We were lucky enuogh to interview John Wind who is the designer and artist behind the Maximal Art Jewellery brand. John's career spans over 20 years, and was lucky enough to be photogrpahed by Andy Warhol. John's work has been featured in Vogue, In Style and O, the Oprah Magazine, and numerous other publications.
Firstly, tell us how you came to be a designer?
A life-long passion for the visual arts led me to art school. I won a scholarship to study in London at the Slade School of Art in the early 80’s. The fashion and music scenes were electrifying, and I started making some jewelry for me and my friends as a hobby. It took off and before I knew it I had become a jewelry designer!
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
The past. I love ‘Vintage’ of all ages, from Victorian to the 70’s. That’s the starting point, and then the fun part is finding a modern balance and conterpoint to the old, so it’s cool and ‘gotta have it’.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
This year Maximal Art celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Working with Robbin Cook, the company president, for all these years, growing a brand, employing so many people, making thousands of customers happy, and doing something creative every day is the cumulative highlight.
What is average day like for you?
If I’m at the office, then the mornings are usually administrative—meetings, emails, etc. Then after lunch I put on my designer hat. I also travel a lot—for trunkshows at our best accounts, for wholesale tradeshows, and for buying parts both old and new at factories and flea markets around the US and in Europe.
Do you have a favourite piece amongst your collections?
The 4-face watch bracelet we did in the 80’s is what ‘put us on the map’. I still think it is stylish, fun, wearable, and unique.
Is there a particular person that you have always wanted to create a piece of jewellery for (like a celebrity)?
I’d love to make Michelle Obama a necklace...
Having read the about page on your website, you seem to connect with your customer on a very personal level – is this intentional?
Before art school I wanted to be a novelist, and I think that our jewelry is very narrative. It tells a story, it’s personal, it is uplifting, it starts conversations. So the personal connection with customers is a natural outcome of that. Also, Robbin and I both encourage a real, friendly, fun interaction between the company and the customers. It’s part of our philosophy.
What are your views and interpretation on style?
Style is different than Fashion. It’s more about personal style, and while it can be inspired by trends and newness, it’s more consistent. ‘John’s Gal’s’ are our friends and customers who really get that, whether their style is to layer 6 necklaces at a time or to just wear stud earrings and a chunky initial bracelet.
Finally, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a designer?
Make stuff, show it around, wear it yourself, go to stores, check out tradeshows... And more than anything, be creative and original. There’s so much out there already. It takes a unique point of view to excite buyers and customers and to cut through the clutter.
Click here to view the collection Click here to view the Facebook group
Firstly, aside from being extremely busy, how are you doing?
Well, physically, I'm tired - just like a battery that's lost a bit of it's charge. Mentally I've never been happier or more positive, and I'm enjoying every minute of life. There was a long time when I didn't work and now all I do is work; but you have to make hay while the sun shines and I'm grateful for every opportunity.
How did you get into the world of fashion?
I've been interested in fashion ever since I was a small child. My mother encouraged me to pick out my own clothes and be as creative as I liked, even if they clashed it didn't matter. She taught me that fashion was a form of self expression. But 10 years ago after a long career in the music business, my husband and I moved from Notting Hill to Shoreditch and I woke up one morning and turned to Philip and said, 'honey, there's nowhere to shop', and he said to me 'why dont we start a little boutique on a back street and fill it with things we love?'. It really was a case of necessity is the mother of invention. My husband has an extensive retail background having founded and run Woodhouse menswear for 35 years, so I wasn't exactly dealing with an amateur. He let me do the womenswear buying; he gave me encouragement, a free reign and a budget, and the rest is history.
What is a typical day like within the world of Brix?
