Pioneering Education
Bunka Fashion College

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Rei Kawakubo
Yohji Yamamoto
Fashion schools of the world ought to take a leaf out of Japan’s most prestigious. As the alma mater of legends like Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe, it’s no wonder Japan’s best take the world by storm, when they have been nurtured and indulged in one of the world’s most progressive institutions, Bunka Fashion College.

Back in the eighties, Kawakubo and Yamamoto created women’s collections that didn’t reflect women as sexual objects. Instead, the emerging trend they spawned was one of formlessness, which today seems the norm for some of us. Little do we realise that it wasn’t always cool, or even a thing… Similarly, Japanese designers are known for experimenting with texture and brand philosophy way more than here in Europe. The source of all this revolutionary, forward thinking? Bunka Fashion College.

The institution puts the form and anatomy of the human body and community at its forefront. A place where the mannequins used are based on the average body measurement of the students. Why is this not the done thing in every fashion school? This, in addition to plenty of other norms within Bunka, make for an exemplary way of teaching. The ethos is realistic to the extent it comes across as benevolent. This is especially the case when considering the five values of Bunka- collaboration, craft, self-expression, sustainability and contribution to society.

These principles are founded on the Japanese concepts of satori- enlightenment achieved through intense focus and kaizen- thought of continuous improvement. This provides a magical depth to the ethos of a school, one that the western world might actually benefit from.

Q&A with Seema Kukadia
Blogger, Influencer & Social Media Manager

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 Image credit to British Vogue and Jonathan Daniel Pryce (top) and Seema Kukadia (middle and bottom)

I met Seema at an app launch in the summer of 2015, we got on straight away and I remember being so in awe of how driven and accomplished (not to mention friendly and kind!) she already was at the time, with DKNY and Jenny Packham on her CV before even graduating from the London College of Fashion. Since then, we kept in touch, sporadically catching up and obviously bumping into each other at London Fashion Week, but anyway, back story aside, she’s definitely one to watch in the fashion industry so I’ve stolen some of her time to create a little source of inspiration, or just a  little bit of a nosey into the life of an accomplished London Girl Boss, who’s already appeared on Vogue… Casual.


 CAREER

Tell me about what you do… I work as a full-time social media manager for a London-based label called Nobody’s Child. Alongside working, I blog about my personal style and travels :)

What’s the most challenging part of what you do? I guess now that I work as a social media manager I spend twice the amount of time on social media. Sometimes it feels like living a double life, because I have to turn on and off my brand brain and switch it with my blogger brain haha!

What’s the most inspiring part of what you do? The most inspiring part about being an influencer and working in social media is getting to meet new people. It’s always good to take a step outside your own bubble and hear about other people’s experiences and adventures because you can learn so many things about how to develop yourself personally and professionally.

What’s your secret to getting everything achieved in the limited 24 hours a day and 7 days a week? I think it’s all about being proactive, there’s always something you can be doing to further yourself. For example, if you’re sitting watching the telly you can always be brainstorming new blog post ideas or following new influencers on Instagram. No matter whatever small steps you take, it’s still one more towards where you want to be.

How did you get into what you’re doing now? Since I was 15 I really enjoyed blogging on Tumblr, it was mostly about sourcing inspirational content and creating visual fashion mood boards. In the back of my mind I always knew I wanted a career in Fashion but my parents were persistent on me getting a degree in mathematics. This barrier motivated me to work even harder towards doing what I love and proving I can make a successful career in Fashion. I started by attending London College of Fashion where I studied Fashion Management. I decided to take blogging more seriously when I moved abroad to NYC, as I found myself going on all these exciting adventures and discovering my personal style more. As my blog picked up I realised that I had a passion for social media and realised I could transfer the success of my blog to brands. I was always interested in developing a career within digital marketing as I was quite tech savvy and creative. Then throughout my final year of studying I was headhunted by Nobody’s Child to work for them as a Social Media manager.

Is there anything you’d have done differently? Not really haha, I believe all decisions good or bad have brought me to where I am now.

