I'm sticking my neck out a bit by writing about someone whose collection I've not yet seen, just by going on a few posts on a blog, but Charlotte Taylor's mission to document her processes of developing, designing, marketing, PR-ing and presenting her collection in February 2010 at London Fashion Week and thus shedding insight to new designers everywhere is worth pre-ambling about even if I have no concrete photos of clothes to show you.

One of her statements about starting the blog is a good un'…

"I know when I was at college we had plenty of lecturers come in to tell us about setting up a new label. They were VERY matter of fact and full of nasty figures and statistics. DEpressing. I guess no-one can ever fully know what to expect when they launch a company but I hoped/ hope that from my ramblings and knowledge gained on the way people might learn a thing or two..? All I know is that I would definitely have been interested to read a blog along a similar direction."

Coming from Central Saint Martins stock, Charlotte then went on to work in the creative marketing department of Luella (still hoping a backer is on its way before Christmas) giving her vital experience and for want of a better word, 'commercial nous' to start her own label.  She's also made Isle of Wight her studio base, so you can read about her getting chummy with pattern cutters and seamstresses on the fair Isle.


On making it as a new designer, she sums up…

"Grandpa says I can do it so it must be true."  Yes, Grandpas are always right.  My one (now sadly gone…) told me Lea and Perrins sauce makes everything taste better and too right he was.

On one of her influences; old movies, soaps and eccentrics…

"Because Bird ladies are such a creepy, random and wonderful addition to society."

On going to Premiere Vision fabric fair in Paris…

"Note to self. A business card is worth its money in gold."


On costing up samples…

"Samples cost twice as much as what an item would normally cost in production. She showed me examples from a top end designer that she is doing at the moment. So for example a medium difficulty dress would be £60 production, £120 for a sample. A shirt, about £30/ £40 for production, £60/ £80 sample."


On an local ad in the paper searching for seamstresses in Isle of Wight…

"The best £18 I have spent so far. I have been inundated with phone calls and managed to find some highly experience seamstresses, as well as pattern cutters AND interns who had all seen the advert and got in touch. So many that I could potentially produce the whole collection from the Island and not use a factory at all!"


And what do I know about what Charlotte Taylor will be as a brand and what her collection might possible look like? 

Bus card flat blog

"Who is the 'Charlotte Taylor' woman?
She is: Endearing, quietly self assured, effortless, elegant and subtly exuberant."

"The label will be launched in London fashion week in February 2010 with an Autumn/ Winter collection inspired by grannies, bird ladies, penguins and much much more…"

Lg_Dame Edna Everage

"The label will focus around strong silhouettes, shapes, movement, bold colours, elegance and femininity with a slight sporty twist."

And colours/fabrics will consist of these…


Blog on, Charlotte and I look forward to seeing the fruits of your tea and penguins-filled labour in February!

Stilin1 Pah!  These bloggers and their books, magazines and what not.  Join me in my quest to keep bloggers as the lazy potatoes that they are, sitting on their couches, stroking their cheapie Primark quilt, hugging Totoro dolls, channel surfing through the shit-end of Freeview and maybe occasionally looking at their laptop to check Typepad.  I am of course perhaps brandishing a mass of bloggers with my own particular habits of good-for-nothing-bumdon.  Still, join me if you will in couch-warming if you're not as enterprising as the likes of Scott, Garance and now Mary Scherpe (kudos on interviewing Suzy Menkes at the IHT Lux-Tech conference) of Stil in Berlin fame.

Mary has printed her first issue of Stil in Berlin in print, in collaboration with Supermarkst Studio and Don't Panic (German version).  And best of all it's freeeeeeee to peeps in Berlin who can pick it up in person or you can order by paying the postage.  In it, there's a rather nifty guide to vintage shopping in Berlin that makes me practically press Check Out on Ryan Air for a flight to Berlin straight away.  It's the final icing to the multi-tiered cake of people that have been telling me that "Berlin is such a YOU city!" (yes, shamefully, I've not yet been…) and I'm just going to have to trust that these people are 95% correct in their assessment of what makes a SUSIE-city.  So yes, shame on you Mary for being erm…not lazy… but danke for the vintage store guide that I will follow to the book when I make it to Berlin.






