Friday, 28 September 2007

Fashion Journalism Week 1: Notting Hill

Picture of Shop owner at 'one of a kind' Notting Hill Fashion thrives on the latest trends, whether they are fads or a continuous fashion craze. It strongly depends on the biggest names in fashion to create an everlasting and implausible collection; even people on the streets contribute to trends which we see in most stores. By wearing our favourite brands it creates a status for ourselves and a society we are categorised into through the clothes we wear. But where do we go to be inspired? As I explore the streets of London within 10 weeks, I will be looking at boutiques, small independent companies and developing businesses. I will be analysing how these small independent stores connect with fashion on the runway and how they make an impact on society. First Stop Notting Hill As I walked through Notting Hill on Friday, I felt a slight joyfulness amongst majority of the people who were walking through the busy and crowded market stalls. People chatting and shouting in the streets, cars beeping their horns through the crowds and endless queues for the outdoor food stalls, was like a discovery through grand opens doors to a continuous road of great fashion finds. Shop owners were successfully getting the public to notice their products being sold, and their consumers were happily parting with their money for items which they believe are individual and key finds. Among all of the clothes, bags and accessories being sold, my main priority was analysing what people were wearing. Saddle Bags, Vintage Boots, Boy fit jumpers, Skinny jeans, Trilby hats, Vintage Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent blazers, Chic knit jumpers and 1950’s shift dresses were all things I discovered on my search. As I walked down the streets of Notting Hill Portobello Road with a grand Double Mocha Macchiato in my hand, I found myself steeping into ‘one of a kind’, a chic vintage store, filled with designer pieces dated from the late 1920’s elegance mixed with the 1980’s colourful style. Clothes draped along the walls, and couture pieces dangled from the ceiling, fur coats warped over the counters like the animals flaunting themselves in the zoo, endless shoes by Gina, Chanel, YSL, Christian Dior, Gucci and more, placed precisely around the shoe room. Every room was different to the next; it was as if it was a wardrobe showcasing some sort of an open gallery to the public. On the runway this season two main trends I came across were chunky knits and the colour purple; both which I noticed in store often. The shop owner spends his time finding couture pieces and selling them at a fraction of what they are worth but the key to effective visual merchandising his collection in store is obviously of great importance. There was a great collection of knitwear at the front of the store and with his shoe display; the use of different colour blocking was very strong. Strong and intense colours such as purples, pinks, yellows and oranges were shining the doors. This was a statement itself he made with the shoes; a trend he took from the runway to create this impact with colour. I remember this store quite well from The Clothes Show, where Louise Redknapp featured some of his recent fashion discoveries on the show. But I never imagined being smothered in a room with Soft cotton and Satin silk materials, some even with fine lace with jewels and beading applied. This was my first stop; and I felt lost in a fantastic discovery I found; not knowing where to look; or where to begin.