CALVIN KLEIN BY RAF SIMMONS SS18

I tried you guys. I tried really hard. I looked regular ways, sideways, upside down. I just wasn't into it. I'm not someone who gets a kick out of being a Negative Nancy and this is no attempt to bring someone down or their work. There were some great pieces and some amazing looks but, overall, it just wasn't for me and that's perfectly A-OK. If we all loved everything, the world would be a really strange place. Right? Right.

DISHOOM

I've never been to India so I can't say that I've had real, authentic Indian food but I know good food when I see it (and taste it).

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I first tried Dishoom last year but only recently went for breakfast and it was everything that I could've imagined and more.

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MASALA BEANS YOU GUYS. I wasn't ready. 

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"No Petting (heavy)" 

OK, pause for minute. I've only just noticed that the last the word "caste" has been crossed out on the list of rules. I've been aware of the meaning of this word for as long as I've been aware of racial and cultural differences. 

"Half-caste" (*wince*) is a misused, outdated term used in this country to describe people of bi-racial parentage (typically black and white). A quick search on google gave a more accurate definition:

Each of the hereditary classes of Hindu society, distinguished by relative degrees of ritual purity or pollution and of social status

Typically, the caste system was pretty divisive so this is an awesome nod to inclusivity.

[ Note: No apologies for digression. These things are always worth highlighting. ]

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The interiors and the atmosphere are always great and there are so many good options for veggies and vegans. I love sitting and observing the chaos. ORDER THE CHAIJITO.

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This dress is an eBay cop (speaking of which, I'm selling some Alexander Wang, Margaret Howell and Comme Des Garçon pieces here). 

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I was looking for a decent quality slip dress but wasn't prepared to commit to the price in case I wasn't feeling it but this one from Mango (via ebay) ended up being perfect. I styled it over a plain white Dickies tshirt, Gucci Princetown loafers and my favourite Edwin leather jacket (similar here).

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Hats and sunglasses are my favourite way to accessorise. I wear both pretty much every day. This fedora is an oldie from Primark (similar here) but I'd really like to go find a stockist and try all of Janessa Leone's hats. They look so cool! Sunglasses are Monokel.

If you're ever in London and you're stuck for somewhere to visit/want to try Indian food, I'd definitely recommend Dishoom! In fact, I'm headed there this evening...

RACHEL COMEY SS18

How is it Fashion Month already? And already half way through New York Fashion Week at that?!

Alrighty, you know the craic. I'll be reviewing fashion shows and presentations on my Instagram stories (make sure you're following!) as well as sharing the highlights and the not-so highlights with you here.

First up to bat is Rachel Comey. Leggo!

ALL SUMMER '17

This summer was intense, to say the least. I spent a lot of time, working on bettering myself and furthering my career. There was frustration and some doors were closed but invaluable lessons were learned. You can't put a price on that.

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As we move into September, I look forward to the last quarter of the year with excitement for a couple of trips that I have coming up - NYC and Bali, Indonesia! New York is my home from home from home but I always discover new thing every time I visit. I've never been to Bali before! I cannot tell you how excited I am to explore somewhere new. 

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What're your plans for the last quarter? Where are you going - literally and figuratively?

Ok, gotta go walk the neighbours dog...

(PS: Glossier starts shipping to the UK rill rill soon! Are your pumped? What're you looking forward to getting your hands on??)

Hat - Nike x Skepta

Sweatshirt - Glossier (gift)

Skirt - Edwin Europe (old, similar here)

Sneakers - Converse One Star (old, similar here)

Sunglasses - Monokel Eyewear

SHEER POLKA

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I'd be wearing a sheer shirt.  

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Not at all. However, I saw this cute top on Lizzy Hadfield of Shot From The Street and loved the look so much that I wanted to recreate it with personal touch (let's not pretend like we were the first ever to create "xyz" look. We all draw inspiration from somewhere!).

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I styled it with a loose fitting, black sports bra underneath (i'm also wearing a regular bra), cropped Khaki's and a leather jacket. Summer weather in London is...unpredictable to say the least so I always layer. 

