BAGGED: A Post of Purchases feat. TK Maxx, Junk de Luxe, All Star Converse, Levi and more.

Here be a quickie for the shopaholic within. Some fabby pieces I’ve added to my wardrobe of late.


My series of ‘BAGGED’ posts were originally inspired by the tumblr blog, Bagged!


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Top, Customised, Mint Vintage
Shoes, All Star Converse, Mint Vintage


Could you get more Vintage Americana? Loving this look, I’m feeling think shakes ‘n road trips for SS12!

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An absolute bargain, £15.00!

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Jumper, Hand-Knitted by Nanna
Trousers, Next


I’ve wanted an Aron knit for about … five years. Nanna finally got the hint and made me this beauty!

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Love the panelling on the inside arm. Thanks Nanna!

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The product of my recent conversion to the Church of TK Maxx.

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Such a small detail but an oversized pocket is the difference between high street and high end!

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Tee, Junk de Luxe, 1972 Sample Sale
Trousers, Gant, TK Maxx

The 1972 Sample Sale is in London and is an invite only Sample Sale feat. the likes of Sam Edelman, Juicy Couture and Junk de Luxe. More on this secret gem in an upcoming post!


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Tee, Junk de Luxe, 1972 Sample Sale

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Shirt, Acne, gifted


Direct from the Acne Parisienne show room, a gift from a special lady.

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Love the detail on the cuffs!


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Fashion Rambler to meet Navaz Batliwalla AKA DisneyRollerGirl – Manchester Fashion Network Events

Just a quick post. Tomorrow evening, in Manchester City Centre, I will be hosting an evening with Navaz Batliwalla, AKA DisneyRollerGirl





If you’re a fan of Navaz’s blog, you need to get yourself a ticket to this gig. 


Hear Navaz speak about her work, blogging and life in fashion and get your chance to ask one of the UK’s most prolific and inspiring Bloggers the questions you’ve been dying to ask!


Oh, and there’ll be champers too.


TICKETS HERE

The White Shirt, an enigma solved by TM Lewin

A while back I was carted off from my Manchester home to London to get lost in Shoreditch looking for a photography studio. Why, I hear you ask? Well, TM Lewin had a problem: ‘how do you make the white shirt exciting’ and they needed the help of a few fashion-peoples to answer their predicament.


For those that don’t know TM Lewin, they are the workwear extraordinaire that is usually situated in glossy streets with high chrome buildings near bankers, lawyers and other suited types. I’ve had a secret love affair with the brand for a while, allow me to tell you why.


TM Lewin may not be your first choice when it comes to fashion, but their shirts are the business. Measured by neck and arm length they offer the best fit on the British highstreet. Like most men, my body doesn’t fit the boxy mould offered at most menswear retailers. I have an average neck size, quite broad shoulders and the waist of a fourteen year old girl. This is not a helpful thing when one is shopping for shirts. However, the TM Lewin full fitted shirts, measured to fit your arm and neck, are perfect. I’ve never had a shirt that fit so well. 


Also, do you remember when TOPMAN stocked those awful saggy shirts but with a chrome collar pin attached? Well, TM Lewin offer collar pinned shirts that aren’t made of flannel (as loved by Gary Barlow, naturally). I’m a bit of a fan of the collar pin because they offer the chance to wear a shirt buttoned up, without a tie, but with a point of difference. I attended an Armani party last season and hung a little skull pendent off my collar pin, because I’m obviously dynamite with the accessories.


Now. Back to my mission. Along with lady-bloggers like Ree of ReallyRee and Amanda of The Online Stylist other gents I was herded into a tiny photography studio to have hair and make-up done ready to strike a pose. The bloggers were being asked to don a, previously chosen, white shirt from TM lewin and wearing it in a way that made it different.


So, what did I do? I paired it with black trousers. But, before you condemn me, I paired it with trousers because I was playing my shirt down. I had added metallic collar tips to my shirt to make it just that bit more blingy. I picked some studs up from TOPSHOP and pierce my collar with them. I love the outcome. I hope you do too!

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Collar Tips, (earrings) Freedom for TOPSHOP, £7.00
Trousers, TOPMAN Ltd., £45.00
Cufflinks, Tiffany and Co., Gift
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I can not be held responsible for the bow tie. Someone thought it looked good and threw it on me. I disagree. Why wear a bow tie if you’re not going to tie it up?

