Things you ought to know

London is a notorious concoction of culture and class – I absolutely love it! Everything about it just takes my breath away – and the fashion is something to truly behold.

I could walk down the tube station absolutely stark naked and no one would think twice, they’d probably just nod at me and then proceed on to their next destination. So while I’ve been walking along cobbled streets and little red telephone booths – armed with my South African accent and a Laminated map torn out of my “Tour guide to London” – I’ve been aggressively ticking off things on my London to-do list. Through my pub-hopping escapades, exhaustative exploring and countless trips on the tube, I can’t help but establish a distinguished style that correlates throughout most Brits. My love of lists has therefore encouraged yet another one:

Things you ought to know before you come to London.

Disclaimer: the following list is highly opinionated and stereotypical. If you don’t agree – that’s totally up to you !

 

  1. Never judge a confident London Lass.

The ones who are willing to flaunt their legs in an H&M miniskirt when the temperature is close to snow-fall and the wind is howling directly into their face. Support them. Back them. They have more confidence than you could probably ever hope for in your wildest dreams! Let them be.

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My friend Paula and I trying to get a good shot of the London Eye – clearly we both failed haha

 

  1. Coats.

To be honest I absolutely couldn’t give a blue moon what I look like when I’m in 1’C weather– just as long as I’m warm. I started out wearing 2 layers of thermals (double top AND double bottom), a down-feather jacket, a woolen scarf and my dad’s 30 year old army jacket – and guess what? I was still shivering cold and grumpy as hell. I’m a wuss in the cold, don’t judge, but nothing can quite prepare you for the horrorful wind-breeze that sweeps through London. It’s a cold that hits you to your bones – and then eventually hits you right in the center of your soul. Therefore – do yourself a favour and get a good coat, one lined with animal fur and hot water bottles and even thermal underwear.

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Buckingham Palace Baby! To be honest I found this to be rather disappointing in real life!

 

  1. British men dress well; appreciate it.

Sitting on the tube is like fashion week in itself and I can’t help but be super impressed with the level of eloquence with which British men dress. Most of them have got the rugged-tailored-gentleman look down to a tee– it’s remarkable. As I sat in the tube last week I couldn’t help but acknowledge that British men just do it well – from the quality shoes they wear to the impeccable coats that complete their outfits, it’s a job well done indeed. Tailored clothing is for British men what cigarettes and coffee are for British women.

 

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Portobello Road, Notting Hill

  1. Guys can wear scarfs, too!

I remember when my mum bought my brother a scarf a few years ago – oh dear lord did she get shut down! My brother flat out refused to wear it. Here, it’s more a necessity than anything and it looks so incredible and work-chic.

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Westminister Station

  1. No more flip flops, thanks!

British men have a serious thing for shoes – that much is clear. The uber British lad is always adorned with his leather loafers and perhaps this is a slight improvement to the guys back in SA who wear flip flops even though they clearly shouldn’t let any ray of sunlight see their gruesome toe-nails. I’ll never forget my favourite English teacher in Grade 12 telling us all how she actually left a guy on a date because his feet were just so disgusting, haha I will ALWAYS remember her telling us the story!

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St Paul’s Cathedral

  1. British women don’t care.

There’s a carefree confidence that British women behold that distinguishes them apart from the rest of the world. Since being in London I’ve acknowledged that there is indeed a sense of judgmentalism that is ever-apparent in South African fashion. British women are stoked to wear whatever the heck they want – and I really like that. They unashamedly exhibit their personalities through their clothing, it’s absolutely refreshing to be in a city that just doesn’t hold back.

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Even the Lampposts in London are feasts for the eyes

In all honesty – I have been horrified at some of the atrocities I’ve seen people wear. But I quite like that, too.  London has taught me to shake off my judgmental attitude and learn to appreciate the eccentrics of fashion that London displays to its inhabitants day in, day out. Come here with an open mind (and a large wallet, might I add!) and London will be sure to show you a good time.

HH

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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

“There’s always fashion. It’s a basic human instinct. And it’s very much about humanity and freedom, and it’s not very superficial at all.”

Vanessa Friedman

Cape Town is the epicentre of some of the most stylish and eccentric people on earth. The city’s pulse is beating with an unfathomable amount of colour that I can’t help but consistently stand back and be mesmerized by it. It is Cape Town who has empowered me to appreciate the beauty of fashion– and it is Cape Town who has revealed to me that fashion isn’t as superficial as I’d first thought.

Fashion is dumbed down as an industry of smoke and mirrors – and even though I agree that indeed its depth is certainly not that profound, I acknowledge that it’s much more than merely a concoction of trend forecasts and colour sheet predictions. The industry’s impact on society in general is long lasting and shockingly distinctive. To be honest I used to be embarrassed to be so interested in fashion because I knew that the automatic assumption would be that I was therefore shallow, narcissistic and inauthentic. After getting over myself, I’ve since recognized that fashion is a form of humanity that is instinctual in all of us and more significantly is very much part our freedom of thought and self-expression.

While I admit that my love of clothes makes for an expensive retail therapy habit – I acknowledge that fashion is a form of creativity and expression that goes far beyond what meets the eye. I don’t always intend to heavily analyze people’s dress sense too seriously (I’ll be honest I do find myself looking people up and down in a much too obvious manner sometimes but I’m working on that okay!) but I can’t help but perceive the correlation between one’s personality and their style.

Fashion is a powerful entity that marks society. It’s even traceable through history – from the Egyptians, the Indians, the Incas and the African’s and their tribal-wear. Adorning the body is therefore an insurmountable human need – proving to be nothing superficial at all unless of course you’re excessively materialistic.

What’s more is that fashion as an art form in itself has the intense power to evoke social transformation and experiment with ideas surrounding sexuality and body image. The thing that really bothers me though, is that people are very supercilious towards fashion. The industry consists of many hard-working, talented and highly intelligent people who take what they do very seriously. There is a huge amount of responsibility that goes into sending clothes down the runway season after season. The ordinary person sees nice clothes, but the industry professional sees a myriad of talents and languages sewn together to express an underlying message.

When I look at labels such as Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors I appreciate the power of fashion because these labels have empowered not only a select few women, but generations of them.  The ordinary (well-endowed, might I add!) consumer of fashion powerhouses often satisfies themselves in the untold empowerment and confidence that these expertly made clothes give them. Whether it is rich unemployed housewives seeking comfort in the therapy of shopping or independent women who work hard for their capital – it’s undeniable that there is a certain power that all people seek through clothing.

Fashion has also transformed into a hybrid of technology and art – with houses such as Hermes merging with companies such as Apple for their new iWatch. That’s groundbreaking because it’s a testimony to the power of fashion: fashion is no longer merely what we wear anymore. It’s what we see, what we do and most importantly: how we do it. The fashion industry in the UK alone is worth over 28 Billion pounds – making it bigger than even the automotive industry!

Ultimately, fashion is an elevated form of art that speaks of society far more than perhaps we give it credit for, and this is why it’s not as superficial as you’d perhaps first thought.

I can’t wait to learn more about the fashion industry this year. I am living in London (moving there this week!) and I plan on doing lots of writing yeaaaah! Bring on 2016 baybeeee!!!

Happy New Year fashion bunnies 🙂

Lemmeno your thoughts

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