Fashion in 5 w/ Jo Marsden from M&S

M&S

(M&S Style Edit).

1. I chose a career in PR because….

When I was a teenager I always said I wanted to work in fashion or PR (I actually wrote this in my National Record of Achievement!)– as it turns out you can do both. I always liked the idea of being able to combine my love of writing, working with people and organising events. It seemed like the perfect mix of everything.

2. What I love most about my job is…..

The day-to-day variety. One minute I am looking for a venue for an event, the next I’m dealing with budgets and the next day I could be having breakfast with a member of press to discuss the latest collection. Doing the same thing day in, day out would drive me insane.

3. If I could start my career again I would….

Nothing really! I started working in fashion PR while I was still studying for my degree at uni, which I think has helped fast track my career slightly. Even decisions which seemed awful at the time have probably shaped the person I am today and benefitted me in some way – even if I couldn’t see it at the time.

4. Above all else I value….

Friendliness and respect. ‘Treat others as you wish to be treated’ is something my Mum taught me and I try to live by it. More people should!

5. This year is all about….

Finding my next permanent role. I am currently freelancing and would love to settle back down into a permanent position where I can really get my feet under the table and get stuck in.

A big thank you to Jo, I totally agree- a little kindness goes a long way! x

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Cheap Tuesday

More Dash Than Cash

If you’re new to Fashion Follows Her I should probably point out this isn’t a blog focused on super scrimping and bargains, you may have made a wrong click somewhere south of The Frugality. Occasionally and mostly by accident, I stumble across a real steal that fits perfectly into the ‘more dash than cash’ category. My latest purchases fall squarely in that category- a new pair of shiny pink bow flats from M&S for the slightly ludicrous price of £3.99 down from £25’s.

M&S flatsPictured with a mix and match bikini from Tesco’s F&F range which is surprising good quality and quite flattering. Ideal for splashing about in the pool trying to tone up my thighs and bum ready for summer (the chlorine eats bikini’s for breakfast, they barely last a season so it’s not worth spending silly money on swimwear). Have you found any great buys recently?

When brands rebrand…

H&MH&M announced the new Conscious and Conscious Exclusive Collection will launch on April 10th. The ethos behind the ethical collection is sourcing/using sustainable materials.

No one in their right mind can honestly be comfortable with the concept of ‘fast fashion’ and throw away products, with the vast amount of negative information about mass producing excrushingly low cost products and the impact this type of practice has on our our environment. The far to frequent media coverage of women and children fighting their way out of collapsed factories making cut priced good has only compounded the general concesous that ‘someone, somewhere will be paying for your cheap purchase’.

H&M

I won’t go on about a subject that has been well documented else where but I will point out that a higher RRP doesn’t always equate to ethically sourced, sustainable products.

What I really want to talk about is brands that re-brand and why it isn’t always a good idea. As consumers/customers become familar with a brand they come to expect a certain level of continuity. Repositioning a brand is a risky business, you risk alienating your current customer base who no longer resemble your new target customer. H&M have, in my eyes alway been a fun, trend-led brand, stocking quirky pieces, perfect for testing out fresh looks without worrying about getting it wrong.

Mulberry Alexa

Look at the current fortunes of Mulberry, a brand I adore and much admire for their use of quality materials and heritage techniques. A brand that has shifted from producing beautiful, reasonably priced handbags (around £500-800) to selling items retailing at well over £1000’s. The famous Alexa satchel now commands £1100 plus. As a result, over the last couple of years profits have dropped significantly, despite the brand soaring in popularity. Both creative director Emma Hill and CEO Bruno Guillon have left the brand. It’s a huge shame and reminds me of the old saying ‘if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it’. We only have to look at the fortune of M&S over the last 20 years to see the effect ignoring your customers can have on your business.

Which leads me to question why a successful business would be intent on change when history has taught us that change isn’t ‘always for the best’.

Saturday Sunshine Round-Up

I know it’s hot outside and defrosting chilly bones may be on the top of everyone’s ‘to-do’ list but while you’re lounging under a shady tree with an ice-cold glass of Pimms give these a little read….

– The collaboration of the century is already under construction, take a look at this snap of Isabel Marant modelling a piece from her much-anticipated H&M collection and swoon…. Refinery 29.

– ASOS A/W13 collection is on its way, not long to wait but the final sale is on right now so go crazy and shop, shop, shop. Coco’s Tea Party.

– Emerald is the shade de jour for on-trend nails. Enter Ciate with a kit that will have you covered all season long; sequins, caviar pearls, velvet dust and a pot of ‘Ditch the Heels’ nail polish all in one set. British Beauty Blogger.

– Online retailer Boohoo.com extends their offering by adding BoohooMEN from this autumn. Fashion Monitor.

– Newly appointed M&S style director Belinda Earl tells us her intentions for the much-loved British brand (I’ve been in the presence of this lady and believe me ‘she means business’). ELLE.

