Wednesday 22 December 2010

Win front row tickets to the 2011 Asiana Bridal Show in London

*** a big thanks to everyone who entered, the competition has now closed and the winner is Noreen from Worcestershire ***

The Asiana Bridal Show is back in London for 2011 with their asian bridal exhibition and fabulous fashion show taking place on Sunday 30th January at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London.

I'm a big fan of the Asiana Bridal show, and I'd go as far as saying out of all the wedding shows I've attended in the UK this one puts all the others to shame!

I didn't attend the London show last year, but I'm booked in this year and thanks to the team at Asiana Magazine, one lucky reader and their guest have the opportunity to join me, including much-coveted front row tickets for the fashion show!

The prize includes:
2 tickets to the Exhibition
2 Front Row seats at the Fashion Show
5-Star Dinner for 2 at the show, courtesy of Madhu’s

To enter, all you have to do is answer the following question:

Which world-famous fashion designer's clothes are featured on page 138 of the latest Asiana Wedding Magazine.

Don’t worry if you haven’t bought the magazine – the full edition is available to view for free online at (click "magazine" on the top right hand corner)

Send your answer in via email, stating "Asiana Competition" in the subject line along with your full name, address and phone number.
The competition will be closing at midnight on Friday 14th January, when a winner will be picked at random and contacted the next day.

With more than 90 exclusive exhibitors at one of central London’s swankiest hotels, you’ll be sure to find your dream wedding dress, a matching outfit for your groom, along with all the other essential service providers to complete your big day.

The 2011 asian bridal catwalk, features Bridalwear Collections by Mongas, Ekta Solanki, Kiran Khan, RDC, Gul’s Styles, Roshans, Khushboos and Sonas, Menswear by Ziggi Studio and Jewellery by Kyles Collection.

Tickets for the Asiana Bridal Show 2011 are also available to buy online from, at £11 for entry to the exhibition and £21 for exhibition and fashion show. Visit the Asiana Bridal 2011 microsite for more information and don't forget to enter the competition to win tickets!

Monday 20 December 2010

The asian designer wear copycats

If you're on facebook and have an interest in asian fashion, the chances are you have come across what I would call an asian designerwear copycat group/fanpage.

There are hundreds of them out there, all promising to make you a designer dress for a fraction of the cost being charged for the real thing. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and any designer knows their outfits are winners when people make copies of them.

Whether you agree or disagee with tailors and seamstresses copying asian outfits to order from magazines and catwalk shows, I have to have a rant about these facebook groups and why I can't stand the way they operate!

Copyright Infringement
My main gripe with these copycat dressmakers, is copyright infringement. In their photos albums you will find a whole host of beautiful images, from catwalks and magazines, and slap bang in the middle of these photos you will find their big fat logo - to the point where it obscures the outfit itself! No acknowledgement is given to the original designer, the photographer, or the source of the images - essentially the owners of these groups are passing off the designs as their own creations!

Using people's personal photos
Ok so stealing (or borrowing/whatever you want to call it) images from fashion shows and from magazines to sell your knock-off product is one thing, but using people's personal photos takes things to a whole new level!

The two photos above are examples of images I've seen posted in some of these asian designerwear facebook groups. I think you'll agree with me these are definitely personal photos and were not intended to be used for the purposes of selling some outfits. Does it make it ok because they covered up the faces? I don't think so! Imagine if you found a photo of you and your friends being used in this way, or worse still your wedding photos being used like this!

Can you really copy an asian outfit with all its detail from a single photo?
I can't say I've ever commissioned a "copy" of an outfit, or ordered from any of the copycat groups on facebook, but we've all seen how different an outfit can look in person compared to in a photo. How on earth can these copycats deliver? And if they do have an album showing the original dress and the copy they've made, how can you trust that it's even their own work?

Leave your comment!
These groups are obviously very popular with some boasting thousands of facebook "fans", perhaps more in other countries than in the UK. I'm definitely a fan of asian fashion shopping making the move to online and I wish some of the established UK asianwear retailers sold their stock online, however in my opinion these facebook groups are NOT the way to do it.

