I’m very lucky to have some super talented friends, one of them being the insta famous Ross, who’s outfit posts and selfies have attracted an army of followers. He asked me to help him film a video he was working on for a PR company about Cardiff and we decided to shoot some stuff for my blog while we were there too.

We talk about makeup and beauty a lot when we catch up and most recently about male beauty bloggers. While I follow most of these guys and love their tutorials, they always seem to be aimed more at a female audience. I still don’t see why there aren’t ‘Everyday’ or ‘Evening’ makeup tutorials for guys? Because plenty of guys are investing in make up and plenty of guys on daytime TV are wearing it too. So we decided to set up and film Ross doing his two key looks, one natural day look and a contoured one for evening. These are both looks that Ross would wear, he uses amazing products and the results are really natural, wearable and perfected.

Look 1

A natural, everyday look for a flawless and dewy finish.

Ross Lewis

Look 2

A more advanced look, using different concealer shades to add definition to the cheeks and jaw line.

Ross LewisFind Ross on instagram @RossiLewis25

As a self titled professional thrift shopper, the opportunity to create looks with charity shop clothes for Wales Air Ambulance was a dream come true. They do amazing work and make 2000 missions each year to save lives, supported entirely by donations and their charity shops. So to inspire you to get shopping, I’ve styled some looks inspired by classic trends that will be easy to recreate with some pieces I selected from their Pontypridd store.

 

The Pleated Midi Skirt

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The trend: Midi skirts have become a wardrobe staple and are flattering for so many different shapes. This season it’s about pairing it with a light jumper and comfy shoes, for an everyday autumn look.

What to look for: A pleated skirt thats a longer length, either printed or plain and a lightweight jumper. These skirts are always in charity shops, as they were popular many moons ago and most come with an elasticated waist so you can roll it to the right length.

How I’m wearing it: Both me and Alice (Media Officer and fellow Blogger) fell in love with this skirt and felt it was similar to a Whistles one this season. I paired it with a simple white jumper, boots and a backpack and I like that it’s really wearable, comfy and easy to recreate.

Cost: Skirt £2.50

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Festival Babe

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The trend: Mix and match, festival chic with lots of short shorts, crop tops and layers of accessories.

What to look for: Printed shorts, vintage t-shirts, jewellery and anything printed or colourful. Think about the potential in garments too, this is the one trend where customising is very much encouraged.

How I’m wearing it: I found these printed shorts and instantly loved them, they’re really comfortable, easy to wear and I love that they sit on the waist. I paired them with a simple black crop top and layered my accessories to finish the look.

Cost:  Top £1.50 Shorts £2

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90s Grunge

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The trend: 90s grunge is all about reviving the looks of the naughties in a contemporary way. One of the key looks is layering a tee under a dress, it’s really easy and adds an instant edge to something girly or dressy.

What to look for: Strappy, long line dresses, that aren’t too tailored or fussy.

How I’m wearing it: I found this dress in the store and felt like it had a lot of potential but I wasn’t sure how to style it. It was actually my mum who suggested the tee and I think it works really well. Layering is an easy way to update a look and adding a choker brings it bang up to date.

Cost: Dress £3.50

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Oversized Vintage Shirt

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The trend: Oversized vintage or inspired shirts which are loose fitting and in luxe fabrics.

What to look for: A shirt thats not fitted and either oversized or at least two sizes up from what you normally wear. If it’s available choose something in a silk or a luxurious fabric for a more high end look. Make sure to check in the mens rails too because getting the perfect size isn’t crucial and you might find some unusual prints.

How I’m wearing it: For some reason this shirt gave me SATC vibes, so I had to pair it with heels and really dress it up. I think this is such an easy and effective look, who doesn’t have a staple pair of jeans and heels in their wardrobe? And it’s totally effortless and comfortable at the same time. Alternatively you could pair this with trainers and a back pack for a casual day look.

Cost: Shirt £2.50

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Italian Red

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The trend: The italian Red dress is more of a classic look than a trend but it’s completely timeless. Think of it as the wild sister of the LBD.