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This leather cap is from eBay. A few seasons ago, Acne had a satin baseball cap that looked as though it was leather and I decided I needed it. It's been a great accessory whilst growing out my hair. The sneakers are Adidas Hamburg's. 

H&M STUDIO FW17

It's never news to me when I see pieces from the runway in fast fashion stores - that's the idea of fast fashion, after all. However, it still doesn't sit quite right with me when I can walk through a collection and name the brands that have been "duped". 

Dupes. Duplications. Directlycopiedinabootlegmanner. 

I've spoken about the perils of fast-fashion before and will openly admit that yes, I occasionally still consume from these outlets but I try to be conscientious when doing so. Nothing is new, we all see and learn from the things that have come before us but when X can directly copy Y AND capitalise in the same way or even more? Issa problem. Especially when it's niche, independent designers. The big conglomerates are not without sin, of course (see my previous post re Gucci/Dapper Dan fiasco)  but intellectual property n all that.

A few years back, H&M segmented their womenswear offering by introducing H&M Studio - a slightly more directional, "premium" line (read: expensive, I can't attest to the quality as I'm yet to make a purchase).  It's always caught my eye but it's not available in many of their stores so unless I'm in town, I don't feel particularly inclined to check it out.

Their FW17 offering is probably one of the best Studio collections that  I've seen to date. Here's a peek at the lookbook...

See the full lookbook on Refinery29. Collection launches mid-September.

MAISON MARGIELA - HAUTE COUTURE FW2017

I'm just going to say direct. I struggle to get my head around couture. But with a brand like Margiela, it all makes sense because Margiela (& a handful of other brands) IS couture to me. Let's take a look a the FW17 Haute Couture collection, shall we?

I THREW AWAY MY WISHLIST

"In the bin" is probably something I say at least 35 times per day. If someone's in trouble, they're "in the bin". Too turnt? Wasted? In. The. Bin. I even learned how to say it in French - Dans la poubelle - because my French friend found it hilarious.

So, I threw away my wishlist. Not my Amazon wishlist, that's mostly comprised of books, things that I need for my house or nail related products that are absolutely necessary. I mean the excel document (avec formulas because I'm a psycho) of expensive stuff that I like but really don't need, nor can I afford. 

Last summer, I read Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning and, for a few weeks, I was really inspired to create the life I wanted for myself. I made moodboards, visionboards, meditated, worked out, made lists and meditated on the things that I wanted. Things like a Mercedes G Wagon, a sick flat in London, more shmoney, THINGS.

There were other, less materialistic things on my meticulously photoshopped moodboardT like "getting better at Yoga" and, to be honest, that's the only thing that's materialised. My Yoga has improved a lot in a really short space of time, thanks to dedication and my two amazing teachers, Laura & Holly!

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I think I've shared this before but when the other things didn't materialise, I became disheartened and switched off.

"Fuggit".

I've maintained yoga, gotten rid of a lot of things and tried to declutter but I still bought a lot stuff.

After a very emotional June (I'm so glad to see the other side of Gemini season), I took a moment and decided not to become overwhelmed by what can only be described as dumb sh*t. I would trawl through Instagram, taking screen grabs of my fave accounts, ladies with dope style, dope shoes, dope bags, dope things. I didn't understand why I was unable to obtain those things, even though I work hard? But, I mean, how hard am I working? Does doing a little extra here & there constitute hard work? Yes, pat yourself on the back, congratulate yourself and treat yo'self for damn sure. "Always give credit where credit is due, Jimmy?" (- Chopper).

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I've been experimenting...

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HOWEVER, since turning a corner at the beginning of July and meditating every day, I've become a lot more calm. It's given me headspace to evaluate where I am in my life, where I want to be and I'm slowly figuring out the path I'm going to take, without the distraction of said things

Yes, I love clothes and shoes and bags and designer fashion but wish list, for now, you are not my priority. You'll remain dans la poubelle until further notice and, if I'm able to cop some red Gucci loafers or some Celine sunnies or a cute bag along the way? Well, that'd be cool too, I guess.

