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Music has lost its mystique says music journalist Ben Gilbert

4 Apr


After being a music journalist  for approaching 15 years, Ben Gilbert has witnessed the changes in the industry first hand. Growing up listening to The Beatles and The Velvet Underground, Ben speaks of the ‘mythology’ that surrounded bands. A sense of mystique that has now been lost on today’s artists due to social media, the rise of twitter and the cult of celebrity. With Lily Allen posting every 5 minutes about what she’s had for lunch it ‘devalues the magic of the musician.’

Music consumption is everywhere now. Twitter and Facebook play and enormous part in the discovery of new music, but what is music worth if it’s given or taken away for free? There are so many cases of piracy and illegal downloading these days. There is a feeling of a new found lack of respect towards musicians.

We are now in the era of convergence. ‘Old and new media collide.’  Ben talks of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable and The Velvet Underground. He read about it, but never saw it. ‘You used to have to use your imagination.’ Media is now unlimited, you just have to choose a general direction to follow.

Ten years ago production companies were worried that home taping was killing music. If only they knew what was to come!

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Hair and Nails for the Fashion Forward

30 Mar

WAH NAILS and BLEACH LONDON the two hottest salons to hit East London (and soon the world). Fabulously outrageous and ultra trendy, WAH and BLEACH are taking over with their hip new trends.

 

 

First up, WAH. WAH opened it’s first salon in August 2009. Not just a nail salon, there held jumble sales, record launch parties, art shows and film nights. Their popularity soared, keeping up to date with the newest place-to-be in LDN, Dalston. Ever since WAH has gone from strength to strength, opening up a section in Topshop Oxford Circus and Harvey Nicholls in Dublin. Keeping it kooky, cars, bars, clubs, at the Grand Prix, in an Airstream, in Japan, at festivals, at The Brits, for celebrities, for fashion people, for kids, for music videos, at work and at home. They vow to ‘translate fashion into fingertip art’. And that they certainly do! Head here for reasonably priced, gorgeous and individual nails. Here are a few of my favourites.

 

 

 

 

Click here for official price list and nail options!

 

Next in line, it’s BLEACH. This salon’s style has boomed in the last few months, with copy-cat-cuts popping up everywhere. Spotted on everyone from your average joe(anne) to the coolest of celebs. Lily Allen, Pixie Geldof and  BLEACH are grungy, they’re funky. Situated on Kingsland Road in Dalston, there’s no cooler place to be.  Apart from the section they also have in Topshop Oxford Circus! The out-there and the unkept is IN. I never thought I could say I would purposely dye my hair so that it looked like i have 5 inch roots. Bleach and bright block colours and even rainbow, BLEACH has set these odd trends and everyone is reeling in it. Here are some of the looks they offer, my favourites and some cheeky celebs sporting them!

 

Get down to WAH and BLEACH, both on Kingsland Road. Nearest tube is Hoxton or get the train to Haggerston. Grab your confidence and rock these looks ASAP!

Vintage in the Capital

28 Mar

So I’ve been harping on about second hand clothing in every post. I tend to drone on about it whenever I get the opportunity if I’m honest, c’est la vie! I love it and I’m not ashamed! I always find that with retro trends and revivals constantly being in fashion you just don’t need to fake it with expensive high street. When wearing the real thing for a fraction of the price is an option I often wonder why people bother with anything else. Having the patience to plough through the rails is a must – and actually enjoying yourself is a bonus! I could spend hours sifting through rails upon rails, with no real idea what I’m looking for. And I always find a little gem.

Today’s insight into vintage and second hand shopping – where to look! I get so many young ladies exclaiming that they’d simply LOVE to shop vintage but just have no idea where to start. After this, there will be no more excuses. Here are a few my favourite spots to do a bit of retro shopping when you’re a fashionista living in the Big Smoke.

My favourite place in London to find my vintage goodies has to be in the East. I first came across Brick Lane in September. I had dreamt of this magical place many a time after friends had come back from London trips singing its praises. My hopes were high. Needless to say I was not disappointed. Head down on a Sunday morning – there’s always a market on with street performers and bric-a-brac for sale. Look hard enough you’ll always find a bargain! A friend of mine got a fab nineties fluffy top from the boot of a man’s car. The best bit, it was only a pound! Perfect! Nearest tube stations are Aldgate East and Liverpool Street.

After you fight your way through the many Indian restaurants and men desperately trying to get you to eat at the undoubtedly BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD (as each boasts) you quickly (maybe not quickly enough) stumble across the infamous ROKIT. Rokit seems to be the vintage shop that most people have heard of. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I find it a bit hit and miss. Especially with the price. I once picked up a real leather coat for a measly tenner, but then you’re looking at paying up to 30 pounds for a pair of cut off shorts that you could easily make for yourself for nothing.

