Thursday, 23 February 2012 17:08

Unleash your inner Viva Glam Nicki!

Following the success of the 2010 Pink Friday colloration Rapper Nicki Minaj has again teamed up with MAC Cosmetics to create a signature lipstick called Viva Glam Nicki which keeping in line with the star's outrageous and show stopping style the is an eye-popping neon coral colour.

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Along with singer Ricky Martin Nicki Minaj is one of the newest faces of the MAC Viva Glam campaign which aims to bring awareness to women, men, and children living with HIV/AIDs in Latin America.

The MAC Aids fund was established in 1994 and has since has raised more than $235 million selling lipsticks and lipglosses to help those living with the disease around the world.

Past celebrity spokemodels have included Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Cyndi Lauper, RuPaul, Eve, Elton John, and Lady Gaga.

Viva Glam Nicki lipstick costs £13.50 and will be available for purchase from the 1st March 2012 from maccosmetics.com
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Tuesday, 21 February 2012 15:14

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due...

I was woken up early this morning by a consistent ringing of my phone, I must explain. I tend to go to bed generally each night between 3 to 5 am and don't start my working day till 11am (I might be up before 11 but no answering of phones until then. I don't care if you are calling me about a national emergency it is just going have to wait till at least 11 before I can help. This 11 am thing is important before you think I am waffling, because my phone kept ringing consistently and it was not 11, so I decided to answer it after about the 50th time of non stop ringing.


Of course I put on my I am wide awake voice, to try and sound all business like in case it was a client but to my surprise the first response I got to my "good morning" was "have you seen the article in the ES Magazine" (ES = Evening Standard), it is a gross misrepresentation of the facts about where and how Afrobeats started".

The article seems to imply that DJ Abrantee of Choice FM was the man that made Afro beats popular, and people in the know are very upset by this as historically and factually this is not the case, to me this is a bit like saying that Eminem invented Rap music.
Before I go on I must say that DJ Abrantee is a good friend of mine and this point of correction article is not aimed at him personally but it is only fair to those that came before him that they get the credit they deserve.

I believe that Jimi the Bald Headed Guy summed it up perfectly when he said that "Afrobeat as a music genre, was created and made popular many years ago before Dj Abrantee kicked off his Late Saturday show on Choice FM, by the late Fela Kuti and it bears no relation to the various contemporary African music genre(s) that have emerged on the London club scene". As far as he is concerned "Abrantee is only representing what is already there. Naijapop and Hiplife have been around for over ten years and Abrantee knows that".

The various African genres of music include HIplife from Ghana, Kwaito from South Africa, Ndombolo from Zaire. Zairean Ndombolo, Camerounian Makossa, Cote D'Voire's Mapouka and NAIJAPOP from Nigeria and a lot more.

I was fortunate to grow up during the times of Fela Kuti, frequently visiting his house, partying with his children and was a regular at the world renowned Shrine, so I can and am categorically saying that Afrobeats was made popular by Fela Kuti and many others that followed after him. To put it into perspective for my Caribbean brothers and sisters a good way of explaining this, is to say that people were playing and singing Reggae music long before Bob Marley came along but Bob Marley made Reggae Popular and brought it onto the international scene but let's say that all of a sudden DJ Abrantee or Daddy Ernie from Choice FM started playing Reggae how many years after the death of Bob Marley and all of a sudden people say that they made Reggae popular, I hope this makes sense.

Afrobeats started many years ago and was made internationally popular by the pioneer of Afrobeats Fela Kuti and developed a resurgence internationally in 2006 with the hit African Queen by 2face Idibia. This award winning hit track "African Queen" was used as the sound track of the 2006 comedy film, Phat Girlz.

