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Style Notes

Black Lives Matter

An open conversation with Venetia Williams

Fashion Lifestyle Influencer @champersandpacifiers

We can all do better, listening learning and not staying silent. In order to do better ourselves we asked Venetia, one of our long standing brand ambassadors, how she feels about the current situation, experiences she has had as a BAME in the fashion industry and what we can do going forward…

How do you feel about the current events?

It has been a very emotive few weeks. I have not been able to sleep, eat, and have a constant knot in my back through the stress of current affairs. I am so incensed and heartbroken by the events that have taken place and I know so many others feel the same.

Tell us about your back ground

I am a grandchild from the Windrush generation. My grandparents were asked to come over from Jamaica to help rebuild the British economy because there was a labor shortage.

Remember Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus? My grandad was the Forman for that build and I feel so proud, I spent so much of my teens there hanging out with my friends!

Who has ever travelled on the 38 bus from Clapton Pond to Victoria station? Well my other grandad drove that bus for many years and could tell you about every bus route in London off by heart. He received an award because he never had an accident during all the years of his service driving the busses.

I am forever grateful and indebted to my grandparents for their hard work, bravery and determination despite everything that they had faced. The streets of England were not paved with gold as they were told. But instead, they were faced with major discrimination and it was an absolute shock to their system. Imagine what it must have been like to be turned away from every house that you wanted to rent with a sign outside stating; No Irish, No dogs and No blacks!

My parents are British born and grew up in Highbury and Hackney in 1960’s during the time that Enoch Powel the British politician gave his famous  inflammatory and divisive speech ‘Rivers of Blood’.

That was then, and sadly, history seems to be repeating itself. I can’t believe we are still having to deal with the same thing now in 2020!

How did you become a fashion influencer?

I really don’t see myself as an influencer, but that is the label I am given and it really did happen by chance. I am a mother and obviously most of our time is spent with the children. We love our children more than anything but sometimes motherhood can be a lonely existence especially when the kiddies are younger. So, I came up with the idea of organising events for mums. A friend suggested that I start an Instagram page. I really didn’t like the idea of that at first but gave it a try and here I am! Things have then evolved from there. I noticed that people were really interested in my family lifestyle in general. Of course I like fashion, but I have so much love and passion for interiors and travel. I think this is reflected in my page on Instagram.

I think people are also intrigued with the fact that I am a black woman who was raised in Shoreditch and Hackney but now lives in the countryside, in a village, and absolutely loving it.

How did you feel on Black out Tuesday with all the extra coverage, particularly from Fashion Brands?

It was great to see so many people’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The original movement started in 2013.

It has been heartwarming to see some posting about ‘standing’ up and being supportive etc etc. We need to see more of this for sure.
But, there are quite a few that I know are posting about it because it’s ‘trendy’ and they are following like sheep. I can tell that it’s very fake and this I find insulting because of how they have been towards me in the past.

Can you explain more about this?

So on the 2nd June, I was surprised to see #BlackoutTuesday supported by many influencers and brands on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. As I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I was astounded to see so many people that have shown little actual support for a movement in the past all of a sudden jumping on the bandwagon. People who don’t have a diverse friendship group, those who have businesses and don’t have a diverse workforce, and brands who show little or zero diversity on their social media platforms.

For example, I had followed a curated Instagram feed featuring fashionable Parisian women because it is a beautiful feed and I love that French girl style. I had noticed their lack of diversity on their feed previously and they had not supported or represented any black women for as long as the account had been going. That is until recent events when they posted ONE picture of a black, American celebrity followed by the black out Tuesday post.

It annoyed me to see that they had the audacity to post a black square. My blood was boiling. It seemed disingenuous as though they were following a “trend”. It was at this point I had to comment on the post. Unsurprisingly I didn’t get a response. But then, No response is a response !

There are many beautiful, black women in Paris, I still do not understand why they are not being represented on a feed which celebrates beautiful, fashionable Parisian women.

Have you had any other experiences within your role as an influencer that have caused you to feel like this?