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The Fashion Network’s Future Generation Series – How To Make It In Etail Event

CALLING ALL STUDENTS

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I mentioned this a while ago and thought I should reiterate the point. I shall be chairing a discussion this Wednesday night as part of The Fashion Network’s Future Generation Series of student events. Wednesday’s discussion will tackle the question: ‘How To Make It In Etail’ and will feature some prominent panelists from the local ecommerce industry!


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Whose Who?


Catherine Turner  the Ecommerce Manager at Boohoo.com

“Catherine is responsible for managing the Ecommerce Team, Visual Merchandisers, Copywriter & Channel Manager at boohoo.com.

“Catherine’s role see’s her managing the publishing of all new products on the website, merchandising, product descriptions, categorisation and taxonomy for all product areas on boohoo.com. This role involves working to continually improve processes across the business, involving close relationships with buying, studio and marketing.”


Anjeli Patel – Online Marketing Manager at Missguided

“Anjeli is the Online Marketing Manager for pure play fashion site Missguided.co.uk 

“Anjeli role is to ensuring all online campaigns are performing above in the most effective way. Anjeli job role see’s her working across everything from social media, marketing, editorial, merchandising and website performance.

“Previous to MissGuided Anjeli worked online at Aurora Fashion and Bench.”

Aaron Lavery the Digital Content Manager at Umbro

“Aaron works on the digital marketing team at super sports brand Umbro, updating and editing all the online content for the brand as well as co-ordaining all their social media channels.
“Previous to Umbro Aaron was a staff writer at the Metro, covering music, film, art, food and theatre in and around the city, writing, researching and editing copy for the daily newspaper.

“Aaron’s role as a digital marketing manager is one of the widest and sort after disciplines in the industry. As e-tail over takes retail, it’s essential that any graduate has their finger on the 

pulse with digital marketing.

“Previous to Umbro Aaron was a staff writer at the Metro, covering music, film, art, food and theatre in and around the city, writing, researching and editing copy for the daily newspaper.”

et moi!

Fancy finding out more about the exciting world of online retail, how to step into a job within the industry or just want something to do on a Wednesday night?

Manchester Fashion Week: Where to go now?

The first MCRFW is now over, but will there be another?





True to this blog’s name, I’ve got a real ramble for you. However, should you want the jist without the gibberish scroll to the bottom for a list of my personal opinion on what was good and areas of improvement for the initiative.


I have never found it so hard to form an opinion on an event. I feel that as the general discussion surrounding the week has splintered into so many fractions, I have found it hard to establish where I fit on the scale.



I should begin by saying that from day one I was a supporter. Any initiative that attempts to place Manchester on the map as a prime shopping destination is a plus in my book. However, the message Manchester Fashion Week has been broadcasting seems to have forgotten those strengths it should be playing to. Allow me to elaborate…


Way back when the initiative was in its infancy there was a little bit of a debate about the platform being inaccessible to small independent boutiques, fashion businesses and designers. Whilst I understand the perspective of a small business looking for a promotion, it isn’t Jonathan Sassen’s job to promote a business for nothing. He, like everyone else, has his own mortgage to pay and MCRFW was inevitably going to incur an outlay. 




Whilst the ideal would have been a schedule littered with major (budget paying) retailers and brands alongside a plethora of (subsidised) independent design talent and unique boutiques, that format was not immediately feasible for an event in its inaugural year. Similarly, MCRFW is not a government funded initiative but a business that needs to make a profit.


Added to this, MCRFW did actually manage to support local independent talent in the form of Flannels, the luxury retail group founded and based in Manchester, Missguided.co.uk, the fast-fashion online retailer based in the city, Alex Christopher, the retailer/designer based out of Sheffield with his flagship in Manchester and Nadine Merabi, who also showcased following her debut off-schedule during London Fashion Week this season. These businesses paid for the privilege of a platform as all business must fund its own endeavours.


Still, and this is where the issue gets cloudy, an event that takes Manchester Fashion Week as its name has a certain responsibility to the Mancunian fashion community to represent them on the national scale in a way that they can be proud of. 