There are many Dj' and clubs in East and South London that have been playing Afrobeats as it is now being called, to full houses for many years and it must be said as with anything in this country if you have access to mainstream and you do something, you get the credit for it – Choice FM is owned by the owners of Capital Radio and we all know that the Choice FM of today is not the same as of the old days, both in terms of its commercialisation and its play list and anything that it now does would and does get mainstream credit. So bearing that in mind in one way the article is correct in saying that Dj Abrantee has brought it to mainstream in terms of the significant numbers that get to hear Afrobeats, purely and simply because he has Choice FM as the medium to do so and not because he is the pioneer of Afrobeats.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston RIP – August 9 1963 – February 11 2012...

I need not say much about her but just give you some facts below about how phenomenal an artist she was.

In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.

Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen Sound Scan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.

On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, of causes not immediately known. News of her death, the day before and after the 2012 Grammy Awards, featured prominently in American and international media.

May her soul rest in perfect peace.

I don't Speak Properly...

Over the weekend whilst producing the Fashions Finest London Fashion Week shows I was doing the voice over for the show and afterwards I was told that I don't speak English properly, can you believe that. Seriously it is bad enough that when I am in Nigeria I am called "Oyinbo Boy" (white boy ) cos of my English accent and how I speak and then to be in London and be told I don't speak good English because they say I say FREE instead of THREE, hello don't be slow – do you get it now. Anyway as far as I am concerned I speak the Queens English.

Black People Fashion...

London Fashion Week will be coming to an end tomorrow and I am sure for some of you it has just simply passed you by without too much recognition and I suppose rightly so, as firstly members of the public don't really get in to watch the shows and second black designers generally have to climb Mount Everest first before they would even be recognised just to be told you are not ready for LFW not to talk about actually showing at LFW.


Outside of the official London Fashion Week shows African and Caribbean designers have been getting some fantastic exposure. Le Geneve Events featured the Caribbean Collection which was a two day exhibition of designers from the Caribbean, Vauxhall Fashion Scout had a special show by Ubuntu initially known as the Nigeria collective show and of course Fashions Finest kept up its tradition of supporting and showcasing designers from across the African continent alongside both Caribbean and Asian designers, over two days over 27 designers showcased at Fashions Finest.

The only sad thing is that as mainstream designers start to use African fabrics and styles in their designs they once again steal the limelight and take all the glory for the so called Renaissance of African fashion. I think they need to remember that African fashion never went anywhere, it's always been here.

Check out the pictures from Fashions Finest LFW & the Other Fashions Weeks that have just taken place.

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Monday, 06 February 2012 14:37

February's Lust List

By Pheobe Park

With fashion weeks well underway around the world, we have seen that one of next season's hottest trend is the floral trend. This month's Lust List features some of the new releases based on the Spring/Summer floral trend.

At Christopher Kane, an explosion of flowers beneath sheer organza signalled a very modern take on the trend, while everyone fell in love with Erdem's signature florals and their grown-up allure. Mismatched flower prints were seen at Mary Katrantzou, Sportmax, Clements Ribeiro and Erdem who all mixed a bouquet of prints and a riot of colour.

Take a look at my Lust List which features staple items that will get you bang on trend.

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1. Earrings: Marie-Hélène de Taillac's 22-karat matte-gold chandelier earrings
2. Clutch: Ted Baker Bug Bag
3. Shoes: River Island SS12 Snakeskin Floral Heel
4. Shirt: Topshop SS12 Floral Shirt
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I know it's now the 27th January and I am only now wishing you Happy New Year when we are already nearly in February, but hey it's me and its better late then never. Last year was a tough year for a lot of us and I do hope that this year will be a great year for everyone.

Sadly though in terms of how people perceive black people things do not seem to have changed very much. I am not sure how many of you are aware of the recent storm that has blown up around the French Elle article, which and I am paraphrasing says that black people knew nothing about style until the Obama's got into power.