I'd love to know your views if you've ever ordered anything from one of these groups or if you've ever been tempted to. Leave a comment and share your thoughts :)

Friday 17 December 2010

Asian Bridal & Lifestyle Exhibition Birmingham more photos from the catwalk

Here are some more photos from the Asian Bridal & Lifestyle Exhibition which took place last month at Aston Villa Football club.

I didn't attend the show, but Rafyl Photography was on hand to take these fab photos and let me post them here :) I'm not 100% sure who all the designers were at this event, despite asking the organisers for a list I'm still none the wiser as to who designed each collection, so if you recognise any of the outfits please leave a comment below!

These three outfits I'm pretty certain are by Kiran's Creations in Birmingham, I can't say the nicest outfits I've seen by this store, but I like the princess/ballgown feel to these outfits:

There were a few more ballgown princess style asian dresses like this one below, which I think it just a little bit too pink!

Now don't quote me on this, but I *think* these next four outfits are by Mimis Boutique (in Birmingham) there's something in the styling which I recognise from the last time I saw a Mimi Boutique collection on the catwalk.
Love the simplicity of these first two outfits, they're not your usual embroidery-everywhere type of suits, but they still look pretty and chic. The two lehngas/skirt suits below however are a little bit too over the top for my tastes, if you want to look like a piece of art on your wedding day then these were designed for you!

Now onto some of your more traditional bridal outfits:
I really like the this last outfit, I think it's the colour combination that does it for me, the different shades of blue in the top and on the skirt...the skimpy top would probably show a little too much stomach for my liking but no doubt you can get this outfit with a full-length top if you preferred!

Tuesday 14 December 2010 fashion finder - "the biggest asian fashion portal in the world"

Asiana magazine's new website is still in "beta" but their website content is growing day by day (most notably their video section!). For fashion fans out there the first thing you need to check out is the all new "fashion finder" which claims to be "the biggest asian fashion portal in the world". I'm not sure how they're backing up this claim, but as I love looking at pretty pictures of asian clothes I decided to test out the fashion finder and see if I could find my dream outfit!

Split into six categories you can search for your dream outfit by Bridalwear, Saris, Evening Wear, Menswear, Jewellery and Shoes, or you can search by brand which includes all the regular Asiana Magazine advertisors such as Badial, Jaan, Kyles, Mona Vora, Mongas, Variety Silk House and many more!

To put the fashion finder to the test I sent through some enquiries for some of the outfits that caught my eye and here's what I found!

I started with the bridals and there's lots to look through - currently 14 pages worth of asian bridal wear, don't be surprised if some of the outfits look familiar to you - they've all featured in Asiana Wedding or Asiana Magazine. I put myself into the mindset of a bride and picked 3 outfits, I then filled in the "contact designer" box to make my enquiries about prices!
1) White regsitry style outfit from Gul's Style
2) Fully embroidered more traditional bridal outfit from Badial
3) Green asian fusion gown from Bombay Connection

I sent my enquiries through on the 8th December and have yet to hear back from any of these designers with further info on these outfits :(

Next I hit the eveningwear section, which is even bigger than the bridal selection with 17 pages worth of outfits. I picked out 5 outfits - 3 maxi dress-style outfits and two churidar suits:

1) Blue and green maxi dress from Sai Fashions
2) Yellow/Gold maxi dress from Jaan
3) Patterned maxi dress from Mongas
4) Green churidar suit from Century Emporium
5) One shoulder churidar suit from Traditions

I had a bit more luck with getting some feedback from these designers, just one day after submitting my enquiry I got a reply back from Century Emporium on the Green Churidar suit below saying
"Regarding your enquiry ce-41, this is not a stitched outfit but embroidered raw silk fabric which has been draped around the model to give ideas of of what one could make with this fabric.
You could use this fabric to make a dress. shalwar kameez or even a lengha.
The retail price of the fabric is £25 per metre for the maroon embroidered fabric and £12 per metre for the plain raw silk.
We stock a wide variety of these silks in differing colours and designs so please feel free to pop in to our store.
If there is anything else we can help you with do not hesitate to contact us

This was followed by a reply from Jaan about their yellow/gold maxi dress:
"This email is regarding your enquiry, the price for this dress is £395 as it is. we also have a made to measure service available if you did want to go for that. with made to measure you have a choice of 500 colours and also it is made to your size, any changes that you did want to make are also possible."

