Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bloggers' Perks - going to a fashion showcase

Occasionally I get invited to interesting events on the back of having a blog. One of these instances happened almost a month ago when I was invited to the JD Williams and SimplyBe showcase of the upcoming fashion stories for Spring Summer 2018. It's not normally the kind of stuff I cover here on my blog but as I was in the West End that day anyway, I thought I'd pop over and see what they had on offer.

My first career was in fashion retail. I spent the best part of 10 years in a management role in both standalone stores in Worcester, Birmingham and London and in concessions within Selfridges and House of Fraser. An even before that, I has more than a healthy interest in fashion and clothing as I started making my own clothes at the tender age of 10. I still love textiles and the craft of making things, although I don't have as much time to devote to it these days as I'd like.

It's more than 20 years since I last worked on the shop floor but it's ingrained in me. One of those formative experiences that shapes who you are without you realising it. One of the assistants showed me around the different collections and explained how the pieces sat together and then left me to have a browse. And I was taken back to the early 1990s and working on the fashion floors of various London department stores. And just like I did back then, I spent quite a bit of my time people-watching. That was possibly the best bit. Oh and the gorgeous lavender lemonade.

I don't really go clothes shopping any more. I spent so long working in fashion that I accumulated a large wardrobe and stopped enjoying shopping for clothes as a pastime. It's fun to do occasionally, but it's certainly not how I want to spend my weekends any more. Plus, I still have way too many clothes due to a love of bargain hunting for interesting fashion pieces on eBay. So this made a welcome change.

For the ladies reading this, and those buying for the ladies in their lives, here's what's in for next season according to JD Williams and SimplyBe. 
  • Acid brights with denim and white. Lots of embroidery and folk styles. Hippy style blouses and tops. Embellished jeans with embroidery or chunky laces on the outer seams. Lace edges and braid trims.
  • Neutrals. Classic tones in beige, pale grey, cream and off white in silky fabrics. Simple, elegant styling that are easy to wear and easy to mix and match. Fantasy tweed in white with flecks is in and I spotted a lovely fantasy tweed handbag in a Chanel style but not at Chanel prices. Also I saw duster coats and long line jackets - the kind of which I haven't seen since the 1990s.
  • Florals of all kinds in blouses, dresses and the pyjama style unstructured suit is still a thing. 
  • Denim everything. Double denim, even triple denim. Pale and dark denim. I saw denim shirts, jeans, shirt dresses, jackets - jeans jacket style and also a quilted and embroidered bomber jacket in denim. My favourite denim piece was a trench style coat.
  • Cashmere and silk casual wear in grey, black and cream. My favourite was a cashmere mix two piece of knitted culottes and loose v-neck sweater. There were also some lovely ponchos and loose knits that looked both stylish and cosy to wear.
  • Summer sequins for day wear. Lots of them in both neutrals and acid brights. These were seen on tops and dresses in both the JD Williams and the SimplyBe collections. 
What I liked about the clothes I saw was that they were wearable, reasonably priced and didn't scream 'fashion trend' at you. What the fit or comfort levels are like, I don't know as these were all samples and not available to try on. The finish quality looked good though, especially for the price tags.

I didn't take many photos, but the few I did take are in the collection below. Click on the image to see them. The non-fashion images are of the art and lighting in the foyer of the building. Most impressive.

JD Williams SS2018 Fashion Showcase

Thank you to JD Williams and SimplyBe for having me.

Day 17/25 Blogmas