I have not just seen this happening amongst brands. It also exists amongst influencers too. I noticed on black out Tuesday that as one influencer posted a black square and hashtag, there then seemed to be a flurry of black squares and hashtags popping up one after the other!

As influencers, we are in a unique position to educate and speak up against racism and to be inclusive.

In the past, there have been many bloggers events and brand launches, again with little or no black representation. I have had the experience of going to some events where I am the only black woman or one of two, often to be left standing alone or blatantly excluded from group conversations. Even amongst the biggest bloggers on social media there seems to be what I call ‘social media indirect racist classism’, meaning that they are only interested in following and socialising with you as a black person if you have some sort of affiliation with the ‘fashion elite.’

I have received clothes from brands as part of their promotional strategy  they reposted my photo on their  Instagram stories but purposely would not put me on their page instead reposting every other white woman. In one instance I noticed this brand repeatedly reposted the same black woman on their page because she was a model and had associations with media/tv. I had enough and unfollowed them because I saw through what they were doing, then suddenly I received a message from them stating that they had put my picture up on their page. This was not a coincidence.

What drives you to continue in an industry where you are treated like this?

Although there is still a lot of work to be done, there are brands who are setting the right example and paving the way regarding inclusiveness and diversity. One being your brand, Ethereal London. I still remember when you contacted me to say that you wanted me to be one of the first bloggers to wear and model your dresses. This also spoke volumes to me about the person behind the brand. The fact that you had asked me first, as a black woman, did not go unnoticed and by others as was expressed to you by followers of the brand and the positive impact this had on them

Not everything regarding Instagram is negative, quite the opposite. Although there have been occasions where we have been made to feel uncomfortable. And I just want to push for more diversity across this platform and industry. I have met some incredible people/brands of all ethnicity along the way on my Instagram journey who have actually become genuine friends. Instagram is also a place of inspiration for me.

I try to look past the negative aspects and see the good and focus on those that are trying and doing the right thing. And if at times it all gets a bit too much I just take a couple of days out to reflect and regroup myself. Above all, my moto is always Be Kind.

How can brands that have not been inclusive in the past start and avoid looking insincere?

I think it is as simple as employing a diverse workforce and having a diverse team. And then making sure that people of colour are seen, and represented in your brand whether it’s on your social media page, websites, in shows and at events. This will all show that they are sincere. It is also a long term commitment and change and not just to show now while it is trending.

What can we as brands do better?

For me, it’s not about the black square. It’s just about standing up for what is right. It could be any photo with ‘ racism is wrong’.

I read a post where someone stated; “There is no point in posting black squares to be performative or because it is a fashion trend, if you are not doing the real work of self reflecting, educating and working to support black lives”. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. More awareness and care has to be taken.

Moving forward, we want to see change and consistency. We hope that outside of social media those who want to be educated, learn and those who want to listen, hear. Let’s come together in solidarity against racial injustice of all kinds in the long term rather than it just being a fad or fleeting fashion trend.

Venetia wears Ophelia Dark Midi, Viola Print Maxi and Portia Print Maxi 

Calling All Personal Stylists

Become an Ethereal Brand Partner

Are you a stylist? Are you looking for support with your clients?

We would love to partner with you and are now offering a lovely affiliate package to support you

This will include a range of things from information and tools to use from product perspective and also an incentive for you as a thank you for your support for working with us

If you would like to know more please complete the ‘Collaborations’ enquiry form by clicking the link here and I will get back to you shortly with more information

I look forward to working with you soon

Annie xx

Stockists


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www.bcollect.co.uk

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Would you like to see a pop up near you? Would you like to organise a trunk show in your office or comfort of your own home with your friends? Or do you want to partner with Ethereal for an event? Please feel free to contact us as we’d love to hear from you and come to your area. Click here to send us an enquiry with the details

Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last.

We design our collection to be timeless and versatile so each piece will live on in your wardrobe and be wearable for lots of different occasions, from big events to everyday, depending on how you style them. They are forever pieces that you will cherish and love wearing for years to come.

We are also striving to offer you the perfect fit and style choices in lengths, sleeves and neckline to suit your preference as we know that one design or style does not suit or answer everyone’s requirements. We believe in slow fashion not throw away fashion and want to find ways of helping you, as our customer, to maintain your favourite pieces.

