Chinese New Year Chat

CNY

Happy Chinese New Year!

Lent has begun, and so has the auspicious year of the Ram/Goat!

🐑🐑🐑🐑

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The turning 23 consolation party is over, as is the Valentine’s chocolate binge-ing cry-fest, and all I have left are several empty, depressingly essay-less Word documents and a flabby post Christmas body. Seems to me like this horrible mixture of Lent and CNY is as good a time as any to make some resolutions to knuckle down and to work hard.

Have a good year folks.

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Floral Prints and Sewing Chat

Shop!

 NO.1 True DecadenceXJohn Lewis/Tropical Shift Dress £37 £12
NO.2 MinkPinkXUrban Outfitters/Moonflower MaxiSkirt £60 £27.99
NO.3 Dorothy Perkins/Collared Floral Dress £32 £11.80 

SO… I’ve been bad.

Between all the final year assignments, essays and job applications, I confess I’ve been doing a liiiittle too much online shopping.

The good news is, however, I have sated my autumn obsession with floral prints, and a got myself a couple of sewing projects for (my guilty pleasure…) Monday Made in Chelsea nights.

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florals

There’s a bit of a floral theme going on with my October online-shopping spree. I think I’m finally getting in touch with my inner girly side. I’ve had a morbid fear of a) PRINTS and b) COLOUR all my life (idk), but it looks like my monochrome wardrobe is getting a flowery kick in the ass.

As per, my shopping bag this month is filled with classy bargain bin buys. In this month’s spree I’ve made two exceptions to my only-perfect-fit, and I’m hoping a cheeky needle and thread job will fix. Or 50/50 chance ruin.

I get a bit ambitious with a needle and thread.

sewing

NO. 1

This shop, I’ve been slowly altering the fab Tropical Print Shift Dress from John Lewis. The statement collar: big, bold, sharp – is just totally not for me, so I’m altering into a slight less obtrusive high-necked white band.

I’ve snipped off the collar, folded back the thick material of the remaining white neckline, and am taking a doubled thread round the inside edge with a blanket stitch. Easy-peasey!

Ta-dah.
Pre boozy Cosy Club debut.

Pre drinks debiut

NO.2 

I absolutely LOVE a sweet Peter-Pan collar, case and point the Dorothy Perkins purchase above with the cutest little rounded collar. There’s a lot to be said for a just about the knees skirt that’s long enough to be demure but wonderfully flattering.

NO.3

Is my next project: the beautiful, dreamy MinkPink x Urban Outfitters maxi skirt. The hefty £3 shipping price made me loath to click ‘confirm’, but I absolutely adore the huge moon-like flowers against the black. What you can’t see in the very sneaky UO shot is that there are two front slits. Weird and Angelina Jolie meme-esque…

Thank God a straight line of stitching even I can handle.

Love

Charlotte xx

Year Abroad: Tianjin Travels

TO TIANJIN!

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Off the HSR at Tianjin Railway Station

Off the High Speed Rail and into the bustle at Tianjin Railway Station.
Beijing – Tianjin: 54.50¥
Shanghai  – Beijing: 550¥

It’s autumn in China, and I recently made a trip out of the bustle of Shanghai up to Tianjin, where over the course of four days I managed to amass a large amount of photos of the journey, the city, and very few of myself and my friend Peter.
(Sorry, Pete.)

In comparison with Big Ol’ Shanghai, Tianjin is pretty chilled and quiet city, and I’ve spent a lovely four days wandering some of it’s least tourist-trekked streets, thanks to my trusty guide, as well as some of it’s Lonely Planet-style tourist attractions. Despite the fact that Tianjin covers an area some six times larger than Shanghai, it’s population is only half that of the shiny southern city – and it shows. The streets are chilled, the metros are only quietly bustling, and the people are friendly (what a shock to the system).

Take note Shanghai.

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REAL CHINA

We start off the trip with an excellent 6¥ bowl of noodles at what Pete has dubbed ‘Man and Wife Pull Noodles’, a tiny, tiny, tiny restaurant that sits in a rickety road alley just by Tianjin Experimental High School. If you haven’t tried eating where the locals eat, you’re missing out on a real and genuine experience of China. This street is lined with lots of similarly miniature restaurants, all of which have been dubbed with fabulous English names by the local, non-Chinese speaking foreigners, and are flocked with tracksuited schoolkids at lunch (beware).

