Fashion

Licentiate Column 06/12/12: Buy Irish (and Make a Better Christmas)

Even though I’m writing this column a week in advance, I think that I can predict with eerie, Nostradamus-like skills that it is cold, it is wet and it is utterly miserable outside. As temperatures drop and shoes made of natural fibres begin to degrade due to extreme schlepping through slush, it becomes more and more convenient to shop online.

I don’t need to extoll the many advantages of shopping online; if you have an internet connection and a credit card, then you’ll know what they are. However, buying presents from the safety of a small screen poses one quite distinct problem.

Buying online usually means not buying Irish. Not pumping money into the local economy means less money for everyone. I’ve skipped a few logical steps there, but this is not an economics column and I am not John Maynard Keynes.

Buy Irish, if you can. This is easy when it comes to fresh produce; we’re very lucky in Ireland in that respect. When it comes to fashion though, we literally are floating out on an island on our own.

But, and this labours the metaphor further, there are a limited number of life preservers to grab on to.

Craft fairs. One of the unexpectedly great things about a recession is seeing the reserve of strength and creativity being mined by an ever-increasing amount of people in Ireland. Stalls at craft fairs are no longer loaded with tat and fake-turquoise necklaces; now we can buy jewellery that isn’t self-consciously ‘crafty’ or homespun-looking but slickly executed. The democratisation of fashion makes professional techniques and materials more accessible, so your crafts are going to be of a better quality. Many designers and vintage sellers can be found at craft fairs. I quite like the The Fair Alternative, which is held in the old Unitarian Church near the English Market (next date – 8th of December).

Shop locally – online. I know, I know I said earlier that shopping online was the devil, but there’s always a loophole when Beelzebub is involved. Etsy (etsy.com) is a global marketplace but you can search for shops based in Ireland.  The new kid on the block, Prowlster (theprowlster.com) is an online magazine-cum-boutique that sell the best of Irish designers, including jeweller Merle O’Grady and designer Emma Manley. If you can’t choose just one thing, Prowlster also offer gift vouchers.

Local boutiques. If you have to buy that British-label dress, think about buying it in a local shop instead of online. While it’s important to shop for the best price, don’t immediately expect things to be cheaper online – you may be pleasantly surprised. You’d also be surprised at how many boutique owners are willing to haggle, which is more than can be said for online high-street retailers (trust me, I’ve tried).

Buying Irish this year isn’t just an easy way to give something unique to the person you love. It’s also a way for use to sew a tiny thread of confidence back into a country that has been torn, socially and economically, into shreds. If everyone does this, we make the first step towards mending ourselves.

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Fashion

Diet Coke Fashion Friday: Five Reasons To Love J.W. Anderson

1.  He’s really, really ridiculously good looking,  Like, Zoolander good looking.  In real life?  Even better looking.  Handsome and talented and hardworking?  Life is just not fair sometimes.

Photo by Sebastian Kim for Interview Magazine

2.  He knows all the cool people.  Anderson used to date Rufus Wainwright and was discovered working in Brown Thomas Dublin by none other than Manuela Pavesi, Miuccia Prada’s right hand woman and an all-around enigmatic, creative force herself.  Anderson isn’t afraid to draw inspiration from his co-workers either – Pavesi collects maid’s outfits and Anderson has included a surprisingly classic but on-trend very maid’s uniform in his new collection for Topshop, which launches online and in shops tomorrow.  I’m thinking about pairing mine with one of those white doily headdresses.  Maybe not.

From the J.W Anderson x Topshop lookbook

3.  He blogs.  Over at the J.W Anderson Tumblr, you can find the usual products shots, magazine tear-outs and catwalk photos, but amongst those are photos and gifs that inspire him.  It’s a great thing to see a designer who is so secure in his talent and ideas that he’s willing to share it with everyone by plastering it all over the internet.  And on the flip side, who doesn’t love finding the Tumblr of a person they admire?

From J.W Anderson’s Tumblr

4.  His designs are for everyone.  It might have something to do with his training in menswear, but Anderson doesn’t specialize in bodycon or intimidating, boob-baring cutouts (although if that’s your thing, more power to you) – he’s more into super-flattering, slick, expensive-looking tailoring.  With his new Topshop collaboration, which drops tomorrow, he’s borrowed heavily from his mainline collections.  The hundred-strong array of clothes, sweets, stationary and art prints are made up of classic staples like the trench coat and tailored trousers, to the arguably bizarre quilted paisley skirt suits combos.  The collection is built for layering, which makes the pieces ideal for integration into an already hardworking wardrobe.

Layer it up for an ‘insane homicidal clown’ vibe or tone it down for a more mainstream look. Rollerskates optional (but highly recommended).

5.  The best bit?  The J.W Anderson x Topshop collaboration is coming to Ireland tomorrow – and if you’re in Cork City, you can check out the collection, try on a paisley concoction or just greedily paw the clothes in real life in Brown Thomas on Patrick Street. Prices for the pieces will range from €45.99 to €197.99. If you’re not in Cork, you can see the collection in BT2 Grafton Street and Dundrum. And if you’re not in either of those places, it can be obsessed over on the Topshop website.

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Fashion, Inspiration, Photography

Float my Boat

Women’s mug shots via How to be a Retronaut.

