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Life Style

Burgundy Boots and Weekend Dressing

March 24, 2015

These photos were taken in the impossibly cute town of Saffron Walden in Essex. I can’t tell you what it is I love so much about this place, but every time I go I fall even more in love with the gorgeous town houses, the cosy pubs and the treasure-trove charity shops. It may have something to do with a particularly tasty baked camembert on offer in the Cross Keys.

This look was a bit mix and match (the green top was stolen from my sister’s ebay pile whilst I was at home for the weekend) and I can’t say I’ve ever thought to pair the fur gilet with baggy houndstooth trousers, but it turned out to be one of my favourites. The burgundy Topshop boots were passed on to me last year after I complained that I had no nice boots to wear and mum was feeling generous… quite a result.

I love the way that weekend dressing can be so much more playful than what we’re stuck with during the confines of the working week. Although I have to admit that *ahem*  I often take office dressing to the edge of what’s deemed acceptable, it’s great to properly experiment and play about with clothes. It’s a shame that my bedroom tends to resemble a jumble sale once I’ve done so.

Life Style

Olivia Williams | 88&Half Co-Founder

March 18, 2015

The latest to feature as part of the Nine to Five series, Olivia Williams from luxury sheepskin & knitwear brand 88&Half gives us the low down on launching the company, life working alongside her sister Grace, and her tips for young entrepreneurs.

Describe a typical day at 88&Half.
Each day is different from the next but would usually start by checking emails, liaising with boutiques and general sorting in the studio. If we have been at an event or show we would follow up with any leads from press or buyers. In the afternoon I like to be creative in the studio, so set time aside for designing, developing ideas, selecting colours, yarns and skins for the new collection.

How did the business progress after showcasing your final collection at Graduate Fashion Week 2012?
After showing my collection at Graduate Fashion Week I went straight into developing 88&Half. I began by making accessories and smaller pieces, to sell specifically at fairs and trade shows. The products were so well received that I began to struggle to keep up with the demand, so decided it was time to find a manufacturer. I really believe in supporting and celebrating English production so knew I wanted an English based manufacturer for the sheepskin pieces. After a year of retail sales we began to find a demand for supplying independent boutiques. We launched into wholesale with the AW14 collection, which was a big step for 88&Half in growing the business and developing the brand.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge so far was producing the full AW14 collection to show at Scoop International. It is such a prestigious trade show, I felt the pressure to get it right and wanted to make a good impression. I found it particularly tough juggling the sheepskin and knitwear designs but feel very proud of what we achieved.

And your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement was managing to secure seven boutique stockists for our debut AW14 collection. This was a challenge I set out to achieve – being an emerging brand I knew the value of having great stockists onboard. I really feel that the boutiques are great outlets for our brand.

Where do you find inspiration for new collections in such a specialist area?
I find inspiration for my collections from many different mediums. I am a very hands on designer and often like to develop patterns and silhouettes on the stand as apposed to sketching. I always look to the raw products to gain inspiration, for example new sheepskins tones and colours as well as textural yarns and stitch choices.

What attracted you to work with knitwear and sheepskin?
I was keen to work with sheepskin and knitwear together as they both embody luxurious qualities. Having trained as a knitwear designer I felt in a strong position to push the knitwear and develop all the skills I had learnt at university.

How do you find running a business with your sister?
My sister and I are great friends and are lucky to share an open and honest relationship. We respect each other’s opinions, which is how we can work together so successfully. Like everyone we do have our moments, but on the rare occasions when we do disagree it is always resolved for the better. Grace and I have a good balance in the office as we bring different attributes to the company and push each other to develop areas of weakness.

As a young entrepreneur, what advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?
– Think carefully, as you need to have drive and be self-disciplined. You really need to believe in yourself & your vision as no one else is going to push you.
– Have a good plan and idea of what you want to achieve before jumping in.
– Talk to people outside of your industry, and don’t be afraid to share your ideas with others and get their slant on your business ideas.

Want to know more about Olivia? You can find her on twitter @88andhalf or check out the collections at

Life Style

February Blues

February 25, 2015

Despite what the title of this post would have you believe, February has been an amazing month so far (and we’ve not even reached V day or pancake eating contests yet). Whilst January was as grey and grim as expected, I’ve started off this month with some great news and have cemented some exciting plans for the year ahead. I also finally have some time to blog again – hurrah!

So here’s some pictures of me. In a denim jacket. A denim jacket that I picked up for five English pounds in a seaside charity shop (vintage fans – get to Frinton) and is possibly one of my most favourite items of clothing ever purchased. Happiness all round.

It’s good to be back. I promise not to leave it so long next time.


Denim jacket: vintage | Jumper: H&M | Skirt: Topshop | Watch: Daniel Wellington | Bag: Zara (sale!) | Glasses: Ray Bans

London Style

Women Fashion Power

February 15, 2015

In the spirit of LFW and all things fashion related, I thought it might be time to post a few pictures from the opening night of the Women Fashion Power exhibition at the Design Museum. Yes, that’s right ladies, the opening night which took place back in October…

My laziness is certainly not a reflection of how much I enjoyed this event. The exhibition is both inspiring and utterly fascinating for someone like myself with an interest in how women use the way that they dress to define their position in the world, and I urge anyone with a love of fashion to head down to London Bridge and take a look before it finishes on the 26th April.

Featuring outfits and personal style philosophies from the likes of Lady Gaga, Diane von Furstenburg, Charlotte Olympia Dellal and Anne Hidalgo, the exhibition hosts the most wide-ranging presentation of modern fashion ever to be shown in the UK.

You can find out more at

Life Style

Metallic pleats

November 9, 2014

I think I have a thing for the metallic trend. It started off as a wary foray into the world of metallic pleats and has grown into a full blown search for shiny items. This particular outfit is a favourite – I wore it last month back when it was still okay to venture out with bare legs (I say ‘back when’ – we’re currently hitting highs of 20 degrees in London).

There’s something about the opulence of a shimmering gold skirt paired with a simple grey tshirt – it just kind of works. The jacket was a bit of an oh-so-wrong-it’s right addition to the look.

This week I stumbled across a worthy addition to my collection – this super shiny silver mini from H&M. I can’t wait to pair it with a grey sweater and chunky boots.

Skirt: Topshop | Tshirt: Mango | Jacket: Primark

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