Is there a proudest moment of your professional life so far? I guess being featured on Vogue was a huge highlight for me!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE…

Breakfast or brunch spot? I really love going to The Breakfast Club! I could literally eat there for days haha :)

Lunch spot? Anywhere that sells Chinese food :D

Place for inspiration? Funnily enough I would say my shower LOL. #DeepThoughts

Place to relax? My bed. LOL

Place to shop for clothes? I’m currently loving brands like Monki & Revolve. But I’m always open to discovering new brands and testing trends.

Place to shop for shoes? I love shopping for boots at Pull & Bear and Stradivarius, but for trendy shoes I go to Zara & Topshop.

A LITTLE EXTRA

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? I think the best advice I’ve ever been given was by my Textiles teacher in secondary school. She always saw the potential in me and encouraged me no matter what to pursue in a career in what you love. There’s that saying: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,”

What’s the most played track on your playlist right now? Imagine Dragons – On top of the world

 


 

 

Check out Seem’a blog here and Nobody’s Child here.

 

NASA Skincare
LED Light Facials At The Well Urban Spa

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Since Clerkenwell London opened I’ve been obsessed! The curation of clothing, jewellery, fragrance, art, homeware and much more is exceptional and the space it’s presented in is beautiful. One of my favourite parts of the space is the exquisite aluminium parquet flooring by Fameed Khalique. You need to go to Clerkenwell London just to take a #FWIS shot on this floor, I kid you not.

This week, in the run up to my birthday, the team behind The Well Urban Spa at Clerkenwell London, hosted a breakfast event and kindly treated me to one of their LED light facials. Since I visited for the soft launch, The Well has become a gorgeous, understated, absolute gem in the centre of London. No one I know knows it’s there yet so I ‘d get involved and make some bookings asap. The spa is quiet, serene, and beautifully kitted out and that’s before we get onto THE BEST FACIAL IN THE WORLD! I’m a big believer in “less is more skincare”. As you know, I tend to stick with La Roche Posay and French Pharmacy everything to keep my skin in good nic, anything too excessive and my sensitive gets irritated… This might explain why I hate people touching my face and thus dislike normal facials for being too invasive.

This is where the most amazing facial in the world ever comes to the rescue. It’s relaxing, it balances your good hormones with a healthy kick of serotonin and it does absolute wonders for your face without being invasive.

In perfect time for turning 24 my skin has had the ideal boost to start this year as I mean to go on. I’ve had no need to wear makeup on my actual skin and even when going out I’ve only used a little bit of makeup on my eyes because the technology of this facial essentially makes you super glowy and healthy and happy and solves any skin problems you might be having. Last time I had one I felt the results for a good few months afterwards so I can vouch a hundred times that this light really does nourish cells and boost your brain’s release of serotonin which is a bonus.

But… As a perennial geek I couldn’t possibly try and convince you on this one with my mere opinion alone when the research behind it is SO COOL. Instead we have NASA, those boffins who develop technology and equipment to explore the rest of the galaxy. It appears that they accidentally worked out that certain frequencies of light trigger the body to convert light energy to cell energy which significantly increases tissue growth, stimulates collagen production and reduces fine lines and wrinkles for up to 48-hours post treatment. As well as being anti-ageing and all round glow boosting, the light is also proven to drastically improve skin conditions such as rosacea, sun spots, sun damage, dry skin (go for the red light therapy) as well as acne-prone and oily skin (go for the blue light therapy).

Go check out The Well Urban Spa at Clerkenwell London and definitely drop me a line saying how much you love it when you do!

#JoinTheReformation In London

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It isn’t news as such, as these developments have been long anticipated, but this last week LA-based brand Reformation joined forces with beloved Net-A-Porter in an effort to bring their coveted limited edition clothing to a wider, global audience.

If you weren’t already aware of Reformation in all of its glory then now is your chance to get to know. The brand prides itself on being ethical, and even their Instagram account makes sustainable fashion look painfully chic. Additionally, despite the type of clothing Reformation produces, and the green as possible processes used, it’s competitively priced compared to any other eco fashion brands out there. Sarah Rutson, Net-A-Porter’s VP of global buying, has made a brilliant decision to champion Reformation and in the process will excite existing EIPs (extremely important people) and entice a new audience at the same time.