Afternoon tea and tennis…

Meringues & Cherries

Blogging about food is something I usually leave to the professional foodies, the Nigella Lawsons’ of the blogging world but these are too delicious and gloriously British, I had to feature them.

First off I have to tell you about the best dessert I’ve eaten all year- the bright, stripe meringues in the Great British Summer Eton Mess dessert from M&S are almost, almost too good to eat. The dessert consists of three soft, cloud like meringues, a layer of white chocolate, vanilla mousse and raspberry compote….. heavenly! I apologise for the lack of photos, I’d scoffed this little lovely before I had chance to get a snap (you can see the dessert as a whole here) but I did manage to get a photo of the meringues with a hand full of juicy cherries. Nothing says ‘summer is here’ like fresh British cherries. As soon as I spy cherry blossom cascading down and coating the pavement in a candy pink carpet, I can’t wait to buy my first bag of plump cherries.

Strawberries

Before you can blink, the great British sporting event that is Wimbledon begins. If I were more sporty I would celebrate this seasonal event with a spot of tennis but I’d rather kick back and enjoy a bowl (or cup in this instance) of strawberries with a large dollop of Chantilly cream. Does it matter whether we win or lose as long as there’s good food and lots of fun?

June Loves…. Hazy, lazy summer days…

June Loves

June is proving more hazy than sun drenched but this month holds my two favourite summer events- Wimbledon and Royal Ascot. This months edit celebrates all things quintessentially British. For Ascot a spectacular hat is essential, this Ben De Lisi (I love designers at Debenhams– such a clever idea that paved the way for other highstreet/designer collaborations) floral headpiece is fun, bright and breezy. With the weather being hazy rather than baking-hot this coral Zara dress (which now lives in my wardrobe) is the perfect cover up. The sale season is in full swing, pick up a set of Giles plates half-price at MatchesFashion.com. It’s no secret I’m slightly obsessed with Charlotte Olympia and the Fall collection is now online…. these Sunset heels are inspired by Hollywood but remind me of fairground rides and circus treats. Ear cuffs resemble all that’s good about England- quirky, inspirational and rebellious. Hearts will flutter when you’re wearing this ASOS gem. M&S is a British institution, I can’t count the hours lost in this department store. Time well spent when floral print fancies are on offer. Enjoy June. x

Afternoon Tea… life’s little luxuries

Teacups

 

The Great British Bake-Off has a lot to answer for…. in the last two weeks I’ve achieved a whole lot of nothing. Instead my afternoons have been spent watching, tweeting about and eating cake!

The plan was to catch up on the episodes I missed during the last series. That was the plan. In reality I’ve re-watched the entire series, washed down with gallons of tea and lashings of cake (yesterday it was ginger cupcakes made by a friend and today it is fresh cream and strawberry donuts). I’m slightly ashamed to admit precious little work has been done by comparison.

Twitter provided a constant stream of delicious snaps from fellow foodies and cake lovers. Check out this snap from the Corinthia Hotel of their Afternoon Tea.

But what would afternoon tea be without a nice cup of Lady Grey to accompany the scrummy cake- that just wouldn’t be right! And if I’m going to ‘do’ afternoon tea then we have to talk cups and saucers. In my opinion the more ornate the better. Give me florals, birds of paradise, dainty patterns and matching saucers…. and I’m a happy girl. I think afternoon tea is one of life’s little luxuries and here are a few of my favourite tea sets that I’m sure Mary Berry would love.

From top right: M&S– £12, Not on the High Street– £44, Wedgewood (Selfridges)- £35, Bombay Duck– £12.95, Laura Ashley– £8.40.

Saturday Starts Here…..

– This is a prime example of why I adore Charlotte Olympia. The Pandora Clapboard clutch is quirky but still works, I like a cheeky twist to my fashion. French Vogue. 

– Zac Posen gives us a glimpse of his Resort 2014 collection in the making. Zac Posen.

– Time for a little self promotion- the lovely Melissa (Prete-Moi Paris) spreads the blogger love…. Prete-Moi Paris.

– Harper’s Bazaar announces that they intend to produce a French edition- Viva la France! Refinery 29.

– The woman who put the ‘cool Britannia’ vibe into Jaeger London, Belinda Earl transforms M&S from frump to fierce. The Guardian.

Autograph Lace Chemise….the last of the Christmas vouchers

Noname

Christmas seems like a distant memory right now but it’s the perfect time to spend the last of the Christmas gift vouchers. I always ask for M&S vouchers each year because Marks & Sparks really can’t be beaten for everyday essentials.

M&S’s Autograph range is well worth paying that little bit extra for as the quality is superior and the attention to detail really adds a luxurious feel. The V-neck floral lace chemise is just lovely. Made from soft, mushroom coloured fabric and exquisite lace this nightie is pretty and comfortable. Priced at only £19.50 (currently on sale at £15.60) there’s no need to keep this little treasure for best.

Have you any gift vouchers left over from Christmas?