Nathalie Dolivo a fashion writer for French Elle wrote an article which was published on the Elle magazine website entitled 'Black Fashion Power' and she stated "African-Americans weren't stylish until the Obama family came into office. "For the first time, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged [only] to its street wear codes. She goes on to to explain why the so-called Obama renaissance of style is so "chic." According to her assessment, it embraces "white codes" while still making what she calls "a bourgeois ethnic reference (a batik-printed turban/robe, a shell necklace, a 'créole de rappeur') reminiscent [of] the roots."



So let me get this right prior to the Obama's getting into the White House African Americans were walking around butt naked looking like people that bought all their clothes from charity shops - yeah right.

Seriously what is wrong with these European journalist and their views on the black race, if we look back over the last year we had the controversy of the Italian Vogue's trend piece on so-called "slavery earrings" and their French edition's fashion spread of a model in blackface and just last month the Dutch magazine Jackie published a racial slur in a profile of Rihanna. It is so hard to believe that in this day and age people still have an issue over colour and race.

I am so tired of all of this crap that to be honest I can't even be bothered to even give my views on it, I just wanted to keep you all informed of what's going on in town and leave it to you to form your own views.
I will end by saying that it is more and more important that people of colour do their own things and stop trying to reach the West's ideals of beauty, fashion and music.

Fashions Finest London Fashion Week...


This is the Olympic year and is important to us in the UK because it is being held in London and of course there are some great things happening this year, of course starting with London Fashion Week Fashions Finest Season three show.

This year FF LFW show is bigger and better with over 25 designers coming from across the world including America, Zimbabwe, South Africa and a number of new and emerging designers from the UK showing. There will also be two solo shows featuring Yes London and John Peter. It's scary but Fashions Finest keeps going from strength to strength, with both days of shows being held at the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, very exclsive and very classy.

FF LFW is one of the few shows during London Fashion Week that members of the public can come and watch the shows. so if you would like tickets – APPLY HERE – its free.

Mahogany Bridal Fashion Show – 1st April 2012...

Short and sweet – get your TICKETS for the MBFS. Also if you are a designer or exhibitor and want to be a part of MBFS EMAIL US for more information.
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Tuesday, 17 January 2012 11:43

The White Carpet

Goddiva has its own eye catching pieces to light up the next few months. And all at prices to suit the tightest of budgets!

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By Greta Chapin-McGill

The history of black female clothing designers began with the traditions of the indigenous attire of countries and tribes in Africa. Looking back at the early garments of black female designers, there are direct influences from these early African-inspired designs. Even beyond African designs, many of the first black, female clothing designers drew their inspiration from a range of influences, propelling their clothing designs to success, despite the barriers that stood in their way.

On the African Continent

In Africa, clothing described station. Kings, queens, and members of the royal entourage dressed in elaborately coloured loose cloth robes adorned with feathers, jewellery and animal skins. Traditionally, village women spun cloth, dyed fabrics and produced garments. Weaving cloth was done by both men and women with gender specific looms.

Southern Plantations
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Slave Women Sewing

Slaves arrived naked in the holds of ships, and were then sold to southern plantations. Women worked the fields and worked making homespun cloth for clothing. Children were responsible for spinning and carding cotton and wool. Patterns and sewing needles were given to them by their owners and slave women made garments for owners and slaves alike. However, European style clothing became the norm for the newly arrived slaves.

The 18th Century

18th Century Seamstress

It became an accepted norm for African-American slave women to design and sew beautiful garments for their owners. Moreover, as more and more slaves obtained their freedom, metropolises became hotbeds for cutting edge designs from talented African-American clothing designers. New Orleans was a fashion mecca and many black-owned businesses designed, made and sold garments. The Civil War made it difficult for these southern businesses, so the industry moved north. Famed seamstresses Eliza Gardener, Grace Bustill Douglas, and Catherine Delany all owned businesses in cities like Boston and Philadelphia.