Coincedentally, a real life Reformation pop-up has just opened in Seven Dials. A chance to finally check out the amazing clothes and try them on before you actually buy them. Think slinky satin and chiffon wrap dresses, velvet party dresses, chic and luxurious separates and comfy everything! Glamour, ethics and comfort make Reformation a little bit more fabulous than pretty much every other brand out there right now. Go get involved and #JoinTheReformation! ✌

Images: The Reformation

LFW Brand Watch: Florence Bridge

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The best brand I stumbled across at Brewer Street Carpark during London Fashion Week SS17 has to be Florence Bridge. Initially, I was obviously only drawn over to the collection because it was so metallic… And shiny things are everything… The metallic patchwork leather dress pictured above really stands out. The quality of it is exceptional- beautifully put together with an excellent choice of textures keeping it so contemporary, cool and different from any other leather clothing out there, not to mention normal clothing.

Florence specialises in patchwork leather, shearling and digitally printed silks, all sourced and made in the UK- how ethical! Her focus on these three fabrics pays off hugely when you look at how distinct all of her work is, how beautifully made the pieces are and consequently, how recognisable her work is when you see it in the street.

Florence Bridge is clearly a brand to keep watching. After showcasing at LFW, her AW16 collection has recently been on display (and for sale ;) ) at Topshop Oxford Circus, and due to popular demand, got extended an extra week until Saturday 22nd October. I’m lusting after way too many pieces from the SS17 collection as I’m sure many of you will soon be too, but until that’s available the current season pieces are pretty darn good too. Check them out here.

 

LFW Brand Watch: Ennigaldi

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One of my favourite parts of Fashion Week is always having the chance to meet new people, all of whom are, at the very least, certified lovers and perpetrators of style, if not full blown culture vultures. Basically my favourite sort of people… My other favourite and guaranteed part of Fashion Week is discovering new brands…

At a party on the Friday night I somehow adopted a really cool couple of ladies, Elizabeth and Sophie, who, as it happens, are part of the team behind new luxury handbag brand Ennigaldi.

So, the next day, in between the few shows I had time to attend this season I checked out the handbags at the Designer Showrooms inside Brewer Street Carpark. When Elizabeth started telling me about the brand the night before I had a feeling I’d like the collection.

Founded on a love of art and commitment to the highest forms of traditional Italian craftsmanship, and named after a Babylonian princess who established the world’s first museum, these bags are designed to hit a chord with ambitious women with a love of everything empowering from education to design and quality. The Mesopotamia Collection is full of classic, timeless designs, inspired by the art and architecture of Mesopotamia. This inspiration is depicted through the colour palette of earthy tones, exquisite traditional motif laser-cutting which are juxtaposed on classic geometric silhouettes.

The team behind the brand are absolutely delightful, their brand story is refreshing and the bags themselves are just adorable and oh so flexible for everyday living, despite how beatiful and delicate they look. The quality of them suggests they might just be something you won’t be able to put down an time soon.

Palmer Harding SS17

Image: Sanya-Jeet

Image: Sanya-Jeet


Image: Sanya-Jeet

Image: Sanya-Jeet


Image: Sanya-Jeet

Image: Sanya-Jeet

“Snippets of Matthew King’s artwork, Americana and a continued fascination with vaporwave music (anti-capitalist and anonymous) were free to mingle with thoughts of power dressing, languid layers and urban living.”

This season Palmer Harding’s SS17 collection centred on the idea of freedom. Freedom as an honest reflection of the modern woman’s everyday needs. She needs comfort and style and PH provide this in its purest form, with the most natural of materials, poplin and chambray occupying centre stage. A sucker for tailoring, I know I love PH’s work, but the way the duo incorporate fluidity into tailoring makes their work that bit more exciting. A colour palette of classic whites and blues to sands and reds give variation to the simplicity of the collection. Although simple and easygoing, each look still appeared particularly special in the cut and layering of fabrics.

Long, loose silhouettes dominate with asymmetric sleeves or an oversized cuff, which to me, is so reminiscent of stealing your boyfriend’s dress shirt the morning after a black tie event. Pairing these huge large cuffed shirts with jeans and a killer heel is possibly one of my favourite ever looks. But here, the loose fits of the styles are then set off by a dramatic sense of movement, through cascading hems, wraparound details and powerful flowing shirts, which are the PH signature.