I keep accidentally calling the restaurant ‘Man on Wife Pull Noodles’, much to everyone’s delight.
Well, it is a bit of a mouthful.

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By Necessity, Alley Restaurant, Tianjin

These pretty bottles are filled with Chinese vinegar, and are perfectly lined up on our table (one of only three, in a space smaller than my tiny dormitory bedroom at Fudan University). The decor has definitely happened by necessity, and not because they’ve popped down to the local Ikea.

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Cat in Basket, Waiting

Oh, and here’s a Cat in Basket outside the shop.
Why are you so grumpy, kitty!

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I’M A TOURIST!

Next, I get the grand tour! Try the Tianjin Radio Tower, 1 Weijin South Rd, Hexi, Tianjin in summer for a great view of the surrounding city. On a smog-free day take the cheeky elevator up with a 50¥ Adult ticket (20¥ Consession/Student), and check out the span of the sprawling city. Afterwards, the nearby Lake Park 水上公园  is perfect for a relaxed stroll and watermelon on a stick! The attractions themselves are all a little worn out and dusty, with lots of attendants that seem to be there mostly for show – but worth visiting for the strangeness of it all. Other tourist spots worth a visit are the shiny, new Museum District, the Italian Quarter, the Old Town and the Tianjin Eye.

Radio Tower in winter  is an absolutely amazing sight.
Tianjin is b-e-a-utiful in winter, if not horrifically cold.

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 Tianijn Radio Tower

Tianijn Radio Tower.

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If you get a chance, go for a stroll around the local areas (or a bike ride if you can find one and are savvy enough not to get killed on raod that have a fairly relaxed attitude to general traffic laws). Out by Wujiaoyao the two story houses and residential streets are slow paced, and filled with wandering elderly people in faded floral packs; the wide, dry streets are sparsely tree-lined and seemingly under constant renovation, with building dust churning now and then under our shoes. Card playing old men in dark jackets shout in tense, tight circles around makeshift tables.

We were very alternative, and took a stroll in the dark.

A NIGHTTIME STROLL IN TIANJIN

One lovely evening after a long day at the nearby Italian Quarter and Old Town, we take a stroll down along the HaiHe 海河 Riverside to soak up some more of Tianjin’s relaxed atmosphere, take some photos, and a look at night-time life.

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Tianjin Father and Daughter, Nighttime Radisson Building

A man and his daughter sitting in the glow of the Radisson Building.

Tianjin, Nightshift Nap

This man is taking the night shift on Tianjin Old Street very seriously.

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Over the Bridge, Tianjin

Over the Bridge.

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Three Men Fishing, Tianjin China

Three men fishing under an over pass; the man on the very left is wearing what’s left of his daytime, smart suit, while the older gentleman in the middle has the look of an old-timer to the trade.

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Tianjin Little Eats Street 天津小吃街

Little Eats Street, Tianjin is busy and bustling.

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Last Man Working, Nightshift Tianjin

Last man working the nightshift.

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The Clock, Tianjin

Tianjin Clock in some pretty cool looking light pollution.

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HEADING BACK


 “Home, James!” My family say this when we’re going home after a day out, but I don’t know why, or who this mysterious ‘James’ is. Peter made a face and sounded fairly insulted that I was calling him James… Does anyone else say this? Support would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, after a long day out, we nip on the last metro of the evening on line three and head home!
Tianjin’s metro is wonderfully efficient, and much less overcrowded that Shanghai’s rush hour. English everywhere and friendly staff makes it a super easy tourist city.

Wujiaoyao Metro

I love how symmetrical everything is in the station, and as a treat, they’ve opened the backs of all the metro coin machines –  pretty neat.

From the White Lights, Lamps in the Dark, Tianjin

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AWAY I GO

View from the Window, China High Speed Train

At on my window seat back down to Shanghai as the High Speed Train hits 400km/h!

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It’s a long journey home when you’re leaving an old friend and heading back to a city that you can barely call home yet. It’s a seven hours door to door, and I do nothing more than doze, read and listen to music.

It’s been great to take a step back from Shanghai and chill out for four days from the stress of university level Chinese and watch Pete make all our transactions, translate, tour guide and generally be an excellent host. On the creative side of things, one of the great joys of touristing with a friend is you don’t have to feel nearly so ashamed of spending five minutes trying to get the shot that you want. So cheers to the large album dedicated to one of China’s five national central cities.

