, the stunning scenery surrounding them and the storyline was one of the most captivating I have ever seen. Of course this show was Game of Thrones. I absolutely love the use of soft leather to form the males characters coats and boots, reminding me of my trusty leather bomber I have worn and adored for more than 14 years. The bold shades of Khaleesi and Cersei Lanisters dresses remind me of some of the colour block items I tend to wear on nights out or for work at my office.

  
   

Last weekend another of my favourite shows came back on the air, the Blacklist. I love how each episode they explore a different serial killer, baffling me more and more to think how the writers even magicked up some of the heartless, heinous villains. I think that Raymond Reddington aka James Spader makes the show with his witty sarcasm and impeccable dress sense. His standard wardrobe of a trilby hat and waxed jacket looks oh so chic and dapper. How I do like a well dressed man 😊

  
Another show I really got into is Suits. The legal profession has always interested me, and the style in this show actually influenced my own work dress sense. Rachel Zane is always wearing amazing shift dresses or pencil skirts with a slim fit shirt. She always looks immaculate and classic which describes my work wardrobe perfectly. 

  
Lastly, this year I finished watching the first season of How to get away with Murder. This show is centred around a female lawyer who has the most impressive collection of costume jewellery and perfect hair. On a recent trip to Lanzarote my parents brought me back some amazing necklaces locally made which I usually wear with a plain black shirt or simple dress. It instantly makes my outfit more fun and vibrant. 

  
(All photos courtesy of Google images)

It does amaze me how shows that we watch on a weekly basis, will subconsciously influence our own style. Sometimes that scene of Rachel wearing a fantastic pair of Louboutins will make me reach for my own nude pair on my next night out without a moments hesitation or that classic trench worn by Reddington will inspire me to reach for my Burberry mac on the next rainy day in the city. It also is the best way to learn of the newest trends and fashions on the radar. After all, if our favourite character wears that Victoria Beckham monochrome dress in the big apple, it would be just wrong for us to not have it in our winter collection also 😊

Until next week, take care

Keya X

Sunglasses and sangria

Good evening my bespectacled beauties, 

With the amazing sunny weather we have been having in London over the last few months. I have really been able to make use of my extensive sunglass collection 😀

I love the allure of throwing on a pair of sunglasses to accentuate my outfit choices. They also can hide a mutiltude of sins from too many late nights on the town, or in my case, trying to prevent the dreaded hayfever attacks! Haha. 

 

I wore the above vintage Topshop pair whilst in Positano. The red metal frames set off my dress and bag perfectly and gave a nice contrast. The backdrop proved a huge inspiration to me in what colour combinations I wore – the pastel buildings and bold purple flowers dotted everywhere was just breathtaking.

  
  
I wore my Rayban aviator pair whilst holidaying in Venice. As I was only there for a long weekend I decided to take a classical pair which would match with a variety of different outfits. The mirrored lenses are on trend for spring/ summer 2015 too. 

  
When I was in Spain for New Year, although the weather was a little cooler the sunshine was still beaming. I wore my tortoise shell Burberry pair for the trip as the heavier frames are a bit more appropriate for winter short breaks. 

  
When I was working overseas in Cape Town I lived in my retro Rayban wayfarers. They were so perfect for laid back beach days and the classic black frames complemented every bikini shade I had 😁

Accessories really are a way to show off your individuality and personality, which is why I love my collection of sunglasses. They all are completely unique and match a whole range of my wardrobe staples. 

Protecting your eyes as well as looking cool and chic, I will raise my glass of sangria to that 😀

Until next week, take care

Keya x

Where my fashion obsession began…

Good afternoon my beguiling beauties,

For this post I am going to delve back into my own archives revealing how my fashion journey started and my main style influences.

From a very young age I was lucky enough to own beautiful, hand made French clothes – suede dresses paired with floral Dr Marten boots, or polka dot, pleated skirts with stripey tights as seen below 

  

When I became a teenager, my parents encouraged me to express myself through my outfit choices and I was always the funky girl at school who would scour shops like TK Maxx or the Brand Centre (those from school you must remember how cool that shop was) spending my wages from my part time job on Moschino jeans and Evisu jackets. 

  

As I’ve matured into a woman, I love investing in timeless pieces – mixing a classic Burberry trench with Mango or Uniqlo separates. For nights out I am partial to fitted, A-line dresses worn with my beloved Valentino or Jimmy Choo shoes.

  

My fashion influences growing up have always been my parents and younger brother who are the most stylish, elegant people I know and in the public eye I have always loved the style of the 50s era in particular my idols Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Marilyn’s effortless flapper dress and fur coat in the film Some Like it Hot and Audrey’s little black dress and wide brimmed hat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s filled me with excited glee. 

The most important lesson I learnt from these screen icons was that you didn’t need to show too much skin to be deemed elegant and beautiful. To this day, I do not feel comfortable in short dresses or tops that are low cut. Many top fashion designers have conveyed the message the models in their catwalk shows are like human clothes hangers for their creations – after all the best weapon a woman can possess is leaving the female shape to one’s imagination. 

Until next week take care

Keya x

The Key to Accessorising. 

Good evening my bangle loving beauties, 

Today’s post I wanted to talk about my second favourite way of expressing my individuality – accessorising 😊

From as far back as I can remember I have always loved jewellery. My earliest memory is of when my beloved grandad bought me an engraved gold bangle. It never left my wrist until it sadly snapped when I was 16! It still holds pride of place in my jewellery box. 

Even now I always have an array of bracelets and bangles adorning my wrists as I just feel so naked without them. That subtle jingle jangle whenever I move is like my personal security blanket in a way. I have accrued numerous trinkets on my many travels around the world; I love how they tell a story, capturing a special moment in my life. The below photo shows some of the bracelets I bought whilst in the Amalfi Coast celebrating my 25th birthday. The silver charm one is from Thomas Sabo, I just fell in love with the turquoise colouring against my olive skin and the heart bracelet is from the wonderful Tiffany and Co. 



I also am partial to a great hat especially at this time of year as it prevents my in between styles hair from looking wind swept or getting rained on in the unpredictable british weather. I just purchased a vintage bowler hat which I debuted this past weekend. I paired it with a polo neck crop top, skinny wet look jeans from Massimo Dutti and my studded Converse. 



I have always absolutely loved watches, although my early collection of fashion styles have undergone a dramatic revamp ever since I started working in an office. I adore oversized men’s watches and I am lucky enough to own Mont Blanc and Longines timepieces which always make any outfit look chic and elegant. They are a worthy investment.

My all time favourite way of accessorising by far however, is by donning a super pair (or pairs in my case) of sunglasses. On a gloriously sunny afternoon I love putting on a pair of my fabulous frames to finish off any look, whether it be work wear or casual at the weekend. I recently purchased an amazing limited edition pair by Ray Bans when I was in Spain, and I also love these Burberry ones. The classic tortoise shell design is updated with the brushed metal arms making them so 2015.



Whichever way you plan to accessorise this summer, keep it classic, fun and most of all bright! When the sun is shining, the bolder the better 😀

Until next week, take care

Keya x