As all great Personal Stylists advise the best way to curate the perfect capsule wardrobe involves investing in key pieces that will last the test of time and that wearing well fitting clothes will make or break an outfit. So knowing a good tailor, can be even better than a good stylist, when all you need to do is make that little tweak to make the garment fit you perfectly – giving a made to measure look for a fraction of the cost.

“Wearing something that is tailored to fit you instantly elevates your style. It can make even an inexpensive item look expensive – when it fits you well”  Monika Mueller Founder Signature Five Personal Styling Service Zurich

“Never be afraid to buy something you love just because it’s not necessarily available in your size. With the help of a great tailor, you can have something made to measure, uniquely to fit you.” Karen Wareham @thestylenurse Fashion Influencer, Stylist and Image Consultant

We are therefore really excited to be collaborating with the Clothes Doctor who offer an award winning online service for tailoring and alterations with a convenient home delivery service and expert advice. As seen in The Guardian, Refinery29, Independent and The Week they are experts in wardrobe maintenance. All our customers will receive a voucher to spend on any tailoring or alteration service to use, either on one of your Ethereal purchases if required, or any other garment in your wardrobe.

Sometimes a nip here and a tuck there is all it takes to make you feel truly fantastic in your most coveted clothes, have a look at their website for more details…

www.clothes-doctor.com

Sometimes its not just a tweak to the fit that can make a garment last, even the slightest change in design can help give an item a refresh or make it more versatile in your wardrobe. We just love the way Venetia Lozovskay,a @champersandpacifiers lifestyle and style influencer, has re imagined our Viola Print Maxi dress from its first wear to a formal event in Paris to a more relaxed holiday style simply by altering the length to be a midi length and styling with sandals. An alteration the Clothes Doctor can easily help with at a fraction of the cost of buying a new outfit.

@champersandpacifiers

“Using a tailor to refresh a favourite piece can give it extra years or update it and bring it inline with current trends, I’ve been known to buy an item of clothing, only to have it changed into something completely different. I currently have a gorgeous floral jumpsuit I’m waiting to turn into a pair of trousers, I’m thinking with a paper bag waist band. It’s where you can really get creative, which is what I love the most! ” Karen Wareham @thestylenurse Fashion Influencer, Stylist and Image Consultant

Silk is a luxurious yet durable fabric that will stand the test of time if it is treated well and looked after, here are our top tips for caring for your item

1. Wash care instructions always advise to dry clean silk which is the easiest and safest option

2. If you are very careful, and the trims on a style allow it, hand washing or a low temperature machine hand wash cycle will be fine. Using gentle detergents and spin cycles will help care for the fabric. Silk releases dirt quickly so the was process can be shorter

3. Silk will fade over time so always test for colour fastness and avoid hanging in direct sunlight or near strong heaters whilst drying

4. Rather than spot treating stains on silk it is better to wash or dry clean the whole garment to avoid any changes to the fabric or colour in the area being treated

5. Steaming is the best way to finish a silk garment ready for wear however if this is not possible ironing on the reverse whilst damp is the best approach

6. To store correctly hang in your wardrobe on textured velvet or non slip hangers. Moths are huge fans of silk and cashmere garments and can cause small holes in these garments if not stored correctly so keep cedar wood in your wardrobe to ward them off or for longer term storage fold carefully once cleaned and store in sealed bags – should you have this problem all is not lost as this is another area the Clothes Doctor can assist with!

