Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Asiana Bridal Show in London Catwalk Review part 2: Kirans

Kirans was one of the exhibitors at the fashion show, who are from outside London. They're from Birmingham and after the show we visited their stand to discover that their prices are quite reasonable. Whereas most boutiques/designers would be charging a minimum of £1000 for a bridal outfit, and even that would be a plain design, I found a fab outfit at Kirans which they said was £850...and it really was beautiful! I didn't manage to snap a pic of it, but here's what they had to show on the catwalk:

The main colour themes at the Kirans show were red and green


I'm not too keen on the ruffles of the skirt, I think ruffles can look nice - just not a FULL SKIRT of them!


Up next were some dresses, not quite full-on traditional bridal dresses, but still amazing looking, and with some elegant details. They also showed off a bit of their menswear too.


I really like the back of this red one, I know the front it the most important thing, but it's always nice to see an outfit where the designers have made an effort to make it look good from all angles.

Up next were some more traditional outfits:


Now I have to say I didn't LOVE these outfits, they wouldn't be my personal choice but I liked them and I think they looked good. The masks looked cool too, but I'd probably advise against copying that trend unless you're wedding theme is as a masquerade ball!

The final outfit from Kiran's with this strapless top with a full skirt and a train. The colours haven't come out so well in the first pic, but you can get an idea from the second.



I think the next time I'm in Birmingham I'll have to nip into Kirans to check them out...or seeing as I'm never in Birmingham just for the sake of it, perhaps I'll make a trip specially to visit!

Up next time - Puja Silk House.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Catwalk Review - The Asiana Bridal Show in London: Frontier Bazar


I was at the Asiana Magazine's bridal show in London this weekend. The highlight of the exhibition was the fashion show, featuring collections from:
Seasons India, Frontier Bazar, Payal Collection, Puja Silk House, RCS Menswear, Roshans, Sana Designerwear, Kirans, Ishq Couture, Monga’s, Shakuntlam and jewellery by Kyles.

Here's my report from the catwalk, starting with Frontier Bazar, some of the pictures are a bit rubbish, but what can I say, I'm not a professional photographer and people kept sticking their stupid heads in my way! :p

Frontier Bazar


Frontier Bazar kicked off their section of the show with this red and gold Anarkali-style churidar suit - complete with matching hat!
I don't know about you, but that outfit didn't exactly make a good first impression on me...neither did this one:



However, my interest soon picked up when some sparkly, beautiful, elegant outfits came onto the catwalk:


Check out the open back on that one! I noticed quite a few open/oval-shaped cut-outs on the back of the Frontier Bazar collection.



Frontier Bazar definitely saved the best for last, modelled by former Miss England Hammasa Kohistani, this was by far my favourite outfit from the collection:







I liked the colour combination, the gold with a hint of blue and it was oh so sparkly! I also love the jewellery, especially that thing on her head!!
All the jewellery was from Kyles in London (website here) and after the show we found ourselves at the Kyles exhibition stand chatting to the owner (who is a really nice lady!) and she told us that particular bridal hair accessory is called a shingar patti. That accessory wasn't on my bridal jewellery shopping list before now, but now I really want one!!

That's all for now, look out for the next update, featuring more pics and commentary from the Asiana Bridal Fashion show

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Shopping online for beautiful bling rings



A fabulous ring can make even the plainest hand look delicate and pretty, the only question is, where do you buy them from? Do you opt for the expensive rings, in hope that they'll last you longer and not stain your hand a funny colour from the metal, or opt for the more affordable cheaper rings which might not last as long because all the stones will probably fall out?

It all depends on how often you're gonna wear the ring. If you're a full-time party girl and are likely to have it on a lot of the time, then perhaps a more expensive ring is your best bet...but if you're like me and you'd only wear it occassionally, then perhaps the affordable route is the best way to go.

I found two online retailers, Miss Bollywood who have rings ranging from £1.99 - £4.70 in price, and Shefaly House of Jewels who have rings available from £10 - £24. Let's compare!!!


Shefaly House of Jewels

click here to check out Shefaly's ring collection

Although the ring selection at Shefaly is a bit pricey, it's by no means unaffordable, and you can see why these rings are a little more expensive. They're good quality, most of them are made with Swarovski crystals, and some of the designs are really unique.

Miss Bollywood

Ok so they're not made from Swarovski gems, and the designs aren't ground-breaking, but I really like the ring collection at Miss Bollywood! and I especially like the prices too! Here are some of my favourites:





Click here to check out the rest of the rings available at Miss Bollywood.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Online Shop Review - Suits Me Online


Suits Me is an online store I somehow stumbled across, I liked the look and the prices of their outfits so when I noticed the words "clearance sale" I decided to order something and check it out for myself!!

The site supplies the following: ladies readymade, menswear, jewellery, sarees, kids, ladies kurta, shawls, footwear, shalwars and handbags.