Hope I can come back soon,PhotoVogue Shelled Light, Charlotte Black

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.Charlotte xx

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PhotoVogue Shelled Light, Charlotte Black

Oh, hey there Vogue, this is the Tianjin Railway station.

😝

Editorial England: Wild Dartmore

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A couple of months ago the editorial team of Razz My Berries Magazine handed over our reigns to a brilliant, fresh new committee of burgeoning writers, online whizzes and social butterflies. I packed my Razz experience into a proverbial box and sat, baking languidly in the summer sun, reminiscing the fashion, editing and beauty opportunities that had come my way over the past two years. And, as I sat, my phone suddenly buzzed, rather insistently, in my pocket – Toby Craddock, the Magazine’s new Editor wanted to know if I was free for the next creative shoot.
And out of the blue, the experience was not quite over at all.

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With the launch of the magazine, I can finally reveal some sneaky, behind-the-scenes shots of arguably the best editorial campaign Razz My Berries has yet seen: the Dartmore Collaboration.
Not that I could possibly be biased.

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Creative Editor: Wentworth Cecil-Gurney
Model: Joe Stewart, Jules Howe
Photographer: Nathan Dunovic
MUA & Dresser: Charlotte Black
MU/Lighting Assistant: Marianne Pilloux

On a sizzling Sunday in summer, the shoots Creative Editor, Wentworth Cecil-Gurney, along with some of the most fabulous props curtsey of the National Theatre London, veered into Exeter and collected out five-strong artistic team for the day.  I was make-up artist and on hand-dresser on a stunning day’s romp through the Dartmore hills where everything that could possibly happen, just happened.

I guess it’s appropriate to say here that I’m not the most spontaneous person in the world. In fact, the word rolls reluctantly over my tongue with a less-than-fair share of unease; I’ll readily admit that I have several traits of being an oldest child, and certain people may have muttered the words ‘control-freak’ in description of my person (at their own peril, of course). Luckily however, un-spontaneity aside, working in the creative world, and with many creative types, this particular trait, which I would rather refer to as being obsessively organised, has been (forcibly) tempered over the years by learning to quietly go with the flow. Definitely useful on a shoot like this.

 Having never met any of the team before, the artistic venture turned out to be one of the most strange, but utterly fantastic I’ve had yet: we sped wildly and we ran out of fuel spectacularly; we ate cream teas and drank pints, shared car-chat and car-silence; we chased ponies, dodged road-roaming cows and borrowed certain historical sites on creative licence, and enjoyed what absolute weirdness can happen in the rare English sun when six undergrads come together to make  and create a stylised shoot.

There’s nothing like the buzz on set when things flowing smoothly from one shot to another, practically glowing the in late afternoon sun. Spontaneity’s the name of the game when you’re working with a limited supply of make up in the wilderness, moving from one shot to another in a set, and shooting in natural lighting. We may have been six strangers (and one happy puppy) on meeting at 10AM, but on set, and in assuming our rightful roles, we could really feel things building; you can spend an afternoon as just people, travelling through the wilderness of Dartmore, but when business called we were suddenly and certainly, an editorial team. Photoshoot setting , tools in hand and perfect light, the Razz Magazine Dartmore Editorial was well and truly under way.

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Photography credits:Marianne Pilloux & Charlotte Black

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MAKE-UP

For this shoot, it was out with the lights and dressing rooms, and into the open nature as we worked on the grass to get Joe and Jules photo ready with my small box of tools and Jules’ own make-up.

Focusing on the skin in a puritanical/gothic, out of the 17th Century look for JULES, it was out with the bronzer and in the the pale foundation for her porcelain skin. Even the most perfect needs some protection against the glare of summer sun, especially in photographs – and summer shine is so not 17th Century. Foundation followed by a light, powder-based sculpting tone (try Cezanne, Japan) to accentuate the angles of her face, a sweep of a red based blusher and translucent finishing powder (try Bare Minerals Veil).  Wentworth was looking for a dark, purplish lip to match the dress, so a little improvising with a mixture of eyeshadow powder and lippy, and an all-over matt look was finished. A quick half-up, half-down do with a pinned square or reed knot (for you former Brownies and Scouts out there) and she was ready to be buckled into her plush velvet dress. Hot in the sun!