Elizabeth Keckly
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Mary Todd Lincoln Inaugural Gown by Elizabeth Keckly

Elizabeth Keckly supported herself and her family through her dressmaking and design skills. She bought her freedom moved to Washington D.C. She was famous for the inaugural gown she designed for Mary Todd Lincoln, wife to then president Abraham Lincoln. This dress can be viewed today at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. The wives of Robert E. Lee, Stephen Douglas, and Jefferson Davis were also clients of Elizabeth Keckly. A respected independent business woman, she worked towards the abolition of slavery through her well-connected white clients.

Francis Criss

Born in Virginia Francis, Criss was known in Richmond as a talented seamstress. In 1915, she moved to New York City, where she designed and made garments for Broadway stars as well as actress Gloria Swanson. A flamboyant and free spirited personality, her home in New York was a centre for influential African-Americans.

Ann Lowe – fashion pioneer
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Jacqueline Kennedy Wedding Dress by Ann Lowe

Ann Lowe was born in Alabama in 1899 and moved to New York at the age of 16. She attended design school and opened a shop on Madison Avenue. Her clients included members of the Vanderbilt, Roosevelt, and Rockefeller families. She made more than 1,000 dresses per year for society clients and sold her designs in Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus and I. Magnin. In 1953, Ann Lowe designed the dresses for the entire bridal party, the mother of the bride and the bridal dress for the wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier to John F. Kennedy.

Interesting Facts

Sewing Supplies

The history of fashion industry is full of important contributions from creative, talented black female clothing designers. They included: Mildred Blount, an African-American milliner who made hats for Hollywood films, Gone With The Wind and the Easter parade; and Zelda Wynn, who designed for Josephine Baker, Gladys Knight, and even designed the first Playboy bunny costume. Moreover, Elizabeth Keckly and Lillian Rogers Parks went on to write successful memoirs detailing their stories as influential female clothing designers
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Article courtesy of thegrio.com By Kunbi Tinuoye

In 1992, Veronica Webb became the first African-American model to sign a major advertising contract with Revlon. Today, it's not uncommon for black celebs to land lucrative ad campaigns promoting beauty products. So does this trend reflect a genuine commitment from the global cosmetic industry to embrace diverse beauty?

Indeed, twenty-five years ago it would have been near impossible for a black woman to be the face of trusted brands such as L'Oréal, Revlon and Estée Lauder. Today all that's changed with the likes of Beyoncé, Halle Berry and Thandie Newton snagging profitable, six-figure deals, to market beauty products to women of all races across the globe.

This development, though, is not limited to the beauty industry. Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson fronts commercials for Weight Watchers and Janet Jackson is new face for the Nutrisystem diet. Men of color have also been cashing in. Tiger Wood's good looks and "multiracial" appeal was enough for him to earn millions fronting major campaigns; of course, before his popularity plummeted when he was caught cheating on his wife.

Sola Oyebade, the chief executive of Mahogany Models Management, Europe's largest agency for models of color, however, is skeptical about the cosmetic industry's commitment to embrace multicultural beauty.

"The major cosmetic brands tend to use black celebrities to promote products," Oyebade told theGrio.com. There is still the perception that "black doesn't sell" and white consumers will buy into products if the women of color are well-known, he says.
Ethnic models still face discrimination and "it's rare for major advertising campaigns to use black models" whereas they may take the risk with up-and-coming white models, adds Oyebade. This also extends to high-fashion: "If you look at back issues of magazines like Vogue they generally use black celebrities on their covers but very few lesser-known black models."

Admittedly it maybe a coincidence but the black women currently fronting major global beauty campaigns are all light-skinned or of mixed heritage: Beyoncé at L'Oréal, Thandie Newton at Olay and Halle Berry's long-term contract with Revlon.
Even then, L'Oréal faced a huge backlash after it appeared to "whitewash" Beyoncé in its 2008 ad campaign. She appeared to look almost white, with pale skin and strawberry-blonde hair.