7. Finally, avoid any rough or sharp jewellery or accessories that will snag or pull the fabric, if you do get any snags don’t be tempted to cut the loose thread as this could lead to holes. Gently try and thread the snag back through or get the experts at the Clothes Doctors to look at this and they can prevent any further damage

Investing in the dress or that luxury item of clothing is worth it when you know it is going to last you, and if you are armed with the knowledge to correctly care for it you will definitely get your pay per wear over the years! Our moto would definitely be…

“Words to live by, from the queen that is @viviennewestwood. Did you know that in London alone 11 million tonnes of clothes get thrown away every week. If we all made our garments last a little longer, we could make a big difference in decreasing that stat. Rework, repair, rewear #ClothesDoctor” Founder  & CEO Lulu O’Connor

The Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress has been an icon in its own right since Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s where it became more than an item of clothing

“It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and she wore a slim cool black dress, black sandals, a pearl choker.” Truman Capote Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

This iconic long little black dress was designed by Hubert De Givency and worn with effortless style By Audrey Hepburn

Chanel created her first little black dress in 1926 just a few years after she told Harper’s Bazaar “Simplicuty is the keynote of all true elegance“. The Little Black dress was more than just a design to Chanel, it was part of a larger idea that modesty was the chicest way of proclaiming superiority. Having spent time in a boarding school amongst pupils from much wealthier back grounds than her she witnessed from an early age the great distinction between those that had money and social position and those that didn’t and clothes formed the uniform of both these classes and distinctions. In her era, women who wished to live a privileged life would go on to ‘marry well’ or would work hard to gain their own wealth with the ‘kept’ mistresses of wealthy men dressed in elaborate fashions, again like a uniform or badge of honour.

The little black dress Chanel designed was almost a uniform of her own choosing which the wealthy mistresses would then go on to pay her for the privilege of wearing. Chanel was a woman of her time, independent to men while retaining a desire to be attractive to them, however she was certainly not a slave to fashion to please anyone and if the fashions of the time did not suit her she would just design styles that did. Comfort, and practicality where at the core of her designs and black’s appeal to her was that of practicality

Black has many connotations and can trigger powerful reactions from provocative, the dark arts through to a more pure observation of a nun’s habit and the use of mourning dress. The observance of mourning dress reached its peak during Queen Victoria’s reign where as well as showing respect, wearing all black reflected a family’s wealth and social position and Queen Victoria, as a widow, wore black for 40 years until her death, in homeage to her beloved husband.

The LBD has proven everyone wrong over time and has remained  a fashion staple decade after decade. Yes the silhouette and the fabric of the dress has changed to suit the style of the times however it continually proves that it can be reinvented and remains a favourite, the thing about any little black dress that remains the same is the fact they share the same timeless quality. There have been many style icons who have shown the versatility of the little black dress alongside the impact one can have, the likes of Elizabeth Hurley, Hilary Clinton and Princess Diana have had their fashion moments in a LBD and I bet you can all remember them!

People wear black for many reasons from fashion statement, for its slimming affects, to contrast with blonde or just because its easy and it looks cool. It is a seasonless, all year round colour staple in many wardrobes and, as the Audrey Hepburn quote above eludes too, there is nothing chicer than a black dress in the summer. The black dress is a perfect interview outfit, everyday piece or party piece, the good old faithful have you got yours?

We have the Ultimate Black dress in our Luciana styles that will take you from day to evening effortlessly with the two belt options and the most stunning black tie worthy dress in the Portia.  The Audrey Hepburn styling of a little black dress still lives on however I think today’s take on that would be with boots and a biker jacket personally. What would you choose and what do you look for in your perfect little black dress? Do let us know your thoughts

She raised the little black dress to an art form. She taught us how to wear it once and for all, not with fussy fuchsia print scarves, but with simple pearls, a black hat and a long, black cigarette holder” Ellen Melinkoff What we Wore about Audrey Hepburn

Dress Codes

Sometimes dressing for an event can be a bit of a minefield as there are different dress codes for different types of events. Our beautiful silk dresses will cover all occasions and events for you this summer giving you that feminine, elegant look that makes an understated statement yet still abiding by the dress codes. Check out our guide below and ensure you follow all the rules when dressing for different events this summer…

The Races

Opting for some fun and frolics at the races this spring/summer? Well make sure you are suitably dressed as there is a specific dress code to be followed here. There are many race events across the country however the largest most prestigious is Ascot