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With that said, I took a day away from my to-do list to spend time with my dude and see some art. We hit the Tate, ate some lunch and took a stroll around The City on a quiet Sunday evening, sans millions of tourists. 

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"Monument" by Susan Hiller

CHANEL - HAUTE COUTURE FW2017

Oh, Chanel. Chanel, Chanel, Chanel...Or should I be saying "Karl, Karl, Karl"? 

There's this weird pressure on girls and women to aspire to be that girl that has the CHANEL 2.5 bag, the ballerinas, the perfume. Don't get me wrong, I like it but I'm not sure that I LOVE it.

The classic quilted bags are so beautiful, the footwear is great and I rinsed Mademoiselle in my early 20's. I even love going to Paris and seeing the older Parisian ladies, tottering around with their perfectly maintained tweed jackets.

I hate the boy bag, No.5 is gross and I struggle to part with money for the things that I DO love. It's not like I even have 3 bags to spend on...a bag but you get what I'm saying?

With that said, Karl seems to be keeping things...ticking over. The last few shows have been at incredible venues with beautiful installations and this season was no different. Peep the gallery below to see my review of the collection! 

Images via Vogue.com

GURLSTALK FESTIVAL

This past weekend, I attended (after a 2hr long wait...don't worry, it doesn't end badly) Adwoah Aboah's GURLTALK festival in collaboration with Coach. Normally, I'd be reluctant to attended anything that involves audience participation alone but I told myself "gurl, you're 31 years old. go."

Whilst waiting in line for two hours, I got talking to some of the girls around me. We were all a little disgruntled that we'd been waiting so long but, after a while, the conversation turned from "i heard that it's one in one out", and "they should've done xyz" to laughing and joking about the things that girls laugh and joke about. Periods, Patriarchy and the phenomenon of unwavering cynicism that only gets more intense as you get older & how we somehow manage to just keep on going, even though we're drowning in the f*cksh*t.

The girls were ages 20-23, smart, beautiful, strong individuals and if I took anything away from the event (besides the perfume and cute pin badges, thanks Coach!), it was that it's my responsibility to make the world a better place for them so that they can thrive. Whilst eating my Bone Daddies Ramen, dolo, I decided to do everything that I can to better their experience of womanhood.

AURETA

I'm a creative, 31 year old female with a modest bank account, not much in the way of savings, an insatiable appetite for travel and "nice things". I draw inspiration from everywhere, my surroundings, places and people. Definitely people.

Social Media is great but it often has us doubting ourselves, our abilities or over critiquing and holding ourselves to unrealistic standards of beauty, fashion, lifestyle and the rest (see my previous post about it here). It's all about perspective though, amiright?

Let me introduce you Aureta Thomollari  - an Albanian-American luxury consultant and curator with impeccable taste. Her Instagram page is a mixture of personal style, travel and  art and I'm entirely here for it. I featured Aureta on my Instagram stories and saved it to share here too so get to scrolling! 

Be sure to check out Aureta's Instagram here and follow me for more fashion and lifestyle content here

MOI NO PLUS

"Me niether"

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J'Taime Shirt - Daryl Studio, Pants - Topshop (similar here), sneakers - ADIDAS Samba Spezial (gift, here)

JUNE 2017

Gemini season. I'm naturally drawn to Gemini folk (my mother, my boyfriend, his son and my ex are all twin signs) but I always find this time of year to be really challenging. Nevertheless, we must be thankful for the good and the bad. The latter teaches us invaluable lessons!

Lipstick - Mac Matte in Ruby Woo, Red Eye Shadow - Kiko Milano in Matte Poppy Red (similar here), Eyelid Gloss - Bobbi Brown in Nude

I cycle past this vintage Chevrolet truck on Broadway Market every day. 

Tried on some Cèline sunnies in Harrods after visiting the Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition (my recap here). 