So now we need to take a little diversion off Brick Lane, onto Cheshire Street. My most favourite shopping street ever. On the corner you’ll notice a great little vintage shop. The perfect mix of all decades. I always find some shops have far too many of what look like 80s prom dresses. Which, dare I say, is not quite the look we are going for.  Head downstairs in here for the bargain bins!

Staying on the left hand side of the road a few doors down you’ll come to a slightly dingy looking shop. My favourite. Owned by some lovely guys who always seem to be rolling joints. Great bargains on shoes, coats and bags on this floor. Again, head downstairs where everything is £10! I recently got a denim jacket and a tacky as hell leopard print dress.

Right so we’ve got our bargains and we’re back onto the street. Keep on walking down and you’ll eventually come to huge warehouse Beyond Retro.  The first time I stepped into Beyond Retro I was totally stunned! Just absolutely blown away by the sheer range of vintage and retro clothing they own. You could probably come here for all your vintage needs. (Although I wouldn’t want to, the hunt is part of the fun!) They cater for every angle you could possibly be going for and mix it up with their own little range of bags and hats. I picked myself up a turban. Controversial. Paloma Faith, Kate Nash, Diana Vickers, Jessie J, Marina & the Diamonds, Carl Barat and Alexa Chung have all been spotted wearing Beyond Retro clothing. If it’s good enough for the Chung then it’s good enough for us!

Moving away from Brick Lane, aka vintage heaven, onto my favourite market. You have to trust me on this one! So many of my friends have turned my nose up at this place, shaken off my adoration of it and referring to it as a dump. Do keep reading! Deptford Market is the epitome of having to search for your bargain. All the clothes are in huge piles on the floor. So you literally are scrambling through piles. The beauty of it, to me, is that these sellers have no idea that what they are selling is fashionable, or how much they could actually charge. Everything is dirt-cheap. Nothing is priced. You show the seller what you’re interested in and they’ll say a random price! I found a shirt and a dress, showed the lady; she spoke enough English to tell me – ‘£5!’ I nearly fell over. I mentioned in an earlier post that I got some Brothel Creepers from here for £3. I still haven’t recovered. It was an amazing day. Just catch the DLR to Deptford Station.

There you have it, a select few of my favourite spots in LDN to grab a vintage bargain. You’ll find me frequenting these hotspots almost weekly. (Most definitely why I’ve maxxed out two overdrafts…) Take heed, don’t be afraid to root around and see you there!

In the midst of a 90s revival…already?

25 Mar

After a long, and dare I say tiresome, spout of endless legwarmer based, Desperately-Seeking-Susan-esque outfits, the 80s revival trend appears to be running out of steam. So, unquestionably, the 90s revival trend should be the natural successor. But so soon?! I find it hard to believe that the 90s were a long enough time ago to warrant a revival. I feel as though I’ve barely had the chance to cry bon voyage and bid a solemn farewell to my sunny disposition 90s childhood, but alas! The dark cloud of my 21st birthday, my impending doom, is fast approaching. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t see this revival as a bad thing. Quite the contrary. A 90s revival, in all senses of the term, whether it be music, fashion or emotion, is my perfect trend. I love the nineties and everything the decade provided. The nineties were the first decade where the trend for retro-fashion began. And vintage was my first love.

So, delving briefly into the realms of things other than fashion. I couldn’t whack out a 90s revival blog without mentioning the best boy band of the 90s treating us to a cheeky reunion just a few years ago. Our babes Take That are back and bigger than ever. Not just the boys though, 90s themed club nights are popping up all over the country. Even our godforsaken dump of an SU cottoned on to the trend and splashed out on a 90s themed night for us. Shoreditch’s favourite club night WORK IT! hosts their 90s R’n’B nights regularly. Check it out at Concrete on April 7th for the Jay Z Vs. Mary J Blige night. The place to be and the place to be seen.

Kid's hitop fade. Fantastic 90s hair being revived by very brave boys across the country

Back to fashion and my all favourite trend – grunge. I suppose I’ve always been a grunger in one way or another. So here are some of my favourite 90s items for the perfect dirty, grungy look this summer. And of course everything is second hand. What else would you expect from me?

Grunge and Glory shoot, US Vogue, 1992. Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain were sent items from the shoot. They burnt the clothes. Love recently admitted she 'desperately regrets' her actions.

90s grunge revival icon Alice Dellal. Hero.

Starting at the bottom – shoes. This season I’m going for Dr. Martens, Vans and Brothel Creepers (any platforms really- think Spice Girls.)

Brothel Creepers from eBay. Good condition and cheap as chips. Just type in ‘Creepers’ into the search bar and you’re away.

I found a pair of these for £3 in Deptford Market. Topshop are selling them this season for £80. Needless to say, not my cup of tea.