Nevertheless, Oyebade concedes there has been change in the industry based on calculated economics. "The global economic downturn has had a huge impact on mature Western markets and the industry is looking to find business in new and emerging markets such as Asia, African and the Caribbean." These cash economics weren't so badly affected by the credit crunch, he says.

"I've started noticing cosmetic brands hosting fashion shows and sponsoring events in Africa and Caribbean, which have now become viable areas to make money," and add new customers until economics in the West improve, says Oyebade, who also works as a creative director for international fashion shows.

Perhaps, this is the motivation behind one of Estée Lauder's latest ad campaigns. This year's product launch is fronted by Chinese supermodel Liu Wen, Puerto Rican-born Joan Smalls and French beauty Constance Jablonski.

However, Aerin Lauder, senior vice president and creative director of Estée Lauder, said earlier this year at press event in New York, the company is committed to diversity. "Estée's choice of models throughout the brand's evolution was always extraordinary," said Lauder. "We continue this legacy with a new group of diverse faces that truly represent a modern vision of beauty."

Whatever the reasons for women of color fronting major ad campaigns, it can only be a good if this fad continues. Trends such as western markets becoming more multiracial and emerging economics, such as Brazil, China and India, carving out dominant positions in the global economy, means the cosmetic industry may have no choice but to change.

Most importantly of all women need to see their skin and shape reflected in the media.

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Sunday, 25 December 2011 02:57

The Changing World of Fashion...

There are two guaranteed things that will happen in life, one is sadly we will all die and two is change and I am sure that you would agree with me that the fashion industry is always changing. From the very simple things of new fashion trends coming through each year to new designers, models and creatives joining the fashion industry. When you read the barrage of fashion magazines that come out each week it is so hard to keep up with what they state are the latest trends and new people coming onto the scene. I personally don't follow fashion trends because unless you are extremely rich and can afford to remain fashion savvy it is very easy to try and follow trends and by doing so it is very easy to become very poor.

One of the interesting changes that is taking place within the fashion industry is the rise and rise of African fashion as well as African fashion designers, not just new and established designers that are beginning to make a name for themselves on the international fashion scene but also the fact that mainstream designers and brands have taken an active interest in African fashion. Designers and brands such as Burberry, Gucci, YSL, Aldo, Lamb by Gwen Stephani over the last couple of seasons have been incorporating African materials into their designs. So I guess that it is fair to say that African fashion is back in fashion, how times have changed. It it must be said that this is relevant purely because of the designers that are paving the way for African fashion, the likes of Deola Sagoe, Tiffany Amber, Ituen Bassey, Stone Cherrie have become international designer superstars and I think it is fair to say that they have helped influence the growing trend towards African fashion being so popular.

African fashion has developed leaps and bounds with some great international African shows taking place each year such as Fashions Finest London Fashion Week Shows, Africa Fashion Week (South Africa, New York & London) and Arise Fashion Week that takes place in New York and Lagos each year. It is shows like this that have helped take African designers and fashion to another level and place it before the eyes of the world. It is my prediction that this is just the tip of the iceberg and mark my words "you ain't seen nothing yet"

Size 6 Supermodels - Does African Fashion Need to Mimic the West?

No No No - African women generally have different body shapes, by default Africa women are far more curvy and more fuller figured. Before people start saying that not every African woman is curvy or fuller figured, I am speaking in generic terms. As a man that works within the fashion industry and with all types of women from all types of ethnic backgrounds, I get to see women of all shapes and sizes so I feel I am a bit of an expert on this subject.

For many years the West has not accepted black models onto the catwalks or in magazines in any significant numbers to make us feel that we are an active part of the fashion industry and when they do want to use us, we must conform to the West standards of what they perceive as beauty which currently seems to be stick thin models with bones hanging out that you could hang your coat on. Sorry but this is not for me, give me a curvy black model that has a bit of hips so that when she graces the catwalk the dress flows as she walks but not remain motionless as the model has no body to make it move.

