This week I made a video about How to Join the Fashion Revolution.

To demonstrate how to take a selfie showing your label, I wore my favourite T-Shirt with the slogan WE ARE THE SEA.

received_10204262302139512

 

And then I started wondering:

Who made the T-Shirt I was wearing in the video? Where was the cotton grown?  Where was it printed?

 

 

So, I decided to contact the brand, We are Islanders, and ask them #WhoMadeMyClothes?

This is the fantastic reply which I have just received from Erin at We Are Islanders:

“Hi Sienna, thanks for asking! Your We Are The Sea t-shirt is from Continental Clothing’s Earth Positive Apparel collection, meaning it is 100% organic with 90% reduced CO2.

The production of this t-shirt has been audited by the Fair Wear Foundation before being hand-printed by the We Are Islanders team in a Dublin print collective.”

 

We are Islanders 1

 

We Are Islanders also sent me some photos of them screenprinting T-Shirts like the one I wore, so now I really do know Who Made My T-shirt!

 

We Are Islanders 2

 

IMG_0987

I have never once considered myself a plus-sized model, yet I don’t fit the mould of the willowy size 6 models. However, a flow of normal-sized models are beginning to sweep the fashion industry.

 

Sienna Somers, savvy student

Sienna Somers, photographed by Dave Purgas

The French Parliament have proposed a legislation to set a minimum weight for any model working in France, whether it be catwalk, editorial or high fashion. Models would be required to have a healthy BMI, which is considered above 18. The average model is 5 foot 9 and would have to weigh around 125 pounds, whilst the current average weight for a model is between 90-120 pounds. Employers would be required to ask models for proof of healthy BMI, both before and after a model is employed. Regular weight checks with agencies and employers would be enforced and violators could face a fine of up to 75,000 euros and six months in prison.

This legislation aims to reduce the glorification of too-thin women, in the hope to combat anorexia. It is estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, a number which is ever increasing.

Plus sized models have been taking the modelling industry by storm in the last year, with Ashley Graham being the first plus-sized model to ever be published in Sports Illustrated.

 

sports illustrated, ashley grahamdownload Names on the Cup 2017 movie

 

Whilst the rise of plus sized models is a fantastic thing, it also raises some other issues, nowadays, anyone who doesn’t conform to the thin model ideals are automatically filed under the plus-sized model category. I consider myself one of the individuals stuck in this nameless limbo. Normal-sized model Myla Dalbesio, a healthy sized 10 was recently cast in a Calvin Klein‘s “Perfectly Fit” campaign and discusses size in an interview as part of the What’s Underneath project.

Untitled-2
If the french legislation is successful, this could revolutionise the fashion industry and the models of the future. Most of the ‘it girls’ of the last 20 years have been under the healthy BMI; Kate Moss- 16, Cara Delevigne- 16, Jordan Dunn-15, Miranda Kerr-16, Rosie Huntington-Whitely-17. These faces may stop becoming regulars at Paris Fashion Week. Hopefully this will encourage healthy sized people to pursue modelling and change the modelling industry.

 

Visiting London Fashion Weekend is like going to a huge sample sale.  Although spending money to go shopping may seem like an alien concept to a lot of students, the savings you make on one garment can easily eclipse the price of the entrance ticket.
london fashion weekend savvy student sienna somers

The Luxe Lounge houses two areas which I would highly recommend as your first stop: the LFW Pop-up and Shop the Catwalk.  This is where you may will find rails from the designers who actually show at London Fashion Week. Although prices may be a little higher in this area, with some deep discounts it brings designer clothing within a student budget.  The quality of the garments in this area was noticeably higher as well, meaning that if you look at cost per wear over the lifetime of the garment, rather than overall cost, you will undoubtedly be saving money.

The LFW Pop-up area included a rail of Christopher Raeburn’s clothing, although I think I’ll wait for SS15 collection to appear at London Fashion Weekend as loved the deep olive parachute silk which he used this season.  A new discovery was J. JS LEE – great cut and I loved the checked wool dresses with the lower part being brushed to blur up the checks.  So cosy for winter and would be a wardrobe staple for many years.  And best of all, everything was made in England.

