An update on WIWT.com…

Five and a half years ago I started a daily outfit blog called What I Wore Today on the now defunct blogging platform Posterous. The fashion blogging landscape has changed dramatically since that time, in part because people like me saw a rising trend for outfit based content and built sites like WIWT.com so anyone and everyone could become a fashion blogger.

While I may have only started my daily outfit blog as a bit of a joke, it grew into something brilliant.

As more and more fashionable types contacted me asking me to feature pictures of their outfits on my blog, I realised I was on to something and set about re-launching the blog as an outfit sharing social network that anyone could use to share outfits and get style inspiration.

In September 2011, WIWT.com v2 was launched with a corresponding iOS app (an Android app followed later) and that is still the site you see today.

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The term ‘WIWT’ has become standard webspeak, at the time of writing there are 3,202,605 photos on Instagram hashtagged as #WIWT. THREE MILLION! People love sharing outfit content.

WIWT.com itself has 50,000 registered members who have actually ‘done something’ on the site, be it give an outfit a star, leave a comment or share a look. With zero advertising, PR or marketing spend, over 100,000 outfits have been uploaded from all over the world. But whilst the site remains a great source of fashion inspiration for many, I have not been able to give it the attention it deserves to grow it into the site I know it could be.

It’s an odd situation to be in. I never could have imagined that creating WIWT would lead to the opportunities it has… many of the spun-off collaborations have become near enough full time jobs in themselves. Unfortunately though, this has meant that I haven’t had the time or resources to devote to WIWT’s growth. I’ve been running the site all on my own for the last couple of years. I never had a co-founder or investors, even the agency which did such a fabulous job of building and designing the site doesn’t exist anymore.

Somebody else needs to take the reigns if WIWT is ever going to reach the next level of sartorial sassiness.

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COMPETITION! Win label.m goodies dressed in GILES

One of the coolest things I saw at LFW this season was a designer collaboration we can all get our hands on…the GILES x label.m 10 year anniversary collection.

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I’ve always *loved* Fashion Week, don’t get me wrong, but since working with TONI&GUY and label.m I’ve found myself enjoying LFW all the more, mostly because the hair and beauty side of catwalk shows is always going to seem that teeny weeny bit more attainable than the 6ft tall body ideal or the £3000 dress.

We can dream about the outfits that will land in Bond Street boutiques in six months time, but we can have a go at recreating the hair looks when we get home that evening. Granted, you may need to watch a YouTube tutorial or five, grow an extra arm or hope your best mate is a hairdresser, but you can have a go. And trying is part of the fun.

LFWlookscollageThe right kit is half the battle though. And where I once may have struggled to understand why you need any more than “just hairspray” or “maybe dry shampoo if I’m feeling really lazy”, my eyes have been opened over the last few years to the HUGE array of products that the pros rely on to create catwalk-worthy hair. I am now a dab hand at spotting a hair look that needs Resurrection Dust from a mile off…not to mention very well versed in justifying why we really do need crates of Volume Mousse in our bathroom. I am a woman converted.

label.m are the Official Haircare Product of London Fashion Week so their ever-growing range is a good place to start if you want to have a go at recreating all things runway. And as it’s their tenth birthday and the GILES collection is looking so darn *gorgeous* on my bathroom shelf, I thought it was about time we had another label.m competition.

YES!…

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Shout-out Saturday: The women recycling our unwanted clothes

I stumbled upon a gorgeously put together short film yesterday. In 14 minutes, Unravel follows the journey of unwanted clothes from the UK, US and Europe to a sleepy town called Panipat in Northern India…the only place in the world that wants them. These clothes aren’t being shipped half way across the world to be worn again, they’re being purchased by a local business to be recycled back into yarn.

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Directed and produced by Meghna Gupta, the film gives a fascinating insight into the women working in the factories and what they make of the Westerners who had previously worn these clothes. What was more interesting still, was their creative assumptions on why the barely worn clothes had been discarded in the first place.

With little exposure to Western culture other than the unwanted clothes that arrive by the bale load, the women are reliant on their imagination and rumours to build a mental picture of what it must be like to have so much that you’d throw away perfectly good clothing.

Needless to say, their take on rhinestone encrusted knickers is suitably amusing.

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There’s nothing preachy in this film, but you’d be hard pressed to finish watching it and not take two minutes to consider how ridiculous our throwaway culture has become.

I know I’m particularly guilty for working in an industry that promotes BUYING ALL THE THINGS, but I genuinely don’t shop very often for myself when it comes to clothes. It’s one of the many reasons I stopped doing outfit posts, I had photographed all my clothes (and then some!) and didn’t want to carry on buying clothes (or accepting gifts of clothes) just for blog posts.

I try only to buy things that I really need or that will really last, which generally means spending a fair bit more but a lot less often. Nearly all of my designer purchases are second-hand bits from re-seller boutiques, charity shops or eBay, which I suppose means I’ve given some unwanted dress or pair of jeans a few more years of wear before they end up in Panipat.

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I’ll definitely be thinking about the mountains of unwanted clothes in this film next time I “have to have” something, but I suppose at least these garments are being recycled. I dread to think how much is ending up in landfill.

I can’t embed the film but you can watch it for free here.