In the middle now – the bottoms. I’m going for the floor length skirt option or the cut off denim shorts. Bare legged or black opaque tights when it’s chilly. We are in England after all.

EBay again with another cracking offer. I bought this skirt for £8.99 plus £2.99 postage and packaging. Can’t go wrong really!

You may of noticed my penchant for all things casual and comfortable by now. I love oversized t-shirts. Hit your local charity shop or thift store and pick up a vintage baggy for next to nothing. Roll up the sleeves, nip in at the waist. Ironic slogans and old band tee’s are perfect.

For the jacket, as we have established by now we aren’t in Barbados, we want denim or leather. I’m not talking these slim-line numbers you’ll find in New Look. My worst nightmare is someone pointing out a piece of clothing I’m wearing and knowing where it’s from. If they dared to own the item too I’d probably have a quiet aneurism. I really don’t care how pretentious this makes me.

Beyond Retro are selling this classic Levi’s denim number for £25.

Even more of a splurge on this one at £45, but it’s going to last you a lifetime!

The nineties definately had some memorable eyewear. The boys are back again showing us how it’s done.

I’m going with Liam Gallagher on this one. The round glasses are my favourite look this season. Here’s a prime example of the nineties being a retro loving decade. These glasses were also popular in the 60s and 80s. To eBay again for yet another fab bargain!

Grab these bad boys for less than a tenner.

You can also pick up these sunnies from local fancy dress shops for next to nothing, but make sure they have full UV protection.

 

So there you have my favourite look for spring summer 2011. Another article proving you can achieve the latest trends for next to nothing, whilst wearing a unique outfit and avoiding being a highstreet clone. Take the advice with a pinch of salt! These are helpful hints, not rules. Be yourself!

Pseudo Retro Vs. Vintage

23 Mar

Can we successfully fake the vintage look with high street clothes, or is just just defeating the object? I’ve found myself two Westminster students, one pro-vintage and the other pro-high street, to battle it out and find out who’s style will end up on top.

Pro-vintage Music student Adam Glover is 21 and hails from Manchester. Everything he is wearing is from a Vintage or Charity Shop or from eBay.

Adam’s leather jacket is an original dating back to the 1950’s. Bought from Beyond Retro, he added studs himself after being inspired by Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2011.

Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2011

Adam wears an aran cable knit jumper- 40’s style vintage, bought off ebay. This item was inspired by Burberry Prorsum Autumn 2011. As well as the knitted jumper key trend shown in Dolce Gabanna Autumn Winter 2010/2011

Dolce & Gabbana Autumn (Fall) / Winter 2010 / 2011 Men's

Other inspiration for his jumper came from 30s/40s revival trends seen in many shows for 2011. Specifically Galliano’s autumn/winter 2010 men’s collection, shown at Paris Fashion Week.

Adam wears an 80s vintage customized belt with chains. Inspired by punk trend seen on runways of Gareth Pugh 2011.

Combat boots- original Falklands war boots, bought off eBay. In line with key military trends seen in 2010 by Gareth Pugh, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Burberry. Also there was a general resurgence of military/combat boots seen on runways of Ann Demeulemeester, Neil Barrett, and Dolce & Gabbana throughout 2010/2011.

Our high street pro-pseudo retro muse is Fiona Bain, a 20-year-old Fashion Marketing student, originally from Wolverhampton.

Fi’s outfit was inspired by the massive seventies revival trend seen on many Spring/Summer 2011 runways, in particular Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Derek Lam.

Derek Lam, Spring/Summer 2011 Runway, New York Fashion Week.

Fi wears a wide legged jumpsuit, with a high waist and tassels, which are also featured in seventies revival maxi dresses. The key look for the season was to have a sophisticated silhouette and draping fabrics, which she has obviously achieved with this jumpsuit.

Fi’s jumpsuit was only £15 from H&M, an indisputable bargain.

Colour blocking is also key for a seventies inspired look, which Fi hasn’t gone for (bar the one colour of her jumpsuit.) However, she purposefully picked out turquoise jewellery, on her necklace, bracelet and ring. This colour stands out from the burnt orange of her jumpsuit. Her Jewellery is a mixture of vintage and Topshop, each item around £5.

Unintentionally, Fi has teamed her outfit up with some 70s-esque-platform shoes. (‘I just needed shoes that meant my trousers wouldn’t drag on the floor!’) Another bargain at £20 from New Look. Some very similar shoes were also featured in Topshop for about three times the price. The difference is completely unnoticeable when they are being worn. Why pay more?

I found two well researched and put together outfits, both affordable and both based on catwalk fashion. I thought there would be a significant difference in price but was surprised, as a devout vintage buyer, to find there was not. Which just proves it pays to look around! At the end of this round we seem to have come a draw. Mixing vintage and high street seems like your best bet…for now anyway!