Left- Cèline Eva (similar here), Right, Cèline Kate (similar here)

I've been doing my own gel manicures for over a year now and tend to keep it pretty simple but it was fun to switch it up a bit. Here's a thorough tutorial that I followed on Youtube. The only thing I did differently was omit the matte coats and I added some extra details with some  gold chrome powder because I'm extra.

When you and your homie are hard, so you gotta rock the hard stance but you're also varying degrees of Larry David...

We went to a Puffy style White Party. I don't have a lot of formal white clothing so I wore my Stan Ray painter pants (here) with a Nike sports bra as a top (similar, discounted version here), gold mules from Topshop (here), an old Edwin jacket from 5 years ago (similar here) and some awesome hoops from Wolf & Gypsy Vintage in Brighton (DM them for mailorder, they're super helpful).

My gunna, my pahhhtna, my hitter, Kirby aka @dumphimpress. Check out her Instagram for an awesome zine on why you should probably "Dump Him" and some cute pins to boot.

June was a really tough month here in London, especially with the General Election, Grenfell Tower Tragedy and two terror attacks in as many weeks but we're still here, my people are well and safe, I've been more stressed than usual but when I look at the bigger picture can't complain. I'm ready for Leo season...or am I?

 

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

Rebel From Birth is an online platform that celebrates young women, living by their own rules so when Olu was down to collaborate with me on an editorial, I hit the ground, running.

When Olu was my intern, I was forever schooling him on what it was like for me, growing up and how I'm seeing things come full circle in 2017. I wanted to explore the historical relationship between the 90's skater punk aesthetic and classic streetwear brands.

I wasn’t an outsider, I identified with many groups. I was one of the few black people in my school listening to “alternative” music. I was discovering punk, metal and grunge as well as attending under 18 garage raves and learning to play bass guitar. The variety of music that I consumed was a  huge influence on how I dressed. 

For me, my (’97-’00) was the golden era of music television- MTV2 (alt), MTV Bass (“urban”), VH1 (classics & reality). I wanted to look like a mash up of the people I saw on The Real World, Aaliyah and my peers who were into skating and playing in bands. We wore wide jeans, fabric covering our cumbersome skate shoes and dragging on the floor, with Marilyn Manson shirts.

Or Mini skirts and dresses with fishnets and Adidas Superstars because Korn wore them and had a song named “A.D.I.D.A.S”. Those or Puma States (now known as Puma Suedes).

I was watching Gwen Stefani play punk inspired pop music in a tea dress, tartan pants and cropped tank tops. I was also watching singers like Kelis yell “I Hate You So Much Right Now” (when you’re young, this is punk) with a huge blonde afro with brightly coloured tips and Pharell (aka "Skateboard P”) rock J-orts (jean shorts) and sport socks.

I wore dickies and Chuck Taylors because I was obsessed with Chino Moreno and, well, if I couldn’t marry him, I could dress like him at the very least? Still, I always felt like an oddball because I didn’t fit inside a particular box. 

Fast forward to 2017 - studs, space buns, black lipstick, rainbow colour hair, facial piercings and oversized pants have come full circle. Chris Brown is wearing a leather jacket covered in studs and patches from bands he’s never heard of (Or has he?) and everyone is mad at Kanye for wearing a Megadeath shirt but how do we know that Rust In Pieces isn’t his most played record?

31 year old me, looking back at 13, 14 and 15 year old me sees so much of my personal evolution reflected in current trends. Here, we see how classic sports and streetwear brands have always been a part of the alt aesthetic.

Art Direction & Styling: Tennesha Vanterpool / @nieshvanterpool
Photography: Joseph Gainsborough / @gainsborg
Hair & Makeup: Olivia Cochrane / @oliviacochranemakeup

LOVE4GRENFELL

Two weeks on and there are still no words to describe the tragedy of Grenfell Tower so I'm not even going to begin to try. 

@Love4Grenfell are selling shirts to raise funds for the victims and residents. You can cop yours here for £10.