In the Shop the Catwalk section, most of the Pringle outlet in Morning Lane seems to have moved down to Somerset House.  A large stand with some beautiful knitwear, of course, and gorgeous dresses.

savvy student sienna somers london fashion weekend

Although attracted by the popping tangerine top at Osman, my eye was caught by a rich, black velvet skirt at Markus Lupfer.  Despite telling myself I don’t need any more black in my wardrobe, this was a classic I couldn’t resist.  At just £70, the quality feels amazing, thick and heavy velvet with a great sheen which feels more like pony skin, and the classic flared shape just skimming the knee means that this is an item of clothing which could stay in my wardrobe for decades to come.  Best of all, the label says Made in England.  Apparently most of the dresses at Markus Lupfer, and obviously some skirts, are made in a studio in Hoxton.

Amid several stands selling vintage and faux fur, a new discovery for me was Karl Donoghue.  Their luxury jackets and accessories are all handcrafted in combinations of shearling, leather and fur, finished with touches of buffalo horn trim.  But this is no ordinary ‘fur’ and certainly shouldn’t send a shiver down the sustainable shopper’s spine.  Karl Donaghue pride themselves on providing a cruelty-free option.    Every item is crafted and hand-finished in the UK and the brand prides themselves on a cruelty-free production process, as well as recycling offcuts.  Lambskin earmuffs came in some great pastel shades such as lemon and coral, as well as a range of natural tones and textures.karl donoghue ear muffs london fashion weekend savvy student sienna somers

Upstairs, don’t miss Finchittida Finch, a London-based jewellery label by twin sisters: Lisa & Tida Finch. This amazing company vows that every purchase from them helps fund Mines Advisory Group bomb disposal in Laos.  Their new Empress Collection embodies cultural diversity and courageous women, you’ll be sure to make a statement wearing these incredible pieces.

 

 

Thought that London Fashion Week was only for fashion buyers and press? Think again. There are plenty of events happening all over London throughout that week which are open to the public.  Even better, most of them are free!

Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief is back!

I was fortunate enough to attend Fashion for Relief Haiti at London Fashion Week in 2010 in my then role as a DFID Youth Reporter. I was only 14! Here I am on my way to the show snapped by icône du jour

sienna-full-e1289679522437

Photo credit: icône du jour

At the time I commented:

I loved Fashion for Relief in aid of Haiti as I think it was great for the fashion industry. With celebrities from Ronnie Corbett to Kate Moss modelling, it not only shows that everyone can help make a difference but demonstrates that any sized person can walk down the runway. I went to this show at LFW last week as a youth reporter for DFID and I sat 3 rows back from the front where I had an amazing view of the fabulous designs of Alexander McQueen’s blue mini dresses worn my Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Pixie Geldof. I am sure that Lee McQueen would like to have known that the last piece he created was sold in a very good cause.

 

Now Naomi is back! This time she is raising money to aid the fight against Ebola.  Following the same format as before, she asks her friends to donate some amazing designer clothes, and they then model them on the catwalk and hopefully raise a great deal of money.

Photo credit: Westfield Centre

Photo credit: Westfield Centre

The Fashion For Relief show will kick off London Fashion Week and takes place at Somerset House on Thursday 19 February at 8pm. A limited amount of tickets will be made available to the public this year and are priced from £50 via Ticketmaster

International Fashion Showcase

 

The International Fashion Showcase is a festival of emerging designers from around the world, organised by the British Council and the British Fashion Council during London Fashion Week in collaboration with London embassies and cultural institutes.  The event provides a  showcase for their countries’ most exciting designers and reflects their culture. I have attended some of the shows over the past few years and it is a fascinating glimpse into contemporary designers from around the world, often rooted in designs and techniques which reflect their traditional culture and heritage.

Maxhosa by Laduma, South Africa

Maxhosa by Laduma, South Africa

In previous years, the International Fashion Showcase could be seen in various embassies around the capital, but this year there is just one venue, Brewer Street Car Park, from n 20-24 February 2015. The event is free of charge and, with 130 designers from almost 30 countries, it is the largest public fashion exhibition of its kind.