Personally, I think it’s always strange putting make-up on boys, and despite having done it on a regular basis working in the theatre with Exeter University Theatre Company, I still haven’t been able to shake the feeling that it’s a little exciting, if not lightly odd! I guess I’ve been putting it on myself since I could hold a lipstick (ruining several of my mum’s lipsticks in the bathroom, sorry mum), and I’ve got twenty odd years to catch up on when it comes to make-uping the lads. With JOE it was a non-shimmer bronzer to accentuate his bone structure, pencilling his eyebrows, and the mandatory sweep of mascara and liner. As rough and ready as we were going for, it got a little up close and personal with the tweezers as Wentworth asked for some eyebrow taming, so thankfully Marianne stepped in… Then it was off to hold the light reflectors and catch the afternoons rays!

Check out the Alternative Freshers Guide Campaign which features one of Photographer Nathan Dunovic’s shots!

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Razz My Berries Alternative Freshers Guide

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Look out for the next Razz My Berries Issue to see the shoot in full. If you’re lucky enough to in Exeter, the University campus shop stocks copies, or get in touch with the editors at razzmag@gmail.com.

Find out more about the Magazine on Twitter | Facebook | WordPress
And about our lovely Photographer’s clothing line at Tight-Threads.com

And until next time…

If these shots are anything to go by, it’s OK to be spontaneous.

(Sometimes.)

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Charlotte xx

Year Abroad: Design Arts Fashion Festival, Shanghai AW 2013

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As a study abroad twenty-something in the big city, it’s not the easiest think to find out where the best events are, the best meets are, or where you’re going to find other people similarily additcted to the creative arts. But thank goodness for The Ice Cream Truck, who tootled along on the 20th of September, bringing one of the biggest and bestest Design/Arts/Fashion collaborative events that Shanghai has to offer in the fall:

DAFF by The Ice Cream Truck.

DAFF Shanghai 2013: Catwalk

From the stunning location on Shanghai’s Puxi Bund, to the perfect weather, there was nothing about this event that wasn’t humming with the atmosphere of an event finely tuned. Looking chic in the cool breeze, the billowing, white tented stalls displayed the exploits of creative business scene here in Shanghai.

As I weaved through shoals of designers, creative-types, fashionestas, and big name brand reps who chilled in the ultra-cool outdoor venue to the unobtrusive house beat background the air was zinging with chatter and euphoria – nothing like this kind of break from city life!

The draughts and sweet snacks a-flowing, a wooded grass-garden rest area and not to mention the free entry with suggested 20RMB donation, blend to give the even a open and welcoming feel so that besides us creative junkies, the riverside event attracted students, shoppers, familys alike – upbeat generational and international mixing abound!

From the dozens of different designers and artists showcasing their wares at DAFF, there are pieces from every spectrum and to cater to bizarre tastes you maybe didn’t know you had. I can guarantee whether cutesy scented candles, eco-art, fresh, home-made organic food, or the wacky acrylic mould-injected necklaces, numerous fixie bikes and live art, there’s something for everyone…

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At 1630 and 1730 sharp, the crowds make a surge towards the psychedelic, colour-mix catwalk at DAFF as FASHION takes the limelight from the bustling tents and chattering strollers.

The Eastern-Western design fusion La Rose de Shanghai kicks of the show with an eclectic mix of traditional Chinese shapes on a black and white base, with splashes of print detail in bold primaries.

While some of the shapes are beautifully dramatic, the blooming trousers with tight calved fit, the floral detail crop waistcoat, some of the more streamlined pieces are a little to flat-fitting for my taste (and possibly my hips). The sharp, slicked bunned models sure did their strut, and I would have loved to see this combo with a softer make-up foundation complimenting the look.

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MORE PHOTOGRAPHY @ The Ice Cream Truck FACEBOOK

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FRONT ROW SHOP

Move over Topshop and Urban Outfitters cut-outs, the Front Row Shop hit the catwalk at 1730 and blew us away. Beautifully clean cuts with an oh-so-now grunge edge stormed the catwalk in platform-chunked, you do not want to mess with shoes. A real London-scene feel takes this collection with a diva-ish edge of “I’m wearing this. And what?”

The wicked shoes, layered pieces and to-die-for accessories are transfusions tapped straight from fashion week runways and given a street-struttable kick – and I’d back them on giving Zara TRF and H&M a run for their money any day. Set up in 2012 by the TaoBao designer Ying Wu, the wealth of people that have built behind the label give it a cutting-edge feel that I would die to walk off the catwalk with.

