Saturday 29 March 2008

Basant Night Fashion Show Manchester - Fuchsia collection two

The Basant Night fashion show ended with the bridal collection from Fuchsia. Maybe it was because they had all the models on stage at the same time, but to me all the outfits looked the same, aside from tiny differences in colour! Here they are for your viewing pleasure anyway though!

Friday 28 March 2008

Asiana Magazine - model casting session in London on 2nd and 3rd April 2008

One of the most popular (and one of my favourite!) magazines, Asiana Magazine, are on the lookout for new models!
The following message was sent to all members of the Asiana facebook group:

Asiana is looking for fresh faces for 2008 both male and female. So if you think you've got what it takes to be a Asiana Model come along to our offices for a casting.


5ft 6 and above (we accept shorter girls for beauty and editorial)
Dress size 6-12
Must wear heels on day of casting
Minimal makeup must be worn
All black must be worn, no over dressing or accessories.
please bring a hair tie.

5ft 11 and above
No makeup must be worn
hair must be styled
designer stuble is accepted, but please be well groomed.
fitted jeans and a plain neutral t-shirt should be worn.

PLEASE REMEMBER: this is a casting, NOT a fashion photoshoot, pictures will be taken of you on the day, please bring a portfolio if you have one. (bring extra photos for us to keep on file) please come alone, unless coming with other potential models.

Wed 2nd April 08, 11-8pm
Thurs 3rd April 08, 11-6pm

Please attend on the hour of each day for the casting. i.e 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm etc.


Tower Bridge Business Centre
46-48 East Smithfield

Nearest station: TOWER HILL

(please plan your route in advance)

Once you get to reception please state you are here to see Anisha for a Asiana Casting, and wait until you are called.

please make sure you have enough time to stay with us. maximum time will be 1 hour.

I know there are a lot of aspiring models out there, so this could be your chance! For more information, check out the facebook page for this casting session here...and good luck everyone!

Thursday 27 March 2008

Basant Night Fashion Show Manchester - Fuchsia collection one

The Basant Night show in Manchester two weeks ago also featured collections by manchester-based Fuchsia, which happens to be a shop I've never bought anything from! It's not that I don't like their clothes, in fact I rather like some of their outfits, however the shopping experience itself leaves much to be desired. It's one of those shops which has all their clothes so tightly packed onto the rails you can hardly look at the outfits...I gave up after the first few visits, but perhaps if you like what you see below, you might just pay them a visit!!!

The show started with some pretty party outfits (and weird catwalk positions which made it extemely difficult to get decent shots of the clothes!!)

Then there was this blue dress with a bolero, it was quite striking, but is it me or does her bum look big in it??!:

Next we had this green outfit and this toga-looking sari (which reminded me a lot of the first outfit by Ishq couture at the Asiana Bridal Show in London although the Ishq Couture sari was much prettier!)

There were two more sari's for this part of the show, including the purple and orange one below...where do I start with this outfit?? The colour combination just doesn't do it for me at all, neither of these colours are really "in" at the moment. Then if you take into account the big mirrors on the border and on the top, it all looks wrong to me!

The other sari had a colour combo that I think did work - blue and brown. I only managed to snap the back of it - what do you think of the heart-shaped cutout in the back?

The final images from the Basant Fashion show will be the bridal collection from Fuchsia - so look out for that soon!

Basant Night Fashion Show Manchester - Imani Studio collection two

Here's the second part of the collection from the catwalk at the Basant Night Show in Manchester last weekend. Again, these outfits were from Imani Studio, and they started off with some bright summer trouser suits:

Unfortunately I didn't manage to snap all the outfits as some of the models (ok, one in particular) had a habit of walking too fast!!

Up next was a range of more glitzy but not over the top suits:

This was my favourite outfit:

As I mentioned in my previous post, Imani Studio stock more than one designer, which explains the wide variety between the outfits they had to show.
If you're in Manchester this weekend for some shopping, Imani Studio are having a special event in store, they have top Pakistani designers Nickie & Nina in person who will be previewing their Spring/Summer 08 Collection as well as giving Bridal Consultations. You can check out the official Nickie & Nina website here and view their current collection on the Imani Studio website here. For more info on this event, visit the Imani Studio website and click on News and Events.