My first browse took me to the ladieswear section


They have 10 pages worth of Shalwar suits, but only 2 pages of trouser suits, and only 2 churidar suits! Considering churidar suits are pretty much what everyone is wearing at the moment, it makes me think this site isn't exactly the height of fashion!

Also, after looking at the suits themselves, and the prices, I'd say most of these outfits would be for daytime wear rather than going out. There's nothing wrong with that though, everyone needs a good few casual but still pretty outfits don't they??!

This outfit caught my eye (can you tell I'm into funky sleaves?)


but as always, they didn't have my size...and in fact I wasn't even sure if the sizes from Suits Me would fit at all. Although I'm pretty sure I'm not a "L" or "XXL" which is all they have left in that outfit.

In the end I ordered this outfit:


It wasn't the nicest outfit on the site, but here's why I ordered it:

1) It was cheap, even if I didn't like it I wouldn't be crying over the fact that I'd just spent £15 (£11.25 for the outfit + £4.50 postage)
2) They had it in a small size - XS
3) 3/4 length sleeves - good for all this cold weather

I went through the order process, no problems there, and a few days later my outfit arrived. What was the verdict??
- it was too big! I know I'm petite, but an XS in most places usually fits me.
- the design I'd chosen didn't have much shape, so even when my sister tried it on (the size was fine for her) it wasn't fitted or very flattering.

Don't let that put you off though! In hindsight, I think I did make a poor choice when it came to picking the outfit. It would probably suit a lot of people, and the fact that they didn't have anything above a size S shows people have been buying it...


Here's the final verdict on Suits Me:


Good stuff
- the prices
- the site design
- how easy it is to buy stuff

Bad stuff
- the sizes and availability of current stock
- not all of the outfits have pictures
- not exactly cutting edge fashion

Overall, I'd still shop there (if they did an XXS!) and perhaps I'd be a bit more careful when choosing my outfit, after all, just cause something looks nice on a model it doesn't mean it's going to look good on me!
As I said before, the site has good, reasonably priced everyday stuff, so if you're wardrobe is already crammed with full-on-embroidered party wear, and you want something you can breathe in and still look half decent, then Suits Me is worth a browse.


* suits me also have 2 stores in Bradford, and 1 in Halifax - check out their website for details

Monday, 7 January 2008

Shop Review: Bombay Stores

Bombay Stores in Bradford is the self proclaimed "UK's largest asian department store". It might just be the largest, but is it the BEST?? Here's my review!!



Firstly...this store is massive! It packs a lotta stuff all under one roof, from ladieswear, bridalwear, kidswear, shoes, accessories, to music, make-up, house decorations, fabric, sewing patterns and a lot more. In fact there's so much that the only way to shop is to browse the store and pick up tickets for each item that you want to purchase, and when you're done you go to the checkout, give in your tickets and all your items will be ready to pay for and collect.

Ladieswear
So, let's move to ladieswear - this is a fashion blog after all! Well, you can check out a range of the stuff Bombay stores has to offer on their website: bombaystores.biz. Most of the ladieswear on that site is a bit out of date, but the "catalogue" section has the latest outfits.
There's LOADS more instore, from your basic everyday suits to stuff a bit dressier, to over-the-top-embroidered party wear, and bridalwear. There's quite a good price range, so if you're on a budget you'll probably still be able to pick something...although I warn you it won't be as pretty and amazing looking as the pricier items!!
In addition to the readymade suits, there's also a VERY large fabric section of the store, including trims, threads and sewing patterns.




Bridalwear
Ah the bridalwear section of the store..it's like it's own little world away from the rails packed with clothes (even though it's not that secluded, in fact it's right next to those very packed rails). I paid a short visit to the bridalwear section this weekend, but as I wasn't in a position to buy, I didn't stay very long! I did however take a peek at a future bride with her entourage trying on various outfits - I just couldn't help but look!
I didn't get the chance to do a full bridalwear price-check, but judging by the items I did see, I'd say prices start at about £1000 and can go A LOT higher!

On a side note - Bombay stores was recently featured on the UK version of the MTV reality show "My Super Sweet 16", it was a bollywood-themed party - you can watch the episode here if you really want, but here's some screenshots:


The birthday girl entering the bridal section to go and see her custom-made outfit for the first time (notice the rail of "sale" bridal outfits she's walking past!)

The party outfit fresh out of the box! (ooh and it comes with a matching bag)

The birthday girl admiring herself in her outfit
The shop assistant said the outfit and accessories came to about £3000.

Accessories/Shoes
Bombay stores stocks Unze shoes and Paposh shoes. Nothing extraordinary about that, but it's very handy if you've just bought an outfit and you want some matching shoes and a bag.
There's also other accessories such as bindis, henna, henna tattoos, jewellery.

Menswear
Not exactly my area of expertise, but Bombay stores has loads of menswear, in different colours, fabrics and styles.

