LC:M SS14 – The Verdict

So, whilst we wait oh so patiently for SS13’s weather to actually start, we ponder what we’ll be wearing 12 months from now, freezing, wishing we were in Corfu.


London Collections: Men is going from strength to strength and this season’s incarnation looked like a rather good gig! Pity I’m oop North, saving for a holiday or else I’d have been sipping champers like the rest of ’em!

What were my highlights I hear you holla? Oh, go on then…


 
Spencer Hart
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I loved that ankles made an appearance in this line-up, crisp lightweight trousers with summery ankles is a sure way to scream summer!


James Long

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I adore the wild print of these knits, you needn’t wear anything of note when you’ve got one of these bad boys on. On another note, I wonder if I can get into baggy shorts?

TOPMAN Design

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As ever, I’m so into TOPMAN. The silky cowboy-esque shirts, to die, right?

Richard Nicoll

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YES to this Bomber and YES to those trousers.

Rag & Bone New York

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Yes, this is mainly about the cool mirrors.

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SS13 Look Book: Prints Charming

Prints, they’re bloody everywhere at the moment and I’m loving that menswear has accepted them with open, multicoloured arms.

I’m particularly loving those prints that look like your Nanna’s wallpaper, those garish kinda prints you recognise from the 80s? Yeah, those.

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A selection from TOPMAN
Picked up this tee from Zara, it’s the kind of print you’d expect on the wall in an Indian take-away, stained with grease and bodily fluids.
  
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Tee, Zara, £19.99
Shorts, Primark, £5.00
Boat Shoes, Rockport, £29.99, TK Maxx
Sunnies, RayBan, £125.00, Selfridges 
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Even the shorts are getting in on the action, with a sweet silhouette of two flying birds subtly printed all over the denim, as if stencilled.
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SS13 Look Book: Slouch Potato

I must be getting old because I find myself wandering around places like M&S and John Lewis saying things like “oh, doesn’t this look comfy?”

Mind you, I can drag myself into a slightly more hip ‘n hap’nin store from time to time, like Zara, which coincidently is where I bought these rather amazing sweatpants t’other day. Why are they so amazing? Well, they have single-handedly inspired another of my looks for the Spring/Summer 2013 season: slouch.

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Tee, American Apparel, £16.00
Sweatpants, Zara, £19.00
Flip-Flops, Havaianas, gift

Work-Life balance has become a really important thing for me of late, every ounce of my being is put into ensure that I maximise the time I have at home with my cat and Adam and I think it has inspired this uncharacteristic wardrobe shift.

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I’ve always been the fashion-freak in my friendship groups, I’m known for loud outfits that cause people to comment and am regularly berated for wearing stupid shoes that are so ill-fitting they’re stained with my own blood.


However, whilst I remain that daft fashion boy with more costume jewellery than his camp mother, when I’m trying to, y’know, live life, relax and spend quality time, I don’t want all that jingle jangle getting in the way and that’s why I’m loving this kind of look for days spent pottering around the flat, town or garden centres with my beloved.

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You never know, perhaps I’ll be buying a Juicy Couture velour tracksuit next (I won’t)

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Holiday Wardrobe Update: TK Maxx strikes again

The sun has got its proverbial hat on and I’m going out to play. Well, not play exactly, but shop.

Now, as is the case with many of you, I’m strapped for cash, but, also like many of you, I need some new gear to see me through the hotter months!

So, TK Maxx it is then? Whilst I would adore to drop a tidy grand in Harvey Nichols, I’ve got an outstanding electricity bill and a fat cat to feed so priorities kick into action. Also, needless to say, I have become quite au fait with the juggernaut in discount fashion and do enjoy a good rummage through the rails, picking out those bargains.

And… let’s be honest, it is indeed a search and rescue operation, TK Maxx wouldn’t be the best/worst kept secret in fashion blogging if it was easy to pick out this season’s must-have with up to 60% off RRP now would it?

Holiday wardrobe was the brief and I have £100 to spend, no more, no less, let’s get to it!

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Tee, [designer name embargoed], £9.99 (RRP £26.00), TK Maxx
Jeans, [designer name embargoed], £29.99 (RRP £112.00), TK Maxx

The fit on this tee is divine, a gorgeous Danish brand, only launching in the UK for AW13, with that attention to scandinavian cleaness and simplicity we’ve come to adore on British shores.

The jeans are also just the ticket, I’ve been after a beach-washed jean all season and these are just the right amount of slim without compromising on comfort. Superbly soft denim with a neat suede logo patch on the rear.
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Boat shoes, [designer name embargoed], £29.99 (RRP £90.00), TK Maxx

This egg-shell blue leather is timeless and adds a certain je ne sais quoix to my collection of boat shoes! 