Ascot Racecourse can refuse entry to anyone who has not followed the dress code and is ‘dressed inappropriately’. In the Royal enclosure the minimum length of a dress or skirt hemline must reach just above the knee, while dresses and top straps have to measure at least one inch in width. Strapless, off the shoulder and halterneck styles are not allowed. Hats should be worn however take note that fascinators or head pieces that do not have a solid base that covers a 4” area of the head are also not allowed. Jumpsuits however are a new addition to the acceptable dress code, so long as they are full length and follow the sleeve and strap guidelines. Jackets, cover ups and pashminas may be worn however the rules for the dresses underneath the cover ups must still be followed. For the Queen Anne, Village and Windsor enclosure the rules are less rigid but a dress code must still be followed

Henley Regatta

Henley regatta is another important British event in the social calendar. Henley is known to be one of the strictest dress codes which is established to ‘Maintain the atmosphere of an English garden party of the Edwardian Period’ Unlike Ascot, where the strictest rules apply only to the Royal enclosure, at Henley the rules apply throughout. Ladies attending the Regatta on Temple Island and in the Stewards’ enclosure are required to wear dresses, skirts or suits; no trousers are allowed. It is also customary to wear hats

Henley Festival

The Henley Festival encourages their guests to get dressed up to the nines and is ‘strictly black tie …but think James bond’. For Black tie think dinner jackets, bow ties and cummerbunds for the gents and long or short evening dresses for the ladies. Casual attire is not permitted and you will be refused entry to the event if you are not dressed appropriately. Our Maxi length dresses would be perfect for a black tie event particularly our glamourous Portia Blush Maxi or the Viola Print Maxi

Inspiration for Design – a recent Exhibition

Trend forecasters predict what we will be wearing, watching, eating and even where we will be going both in the short and long term future. In the fashion industry there are many subscription services offered to support design teams in their quest to deliver on trend ranges sought after by the consumer.  These trend forecasters take inspiration and collect data from all over the world and can segment the upcoming trends as global movements or localised trends happening in one particular country or even specific to one particular city. Each brand will interpret trends to suit their style and brand values, as not all will be relevant, and the execution of a trend will also differ depending on the level of the market that brand is pitched and their target customer.

Designers work at least 6 months ahead of the season, sometimes even further ahead depending on the business model they are working to. They take inspiration from everywhere pulling together trends through a mood or feeling based on what is going on around them. Whether it be through travelling to a new destination and seeing a new culture, a big event, current film or exhibition right down to on the street current style trends and, in today’s world, social media influencers. Trends come and go and are also reinvented season in season out to feel new and different however there are certain things that remain consistent, like the little black dress, for example.

I personally am obsessed with flowers and floral prints and this is something that has been on trend in fashion in several guises from ditsy florals to painterly or digital florals for sometime. They rarely go ‘out of fashion’ but sometimes feature more prominently depending on the wider trends. Inspiration for floral prints comes generally from nature or artworks. I have followed the work of Rebecca Louise Law and seen many images of her hanging floral installations for some time now and have also seen this style of floral decoration popping up as wedding theme decor on Pinterest and Instagram so it felt really new and relevant as a print style.

Rebecca Louise Law recently featured at Kew Gardens with her ‘Life and Death’ exhibition and I was lucky enough to go and see her work in person and it was truly breath taking. She is passionate about the process of natural change and preservation, allowing her work to evolve as nature takes its course offering an alternative concept of beauty, so the hanging style installations are designed to start fresh and then slowly dry. Her inspiration for this style of installation actually came when she started suspending flowers to dry them for other works and she saw the strength of the change in perspective. Life and death has been created using her personal collection of preserved flowers, saved over the past decade, and hand crafted into one thousand garlands suspended in time. Her installations take anything from 1 day to 1 month to complete depending on the size of the space she is working to and she always works to fill the space. When asked what inspires her Law says ‘observing the earth and nature itself inspires me. My parents taught me to appreciate natural beauty from an early age; the way they look at the world has always been an inspiration to me.’