International Fashion Showcase Events & Talks

 

You can also attend a programme of talks and events both before and during the showcase, including a designer mentoring programme facilitated by London College of Fashion.

16 FEBRUARY

PRIVATE VIEW: STYLE SHARING
16 February, 18:30-20:30
Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW
Private view of Style Sharing, an exhibition exploring the symbiotic
relationship with Korean and British style.
RSVP: Jeyun Moon jy.moon@kccuk.org.uk

17 FEBRUARY

ANOTHER AUSTRIA: NARRATIVE THREADS
17 February, 19.00-21.00
Austrian Cultural Forum London, 28 Rutland Gate, London SW7 1PQ
Live reading combined with a fashion performance of the exhibition texts, featuring
some of the designers and writers.
RSVP Vanessa Fewster office@acflondon.org

18 FEBRUARY

PRIVATE VIEW: CRASH POP
18 February, 18:30-20:30
Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Japan’s hottest designers come crashing into London – find out what inspires
them in contemporary Japan at the private view.
Invite only. For queries please contact: info@ld.mofa.go.jp

19 FEBRUARY

CH TALENTS: VISIONARIES: PRIVATE VIEW
18:30-20:30
Display Gallery, 26 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2AQ
Join us for the inauguration of the CH talents: Visionaries Exhibition. The garments designed by students from HEAD Genève and the Institute of Fashion Design, Basel will be presented on live models throughout the run of the exhibition.
RSVP: lon.events@eda.admin.ch

20 FEBRUARY

TANZANIA PRIVATE VIEW: SERENGETI SIRENS
13:00-15:00
3 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AS
A reception to celebrate Serengeti Sirens the Tanzanian International Fashion
Showcase putting spotlight on the designers and sponsors, and meeting the
press. A talk from the Patron Mrs Joyce Kallaghe (spouse of the Tanzanian High
Commissioner).
Invite only.

ART FASHION – RECONSTRUCTION 2 – THE ACADEMY’S LABYRINTHS
15.30 – 17.30
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
A presentation introducing the Georgian exhibition Art Fashion – Reconstruction
2 – Academy’s labyrinths. The talk will explore the concept behind the exhibition,
the Reconstruction of the historic building – Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, an architectural monument of cultural heritage for Georgia. Open to the public,
RSVP essential.
RSVP: maya.kipiani@art.edu.ge

PRIVATE VIEW: IN THE FOLD
18:30-20:30
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
Launch event for Ireland’s International Fashion Showcase entry presented by
Irish Design 2015 in collaboration with fashion exhibition partner Kildare Village.
Invite Only
RSVP: ifs2015@irishdesign2015.ie

PRIVATE VIEW: UNTAMED SKIN: THE ROMANIAN BLOUSE
19:30-21:30
Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave
Square, London. SW1X 8PH.
Exhibition Launch party
RSVP: Gabriela Mocan gabriela.mocan@icr-london.co.uk

21 FEBRUARY

REFASHIONING ARCHIVES
13.00-14.00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street,
London. W1F 0LA
A panel discussion exploring what the archive means in contemporary fashion
both as an inspiration for designers and as a way for museums to connect with the industry today.
RSVP: rsvp.showcase@britishcouncil.org

THE ART OF CRAFT WORKSHOP
14:00-16:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London. W1F 0LA
Create your own accessory with Czech designers. No prior experience is needed
and all materials and guidance will be provided. Open to the public, booking
required.
RSVP: info@czechcentre.org.uk

GIVING LIGHT: MEET THE DESIGNERS
16:00-17:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
An opportunity to meet the Bilbao International Art & Fashion designers
showcased in Spain’s exhibition ‘Giving Light’ and learn about their work and
Bilbao as a creative city.
RSVP: Aina Pomar – colaboradores.apc@maec.es or Rocío Sánchez -bilbaoartandfashion@bilboost.com by 17 February

ONCE UPON A TIME:PRIVATE VIEW
18:30-20:30
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London. W1F 0LA
A Private View in the presence of all participating designers, featuring a live
music performance by Stepan Ruzicka and his band. With cocktails, Czech beer and
refreshments.
RSVP: info@czechcentre.org.uk

