HYMN LONDON

This has actually taken longer than expected……I found myself at the HYMN London launch party a few months ago just after I got the initial idea for my blog. Determined to ensure this range was to become one that I would showcase I started talking to everyone I could. I finally met the press officer for Joy stores and both her and a colleague have been excellent  ever since.

Ben6

Joy stores never really had a standout men’s range, but with Hymn the tides are definitely changing.

They have created a range with a premium feel at more affordable prices.

It’s classic with interesting detail, mainly seen in the buttons and stitching.

I was able to get all sides as to what it took to get to that faithful launch event.

Enjoy the read…….

For those aspiring designers out there i was able to get some very valuable insight from Dylan who’s is a buyer for JOY Stores & Katy who actually designed the range.

Tom Leamon1Sam Mason1

Dylan – Buyer

For those not in the know, can you give a quick summary of what fashion buying entails?

The most important thing is to buy with your customer in mind – it means spending time in your own stores, in order to understand your customer’s shopping habits. A great deal of time is spent monitoring sales data to see the reaction to the latest styles and catering the brand mix accordingly, but occasionally you need to have the confidence to take a risk and try something new which you hope will appeal to your customer base.

What do you look for when picking up a new designer/piece?

One tries to find a balance between a brand that complements the range that we have in store, but which also has a consistent point of difference so that it will stand out and draw customers in.

What do you feel is required to become a successful fashion designer?

Creative flair, organisation, a keen eye for detail and lots of elbow grease!

What is your favourite piece from the collection?

I love Stites, it’s a chambray one pocket shirt in a deep indigo wash, with a fantastic fit.

Do you have any advice for all the up and coming talent out there?

Identify stores that your brand will sit well in; try and build a relationship with buyers so that they’re willing to give you a chance and don’t give up!

Katy – Designer

What made you decide to go into fashion design?

As a teenager I liked the idea of boys clothes on girls. As I grew I started to design clothes for myself but on men. I still do that today.

What is the inspiration behind your current range?

Everything nautical. Starting a new brand called out for a classic theme.

What is your is your signature/favourite piece from the current range?

The Donald jacket. I love the fabric with the contrast colour coating. It’s by far the easiest piece in the collection to wear and carry around.

What struggles do/did you face as an upcoming designer?

Acceptance

What do you enjoy most about being a designer?

That feeling when an idea pops in to your head and you run with it and it works. Best feeling in the world.

Do you have any advice for upcoming/emerging designers?

Stay true to your style. Obviously you need to be flexible and design for your customer, but you need to be passionate about the product your designing. Also don’t turn your nose up at designing for a supplier. This is where I learnt my most valuable design knowledge, and it makes you super organised.

If you could sum up what it takes to make it in fashion design in one word what would it be?

Determination

What does the future hold for Katy? 

Hopefully growth and stronger collections at HYMN. And a lottery win.

Hymn Jacket

JOY Stores are currently stocking the range, and it can be found here.

New season has just been released, photos to follow.

Advertisements

Crown Rose

So I hear its almost summer time in London. Everybody is harbouring thoughts of putting the winter wardrobe away and getting out the t-shirts, shorts & flip flops. Don’t even get me started on the holiday season……

For those of you as excited as me to finally get some consistent sunshine, you definitely need to check out Crown Rose.

Crown Rose UK are a London based contemporary Swimwear and Lounge wear brand. They specialise in providing African print Swimwear and Lounge wear for both Women & Men. The brand was established in early 2013 in an aim to make African traditional  prints accessible in a popular and diverse market. The brand represents contemporary style and tradition and produces a range of diverse designs with niche patterned swimwear fabrics.

Image
Women’s Range Africa Fashion Week

The name Crown Rose looks to express the strength behind the vision of the brand. It encapsulates royal traditions and the class and flair of contemporary style.

They use traditional prints from both Ghana and Nigeria (Ankara & Kente) are are used to inspire and create patterns which are then transferred onto swimwear suitable fabrics. They have a diverse range of designs to cater to a variety of customers. They also offer a custom range that aims to make each piece as unique and personal as possible to give their customers something that is exclusive to them.

Available sizes: 8 – 16 ‘Aqua De Jewel’

18 – 24 ‘De Arc Range’

Prices: Women £36 – £60.

Men’s Shorts £25.

Men’s Tops £15.

Crown Rose was founded by two young ladies Nikky and Miriam, originally from Nigeria but born and raised in the UK. They combined their love for contemporary swimwear fashion and their cultural backgrounds to create a brand that stands out from anything that is currently available on the market. Through exploring traditional colours, prints and designs from their African heritage, they infused culture and class to create a contemporary yet traditional brand.

Image
Miriam & Nikky

I had the pleasure of catching up with Miriam, she explained how all this was born out of one faithful day, watching a creative show(which she does not recall). She claims she is not very creative but Crown Rose proves otherwise. After some research she realised that there was a huge gap in the market and not much competition, so they decided to create something a little different with a African print on trend. As long as it is bright colourful and different she believes it is something that will never go off trend.

They have been getting some amazing coverage including Africa Fashion week & CNN inside Africa.

Here is a link to the Africa Fashion week show.

Image
Women’s Range Africa Fashion Week

As with many up & coming designers funding has been and issue, they are currently looking for funding so definitely get out there and support them.

Hopefully once this is secured they can move onto the next phase, luxury lines, Holiday wear, beach wear etc…..