Nail wraps by NCLA.

Custom stamped men’s leather cuff by The Bead Girl.

Neon clutch at Love Aesthetics

This photo and the amazing family story that goes with it at The Sartorialist.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

SOPA must be stopped.  I’m no pirate.

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Fashion

Giveaway #6: A Silver Factory Tee from Shutterbug!

This is our last giveaway in our week (ok, technically eight days, but who’s counting?) of giveaways and it’s a special one.  The lovely Blanaid of Shutterbug has given us a one-off customised Silver Factory tee to give away!

Shutterbug is one of those destination shops that has links all over the country.  With a mix of new independent labels and a really definite, incredibly well-honed vintage selection (think LA cool sunnies, sequin encrusted tops, granddad winter woolies and a smattering of spandex),you probably don’t need me to tell you that it’s a go to place.  If you’re not in Kilkenny (where the brick and mortar Shutterbug resides) it’s no problem, you can make orders via facebook.  It’s the wave of the future, people.

Silver Factory is a brand new t-shirt company.  The designs are printed by hand and yes, they can do custom requests.  I’m delighted that this tee was sent to me, because I’m obsessed with Mexican sugar skulls.  Obsessed.  I kinda want to buy one of these tees so I can colour it in with bright markers.  But that would look awful (no DIY goddess, I) so I won’t.

The sleeves have been shorn off into a vest and studded accents have been added.  It’s oversized, so it would fit most people.

Here’s a similar customised vest, as seen on Blanaid.

You want it?

The competition is as follows.

1. Subscribe to the blog by email.  Just click the button on the top left of the homepage.  That way, I’ll be able to contact the winner via email.

2.  Leave a comment at the end of this post.  Easy as.

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES!

1.  Follow @The_Licentiate on twitter and tweet ”Win a @_SilverFactory tee from @shopshutterbug with @The_Licentiate http://thelicentiate.com/2011/09/05/silver-factory/.  Don’t worry if it’s too many characters, twitter should automatically shorten it.  It would only be lovely if you followed @shopshutterbug or @_SilverFactory on twitter as well.

2.  Like The Licentiate, Shutterbug and Silver Factory on facebook.

3.  If you’ve got a blog, blog about the giveaway for an extra entry.

VERY IMPORTANT

You must subscribe to the blog to enter

If you’re leaving extra entries, make sure to leave a link in the comment sections telling me how you entered and what your twitter/facebook/blog links are (delete as relevant).  If you don’t leave a comment, I may not know that you’ve entered, and we want to make this as fair as possible!  The winner will be picked at random.  Competition closes on 18/09/11.

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Fashion

Giveaway #5: An Elsa and Gogo Jewellery Haul!

My favourite Irish vintage vendor is probably Elsa and Goga, due in no small part to their personal ethos.

Elsa & Gogo aims not to be the biggest, but the very best provider of vintage virtual goodies, always with a personable + unique approach,for Elsa & Gogo believes there is no shame in being small,there is shame in not doing things differently.

Named after 1920s fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and daughter Gogo,Elsa & Gogo is helmed by Olivia Murphy, a self confessed hunter-gatherer for all things lovely and original.

In the past year, Olivia had expanded her business from offering hard-to-find vintage accessories in pristine condition, adding to that a carefully curated selection of clothing, the bulk of which she sells at markets as well as online.

Elsa and Gogo have very generously given me a nice big prize for all you readers.

  • A signed, v-shaped Pierre Cardin pave bracelet.  Bloody hell, this is gorgeous.  I really wanted to keep it for myself.  It’s in perfect condition.  Perfect.  Like a new pin.
  • A pair of purple flower-shaped rhinestone screwback earrings, also in perfect condition.  They’re about half an inch across so while shiny, they’re also nice and discreet.
  • An upcycled chiffon vintage scarf, decorated with a painterly digital print of a woman and a deer with bead embellishments. The scarf is super-light and slightly sheer with a lovely blue floral pattern.

You can visit http://www.elsaandgogoboutique.ie to see what else is on offer. I’ve heard that there’s a lot of clothing earmarked to drop at the end of the month – I almost cannot wait.

Here’s what you have to do.

1. Subscribe to the blog by email.  Just click the button on the top left of the homepage.  That way, I’ll be able to contact the winner via email.

2.  Leave a comment at the end of this post.  Easy as.

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES!

1.  Follow @The_Licentiate on twitter and tweet Win Elsa and Gogo jewellery with @The_Licentiate http://thelicentiate.com/2011/09/02/giveaway-elsa-gogo-haul/.  Don’t worry if it’s too many characters, twitter should automatically shorten it.

2.  Like The Licentiate and Elsa and Gogo Boutique on facebook.

3.  If you’ve got a blog, blog about the giveaway for an extra entry.

VERY IMPORTANT

This giveaway is open worldwide.

You must subscribe to the blog to enter.

If you’re leaving extra entries, make sure to leave a link in the comment sections telling me how you entered and what your twitter/facebook/blog links are (delete as relevant).  If you don’t leave a comment, I may not know that you’ve entered, and we want to make this as fair as possible!  The winner will be picked at random.  Competition closes on 15/09/11.

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