The Viola Hanging floral stem print alongside Rebecca Louise Law’s….. photo source unknown

The Luciana ditsy floral print alongside Rebecca Louise Law’s ‘The flower garden’ photo source unknown

Above you can see our prints alongside images of Law’s work, when designing and selecting our prints we were influenced by her artwork with the floral stem print featured on the Viola dress emulating her hanging installations with the white ground, delicate flower design and hanging effect and the ditsy floral inspired by the mix of floral colours on the dark rich back ground making it very impactful

See our instagram story highlights for more images from Rebecca Louise Law’s ‘Life and Death’ exhibition and Shop the links for the Viola hanging stem print and Luciana ditsy print

Press Coverage

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE LIVING – APRIL 2020

Click here to read the full article on page 82

HERTFORDSHIRE LIVING – APRIL 2019

OX WEDDINGS – FEBRUARY 2019

Click here to read the full article on page 39

 

Click here to see the Sakura Kimono as seen in Ox Wedding

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE LIVING MAGAZINE – JANUARY 2019

FABRIC MAGAZINE – MAY 2018


CONDE NASTE TRAVELLER – MAY 2018


SHEERLUXE – APRIL 2018

Article


LONDON DIPLOMAT – APRIL 2018


DRAPERS RECORD – FEBRUARY 2018

The Importance of the Pocket

I don’t know about you but I love a pocket in a dress, not so I can ‘store’ anything in them, but just to put one hand in. I mean, what do you do with your hands if you don’t have a pocket or a glass of fizz when you are milling round at an event?? A pocket in a dress just makes the look that bit cooler so for that reason all our styles are made with that all important pocket discreetly hidden in the side seams, to give your feminine look that little bit of modern attitude…
It did get me thinking though, why do some dresses have pockets and others don’t and do other people like pockets or is it just me? So, I started googling and found it absolutely amazing what I found. Did you know there are actually websites giving instructions on how to add a pocket to a dress that doesn’t have one? There is also a website (called pocketocracy) whose sole purpose is to highlight brands that include pockets in their designs, there is such a demand for this small but important feature!
I also discovered that historically there is a really interesting story to the use of pockets and that it has always been a topic of great interest or should I say debate with men’s clothing generally always having a good functional pocket and women’s clothing lacking this functionality for many years. It’s good to note here that we perhaps wouldn’t have the purse/clutch bag today if this hadn’t been the case though so silver linings and all!

      
A brief history of the pocket:

Pockets have been a part of fashion and ingrained in society for the last 400 years since the 17th century. Although according to London’s V&A museum women’s clothing didn’t really have internal pockets for most of history. Instead they had purse like items and makeshift pockets that were worn or hung under their dresses making them difficult to access until they added slits into the sides of their voluminous skirts at the time. The pockets were often attached through strings or small belts and the size of these pockets varied. The women used these makeshift pockets for anything from storing trinkets to gin and sometimes even cakes! However, many pockets were stolen – in the 18th and 19th centuries, thieves known as ‘pickpockets’ removed men’s wallets and cut the strings of women’s pockets and there are many court cases documented over this period with detailed discussion on the said ‘pockets’ stolen.
Fashion historian Barbara Burman wrote a whole book on pockets called Pockets of History: The Secret Life of an Everyday Object, and she touched on the pocket situation for women commenting “The frustrations and limitations of women’s access to money and ownership of property were neatly mirrored in the restricted scope of their pockets”. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, in the mid- to late-1800s, women started to rebel with dress patterns adding instructions for sewing pockets into skirts advertising it is being an independent woman. Women also started to take their pocket rights back in the early 1900s when they started wearing pants and with both World Wars came a boom of utilitarian clothing for women who were now working in many of the previously male service and labouring roles so there was a requirement for more ‘practical’ clothing including functional pockets.

Obviously today the majority of women’s clothing carry a pocket so most coats, jackets, trousers, jeans etc however pockets are often left out of a garment for design purposes. For example, if the dress is bodycon or the jeans are so skinny a pocket will be unflattering. This I totally understand, no one wants a pocket that is going to add any bulk to your hip area so the construction, position and size of said pockets is very important. We have really considered this in the design and construction of our dresses even down to the fact you also don’t want to be able to see the pocket bag. They need to be discreet to work properly in a dress but are so worth having in terms of finishing you whole look.