Sunday 23 March 2008

Basant Night Fashion Show Manchester - Imani Studio collection one

The Basant Night fashion show in Manchester featured two boutiques from the city, with the first being one of my favourites - Imani Studio, it was actually after I'd visited their store to write my shop review that they invited me to attend this fashion show. So here's the first part of their catwalk - Bridalwear!

The thing about Imani Studio that sets it apart from most other asian clothes shops, is that they stock more than one designer, so there's a lot of variety in what they have to show.

They started with this very original looking pink/purple sharara:

My favourite was probably the gold outfit on the left in this photo...although I'm not sure if the skirt is intended to be that short!

This section of the show also included some saris, although compared to the glitzyness of the bridal outfits, they look very plain in comparison.

Look out for my next post which will have more casual/partywear outfits from Imani Studio.

Another weekend...another fashion show...but first, here's some videos from The Asiana Wedding Show back in January!

I've had a very busy weekend, attending not one, but TWO fashion events. First of all there was a local event yesterday evening - The Basant Night Fashion show in Manchester, and today I've been to Birmingham for the Midland's Asiana Wedding Show. I've got plenty of pics and comments from those events, but before I start uploading, here's some videos from the catwalk of Asiana's Wedding Show in London, in January:

Tuesday 18 March 2008

The Ash Kumar "Just Henna" foundation course - Part Two

So I've told you the outline of the course (if you missed it, click here to have a read) now for the inside info!

First of all, a lot of you must be thinking, why would a successful mehndi artist go and share all his tips with students? What if we go on to become amazing henna artists and steal all his business? Well, I'll tell you something which might make you look at things a bit differently, first of all, Ash Kumar already has a huuuuge client list, you just need to check out the "gallery" section of the Ash Kumar website to see for yourself some of the famous faces he's worked with! Celebrities aside, if we're looking at normal brides, there are 100s of weddings each weekend during the wedding season (and that's just in the UK!), even though he's fast, Ash himself said he could fit in 10 brides a week maximum. So as his student, chances are you're not going to be stepping on his toes when you enter the big wide world of henna artistry.

There's also one other important thing to mention - the Ash Kumar product:

His henna products are now widely available online, and guess what? He uses his products to teach the course - so all AK students get to start off their training with AK henna, and a lot of them continue their careers using it!
I was really impressed with the Ash Kumar henna, and in fact when I took my complimentary "Bollywood starter kit" home and showed the henna paste I'd just made to my friends and family, they were impressed too.

Ok so we've figured out WHY he teaches the course - he's getting the upfront course fee and potentially our loyalty to his henna product, but there's one more REALLY important thing that I picked up in class about Ash: he enjoys teaching! He was enthusiastic from the very start, and he was interested in us - our backgrounds, previous experiences with henna and most importantly, what we wanted to gain from the course.
It was a chatty/relaxed environment, with the teaching being broken up by fascinating stories from his life. He also answered any questions that we had about his teachings and he gave us good answers, he didn't just fob us off! Another thing to mention is that the class was due to finish at 4pm, but Ash invited us all to stay a bit longer so we could get more practice in :)

Despite all of this, I left the class at the end of day one feeling a bit lost. The designs I'd produced looked so rubbish! "I'm never going to be good at this" I thought to myself.

A week and half passed before it was time to go back for Day Two of the class, and in that time we had homework to do! We had to mix up our own henna paste, take a sample in to show Ash, and draw 4 designs in henna on paper.
In typical fashion I left the homework to the night before! But as I sat there that sunday evening scribbling away in henna on paper, my designs slowly started to look half decent :)

Day Two
Day two rolled around and it was nice to see my classmates again. Day two was even more relaxed than day one, with hardly any formal teaching at all. We all had more questions, which Ash was happy to answer, and then he went through our homework one by one and gave us all individual critiques. I'm happy to say he liked my designs!!
Then we got our certificates, and finally before we departed, we all got a henna design from the man himself.
Take a look at the pics below: this fashion spectator with her eyes closed, and my henna design

I left the class on Day Two feeling inspired! I'm not exactly going to go out there and become a professional henna artist, but my friends and family certainly appreciate my new talent, and in the future I could take this further.