I also got a reply from Mongas on their patterned maxi:
"Thanks for your Query and sorry for a late reply. The dress that you have viewed is for £250. Unfortunately the dress is out of stock, but we also provide made to measure services, wherein you have the option of ordering the same dress as per your own style and measurement. Hope this helped. For any further query please feel free to contact us."

I have to say to say I'm a little disappointed that some of the other designers I contacted haven't got back to me yet - as I understand the system is still quite new but surely to be a successful online "fashion finder" you need to be able to find out more info on the outfit before you decide to travel to the store. Also one downfall is including outfits that aren't in stock on the fashion finder, I know that stock levels change very quickly and that it would probably be impossible to have "live" info on stock levels, but some of the outfits on the fashion finder are from VERY old issues of Asiana Magazine and I very much doubt they are still in stock.

Aside from the above I'd say's fashion finder is still a must-visit for asian fashion fans and anyone who's looking for some outfit inspiration. I think you have to sign up to the site to actually access the fashion finder which will put some people off, but it's definitely worth it! Visit the fashion finder now to have a browse for yourself and leave a comment to let me know if you found your dream outfit!

Monday 22 November 2010

Harkirans and Ziggi Studio at the Asian Bridal & Lifestyle Exhibition Birmingham

It seems as though there's an asian wedding exhibition every other weekend and on the 14th November Aston Villa Football Club held hold to the Birmingham Asian Bridal & Lifestyle Exhibition. Here's the collection from two Birmingham-based designers, one of my favourites Ziggi Studio and Harkirans.
A big thanks to the amazing photographer Rafyl from Rafyl Photography for these photos.

They kicked off their section of the catwalk with a dance performance which really showed off how you can move in one of their outfits!

The rest of the outfits stuck to the bridal theme a lot more:

I love the skirt on this outfit below:

These bridal looks were accompanied by some menswear from Ziggi Studio. Now it's no secret that I'm a big fan of Ziggi Studio - I just love the versatility of their pieces which look just as good with a pair of jeans as they do when worn as part of the full traditional asian groom look:

Did anyone attend this show? What did you think of the rest of the fashion show and the exhibitors?

Friday 19 November 2010

Cuckoo Fashion - online store review

I'm not sure how long the Cuckoo Fashion online asian store has been around but it caught my attention last Eid when a few people I follow on Twitter named it as the store they got their eid outfits from.

In particular, it was model and tv presenter Gulzaeb Beg Ali, who even posted two photos of her in Cuckoo Fashion outfits which you can view here and here. I figured if someone like Gulzaeb, who presumably has access to a lot of asian designers, chose to get her Eid outfits from Cuckoo Fashion then they must have some decent stuff!

The website look and feel
I like the look of the website, it looks professional like any online clothing retailer should and it's easy to navigate. As far as I've seen all the products have images

Product range
In terms of ladieswear they have a large product range from churidar and salwar suits to saris, jilbaba, kurta tops and even the type of thing you can buy on the high street like leggings and plain tops. I found lots of things I liked, but sadly a lot of the items aren't available in all sizes/colours - I can only assume they're waiting to sell all this seasons stock before putting new outfits in all sizes up.

The childrenswear and menswear product ranges are much smaller, but I'd say they're still worth a browse.

One thing that does baffle me a little is the "Home" section which is packed with household items like a cheese grater and hot water bottle! I'm not going to knock them for branching out, but when I got to an online store that has "fashion" in the title I'd expect it to be all about the clothes.

Purchase process
I didn't want to spend a massive amount, so I decided to buy something from the Kurta section. My final pick was this black and gold outfit reduced from £16 to £8.95:
I opted for the standard £3.50 delivery and paid using Paypal - I like retailers who offer the option to pay with paypal because I get little parnoid about my card details. The checkout process was easy enough.

Delivery times
I placed my order on the 26th October (a Tuesday) and received email notification on the 1st November (the following Monday) that my order had been despatched. It arrived on the Wednesday - 3rd November. So all in all, it took around a week to arrive which is what I expected. For anyone who needs their outfit in a hurry they do offer quicker delivery methods for an additional cost.

Did it look the like the picture?
So, I finally had my outfit. I tried it on and liked the way it looked and fit - no alterations needed. My only complaint was that for some reason the sleeves are a little shorter on me than in the original photo, and it's not like I have very long arms or anything! Considering I only paid £12.45 (including postage) for the outfit, I can live with the fact that the sleeves end a little bit further up my arm than they should have.