The whole reason for this blog and for some of the discussion surrounding MCRFW is because it is called Manchester Fashion Week. There is never negative comment on how The Spring Fashion Show represents Manchester because it doesn’t have a regionally-specific name, it has no responsibility to the city. Similarly, this is why The Clothes Show doesn’t upset Birmingham’s indie boutiques.


So, where could MCRFW improve in its attempts to represent the city’s fashion business? 


Firstly, MCRFW was perhaps a little too ambitious. Jonathan Sassen promised, in the MCRFW promotional video (see below), that he was bringing a theatrical fashion theatre to Manchester. With out-takes from The Clothes Show Live ‘fashion theatre’ shows and snippets from the Channel M archive featuring Gok Wan and Matthew Williamson, Sassen was positioning his brand among the biggest fashion events and names in the country. MCRFW could not and did not deliver this level of event. But no one expected it to, it is its first year after all!



In the same vein, the dialogue perpetrated by the MCRFW PR machine was that Manchester was a force in fashion big enough to rival London. It was deemed that as Matthew Williamson, Vivienne Westwood, Henry Holland and Fred Perry all originated from Manchester (or nearby), the city was somehow bestowed a fashionable kudos. I don’t need to tell fashionrambler.com readers that Manchester is a true hub for fashion – but we all know where the limits lay. Whilst the city’s strength is in retail, the region also plays host to many designers, manufacturers, brands and product distributors. These businesses may work out of Manchester but it is London where the national fashion scene is based. Pretending Manchester can rival this does the city’s merits a dis-justice because the city is stronger than London in other ways.


The strongest day on the MCRFW schedule was by far Thursday. Booked up with the high-end retailers from The Avenue, each show was packed with VIPs, customers and press with the added benefit of controversy by way of fur protestors to give the day a certain air of excitement. 


I understand that it is easy for me to sit comfortably in my flat and type my issues with the event, and I understand my benefit of hindsight. All I want is Manchester to be reflected in a realistic and positive light. MCRFW should only reach for the stars when a strong foundation has been built


How to improve on those foundations:


Calling it Manchester Fashion Week gives the event an immediate cause of responsibility to the city, a responsibility it need not have had. Go, do your fashionable thing and call it something else and everyone will leave you alone.


Whilst a single site has its benefits, perhaps shows hosted in the boutiques around Manchester would have given the event a bit more scope and kicked the whole city into gear. It would have also been a cheaper endeavour to run.


The catwalk surface was never replaced and meant dirty marks by day two.


The organisation of the press schedule and seating arrangements made it difficult to report and photograph.


The step onto the catwalk was too high can caused many a photo-ruining wobble. 


Leading guests over the catwalks to their seats is just not on.


The bar wasn’t free. Understandable, but surely there should have been at least a drink on arrival for paying guests?


Congratulations on filling a week long schedule! However, whilst it was filled, the ticket payer was overwhelmed and the show space was often mostly empty. Start small, grow organically.


Claiming to be the next Clothes Show Live when there isn’t a dry ice machine or a DJ that can keep up with the models doesn’t represent the capabilities of the event. 


What did you think of the week? Tell me on Twitter, @jordanjmcdowell


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Gaydio Radio’s Breakfast Show with Chris Holliday – Listen Again 12/4/12

The long awaited results of THE styling challenge of the year (perhaps), Gaydio’s Chris Holliday attempts to become a Stylist to celebrate the inaugural Manchester Fashion Week and conducts my help to make it happen (the phrase the blind leading the blind comes to mind.)





After a morning’s worth of tests and general camp giggles I chaperoned Chris’ first ever Styling session with (poor) Office Ian as his client at Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square. 

Selfridges at Manchester Pride Parade 2011

(Listen to the podcasts from April 11th here)


Listen to the results of Chris’ Styling Challenge:





Thank you to Selfridges for not throwing us out and thanks to Gaydio for making Manchester Fashion Week that bit… gayer.


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Gaydio Radio’s Breakfast Show with Chris Holliday – Listen Again 11/4/12

So. After a night of disco-dancing to Steps on their Ultimate Tour (more on that in a minute) I dragged my tired bottom out of bed and headed into the city to visit the Gaydio Radio station.