I am continuously told that Western designers don't like to use black models because they are too curvy or there walk is too sexy. I remember speaking to a black model recently who was with a big mainstream agency and she was lamenting over the fact that despite the fact that she met industry standard measurements in terms of her statistics 34 – 24 – 34, she was not getting jobs simply because she had more backside than hips as her 34 inch hips went backwards rather than side wards and for this simple reason designers would not use her for shows.

As a people and I am glad to say it is happening, we must not rely on the West to make our women supermodels but we must do it ourselves. A little fact to note – if you put the populations of the United States and Europe together it comes to a total of about 850 million odd people but the entire population of Africa is about one billion odd people. Doing the maths it is easy to see that African supermodels do not need the West to make them superstars and they can earn as much if not far more money than they would ever earn working in New York or London.

The power within the fashion industry does not lie with black people so we can only do the jobs that we are given and they select the type of models that they wish to use. However the interesting thing is that every day Western women seem to want to develop the black woman type of figure as some women are undergoing operations to have a shapely African looking backside, I even hear that you can buy padded underwear so you can have a fake looking bigger, shapely backside, they are also injecting things into their lips to have bigger and fuller lips, so some women want to look like us but we are not good enough to grace their catwalks and magazines.

It is great to get requests from African designers requesting curvy fuller figure models when I am asked to produce their shows for them, this makes me so happy and it's good to know that they are ignoring the West's ideals of beauty.

My Daughter wants to be a Supermodel? Steps to becoming a healthy minded Model.

Firstly models need to understand that this a very hard industry to succeed in and with the advent of such popular TV programmes as Americas next Top Model it seems that every young girl now wants to be a model but they do not realise how difficult and critical an industry it is. As a model you are a self-employed, independent contractor, you are considered a sole trader in your own small business, you are not an employee of the agency you may be signed to. Whether you are a freelance model or signed to a top modelling agency you will incur basic start-up costs and as such you will be required to cover all of your own promotional expenses such as composite cards (Z Cards), agency books (portfolio), and for some agencies they will charge you to be on their website. I advise all models that I come across that they should not pay an agency to represent them. Agencies earn their money from commissions or royalties directly received from their clients or via the fees from the work that the model does. Top professional agencies do not charge a joining fee and neither do they insist that you use one of their photographers to do your portfolio, however with the top agencies it is advisable to follow their recommendations on which photographers to use to do your portfolio as that way you are more likely to get the right type of pictures that the agency needs to promote you and get you work. We advise all models that if an agency asks you to pay a fee to join them, insists you must do an expensive portfolio before you join or pay an administration fee, then simply say no and walk away.

Models must look after themselves from their skin to their body and ensure at all times they have all that they need to succeed as a top model, they must have a never say die attitude, be confident in their own abilities and understand that they will suffer lots of rejection before they finally make it. They must be professional and be on time for castings or jobs and have a professional attitude at all times.

Finally I would say to models that they must research into how the modelling industry works, what is involved and what it takes to be a top model as well as research into agencies before they apply to them.

Models must be confident and flexible in their approach to modelling and they must find out about the business side of the modelling industry as that is where a lot of models fall foul
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Wednesday, 14 December 2011 23:40

everything the well travelled woman would need

By Lee-Anne Weise 

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Paolita press offices in London to view the 2012 Insects Luxury Resort wear collection by designers and founders Adriana and Claudia Chaparro Pignalosa, in celebration of their flag ship store which recently opened up in Palm Beach Florida.

MAURITIUS
POSITANO


Founded with the aim of bringing Colombia's colours and nature to the capital with their designs the Insects Collection features an amazing combination of garments ranging from swimming costumes, cover ups, jumpsuits dresses, and most recently, scarves lingerie and children's clothing in sophisticated hand-designed prints of Bees, ladybirds and butterflies team with a bold, eye-catching colour pallet in easy to wear materials such as silk and cotton blends; which travel well and do not require much maintenance.