Asked to sum up Crown Rose in one word, she looks at me smiles gently and says “Afro Centric/Afro Temporary”.

If you are as excited as me and can’t wait for the full launch, follow the link to join their mailing list.

As always feedback and comments welcome.

Awl & Sundry

It’s time to have faith in your sole. Awl & Sundry the made-to-order shoemaker finally launches today 24th March.

Who says you can’t get exactly what you want…..If you don’t believe that Awl & Sundry is here to prove otherwise.

Awl & Sundry is a new shoe brand based in New York, which is the first completely customisable made-to-order men’s shoe company.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Nikunj the founder of Awl & Sundry who believes shoemaking to be an art that requires a certain amount of craftsmanship.

We talk a little about the inspiration behind the company.

This is a man I can tell likes to dress well, coming from the financial services industry he has always prided himself on looking sharp. However he quickly realised there were only 2 types of shoes in the market:

  1. High end bespoke shoes costing upwards of $2000, which as you can imagine, not everyone can afford.

  2. Mass produced brands created on assembly lines, using corrected or flaux leather.

Nikunj then saw an opportunity to bring the customer something in between, which is ‘Bespoke quality products at the price of a mass produced brand’.

A & S uses a process called Handsewn Goodyear Welt.

Please click here for a video link on how the shoes are made.

Awl & Sundry is not only a brand, but a collaborative platform through which individuals build their own brand. They empower guys to express themselves through the medium responsible for 99% of their first impressions, their fresh kicks.

While most shoe companies offer a handful of styles in a few select colours and the “normal” sizes, A & S are one of the pioneers in delivering the offline, made-to-order model, online.

They use cutting-edge 3D modeling, which offers unparalleled customization. Designers, as we like to call our members, can select:

  • Style (Oxford, Derby, Monks, Loafer)

  • Shape

  • Design features (Toe, Vamp, Eyestays, Back)

  • Shade of leather (29 in all)

  • Texture of leather (Calf plain, Calf suede, Calf grain, Ostrich, Alligator)

  • Laces (21 variations)

  • Stitching colors (21 variations)

With the above options, they have more than 2 billion design permutations in total. Moreover, their model allow their designers to view their personalized shoes in real-time.

There are hundreds of steps that go into crafting the perfect shoe for you, here is a snapshot of just a few:

The shoes generally take 4 weeks to ship, with a 30 day exchange period.

Prices range from about $350 – $1650 depending on the type of leather you choose.

They are currently only available in the US but looking to expand at some point in the future.

So for those of you in the area “What are you waiting for?”

Here’s a link to the Awl & Sundry website, why don’t you take a look and have the possibility of the below:

As always comments and feedback welcome.

Half Naked Apparel

From Rock to Roll….out. Speaking to one half of the band ‘Titans & Kings’ he tells me how they evolved from being in a rock band to creating a music company and a brand for their fans.

The range is inspired by Tattoos, music and bold designs, They wanted to create clothing that their fans will want to wear as much as they do!

Image
‘Wild Sould Tee’
In discussing the range he mentions his favourite piece at the moment is probably the Wild Sould Baseball jersey but the original Never Giving Up The Fight Tee will always have a special place as it was part of our launch collection.
2D8A3178 web
Creating a brand isn’t always easy and he is able to highlight some of the struggles you face as an up and coming designer. I put the questions to him below, Enjoy the read.
Ascension: What struggles do/did you face when creating all your apparel?
Half Naked: Ah man, it’s tough out there 😉 We’re still relatively new and building our fan base / awareness takes up most of our time. There are loads of great indie brands out there and seeing them succeed is the perfect inspiration to never give up.
Ascension: What do you enjoy most about being a designing your range?
Half Naked: We actually outsource designs and doing the research for that is awesome! There’s nothing better than checking out a load of artists, finding one we love and working with them to create something unique.
Ascension: Do you have any advice for upcoming/emerging designers?
Half Naked: Keep doing what you love and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Ascension: If you could sum up what it takes to design a range in one word what would it be?
Half Naked: Pride.
Ascension: What does the future hold for Half Naked Apparel?
Half Naked: Hopefully a much larger and varied summer collection and ultimately more involvement with the music scene that the brand was born out of – the Half Naked Stage at Slam Dunk Festival has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
 
1185691_607438755981429_2134402258_n
‘Never Give up the fight Tee’
Definitely keep an eye out for these guys, I have no doubt they will go from strength to strength.
You can find out more at their site here: Half Naked Go check it out.

Nowhere To Somewhere

How does one start from nowhere, but eventually get somewhere.

My guess would be ‘with extreme difficulty’

I was speaking with a colleague a few days ago and she mentioned she is not creative. I let her know straight away that she was just lying to herself. Creativity is within all of us and can appear in many different forms.

Creativity is the driving force behind ‘ascension’ I want to highlight the creative diversity that lives within the fashion industry. I will be showcasing the finest in emerging talent, from designers to buyers to the brand. you will most definitely get a feel for their inspiration and their journey in the industry and hopefully be inspired too.

Capture

I intend to explore all realms of the industry and find out what is really the driving force behind making it in this industry.  It may be a slow process to begin with, but I promise to break through it to give you all the best insight and a forum to interact and learn from others in the fashion industry. 

Feel free to comment, send suggestions & recommendations and I will do my best to get back to all of you.

Here is to getting ‘somewhere from nowhere……’