So...overall, was the Ash Kumar Henna course worth it? Well, I learnt a lot from it, and I did really enjoy the classes! But if you're serious about a career in henna, this course isn't an express line to becoming an expert. After all, this was just the "foundation" class, there's an intermmediate, and expert class and after that if you really want to learn more there's a one-to-one masterclass, all with hefty price tags!
I've been practicing a lot since the class and even now I can see my designs improving, so if you really want to make it as a henna artist then courses like this one can only guide you in the right direction, it's your own creativity and dedication that's gonna help you become better.
Although I will add, that if you put your money into the Ash Kumar Academy and are willing to work your way through his courses, you'll learn a lot from him about business and probably make some good contacts on the way!

So, if you fancy getting your hands on some AK henna to practice with, Non Stop Bazaar have a discount available until 31st March, just use the discount code NSBEaster10 to get 10% off! The Ash Kumar Bollywood Henna kit usually costs £14.99, and for a full range of AK products check out Revel Asia.

If you're thinking about enrolling into the Ash Kumar Academy, you can find details on all courses at the Ash Kumar website, and if you've got any questions for me, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Saturday 15 March 2008

The Ash Kumar "Just Henna" foundation course - Part One

Applying henna is an art form, I'm sure you can all recount good and bad experiences. One of my good experiences was when a family friend came over and she pulled a henna cone out of her bag and offered to do us a design. I wasn't expecting anything great, and ended up being blown away by her designs! I thought to myself, I wanna learn how to do that...and so I went off in search of a henna course.

After looking through the magazines, and searching online, it looked to me like every single established henna artist was running courses! Who was I supposed to choose? How much could I afford to pay?

After much deliberation (and one eager henna artist sending me loads of emails and even adding me on msn!) I decided if I was going to do this, I was going to the VERY best: Ash Kumar "the world's leading henna artist".

At £300, this course was one of the more expensive that I came across, but was it worth it?? Read on to find out!!

After doing my research online, I rang up to get more info. The course was spread over two days, day one was intended to be more of a learning session, and day two, held a few weeks later was to allow you to get feedback on your designs and make improvements.
The Ash Kumar staff were very efficient in letting me know dates and availability, and as soon as I'd got my funds together I went ahead and enrolled.

Day One

The class was due to start at 10am, so I had a long trip from Manchester to London that morning! Once I got into central London, a few tube stops later I was at the location. The directions provided were very clear and it was easy to find :)
I ended up being late (stupid train delays!) and as I reached the building, I'll be honest it looked like a shed!! (it was actually a converted garage!) But once I got inside I was pleasantly surprised to see it was really nice inside - I'm talking wood floors, warm tones, incense burning and a big mirror along one wall made the room seem spacious. All the other students had arrived before me and were sat around the large table in big comfy conference-room-style chairs.

We got given the necessary health and safety information, and a short introduction from the very polished-looking AK staff, and then were told Ash would be with us shortly.

Meeting Ash
Ash entered the room, and there was a friendly vibe about him. To break the ice we all introduced ourselves to the class and said a little bit about why we were on the course - there was a wide range of people there, an art student, someone from South Africa who ran a wedding business, someone who was planning to emmigrate to Australia. There were 7 students in total, and we had the pleasure of being joined by two recent students from Ash's "Total Look" program who were filling in some gaps in their knowledge.

Course Structure
The morning was a learning session, and the afternoon was a practical session. Here's a quick list of what was covered in the morning:
- identifying different types of henna designs
- how to make the henna/mehndi
- myths about the recipe, what you should and shouldn't add
- handy tips and technique for the recipe
- how to make your own cones (or applicators as Ash prefers to call them)

We then had a lunch break and I was a bit disappointed that lunch wasn't provided on this course as part of the price, I wasn't looking for anything fancy, even sandwiches would have been ok! There were lots of food places nearby though, so we didn't exactly go hungry.