The final verdict
I would definitely shop with Cuckoo again, I'll perhaps spend a bit more money and invest in one of their more dressy outfits...that is, if they ever have my size in stock!!

Would love to know everyone else's experience with the Cuckoo Fashion online store - are they better than all the other online/catalogue asian fashion retailers? I personally like their designs more than Suits Me Online, who I reviewed back in 2008. Has anyone visited either of Cuckoo Fashion catalogue stores in London?

Thursday 18 November 2010

Top 3 accessories to jazz up your asian outfits

I love shopping for accessories in the asian shops, but sometimes it can all seem a little bit over the top. In a bid to find some versatile items which can be worn with both your asian clothes and the rest of your wardrobe, I decided to see what mulit-brand online catalogue very uk had available. These are my top 3 picks:

1. Statement Cutwork Pendant
There’s a very ethnic feel to this pendant with its intricate filigree design, it’s still very simple and elegant and wouldn’t look out of place worn with your LBD (little black dress!)

2. Embellished Luxury Wrap

Finding the perfect winter coat for your saris and lenghas can be a pain, but an alternative way to keep warm on your way to the party is with a wrap like this embellished selection

3. Jewelled Headband
I’m really feeling the headband look at the moment and for someone who’s lazy like me and can’t be bothered doing anything with my hair other than straightening it, they add a nice touch and can make it look you made an effort.

All these items are available to buy online now from – take a look and I’d love to know what your top accessories are for working the asian fashion look and your usual western-wear.

Saturday 13 November 2010

Aamby Valley India Bridal Week 2010 - these designers love their bollywood beauties!

Aamby Valley India Bridal Week took place at recently and as predicted most of the big designers had bollywood beauties on the catwalk along with their models!

Having a celebrity in your fashion show is one way to get publicity but then you run the risk of your outfits being overshadowed by the celebrity. It almost seems part and parcel of the job of being a Bollywood actress - to make star appearances at fashion weeks. I suppose it makes sense seeing as a lot of them were models to begin with, but I see that almost every designer at a fashion event like this has a celeb on the catwalk I can't help but feel it take away from the fashion.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think about celebrities stealing the spotlight on the catwalk, and in the meantime here are some of might highlights from Aamby Valley India Bridal Week.

Dia Mirza (in the centre) wearing designs by Rocky S:
View more photo from this collection here.

Kangana Ranaut (in the centre) wearing Arjun Anjalee Kapoor:
View more photos from this collection here.

Urmila Matondkar (in the centre) wearing Nisha Sagar:
View more photos from this collection here.

Zarine Khan (centre) wearing Sounia Gohil:
View more photos from this collection here.

Amrita Rao (centre) wearing Archana Kocchar:
View the rest of this collection here

All photos are courtesy of

Wednesday 10 November 2010

La Chantal by Saba at the Rhythm of Asia Fashion Show

Here's the collection from La Chantal by Saba as shown at the 2010 Rhythm of Asia fashion show in London.

Their dresses took the long flowing draped concept to a whole new level, but first they had some "safe" pretty outfits:

These next two outfits are really out of this world, maybe they look better in motion but I'm struggling to see the shapes they're trying to create and I'm not such a fan of that grey/brown colour which features in both of these:

This outfit was probably the showstopper, a bold tiger-print amongst all the other block coloured outfits really stands out. I'm not sure I'd ever wear this myself, but it's one of those dresses I *wish* I could pull off!

As pretty as this final outfit is, it almost doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the collection with its embroidered halterneck top and ruffle detail at the bottom of the skirt. What do you think?

A big thanks to Shahid Malik Studio for the photos

Sunday 7 November 2010

Raishma London - Designer Profile

Raishma, based on Green Street in London, is an asian bridalwear designer with a difference - they also do traditional western bridal gowns. You may remember their designs were on the catwalk this summer at Asian Magazine's Elite Bride Show (click here to view the Raishma catwalk show) and you can also see some of their gorgeous gowns at the Dar Hair Academy launch event.