LINA
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Describing their design signature as "Fun, flirty and vibrantly sophisticated" the Insects Collection has everything the well travelled woman would need to look stylish throughout her vacation whether she is on the beach, by the pool in a resort or on a yacht.

Retail prices range from £115 to £176 for Swim and £120 to £540 for Resort wear.

For more information, please visit Keyleaf.com
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Saturday, 10 December 2011 21:35

A “Real Woman” & a “Plus”

It's not that long ago when our "Normal" sizes gone into "Plus". The good news is that most of the fashion brands are now producing what I like to call a "Real Woman" clothes and we no longer have to shop at the Maternity stores (the inspiration behind the Ulla Popken brand), however while doing a research for this article I've realized that unless you're in the industry most of women are still having a hard time "working" their heads around the whole "Plus & Minus" size scales.

Well let's begin with the "Real" world women size!

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To our surprise the "Plus size" term has been developed in the UK however the actual measurement chart was the result of over 60 years market research and study in the US. So where does the "Plus" starts from, you'd wonder?

According to the International Industry standards, the "Plus" size Charts will begin with the following: UK size12, US size 10, Australia size 14, EU size 40, Italy size 42, Japan size 11 and otherwise everything that starts with "L" & "XL". However if you're still struggling to figure out what is your exact size the following measurements indicator will be quite helpful:

"L" or "Large" Measurements range: Bust: 86-94cms, Waist: 69-77cms, Hips: 92-100cm, the size indicator usually goes within an average of 7 measuring points (in centimeters); Example: if your hips are measured at 102cms maybe it is worth trying "2L" size on.

But once again, you have to remember that there is no two individuals' are-a-like, therefore not all of us can afford to wear the item straight of the rack and expect a perfect fitting; in many cases a "Pear-shaped" woman will find it hard to fit the bottom into the dress that fits perfectly at the top, as well as "Triangle-shape" will have to do some alterations in the hip area for a perfect fitting.

And as usual you have to remember that perfectly fitted clothes will make you appear slimmer than the ones that are too tight on you.

"Shape-wear"

Another trick to reduce the dress size would be "Corrective Innerwear" or a "Shape-Wear", various options of which available on the market for all body types. However the tricky part is, if you choose a size bigger it won't be that effective, a size smaller and you will end up with lumps and bumps; so use this as your size reference: "M" or "Medium" size will start within UK size 12-14, if you're not sure while buying a "Shape-Wear" at the store, ask the sale assistant to measure you as every lingerie store will have this facilities and in most of them the Size Charts are displayed on the door of the fitting rooms.

shapewear

Today's "Shape-wear" comes for almost every body type and size:
"Apple-shaped" woman will most probably require a support in the tummy area that will help then define the waist line; "Tummy brief" or a "Corset" would suite this body type the best.

Long leg "Control Briefs" would be the best choice for "Pear-shape" to downsize the hip and thighs area.

A "Pencil-shape's" best choice would be Padded Bras that will emphasize the bust area and make your waist line more appealing.
If you're one of the lucky ones with an "Hourglass-shape", you can simply choose Shape-wear that will show off you natural curves.

Shopping for "Real Woman"

Even though we're lucky to live in the age where dressing for your size and shape is no longer a problem, many of "Real size" women still find it difficult to find the places to shop for their size. Therefore we'll review several brads that are idea for a "Plus" size.

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Plus Size Shopping "Destinations"

Debenhams' Brands: Alexon, Ann Harvey, Gorgeous, Jacques Vert and Windsmoor; size range from UK 16-32.

New Look Fashion: size range from UK 12-26

Australian brand City Chic: size range: 14-24

USA: www.OneStopPlus.com , online shopping portal for "Plus" size fashionistas, that carries collection of most of the "Real Women" fashion brands, such as: Roaman's, Jessica London, Ulla Popken, Torrid, Ellos, Avenue Body, etc; within a size range from 12 to 32.
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