Or the trailer is below…

Making my dream bespoke handbag at the Tusting factory…

For a long time now I’ve wanted a new handbag, not just because I am inundated with the latest lust-worthy handbag imagery day in and day out as part of my job, but because my ‘daily go-to’ Louis Vuitton Neverfull is falling apart. It’s seven years old, so maybe I shouldn’t begrudge the fact that the canvas has torn on the outside where I’ve overused the inside pocket (was the inside pocket for decoration? Was it my fault for using it?!) but it was the price that put me off replacing it.

In seven years the price of the Neverfull has doubled, and to replace the exact same handbag would now cost me £710. I can’t easily justify spending £710 on a *canvas* bag, especially one that is now so widely counterfeited that you can even buy knock-off copycat versions on Oxford Street.

But the real crux of the issue (IT WAS A BIG ISSUE) was that I wanted a personalised bag this time around. I wanted my new initials on whatever my new handbag would be, proudly emblazoned so that it was clear the bag was MINE. I’m #smugmarried and I can’t help it.

You can get LV Neverfulls monogrammed, but that sets you back £970. NEARLY ONE THOUSAND POUNDS. I’m proud to be Mrs Taylor these days but not that proud, hah!

Then I remembered a trip I had taken a couple of years ago to the Tusting factory. I love Tusting, their leather bags are gorgeous, functional and, better still, they are proudly manufactured in England. Founded in 1875 and now a fifth-generation family business, Tusting is still based in the pretty village of Lavendon, Buckinghamshire. I remember being told on my last trip that a third of the staff walk to work.

Having been to the factory before, I was pretty certain they’d be able to monogram something….and a quick check of their website proved me right. Not only could you get products personalised, this process only costs £35. Obviously this seemed just a tad more reasonable than the £250+ mark-up from LV. Granted, it’s a lot less labour intensive to monogram by embossing rather than painting….but embossing lasts forever where painting suffers wear and tear.

I also had a general confidence in Tusting because of my experience with their products. I first came across the brand in 2009 at Grand Designs Live (bizarrely!) when I was still working in property. My parents and I fell in love with their leathers and tweeds and we (or rather they, I can’t pretend I contributed to this family purchase) promptly bought two of their stunning handmade sofas. I know their customer service is second to none, because my mother still pesters them with cat related enquiries six years on.

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I’ve got a bespoke wash-bag from them too which I have used as my make-up bag for three years and it still looks fabulous, despite the fact it’s been dragged all around the world and is constantly getting wet by the bathroom sink…

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And it was my washbag that actually inspired me to go for a bespoke option again for my handbag. I knew I wanted a big and smart bag so their Kimbolton would be perfect, and I’d already fallen in love with this style three years ago…

tustingagesago(Lol at ‘retro me’….although I am impressed that I am sitting here typing this wearing these exact jeans)

So that is what I went for yesterday at the factory! Albeit a slightly different version……

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Review: Haché Chelsea (vegetarians very welcome!)

Earlier today I smugly posted about how I ‘completed’ Lent and managed to steer clear from ketchup, mayo, BBQ sauce and HP for 46 whole days. I know, I know, I must be superhuman. BUT I DID IT.

There were many times where my patience for Lent was tested, but I was at my most likely to quit when faced with anything burger and chips related. Sauce-less burger buns run the very real risk of being too dry and chips without sauce are quite frankly upsetting. So with that all being said, I knew I wanted to have a decent (veggie) burger and chips as soon as I could…and that’s why we headed to Haché on the Fulham Road last night for dinner.

My cousin and her boyfriend were staying with us and I billed Haché to them as ‘a posh GBK’, a place where you can get good burgers but you don’t have to order at a counter or use cutlery from a communal tin. I’d been a few times before but not for ages and ages, so I was excited to go back…especially as ST is still doing veggie January (yep, in April) and I knew we’d be able to get two different veggie options and share them. (Having someone to share food with has been a revelation, NOW I KNOW HOW REGULAR PEOPLE FEEL).

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We wanted to get cocktails as part of our evening so we went to Beaufort House on the Kings Road first (Frisky Bisons are still very much ‘the one’) before we walked up Beaufort Street to the restaurant. They’re three minutes walk from one another so you can easily combine the two.

We needn’t have bothered going somewhere else for cocktails first though, as when we arrived at Haché we saw that they did cocktails themselves. TEN POINTS AWARDED STRAIGHT AWAY.

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They were good (and strong!) cocktails too, and we made an effort to taste various ones as the evening progressed. For research.

The menu is varied and has everything from a crunchy peanut butter and cheddar smothered steak burger (the Louisiana) to an aromatic duck burger with hoi sin sauce to an actual roast dinner burger which contains Yorkshire pudding and dauphinoise potatoes (only available on Sundays, natch). There’s a decent array of lamb, chicken and veggie burgers too, as well as salads. You won’t struggle to find something you’ll love, though you may struggle to actually choose what to have.

We started with nachos and halloumi…

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Before moving on to our mains.

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goat's cheese burger at hache fulham road

I had the falafel sweetcorn burger (which comes with beetroot mmmmmmm) whilst ST had the goat’s cheese burger which featured portobello mushroom, grilled aubergine, avocado, chive oil, garlic mayonnaise and red pesto sauce. I had food envy and he cruelly took back his ‘promise to share’ (GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE YOUR HONOUR!) so I will have to go back sharpish and have the goat’s cheese burger for myself….as one bite was definitely not enough.

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