To celebrate Manchester Fashion Week, Breakfast’s Chris Holliday had been set a challenge to test his fashion-know-how and to become a self-certified Stylist. It was my job to put him through his final paces and finally judge his attempts at Styling (poor) Office Ian.


Visiting the studio was a little bit of a treat for me. I have always had a love for radio and being back in the studio reminded me of when I hosted my very own magazine show on Vibe.FM, the student radio station at my A Level College. Ahhh… 


Anywho, should you be interested in listening to the shenanigans from this morning’s show, you may listen here!


Part I, Intro and chitter-chatter about Chris’ chinos:



Part II, Chris’ final test before he attempts to become a Stylist. The top 5 ‘crimes of fashion’, can he guess them?





Part III, I inadvertently become the show’s official Steps expert and review the Ultimate Tour whilst Chris laughs at my outfit choice (see below)






5, 6, 7, 8!





Listen tomorrow morning from 7am to hear the results of Chris’ Style challenge!


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Manchester Fashion Week: Missguided.co.uk

Day two of Manchester Fashion Week is well underway with the event sponsors, Missguided.co.uk
Missguided.co.uk have a soft spot in my heart. I’ve known of the company for years and have worked alongside them in my role at The Fashion Network. The phenomenal success the brand has had in recent years is testament to hard graft, business prowess and Northern soul.

Moi in RayBans,
Blue Denim Wrangler Jacket
Blue See-thru American Apparel Oversize Tee
 Blue Tailored NEXT Trousers
Leather KG by Kurt Geiger Boat Shoes
The company recently announced their expansion and move to larger premises in the Trafford Park area of Manchester after they reported sales of £14.7m for 2011.
Nitin Passi, the company’s MD, along with Sara Wilson of SaraLuxe, the company’s Creative Stylist, sat front row as the first of their five catwalk shows kicked off.
But first… some drums?
More of those aforementioned ‘theatrics’, which one has come to expect of Manchester Fashion Week, came in the shape of a bongo player.
Prints galore was the theme and Missguided.co.uk didn’t disappoint. Approaching the theme from the usual to the unusual the print show encompassed animal skins, Geometric, Aztec, forals, stripes, polka dots and even a stylish nod to chain-mail. 
The heels were high, the prices were low, it was everything you want from a fast-fashion etailer and the team should be proud of their efforts.
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Manchester Fashion Week: Nadine Merabi

Manchester Fashion Week has well and truly kicked off and yours truly was there to capture the action from the start. Stay tuned to Fashion Rambler for my summary of the entire week but for now, the first show; Nadine Merabi.
I have known of Merabi’s work for quite some time as she’s known in Manchester for dressing the Granada cast. Waterloo Road’s Chelsee Healey and Coronation Street’s Catherine Tyldesley are both customers and usually wear her trademark evening wear to soap-star studded TV Guide sponsored dos. 

Moi in Leather Nicole Fahri Jacket from Nicole Fahri
Plum Gant Trousers from TK Maxx
Purple Patent Lether Shoes from TOPMAN
Racing Green Oxford Satchel from POP Boutique
and a winning smile!
Merabi made her London Fashion Week debut this season at an off-schedule show as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout. Her collection was received well but Merabi has her eyes set on another kind of show for her next London venture. Whilst sipping Champers at the Mary Portas’ House of Fraser shop-in-shop launch, Nadine told me that that given the choice between LFW or tradeshow Pure London, she’d pick Pure. With her head firmly fixed on getting Buyers interested in her brand and her gowns, Merabi would prefer to showcase her collections at the mammoth tradeshow event than the capital’s high-end designer showcase (See my last review of Pure London here)

Nadine Merabi was a last minute addition to the seemingly ever-changing schedule of Manchester fashion week and showcased the gowns that made their debut earlier this year in London. But first, a Hip-Hip dance troop.
I know, I was rather confused too. But, MCRFW promised theatrics and so we got some energetic school kids in blue wigs jigging to Katie Perry.
 
No, this is NOT a Nadine Merabi dress.
The dresses were either cheekily high or elegantly floor-length with an eclectic choice of fabric, cut, colour and finishing throughout. It is difficult to pin-point a specific style or story for the collection other than blinging bootylicious evening wear. I particularly liked Nadine’s use of beading and, although one model had annoying bra strap marks, the model directly above (Lanie Wilson) stole the show.

END.