Yes, this is a vintage store in Hong Kong and yes, this cat was shot purposely as part of the picture.  Another Hong Kong suggestion courtesy of a reader that I vaguely knew about before had to be sought out.  Despite the distinct lack of vintage stores in Hong Kong, Select 18 (18 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan) still manages to make itself stand out from the MANY that London benefits from.  It's a curious mix of furnishings, vintage jewellery, deadstock vintage sunglasses and a mass of designer consignment clothing and shoes.  Ye shall not find sixties frocks here but the hunt is still part of the game as the store is overly stuffed.  In the same way I comb through everything at Bang Bang in London and come across gems, Select 18 threw me open to Camilla Staerk, Comme des Garcons, Margiela, Valentino, Armani, Prada, YSL and more.  Turns out the owner has some a circle of pretty good connections that are constantly dropping off bags of worn designer cast-offs (I often wonder whether I'll ever get to the point where bags of unwanted YSL and Prada get shoved off to consignment stores… then I remember I'm a compulsive hoarder and destined to be a crazy clothes lady living in a house stuffed with rags…)

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This Diane von Furstenberg dress stuck out in a mass of black and fits in perfectly with my current love of pastels that are decidedly not wishy washy. 



Gallery de Vie is a store in Hong Kong that I wanted to check out for a while as it has a definite part to play in the whole 'indie' boutique development of Hollywood Road/Soho area.  Walking around on streets and going into physical stores isn't really the normal shopping regime in Hong Kong given the mall culture that is hugely rampant be it huge glossy malls like IFC or Pacific Place or smaller underground malls like Ginza or Rise Commercial Building.  After blipping around in malls for a while in HK, there was alas, only so much Christmas jingle music I could take (beware Scrooges, they take Christmas veeeery seriously over there… at least on a commercial level anyway…).  So it was refreshing to physically walk into Gallery de Vie… and go through their selection of labels that are quite evenly spread between European (A*N*D, Swash), American (Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Creatures of the Wind) and of course Asian designers…

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I love this crumbling wall at the back of the store that leads to the basement…



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Gallery de Vie is also…erm…a gallery for and is currently hosting RCA grad Lilia Yip and her collection D.A. Acitivist in the basement.  Rather than being a fashion collection, it's a series of garments and prints (by Mona Choo) that her observations of her environment…



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In particular, Hong Kong labels get a lot of lovin' from Gallery de Vie and one such label has been plaguing the head for a while ever since a fluro bit of fluffiness landed on my desk in the form of this shopper tote that is covered with a mass of tangled up fluro orange thread and has since been taken on shopping excursions around Waitrose, needlessly grabbing attention.  PLOTZ is the label responsible for this perfect bit of mess.  Sing Chin Lo, the designer happens to be entirely Hong Kong trained but PLOTZ has already been presented in Paris and is pretty successfully stocked. 



It was good to see a few more of PLOTZ's pieces from the A/W 09 'River Filled With Stories' collection and also to see that the tangled up thread has also been applied to the top half of shirts and dresses…



From Plotz' autumn/winter 09 collection came this pleated top (as shown in this ye olde photo that for some reason makes me look like a tourist standing in the middle of Newburgh Street).  At Gallery de Vie though, I rummaged through the sales pile and came out with a PLOTZ piece from their S/S 09 collection that worn with bare legs and nothing underneath is officially my 'airy fairy' dress but for the sake of current climate, needs something underneath to withstand what is officially winter.   

On an unrelated note (apologies for my relentless use of 'unrelated notes' lately…), my DIY dip-dye tight attempts should have been stowed away, given that in Hong Kong for a mere ¬£2.50 in every cheapie mall, you can find dip dyed tights in all kinds of colours… here are the black-to-grey ones.