Ther afternoon session was when we got a chance to practice! But first, we needed somewhere to start, and this is what we were shown:
- shapes and patterns
- how to put together a basic design
- rules to make sure your patterns work

What was it REALLY like?
Well, I've told you the basics, but what was it actually like on the course? Is Ash Kumar a good teacher? Did I learn anything new?

I'm afraid you'll have to wait for part 2! but don't worry, I promise I'll write it up soon!

[edit - part 2 all written up, click here to read it!]

Sunday 9 March 2008

Asian Woman Magazine's Asian Bride Show

I attended the Asian Bride Show in Manchester this weekend, I'll have a full review of the catwalk show (and the afterparty!) up soon, but in the meantime, anyone who visited the Asian Bride Show in London on the 24th and 25th January can check out pics from that event on the official website here!

Monday 3 March 2008

Shop Review: Imani Designer Studio

Based just outside Manchester city centre, is Imani - The Designer Studio. Considering this shop is in my hometown, I'd never actually visited the store before, so I decided to go this weekend and have a browse!

After browsing the Imani website, I was keen to see if the outfits from the pictures were as beautiful in person.

The store itself is well lit and spaced out, but not so spaced out that you're scared to touch anything! It's split into two main sections, with their casualwear and menswear in one part, and their designer outfits/bridalwear in another area.

It's not called the "designer studio" for nothing, Imani stock an impressive range of outfits from well-known Pakistani designers including: HSY, Maria B, Nickie Nina, Sublime by Sara, Tazeen Hasan and Yasmeen Jiwa. Obviously, these designer names come with designer price tags, but don't let that put you off - the staff instore are really friendly, and bridalwear starts from £800.

They also know their stuff too :) I spoke to Ferhat, the co-owner, and ended up having an unofficial bridal consultation! We browsed the designer rails, and discussed what I had in mind...I conveniently happened to have a picture of my "dream wedding outfit" and she was happy to take a look even though it's not an outfit they stock.

A beautiful blue outfit from the Maria B collection caught my eye, and even though they only had a size M (medium) in store, I agreed to try it on, knowing I would drown in it! The designer outfits are made to order, so the items in store are mainly for demonstrative purposes.
With a few safety pins, and a borrowed pair of heels I looked at myself in the mirror with the outfit on and felt like a bride! A beautiful bride!

Whilst I was busy dressing up like a bride, another customer came in, and she was trying on loads of gorgeous outfits from HSY...ah if only I had the money!

My budget wouldn't stretch to the £2000 price of the Maria B outfit I tried on, but there was a lot more in store and the next time I'm looking for a party outfit, I'll definiteley be back at Imani :)

If you're a bride who wants the BEST and you want something designer for your big day without the hassle, then a visit to Imani is definitely worth it!

Imani - The Designer Studio will be exhibiting at the upcoming Asian Bride Show in Manchester this weekend, they're also offering free bridal consultations at the exhibition, so check out their site for more info, or give them a call on 0161 834 3367 to book yourself in!

Sunday 2 March 2008

The Asiana Bridal Show London: Mongas

It was the Mongas collection that ended the show, and they really made the most of it! They started off with some registry-style outfits:

These were the type of dresses you could dance in...and they demonstrated that on the catwalk! (although the dancing, rather than posing meant I couldn't get decent pics)

Up next were some traditional outfits, including co-ordinating menswear:

Most of the outfits were likeable, but there was one that, in my opinion, looked rubbish! Do you think this looks flattering??!

They ended the show with these outfits, and a little bit more dancing!

That brings and end to my photos of the Asiana Bridal Show in London (It only took me a month to get them all up here!!!) But there's more to come - next week I'm going to be attending The Asian Bride Show in Manchester, and in 3 weeks time I'll be in Birmingham for the Asiana Bridal Show, so look out for my reviews from those shows!

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