23 FEBRUARY

FASHION WITHOUT BOUNDARIES
23 February, 17.00 – 18.00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street,
London W1F 0LA
London fashion thrives on the convergence of cultures, this panel discussion will
celebrate the influence of international fashion on the capital and explores how the city can continue to welcome international emerging talents.
RSVP: rsvp.showcase@britishcouncil.org

PRIVATE VIEW: FRAMEWORK
23 February, 19:00-21:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
Private view of the Colombian International Fashion Showcase ‘Framework’.
To register your interest email: events@colombianembassy.co.uk

24 FEBRUARY

HIJAB STYLING WORKSHOP WITH DIAN PELANGI
14:00-15:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
Indonesian fashion designer Dian Pelangi will host a Hijab Styling Workshop
showing her unique style for this traditional headwear.
RSVP: n.watson@fashion.arts.ac.uk

FASHION IN RESIDENCE
17:00-18:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA

Holly Jayne Smith, the winner of the British Council’s inaugural Graduate Fashion Week International Residency Award, will present her capsule collection, inspired her month-long residency at the Casa Moda Academy in Morocco. Holly will discuss her experience working overseas, her perceptions of the Moroccan fashion scene and the importance of cultural exchange in design in conversation with Martyn Roberts, Director of Graduate Fashion Week.
RSVP: rsvp.showcase@britishcouncil.org

CANADA HOUSE PRESENTS THOMAS TAIT
18:00 – 20:00
Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London. WC2N 5NJ
Winner of the first LVMH Young Designers Prize in 2014, Montreal-born Thomas Tait on structure, fluidity and his unique readyto-wear collection.
RSVP: Attendance strictly by invitation only. To register your interest email
programmes.london@international.gc.ca

19 MARCH

TORY TURK IN CONVERSATION WITH ROK HWANG
19.00
Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW
Rok Hwang – the designer behind the freshly launched rokh label – talks to ‘Style Sharing’ exhibition curator Tory Turk about living, and setting up a
fashion label, in London, in a film made by British filmmaker Eoin Glaister.

Clerkenwell vintage fair 

 

To celebrate London Fashion Week, Clerkenwell Vintage Fair  brings you The Vintage Collections on Sunday 15 February. £4 entry (£2 with NUS card)

You will find key iconic looks from different eras and can shop for pieces which don’t just hark back to a particular era, but are actually part of it.

Fashion editors, designers from London Fashion Week (my mother always attends), celebrity stylists and models return every season to source rare pieces, as well as getting inspiration for next season’s collection.

I have bought many of my favourite pieces at the fair, including both of my school prom dresses. For my Sixth Form Prom I bought an amazing gold Gucci long dress which was worn 25 years ago on the TV show Blind Date with Cilla Black.  And I actually bought it from the lady who wore it on the show!

My gold Gucci dress. Photo credit: Paul Pickard

My gold Gucci dress. Photo credit: Paul Pickard

 

Fashion at MeLondon

 

Presented in partnership with Felicities,  FASHIONatMELONDON has a host of events including catwalk shows, presentations, live photo-shoots and film making, installations in the Marconi Lounge and a MEdia Lounge every afternoon during London Fashion Week in the Radio Roof Top Bar.

London Fashion Weekend

 

With a blend of established and emerging designers, London Fashion Weekend is a great opportunity to shop the season’s (or last seasons as is often the case) key pieces direct from the designers.  I have attended several times and always find some bargains. Like a giant sample sale, but with a catwalk schedule.

For all you Savvy shoppers reading this, use the Promotional Code FIRSTNIGHT to receive 25% off all tickets apart from the Luxe ticket on Thursday 26 February. Offer includes a free glass of Prosecco.

26 February – 1 March. Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA  (map and times)

Photo: London Fashion Weekend

Photo: London Fashion Weekend

From £10 Gold Valentino trousers found in a charity shop to my bargain vintage Gucci dress, I have always loved shopping second hand. There’s a thrill of discovering a unique garment buried under a mound of what seems to be junk. As the old saying goes, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’.