The age old debate to pocket or not to pocket lives on but in a very different form to 400 years ago and more in terms of a personal or design preference, you know my opinion now however I would love to hear your view on this so please do get in touch and let us know what you think and if you like to have a pocket, hate a pocket or if it had never really been something you had considered before.

A Heart For Business – Partnering with The Girls’ Network

Working in the fashion industry for a larger retailer when the going got tough or something went wrong, which it often did, we always used to have the saying ‘we are not saving lives we are just making clothes’ and at the end of the day it is so true! So how, when my passion and new business plan was still ‘just making clothes’, could I possibly make a difference?

Obviously creating a brand and product that delivered very happy customers was a good place to start. There is something to be said for that feeling of happiness and confidence that buying a new dress, that is totally gorgeous, covers all your criteria and fits you perfectly gives. That million dollar feeling every time you put it on and the compliments that make you feel on top of the world. I love the fact that my brand could possibly give lots of women that feeling however this still did not seem enough and I knew I wanted to do more, to give something back to make it all worthwhile.

Linking up with a charity seemed like the best way to give something back, however which one?  There are so many amazing charities to choose from, so how was I going to pick one and what was the connection? Again, I was still looking for something meaningful where I could really make a difference so I started a list and realised it consisted of all the very well known charities that had a lot of support and my start up brands contribution would be a drop in the ocean to begin with.

I then came across an article in the Stylist magazine that really captured my attention…

‘When Mentoring Becomes a Feminist Movement’ Becca Dean & Charly Young with their mission to unleash the potential of disadvantaged girls, why mentoring is the movement we should get involved in. 

www.thegirlsnetwork.org.uk

‘Unlimited futures for all young women’

As I read the article I realised this was the perfect partnership, for years I have been dressing professional and established women and wanting to offer them that outfit that gives them the confidence boost to go out and take on the world, so helping girls to realise their potential that may not have the confidence or the backing they need to go out into that big world felt like the perfect fit. I also hoped it would spark engagement and interest with you as my customers, as you may have daughters younger or of a similar age and therefore feel a strong connection with the work that Becca and Charly were doing with their charity The Girls’ Network.

Their mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and a network of positive female role models. They believe that all girls have the right to be able to access the best opportunities available, and should not be limited by their gender or where they come from. They believe all girls should be able to set high aspirations, to discover their self-worth and to develop their capacity to shape their world. If they cannot see any women doing a job they aspire to, then its very difficult to believe that they can get there themselves.

The beauty of the charity is that I could also sign up as a mentor and try and use some of my experience to directly help one of these girls, so I wouldn’t just be sitting back and making donations and feeling like I had done my bit I would be able to get fully involved with the great work they were doing. I am now fully signed up and waiting to be paired up with my future Mentee and the plan is that I will work with them over the next year, with 10 sessions, and help them to figure out where and what they want to be and support them with how they can do it. There are some huge decisions to be made at a point they are still so young and without support in their own lives they may feel like they have no options.

I am so excited to be working with this charity as well as offering a donation with every sale we make, which as a start up in the beginning will maybe not be the biggest amount however is a step in the right direction and to me is a meaningful collaboration, which as my business hopefully grows, will grow and will also hopefully spread the word about this amazing charity

The statistics:

*60,000 more girls than boys are not in education employment or training

*Only 33% of girls feel confident about their future

*50% of girls on the programme had no close relatives or family who have attended University (parents or siblings)

*Between 75-95% of the girls on the programme increased resilience, confidence, motivation and self belief

The success of The Girls’ Network comes from the energy and commitment of hundreds of women and girls who are brought together through the charity to inspire one another and change futures

www.smartworks.org.uk

‘Get the clothes. Get the confidence. Get the job’

I have also decided to support Smart works charity which helps women back into work by not only styling and dressing candidates for interview but also providing them with interview practise and coaching, as we receive so many samples as part of the development process we will be donating any samples no longer required to the charity to support the great work they are doing getting women back into work, as I said earlier the importance of dressing women and making them feel amazing is still important and this charity is actually ‘saving lives’ or turning lives around by dressing them

I think both charities have an amazing ethos and women helping and supporting other women has always been something I have been passionate about. Please do take a look at these great charities and support them if you can.

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