Wake up at 6 and feed the dogs. Make a cup of coffee with vanilla soy milk. Go back to sleep for half an hour after the coffee. Watch E! news at 8 o'clock. Do a few emails on my iPhone. Run for half an hour with the dogs. Shower. Dress. And either one of two things: go downstairs get to a waiting car and go off to film all day, or if it's a shop day walk to Start (which is a 15 minute walk from my house) and spend my time on the shop floor/ in the office doing interviews, pr and buying. When it's buying season my day is totally different, it is spent going to back to back buying appointments - sometimes 6 a day - either in London or Paris. I do New York over the internet with pictures, and I don't go to Milan any more. I spend on average about 3 days a week filming and 2 days in the shop, except Saturday is a completely different animal. On Saturday I work in the shop all day and people make appointments with me for me to style them, which are free and they just book my time - I either do jeans fittings or style them depending on what they want. Every evening I go home, have a glass of wine, water the roof terrace, cook dinner or go out to dinner/a function, four days a week I'm out. If I'm home I go to bed by 10 and read a book every night. Inbetween times I always tweet as well, I tweet all day long.
You also appear on TV alongside the fabulous Gok Wan - can you give any hints on what will feature in the new show?
Aside from the catwalk face-off and makeovers, I will be doing my own strand called 'Best of British' which will take a look at iconic British brands and British manufacturing and look at the skills of true craftsmen and artisans of which this country can be proud.
What do you enjoy most about being in fashion?
I love discovering new brands and new designers, especially young talent. And I love dressing people and making them feel fabulous.
How would you describe your look?
My look changes from day to day and is pretty much an expression of my personality.
Do you have a favourite designer?
My favourite designer is Martin Margiela, followed by Rick Owens, followed by Acne and Alexander Wang. Those are the designers that I wear the most, but I truly love Erdem.
And what about the high street - do you have any favourite shops?
My favourite high street shop is Zara but I never shop on the high street.
As we are already into the Spring/Summer fashions, what tips can you give us for Autumn/Winter?
It's time to cuddle up. There were so many cuddly mohair and shearling gilets around, everything is soft and delicious. Khaki and camel. All-over prints, for instance tunic dresses and matching leggings in bold graphic geometric prints, or a touch of the animal.
What advice would you give to those wanting to get into the fashion industry?
I recommend that people take internships so that they find out if a certain type of job in the industry suits them i.e. buying, pr, merchandising, window display etc. We always have interns and some of my favourite members of staff have come from internships.
It was certainly what was known in the Twitter world as a ‘Fashionable Friday’ in Manchester yesterday. Leaving the sunshine and entering the luxury paradise that is Poshu, we were immediately greeted by an array of the most fabulous handbags.
Mrs Moregeous wants this one...& the champagne!
Loving the girl in the red trousers...she looked amazing!
Part of the Lulu Guinness Appreciation Society!
And what was even better was that the fabulous lady behind these glorious bags was also in attendance…Lulu Guinness OBE (in an equally fab dress, which I shall be going out to find today). The brand was launched in 1989 and became instantly successful. A Lulu Guinness bag is a statement, not only of style, but of individuality. They are quirky, fun and full of personality – and what makes them even more special is that you can see Lulu in each piece, which is a feat that is rarely achieved by many designers.
Me chatting to the lovely Lulu
Personally, I have always been a huge fan of Lulu Guinness. Like me, Lulu has no formal ‘fashion’ training but possesses a real passion for fashion, which is clearly evident in her collections. It was great to meet Lulu and have a brief chat with her – she was delightful and guessed that I was a fashion blogger…I was one very chuffed fashionista.
Last year, Lulu was awarded The Independent Handbag Designer Awards ICONOLAST Award for Lifetime Achievement in Handbag Design.
If you love handbags, then you’re gonna love Lulu…
Thanks to the lovely Sian Astley, from Moregeous, for her fab photography and whose blog post about the event, you can read here. Also thanks to Emma & Co at Poshu for a fantastic event, cute cupcakes (that were so tasty, they were dangerous) and champagne!
The heavenly cupcakes...I ate 5!
P.S. If you’re reading this Mr Moregeous, Mrs Moregeous wants the gold bag above (champagne not included). I would like to point out that I have not received any bribes for pointing this out to you...I am merely just trying to help you in the 'browny' points department!