While they don’t have a physical store operating, their online website delivers world-wide and in this day and age, what can’t you do over the internet. Seriously, hit them up online…

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Front Row Shop Homepage 2013

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NIGHTFALL

As the walkers are wearying, night falls on DAFF and the event kicks up a notch as the bustle of light fixing and flicker of bulbs bringing a pretty, sultry glow on the events along the waterside. Keflione is finishing provocative artwork, with my appetite is perking up with the smell of food is hitting its peak; Pommery Champagne Happy Hour is over, but the DAFFTER PARTY is on its way.

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ONTO BUSINESS 

Before the night ends I bump into two brilliant creative women under the electric glow, Steffie Wu and Monkia Mogi (who you’ll be seeing more about soon in the ARTS and FASHION section of loseandfind.com). DAFF is a great way to meet with and connect to other all-things-creative types here in Shanghai, be it arts communities, marketing and design houses or even musicians and chefs. I even manage to make use of a few of my handmade business cards, and of course, get a few in return…

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As they say out here “You’re nobody in China if you don’t have a name-card”.
If you’re DESIGN/ARTS/FASHION is your thing, make sure I see you at the spring DAFF!

Thank you @TICTCREATIVE! You can check out more of their events on their WEBSITE, or FACEBOOK and as always, keep an eye out on SmartShanghai.com for everything that’s happening in this big ol’ city.

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Charlotte xx

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Taiwan: Fashion Houses 101

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We’ve done the Taipei 101 many a time on our travels here in Taiwan, but for this outing, it’s the Fashion Houses in the 509m, bamboo styled building that are doing the business of being breath-taking.

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There’s certainly no expense spared in this complex of 101 floors, and the Fashion Houses of Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, TODs and Burberry certainly take this to heart and I’m drooling over the lavish and intricate window displays of the stores on the third floor with delicate floral backdrops, lush green cactus landscapes and hot-pink, candy-stripe balloons… That is, until I see the bejewelled and sparkling exteriors of the displays on the fourth. It’s worth walking around to appreicate the stores: they’re works of art – as well as powerhouses generating billions of dollars per year purely in attire for us to prance around in a feel pretty (or so I assume it feels to own any of these brands…). But, all joking aside, it’s a delicious rendering of advertising, and if it weren’t for the hawk-like, black-suited attendants intimidating my little self in the doorways, I’d probably take a couple of shots inside with my phone… As it is, I’d probably better not…

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Third Floor Displays.

Dolce & Gabbana Taipei 101

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Louis Vuitton Taipei 101

TOD's Taipei 101

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Fourth Floor Giants.

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Louis Vuitton Taipei

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Dior Taipei 101

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Burberry Taipei 101

The Fourth Floor Taipei 101

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It’s not just me however, who’s got the iphone out to do some gorgeous building papping, the locals are definitely into it to, and as I stroll around the twisted floors of shop after shop, there are people everywhere, from all over the world – posing for their photos in front of the public image of these global brands. It’s a powerful message for the effect that this kind of advertising has, that within what was once the tallest building in the world is housed these commercial, luxury brands that inspire such reverence and desire that couples will pose in front of their gleaming doors – no half-naked models required, Abercrombie.

I mean, please, even the food court is fancy, with its clever, light-dispersing wine glass chandeliers.

A little pretty architectural and advertising planning sure goes a long way.

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Painted Prints: Does it come in acrylic?

One of the tops that stars as a style piece in my ‘She Interns‘ feature is a top that I made a long time ago, and I thought I’d take a second to give it it’s five minutes of fame. The top itself was bought it a Zara sale for £5 when I think I was about 17, but was so sheer and low cut (bought in a strange moment of complete common sense lapse that sometimes occurs when I see cheap clothes) that it got put to the back of summer drawer.

It reemerged one fateful pre-clubbing night when I was gripped by utter I-have-NO-CLOTHES-desperation, and in mad panic, I opened my acrylics that were in constant use when I was still a teen grabbed a pencil and started sketching on the fabric. The whole nautical theme was every that spring, so a quick going over with black acrylic paint – much to the bafflement of the girlfriends who (quite reasonably) didn’t quite know how to respond to, “I’ll be ready in 10, I’m painting my top” – and I made it out. Photo evidence exists, and the top looks fine; the wearer, on the other hand is happier in the past I think…

Paintbrush Magic

It’s not quite the quality of the work on the Great British Sewing Bee or Project Runway, but it just goes to prove that you really can just do it yourself.
Fancy that.

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