A beautiful and relevant collection is perfected by the set-up of the show. Models come out and trot past the rows, as the music played, and lights blind you they begin to stop and engage with you, the spectator, or you, the photographer. Having the luxury of time to really take in the designs and appreciate the tiny details makes Palmer Harding’s SS17 all the more memorable, topped off with a little Louboutin and the most refreshiing of natural, but such luxurious, makeup looks.

Good Hair x Macadamia Oil

Image: Sanya-Jeet

Image: Sanya-Jeet

I suppose my hair has become somewhat of a signature part of my style and friends, new and old, regularly ask me what I do to look after it and get it to look the way it does.

Trigger warning: if you didn’t already know, my natural hair is super beach wavy, verging on curly and is a very different style from my day-to-day look. To be honest, I only really wear my natural waves when I’m on the beach. So obviously, I abuse my hair with a tonne of heated appliances on a regular basis, but I also have an armoire filled with hair products to keep my tresses in good nic.

I was on a shoot a couple of years ago and the hair stylist used macadamia nut oil as an anti frizz… As a 9-year strong Morroconoil addict I was intrigued but never saw the macadamia nut oil in shops hence never got round to buying any, until This Is Good got in touch and kindly sent me some!

The primary use for the oil is cooking, but just like coconut oil, this stuff has many talents and I’ve since been using the tiniest amounts after washing and styling my hair as an anti frizz and balm to replenish any moisture lost in styling. It works a dream, does a perfect job af nourishing, and it’s also a hell of a lot cheaper than Morocconoil. This Is Good’s oil is definitely worth giving a go if you’re looking for some nourishment both externally and internally, because it happens to have less saturated fat in than coconut oil too.

London, You Beauty. #VoteRemain

Image:Sanya-Jeet

Image:Sanya-Jeet

It’s finally Thursday 23rd June 2016, the day of the EU referendum. I’ve spent the last two years thinking deeply about how politics affects our lives and how to use it for greater good. I don’t have time to go into detail, as I write this on the bus to work, but my God the sheer number of Londoners this morning wearing “I’m In” and “Vote Remain Today” stickers fills me with pride.

Ironically the single one person I saw desperately campaigning for Leave en route to work I actually vaguely know… He is basically the only one on the street though. Thank God.

The fact this city is so brimming with culture and difference makes me proud to start with. The fact that everyone around me is so supportive of staying in part of a Union makes me even prouder.

For me, in brief, this is a vote of compassion, a vote of solidarity, and a vote for embracing difference and understanding in a country where half our government don’t. That half being fat old men vying for power in a world where their views are simply outdated and terrifying.

Enough said, I can’t be late for work but go vote today. And think carefully about which way you vote.

Clerkenwell London ft. Anna Laurini

Image: Sanya-Jeet

Image: Sanya-Jeet

Image: Sanya-Jeet

It’s always such fun when art and fashion collide, and that’s exactly what happened last week in the form of London’s best concept store, Clerkenwell London.

Since discovering the work of Anna Laurini on the streets of London almost two years ago I have been obsessed… and after meeting her almost a year ago I have kept a keen eye on her taking over New York City and then coming back to London. I am so delighted to hear she is is now working with this amazing and beautifully curated space, full of clothing, wine, perfume, art and jewellery that is Clerkenwell London. The store is beautifully minimalist, with that Scandinavian cool aesthetic. However the treasures that fill this spacious venue are anything but minimalist, but rather the perfect antidote to the blank, albeit peaceful, space in which they are kept. CL hosted Anna’s launch of her beautiful work in their basement event space with cocktails, champagne and nibbles made by none other than Damian Wawrzyniak (yeah that guy from Noma in Copenhagen…Casual).

There was a full house, all there to appreciate and celebrate Anna’s work and enjoy the live singer and pianist who were outstanding! When I remember their names I’ll give you an update.

In the meantime do check out this beautiful, beautiful store over in Clekwenwell and thanks go to the team there for organising such a refreshing and excellent event. Ohhh and before I forget, this space also has a restaurant and bar in… It couldn’t possibly be more perfect.