Firstly, tell us about yourselves and what you do within Red Rover Style?
We are Rachael and Elena, two sisters of three. Rachael is older by just two years. We’ve grown up with similar experiences, but we are very different when it comes to our talents and passions. But our one common thread is people and charity work. We were overjoyed at the opportunity to co-found RedRoverStyle.com, a fashion / lifestyle online magazine connecting the world through every day lifestyle needs, while making a bridge to charity work.
Elena is the Marketing Director and Charity Coordinator, and Rachael is the Web Designer, in addition to the Style and Creative Director. We also show up at events and represent the brand while engaging with young individuals who are using their lifestyle to help a charity. We are dedicated to our team of columnists by keeping them updated on upcoming events they too can be a part of.
How did Red Rover Style begin? Our journey with Red Rover Style began with the launch of Red Rover Services, an Online PR and Webinar Event Planning Company specializing in helping small businesses boost their sales by building them an online profile.
We launched Red Rover Style because of our passion for faith, fashion, true beauty, arts, culture, music, and literature. We wanted to share tips and experiences to help men and women all over the world. So, we turned our girly dream into RedRoverStyle.com.
We decided to celebrate this dream with some of our most beautiful friends, who are not only stylish and glamorous on the outside, but their hearts are genuine and golden. Our friends are now the featured Red Rover Style Columnists. They are women of grace, style, and vision who inspire many and are committed to excellence.
Red Rover Style is purposed to give lifestyle tips while connecting individuals to charities they love. The most important part of a joyful lifestyle is to surround oneself with good people – people who will make your heart sing.
We are excited for the 2010 launch of Red Rover Style, and we are very eager to see where it goes. We encourage everyone and anyone to joinus, connectwith us, and of course, stylize alongside us.
What exactly does RRS seek to achieve?
Red Rover Style is a resource for those who desire to change the world. By showcasing individuals that have devoted their everyday lifestyles to charity with the purpose of achieving excellence, we desire to enable our readers to pursue similar lifestyles. Of course, we believe in having fun and enjoying life along the way with our Red Rover Style Columnists’ blogs.
We hope to become the go-to source for all lifestyle needs, while globally connecting individuals to charities they can support. We hope to improve the world by featuring true leaders, who are dedicated to creating good opportunity for others.
How did you go about pulling the whole website and contributors together?
First, we put some feelers out there with our closest friends. They shared their insight and from there, we put together our vision outlining the mission, purpose, the 5 Ws, and a tid-bit as to why we were committed to Red Rover Style.
As for the website, that was an ongoing project for about a month gathering material and outlining the layout for the site. We took 2 full days and built the site with the wonderful, Mr. Jon Lechliter. We then reached out to some website headshots like MakeoverMomma.com, CheapChicas.com, and jKelly.org. Our connections were made by saying how much we loved their sites, would they be willing to share their point of view on ours? Last, but not least, STYLISA – our looking glass into our favorite fashion, UK style.
What is an average day like in the RRS headquarters?
Brainstorming new ideas, gathering posts from our 20+ columnists, reaching out to charity event coordinators, answering numerous e-mails a day, social media marketing, taking a phone call with women who want to learn about how they can do what we do or enter the fashion industry, e-mailing our team about events, ideas, and more. Engaging with different charities and planning for our first upcoming event happening on June 8 in NYC. We have daily founder meetings that last from 10 minutes to 5 hours. Brainstorming company culture…and of course, updating the site for a few hours a day.
How has RRS been received in the 'social media community', in terms of feedback?
We see the growth in terms of facebook fans, twitter followers, and visits to the site. The most important factor is visitor loyalty to us, which is at about 50%. That is huge to us. We received e-mails with feedback, which is the hottest thing to us – why? Because that shows us people care. Caring is hott! It is there way of giving to us, and we truly appreciate it. We love to see comments on the columns, facebook, and our twitter. We’ve developed a top-10 circle, where our social media friends are retweeting our messages. That’s awesome!