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Tee, [designer name embargoed], £7.99, Current Season, TK Maxx

I love this simple see, it has a certain air of McQueen or Unconditional London about it, perfect for popping on for al frasco drinks with friends this summer. 

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Swim Shorts, [designer name embargoed], £16.99 (RRP £50.00), TK Maxx

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Another must-have for my upcoming holiday to the insanity that is Orlando Florida, I love that these shorts are fitted enough to be flattering but modest enough to hide what god gave me, always a plus in a family destination.

Bish bash bosh, the perfect injection of summer for my wardrobe and all for £94.95 saving well over £200.00! Cheers TK ;o)

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Retail Gems: Hoopers Department Stores, UK

My life can be punctuated with trips to Hoopers. It’s not often people grow up with an attachment to a retailer, and it’s certainly unusual to develop an attachment to one outside of London and without the fame associated with places like Harrods and Liberty. Why do I view Hoopers in this way? Let me explain.

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Hoopers, Wilmslow

Before I lived in Manchester, I lived in Devon and before I lived in Devon, I lived in Manchester.

My grandparents lived in nearby Wilmslow and they regularly visited the local Hoopers store, a gorgeously kitsch old department store catering to all sorts from fashion to fragrence, homewear and beauty. Hoopers was the name in understated class and I loved being taken there for a jacket potato with my Nanna when I was a boy.

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Image courtesy of Jamieson Smith Associates

When my parents moved my family to Devon for a new life, there was Hoopers again, the small independent chain has it’s oldest store in Torquay where it is the home for luxury and high-end labels in the region, the only place you can shop from Vogue in Devon.



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Hoopers, Torquay

Whilst growing up and becoming more and more interested in fashion, Hoopers was a regular browsing spot for me, a place to see those expensive handbags up close and a place to start to understand the different between Burberry and Armani in a part of the world where so few know who Anna Wintour is.

Then I moved back north, for University and to taste a more cosmopolitan kinda life and where should I land my first graduate job, but Wilmslow, right back where it all started with a jacket potato and pot of tea for two.

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Image courtesy of Jamieson Smith Associates 

If you’re not close by Wilmslow or Torquay you can pop by Tunbridge Wells or Harrogate for the chain’s other stores and travel back in time to the set of Are you being Served for stores where it seems there are more staff than customers at times and where a jacket potato wins over high tea any day.

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What am I searching for?: Savvy on-site search from SearchBroker

Ecommerce Expo Manchester was in town last month at the Manchester Central Convention Centre and whilst in the midst of desperately trying to keep my head above water whilst tackling a website relaunch at work, I popped by to sit in on the SearchBroker seminar on Customer Engagement and Findability. Quite the intreguing title, don’t you think?

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Basically, Search Broker are a bunch of people that are interested in search. No, not Googlers, these guys play closer to home and concentrate on the navigational matrices built within our websites. Y’know, the search bars on fashion sites where we type what we’re looking for. Caught up, right, now for something more challenging…

Angel Maldonado, the Spanish CEO of Colbenson (license owners of SearchBroker) and excellent public speaker to boot, introduced himself and his now international company looks at search. They look at people.

“When a customer comes into a store,” said Maldonado, “they ask you for something, you don’t do this.” Angel then walked away from his invisible and hypothetical consumer and mimed taking something off of a shelf and returned to the original spot, all in silence.

It’s about putting the personal into ecommerce, making our websites behave more and more like human beings, responding to the emotions and requests of consumers in nuanced ways.

But, how do we make our websites do that?

Angel wasn’t about to give away too many secrets, he wouldn’t have Mango, the Spanish General Council of Judicary and Zara as paid up clients if that was how he did business. Mind you, he did give some really interesting pointers.

Colbenson client, Zara, are undergoing a major overhall of their on-stire search mechanism, and Search Broker is the reason. An international roll-out, across the brand’s 18 global territories, is currently underway with the Spanish site being the first to adopt the new technique. Watch closely…

Here’s the Zara website as you no doubt know and love it…

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Here is the left-hand side navigational menu, with the search box at the bottom.

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Now, when we click into the search box, to begin typing our search term, something strange happens. Instead of doing nothing to indicate that the site knows we’re about to ask it a question, the search box (with our cursor still within it, helpfully) flys upwards toward the Zara logo, causing all the other distracting navigational options to disappear.

Nifty.

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Now, when we begin to type that search term within the search box, our old friend “auto fill” pops up with suggestions, becoming more and more refined as we complete our search term. 

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Simple, yes, but effective? Oh my yes. With 22% of all online fashion consumers making up 69% of the spend*, these savvy shoppers expect wonders from their multichannel browsing and we need to be prepared to provide what they want, when they want it, with a big digital smile on our website’s faces.

END.

*Digital Diva Report