Other Stuff
Bombay stores also offer wedding services, more details by clicking here, as with the menswear I haven't tried all of these out, but I can tell you about the wedding stages and wedding invitations.
1)Wedding Stages - the last time I used this service they were really professional, we picked a stage we liked, told them our requirements such as height of stage, colour of lighting etc. and arranged for it all to be set up at the venue. All went smoothly, without hassle and most importantly ON TIME!
2)Wedding Invitations, unfortunately my last experience of ordering wedding invitations with this company wasn't such a smooth process. They got the basics right, such as spelling of names, addresses, phone numbers, however they messed up on the design and we had to change our initial idea. Also, not all the invites were of the same quality, some of them were downright illegible! One last little gripe - we had to fold the invitations ourselves, which can be a bit of a hassle when you're stressed out of your head organising a wedding!!

Online Store
At the end of last year the Bombay Stores website had a sale, so I took the opportunity to buy an outfit and check out their online ordering service. I picked up this lil number (click on image to go to site)


I ordered it in blue, for half the price listed on the site. I ordered it about a week before Christmas, so wasn't expecting it to arrive until January because as the site states "delivery may take up to two weeks". So imagine my surprise when it arrived 3 days later! The ordering process was easy, it took me 5 minutes. The suit was just like the picture, the size fit perfectly and needless to say I'm pretty pleased with my purchase.

I would have probably ordered this outfit too...if only it was in stock!

Overall, I think Bombay Stores is fab. I probably wouldn't go shopping there every week, but if you visit occassionally, chances are you'll find something.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

A reader's opinion of Asian Fashion Blog!

[This post was originally posted on 12th June 2008, but has now been archived]

Asian Fashion Blog actively encourages opinions and discussions, whether it's via comments on the posts or via emails to me directly. Here's a recent email I received from a fashion "expert" which I thought I would share you and also post my response:

Dear fashion spectator

I came across your blog today and to be quite honest I’m thoroughly disappointed by the fact that someone as clueless as you as has decided to become a self styled critic of the Asian fashion industry. Given that you clearly demonstrate no knowledge of what’s actually fashionable or of the trends relating to fabrics, cuts and embroideries in Asian fashion, I find it difficult to see what purpose your blog serves. Perhaps you’re aiming to educate the equally 'simple' women who believe they know what they’re talking about simply because they can distinguish the colour of one sari from another. To even place yourself on the pedestal of the fashion spectator I believe you need to understand the industry, trends and the garments themselves on a much deeper level. You are simply an insult to people who struggle for years on end to establish their brands and boutiques in this limited and fiercely competitive market only for you to launch nonconstructive criticism their way - although, notably, at your expense. Also, in case you have difficulty grasping what it is that fashion houses actually contribute to fashion shows then it is simply garments. Choreography, selection and dressing of the models are entirely the responsibility of the coordinators of the show, therefore ridiculing outfits on this basis is rather pathetic. I think you need to reassess your amateur style and think of the legal issues concerned with your activities including defamation and copyright in the shows/photographs before continuing. If you’d like a personal consultation relating to basic knowledge of Asian fashion, I may be able to point you in the right direction.

Regards,

a much disgusted spectator of your unfashionable blog.



In my opinion it reads pretty harsh, but it covers a lot of points which I would like to publicly answer.

1) I clearly state I am NOT an expert on fashion, I'm just a normal person with an inquisitive eye and some strong opinions.

2) I admit that I know very little about fabrics/cuts/embroideries, but you don't necessarily need to know about ANY of these things to form an opinion on what looks good and what doesn't.

3) The purpose of this blog is to report on and comment on what's happening in asian fashion at the moment. There are hundreds of fashion blogs all over the internet which do the same - post catwalk pictures and comments for others to see. Perhaps you're unfamiliar with the whole concept of blogging, if that is the case there's a nice little article on Wikipedia all abour blogging which you can read here.

4) I understand that a lot of elements go into putting together a fashion show and the clothes are only one part of that, but realistically the clothes are the main reason people attend fashion shows. A badly presented show can reflect badly on a designer and that's something worth writing about!

5) I have nothing against the people who have worked hard to establish their brands and boutiques, but I think you are insulting them by suggesting my comments and opinions written on this blog could be damaging to their hard work.

6) The style of this blog may seem amateur, and in fact you are correct - I'm not a journalist, I'm not an industry insider and as I've already stated I'm certainly not an expert! I don't claim to be any of these things and perhaps the reason why people visit this blog is because I write in an unpretentious and "amateur" style.

7) With regards to any legal issues which may arise, I can confirm that all the catwalk show photos displayed on this blog have either been taken by myself or are used with permission from the photographers.

Finally, I'd like to say to you as a fashion "expert" (and other fashion experts out there) please feel free to educate me in any way you feel would be beneficial to me and my blog visitors. Although before you do, please could you be so kind as to share your own fashion credentials with us so I can verify the source of your wisdom.

Thanks for the feedback :)