What to look for: Anything in a bright but warm red, a dress is perfect but a shirt or skirt would also look amazing paired with black. If it’s a dress make sure it’s a good fit or could be easily altered, you want it to flatter your figure.

How I’m wearing it: I decided to try and dress it up with black and gold accessories as an evening look. Using on trend shoes and a statement belt helps to bring it up to date and look more expensive.

Cost: Dress £3.50

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Military Girl

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The trend: This look is all about strong, military inspired silhouettes and finishings layered with leather and hardware.

What to look for: Black, khaki or nude pieces with flap pockets or studs.

How I’m wearing it: I decided to wear this dress as is rather than layering it. I like that its form fitting but comfortable and works perfectly with leather boots and a statement bag.

Cost: Dress £3.50

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Oversized Shearling Coat

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The trend: An oversized, shearling or suede coat, combined with heavy layering.

What to look for: A suede, shearling or fur lined coat/jacket that is oversized or bigger than your normal size. If possible stick to warm tones, burgundy, brown or camel that has large pockets.

How I’m wearing it: I’m in love with this coat, it works perfectly with a chunky knit jumper and I decided to wear over the knee boots to try and dress up the look.

Cost: Coat £6

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All the items used for this post will be going back to the Pontypridd store and will be available to purchase, if your quick enough! Please support your local store and share your thrifted looks via instagram @air_ambulance.

Continuing on from my interview with Sophie Wordsworth from Swag and Tassel (catch up here if you missed it) I’ve interviewed another designer who’s set up studio in Wales. I discovered Xandra Jane on instagram and as soon as I saw the pictures I wanted to share her pieces on here. Her hand knitted jumpers are a sustainable staple and are as classic as they are modern and cool and come in the most wearable selection of shades. The entire design process takes place in Wales, rebelling against fast fashion and creating luxury pieces that will last lifetime.

xandrajaneaw16_0651. What was it that first sparked your passion in designing sustainably?

My first ever sustainable garment was done in secondary school after discovering Gary Harvey and his financial times dress. It was an amazing display of skill out of something considered rubbish. So my first sustainable garment at the age of 14 was constructed from bin liners with an inexplicably horrendous black, orange and red colour scheme put together in an extravagant, costume-wear kind of way. It screamed “homeless Moulin Rouge”.

It wasn’t until 10 years later I approached sustainable fashion again after working in the industry in London. Unfortunately my university didn’t offer a sustainable project, which I find a massive shame as I firmly believe it’s the future of design. Companies I worked for highlighted issues with mass production or unfair labour within the industry. When I moved back home to Wales it was a chance to start my own business exercising the morals I believe in, for me it’s a lifestyle choice. People are becoming so aware of nutrition and health, eating everyday and clothing yourself everyday are occurrences we can’t escape. It’s a shame we even have to label sustainable fashion in the first place, all fashion should be responsible and sustainable! However although a lifestyle choice for me, I don’t wish to push this on my customer. The information is readily available should they choose to educate themselves further. I hate the sense of a company preaching when that is certainly not what I am trying to do.

2. Many designers don’t try to create sustainable clothing because they think it’s more expensive or harder to find the right fabrics, have you found this to be true?

To an extent it is true of course, but the essence of design is to problem solve so I have an issue with designers who shy away from sustainable clothing for this reason. I feel many are daunted by the word itself and feel they have to go 100% eco straight away. This is not the case. As a start up brand it would be easy for me to choose the cheapest less responsible options in order to maximise profit but if emerging designers work this way then how will change ever take place? My debut collection unfortunatley doesn’t use eco fabrics however I have made sure not one scrap of fabric goes to waste. I will of course work up to being as 100% sustainable as I can but for now as a young designer just starting out I have to be as resourceful as possible. This is problem solving, this is design.