What are your views and interpretation on style?
We’re all about the right look for the right body type. We struggle with wanting to be thinner because it looks good in the mags and being in NYC on the billboards, but we know what looks good on us and are dedicated to finding that style niche for our body type. In terms of visual appeal, we like the pretty things in life with a flair or artistic color, print, layers, and of course – shape. We don’t have to flow with the trends, as we want to create the trends with our personal touch. Like a lot of other women, we love to pair an expensive piece with a budget conscious piece, but we have a habit of bragging about our prudent prices because we want our friends and random strangers be able to take part in the action.
What is the take on British style in the states?
Personally, we think British style is super hott. Elena spent a year in England, and she brought home a style that Rachael desired, and so started her clothes from topshop, vintage stores, and even thrift stores we borrowed often. When topshop hit NYC, it was unstoppable. For us, it is preferred. British style is an identity, and we just want to have some parts of that identity in our wardrobe.
Finally, do you have any plans to develop the RRS Brand?
Absolutely. Right now, everything being developed has to stay in budget. In terms of growth, we have some ideas underway to establish consistency in what we feature week-to-week, like CheapChica Wednesdays, Social Media Tuesdays with Socialinsta, and UK Fashion bi-weekly. Beyond that, we’re looking for Red Rover Style talent. Young women / men who feature lifestyle and charity in their hometowns and report on it using pictures and video. Lastly, we, the Red Rover Sisters, will have a continual video blog of what we’re doing to help build our girly dream into a beautiful reality.
Thanks to Rachael & Elena for taking the time to speak to STYLISA.
STYLISA were lucky enough to have a quick chat with the gorgeous Simon Webbe, during rehersals for his debut in the musical Sister Act...
Firstly, how have you been?
I'm healthy and happy!
A little birdie tells us you are appearing in a new show.Can you tell us more about it please?I am doing the famous Sister Act Musical at the London Palladium and I am so nervous as it's something I never thought I would do but when I was asked to audition I thought, why not give it a go.
Aside from the show, are you working on any new material?I have been in the states working on my song writing and I am putting together a new album myself in the next three months.
When can we expect to hear this new material?With Blue getting back together, I am waiting to see the outcome so I have my album as my back up plan, so hopefully by the end of this year...fingers crossed.
You are a big supporter of up and coming talent – is there anyone out there that excites you at the moment?
Listen out for one of Manchester's finest Tyler D and hip hop Artist Lyrican also a rock band The Filthy Souls.
How important to you is it to inspire and encourage young and new talent?I think if your in a position to help and you can, then you should.
Here at STYLISA, we believe that style is a state of mind.What is your personal take on style?Style to me is self expression.
When it comes to fashion, do you have any favourite designers or high street brands?I love high street stores. Top Man, River Island and AllSaints are some of my favourites and D&G of course...
Finally, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into the world of show business?Work hard, believe in yourself and always have a back up plan...x
Thanks for chatting to us Simon and good luck with the show!
By Guest Blogger Nia J. Kiesow aka The Happy Hipster
It's the Happy Hipster here, letting you all know that I've up and left New York City and flown back home to sunny California for the summer holidays! Sometimes it's good to get out of the city for a while and change up the scenery for a bit.
The only trouble is, a change of scenery just might require a change of wardrobe. For instance, I woke up this morning and unzipped my suitcase to start unpacking. For each piece that I pulled out, the same words kept popping up in my head: "This is way too New York." How the heck can I pull off wearing all this black and city-slicker styled clothing over here on the West Coast? No way could I pull off throwing on my Soho platforms for a run around town like I can through the streets of NYC.
So a solution came along in the form of one of my favorite brands: RVCA. Famous model, Erin Wasson, has teamed up with the Californian brand yet again for another season of fantastic clothing that melds together the urban chic of NYC with the kick-back style of Southern California. As a gal who spends most of her year in the City and the rest of it on the coasts of California, there's really no better option.