 

A few years back in an ‘Everything for a pound pile’ in a charity shop in Brixton, I found a pair of very short, very red Sergio Tacchini Tennis shorts for a quid. I wore them all summer as part of my go-to festival outfit. I later found out that they were actually a very rare pair from the McEnroe era and people are selling them on ebay for up to £150.

Paul-Pickard-Sienna--01

This gold Gucci dress was bought from the fantastic Clerkenwell Vintage Fair which takes place every month – the next one is on 23 November 2014.  It was originally purchased by the person from whom I bought it and she wore it on Blind Date 25 years ago.

Cilla Black complemented her on the dress and she was picked for the date, a day racing cars around the track.  I know that she was very attached to this dress and was happy that it had gone to a good home.

I sent her through some photographs of me wearing the dress, photographed by Paul Pickard, and she replied

Wow fantastic! So glad my stunning Gucci dress has  lived on to have a fabulous life  x

Credit: Paul Pickard

Credit: Paul Pickard

 

This week, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion had a Tweetchat on the theme of #beinghuman as part of an event called Wear Your Culture.  I tweeted:

#beinghuman is to love. How can we love our clothes if we dispose of them before growing attached, before they’re part of our history.

 

Part of what I love about my gold Gucci dress isn’t just its beauty, or the quality of the fabric (it is so heavy!) but the fact that I know it’s story, I’ve met the woman who wore it on Blind Date.  I fully intend to give that dress new stories to tell, from the first time I wore it at my Sixth Form prom, to the many more times I intend to wear it in years to come.

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion replied to my tweet saying:

Beautifully put. All those stories and memories, so precious to us in our fragility as humans on this wonderful planet.

What stories do your clothes have to tell?  Stories from before you owned them, stories about the makers, about a previous wearer, about your life?  What secrets do your clothes hold in their threads?

Next week, the fashion reuse charity TRAID launches #SECONDHANDFIRST Week, 17 – 23 November 2014, to encourage us to buy more of our clothes second-hand, rather than buying new.

TRAID will run events and initiatives in its 12 charity shops throughout the week celebrating all things second-hand including a repair workshop with master mender Tom Holland, in-store stylists to help customers make the most of their purchases, short film screenings about the garment industry, late night openings and special window displays.  Events include:

  • Tuesday 18 November, Book an appointment with Sustainable Fashion Stylist Marta Krolewicz, 10am – 2pm at TRAID Shepherd’s Bush
  • Wednesday 19 November, The Clothes Club Swap for Food Cycle and TRAID
  • Thursday 20 November, Late Night Shopping and Junky Styling Upcyling Workshop at TRAID Shepherd’s Bush, 154 Uxbridge Road,
  • Friday 21 November, Knitwear Repair Workshop with Tom Holland at TRAID Dalstons,
  • Friday 21 November, Book an appointment with Sustainable Fashion Stylist Marta Krolewicz, 10am – 2pm at TRAID Shepherd’s Bush

Check out the Traid website for updates: traid.org.uk/traid-events/

Secondhandfirst-Image-2

There are lots of ways to get involved along with ideas and resources provided by TRAID including taking the #SECONDHANDFIRST Pledge to source more of your wardrobe second hand, to keep clothes and other resources in circulation for longer by lending, swapping, mending and donating, to visit your local charity shop, run a clothes swap and lots more. Maria Chenoweth-Casey, CEO of TRAID said:

“The power of second-hand to create a more sustainable society is enormous. The garment industry makes huge demands on scarce and diminishing resources, like water, land and oil while unwanted and still wearable clothes are sent to landfill. #SECONDHANDFIRST Week reminds people to use what we already have as a way to reduce waste, landfill, carbon emissions and consumption bringing major benefits to our increasingly fragile environment.”

SecondhandFirst-Image-1

The charity is also appealing to all its supporters to donate their unwanted clothes to help TRAID reach its target of collecting an extra 7 tonnes of textiles for reuse during this special week. To book a free home collection from TRAID go to www.traid.org.uk/collections

If all of your wardrobe is new and you’ve never given preloved clothing a go, #secondhandfirst week is the time to make a start! Go out and find some clothing which has been loved before and which you can love again.