I also struggle with brands who use eco fabrics yet release a basic white t-shirt and charge a premium price, because there is no design work involved in that. I understand a white t-shirt is a staple, timeless piece, but us fashion designers are meant to bring new silhouettes, new fabric manipulation techniques and ultimately new fashion to our customer.

3. Whats the vision for your brand and how do you see it developing?

To reconnect people with their clothing and rebel against fast fashion. You know how supermarkets introduced ‘wonky veg’ boxes… I’m trying to do that with fashion. Who made the clothes you wear? Do you know where the fabric was sourced from? Do you know how many people were involved in the creation or how many hours were spent making it? Each garment I produce comes with a unique journey card and also gives credit to those involved in the construction, which definitely includes the otherwise undervalued interns!

Interns are integral to the fashion industry and often exploited, I am so grateful for such enthusiastic and positive people who put aside their valuable time to gain experience and work towards the improvement of my business. This, I personally feel, is one of the biggest issues with labour within the UK fashion industry. I also want to become an eco pioneer from Wales. Cardiff is such an up and coming city and I am so patriotic of my background.

I am looking to produce each Autumn Winter collection with a zero waste ethos and each Spring Summer collection with an up cycled/reinvented twist. I am primarily a womenswear designer although I am enjoying the journey into gender neutral fashion and want this to continue. I have accessories in the pipeline and would love to collaborate in the future, as this produces stronger design rather than competing all the time. I just feel the industry needs an facelift as it were, to emerge from the darkness and hidden secrets and it is time for change.13412058_276440206036362_3394957783713203311_o

4. I love the knitted jersey pieces, especially the shorts and jumper combination. What attracted you to knitwear?

To be honest I’ve just stumbled into it. I guess this debut collection started from the initial idea of the jumper. I knew my time in London was coming to an end and I would have to come back to Wales, and being too stubborn to do anything else given I had spent so long studying and working towards a career in fashion design – it seemed the only option left. I knew I wanted to target a wide audience to give my brand the best chance of getting noticed and appealing to my target customer and my own personal style is very androgynous. So the jumpers are a one size fits all inclusive of both genders, with zero waste on textiles at the forefront of its aesthetic.

Not only can you pass the jumpers down through generations and genders, if you really felt it no longer had a place in your wardrobe you could always unravel it and knit the yarn into a new design or product. The shorts were a natural progression from there and the skirt is my entry piece. Xandra Jane is a luxury brand though in each collection I will always release at least one item at £100 or below for a more affordable option to my customer who may not necessarily be able to afford that iconic piece yet therefore won’t compromise on the style or luxury.

5. What was it about Wales that inspired you to start your business here?

I’m from Wales, I went to Cowbridge Comprehensive and have the best support network here in Cardiff where I’ve recently moved. I studied my foundation diploma in Art and Design at UWIC (Now Cardiff Met) before studying at UCA. I feel as a graduate there is a lot of pressure to ‘make it’ in London and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cardiff has incredible transportation links and is such a fast developing, creative city. Living costs are fantastic in comparison and you can have a quality of life which is otherwise unattainable in London. I have met inspiring creatives on my journey so far and we believe a strong fashion movement is about to happen. It’s liberating for me to live in a city that is so small in comparison but so full of life, you have an incredible range in scenery, with my Dad living in Porthcawl I’m often by the beach or nature reserve. There is also a lot of incredible support from organisations such as Business In Focus or The Princes Trust which have given me small steps of confidence in my development so far.

6. Are there any other Welsh designers who inspire you or who you would like to collaborate with?

I have had the pleasure of discovering Sarah Valentin and Julia Harris on my return home who are inspirational sisters with their own sustainable line called Dati Clothing. They have recently established a creative venue called The Sustainable Studio and are a brilliant force to be reckoned with in the sustainable field. Paired with other designers and fashion creatives we have been in discussion of future collaborations as all of us have different aesthetics and visions to bring to the table. Huit Denim have also been inspirational to me for their take on The History Tag which resonates with the journey I am trying to establish within clothing.

instagram @xandrajane

web www.xandrajane.com