She wow'd us last season with her black silk blouses, skintight velvet leggings, sheer thigh-highs, and denim cutoffs, perfect for the winter night-child effect. For the Spring 2010 season, however, she's gone for a lighter, airier look with nudes and light bronzes and white cutoffs instead of blue or black. She still brought the rocker touch to the clothing with a few polished studs here and there. A reference to Neil Young emblazoned on a white tunic tee says, "Keep it Neil," a clever and quirky way to bring a laid back feel to the clothing. Erin wanted to tie both ends of the country together through this line, giving NYC uniform a SoCal tinge. Well, she's sure done the trick and I'm definitely game.
Lisa Maynard-Atem of STYLISA, has been appointed as Membership Director to the board of The Fashion Group International UK.
The Fashion Group International was formed in 1928 in New York, by Edna Woolman Chase, who was then the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. The Fashion Group International is a global, non-profit, professional organisation with 5000 members in the fashion industry including apparel, accessories, beauty and home. The FGI mission is to be the pre-eminent authority on the business of fashion and design and to help its members become more effective in their careers. To do this, FGI provides insights on major trendsin person, online and in print; access to business professionals and a gateway to the influence fashion plays in the marketplace.
We were lucky enough to get the chance to speak to the fashion blogger phenomenon that is Susie Bubble....
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your fashion blog to speak to us…
Firstly, tell us what inspired you to start your fashion blog?
I wish there was some sort of motivating 'inspiration' story. There isn't. I really was just bored one day at my job in digital advertising (this was four years ago...) and decided to set up a blog in my lunch hour. I was reading a handful of blogs at the time (though there weren't as many as there are now!) but I really just wanted a hobby to occupy my time and something to channel my love of fashion into.
How do you feel about the amazing response that your blog has had?
It's not something I think about and to be honest, my blog's progress has been a gradual one... it's not some overnight success so I've just been taking things in one step at a time...
What have been some of the highlights for you, in relation to the success of your blog?
So many... getting shot by Elle for their Closet Confidential feature, getting photographed by Nick Knight for i-D, travelling to places and experiencing fashion on a heightened level... and above all, meeting friends through these blogging excursions that have gone on to become some of my closest friends.
Describe a typical day in the blogging world of Susie Bubble?
It depends.... at the moment, I'm travelling a lot and there are also press days for A/W 10-11 going on so one day, I could be out and about, running errands, seeing designers, seeing PRs, doing research or sat at home staring at my iMac screen all day long.
How do you think the world of fashion blogging will evolve in the next five years?
I think it will just become a established fashion medium and other bloggers will obviously rise to the top....
How would you define your own style?
Eclectic. Experimental. Full of contrasts.
Who are your style icons?
I don't actually have one!
What three items in yur wardrobe could you not live without?
A vintage NY Mets t-shirts - it's a comfort thing! My Luxirarare 'booby' jacket and American Apparel grey jersey vests - key to wearing sheer things over on top.
Finally, what are your favourite key looks for Spring/Summer 2010?
Anything pastel, floaty, sheer and full of embroidery!
The first word that pops into our minds with this jacket is ‘detail’.The detailing captured in this jacket is beautiful, almost artisitic, with it’s origami pleats and pintucks.Denim is a big trend this season and this jacket is the perfect way to introduce some denim into your wardrobe, if you don’t have some in there already.Again this is something that would not look out of place on Lady Gaga, so we very much expect to see her popping into her nearest Tesco the next time she is in the UK.This jacket is also very versatile in so far as you could wear it with a pencil skirt, leggings, fitted trousers, shorts…the list goes on.And the deep-v at the back of the jacket, makes it even edgier.The jacket needs very few (if any) accessories because of its opulent design and the absolute best thing about this gorgeous creation is the price…£75! Three words…Credit Crunch Couture.
Look out for another STYLISA F&F couture blog piece coming soon…