I got in touch with Raishma herself to find out a bit more about her designs and how it all started:

What's your background/how did you get started?
I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 10. I started using a sewing machine at primary school, and fell in love with my mum’s outfits; the fabrics and embroidery. I then studied art and design at Chelsea school of art, and achieved a 2:1 BA Hons at De Montfort university in fashion. I stayed focused, and managed to get the job of assistant designer to Elizabeth Emmanuel after graduating which gave me a great insight into bridal wear.

You do both asian bridalwear and traditional "white" wedding dresses, which did you start with and what made you decide to do both?
Working with Elizabeth gave me a great knowledge in European traditional white gowns, but I actually started with fusion bridalwear at first and it still is my first passion.
I then went on to design and produce white gowns of the quality and standard that I required, as I am quite a perfectionist! I have been designing for Asian, mix marriage brides and English brides for the past 12 years now, and feel that I can accommodate to each brides’ individual tastes.

What inspires your designs?
I have always aspired to European designers such as Ellie Saab and Valentino, because their cutting and tailoring is exceptional and their gowns are ever so glamorous. The embroideries, colour and fabrics from India and Pakistan are exquisite and are my heritage, so the fusion of these looks inspired me to create the fusion look in the late 1990s. As a designer I have become well known for being a pioneer in the British Asian fusion look and shaking up the industry. Each bridal gown can be inspired by a fabric, or a certain period in history or a piece of jewellery.

What are the current trends you're seeing for asian brides?
I started designing the fusion full gown look about five years ago, and now this trend is filtering through the rest of the industry. The traditional Pakistani look of ghararas, and traditional lenghas and furshis is a trend I cater for, and can be worn for a Valima or Mandip ceremony. The fusion skirt and boned bodice look is still around as well. The most important thing a bride needs to remember when buying her outfit, is if it suits her figure. Brides need to understand that most retail stores in the UK are run by managers, not designers, and the collections are bought in from India. They cannot give you the advice you need to help you create the dress of your dreams. I have seen so many brides who are pear shaped, and been told that they look good in a fishtail skirt! It can be an upsetting experience if you don’t look your best in an outfit. The outfit needs to be classic and timeless, so that when you look at your wedding photos in years to come your dress doesn’t look dated.

Do you have any famous clients who have worn your designs?
We have been lucky enough to dress a number of celebrities over the years, such as Mel B, FFion Hague, pop stars Jamelia, Atomic Kitten, Preeya Khalidas, Laila Rouass, actress Juliette Stevenson, and their Royal Highnesses Princess Beatrice and Eugenie. For the Hope Charity Show I have just dressed Rebecca Grant from BBC’s Holby City and Anita Rani from the One Show. Rebecca has also just worn one of my gowns to a Bafta ceremony this week. Can’t wait to see the pics!!

What can a bride-to-be expect if she comes to your for an outfit?
Our process for the bride is quite meticulous to make sure we create the gown of her dreams. We initially have a consultation with the bride, to clearly decipher the style, colour and embroidery of the outfit. The bride can bring in images of styles she likes to give us an idea of what the look is that she is trying to achieve. Once she orders the outfit we provide her with an embroidery swatch and sometimes a toile fitting 6–8 weeks after the consultation. The toile is a cotton mock up of the outfit, so that we can check the fitting and cut of the outfit. This is essential, so that the bride is entirely happy before we go ahead on the production of her gown. Once the dress is ready, she then has fittings in store to make sure the fit is perfect. Our process for our menswear and eveningwear is similar, so that we are sure that the client will be happy when the outfit is ready.

Tell me about your own wedding outfit, and if you were renewing your vows/having another wedding celebration this year what would you wear?
My wedding outfit was made in two weeks, and was not made in my workshops, as I was not retailing back then. I wasn’t particularly happy with it, as even though the design has been interpreted as I had hoped I was very unhappy with the fitting. So to make up for this, I will be having a big 15th anniversary party next year! I don’t know what I will be wearing, I always leave myself to the last minute, as I always put my clients first!!! My clients think my wardrobe is full, when in fact I just pick something from the store on the same day as the event!

You can read more about Raishma and see more of their designs over at

Friday 29 October 2010

Ayesha Ibrahim at the Rhythm of Asia Fashion Show London 2010

Ayesha Ibrahim was last seen on showcasing her red and black collection at the Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza (click here to view) I wasn't too complimentary about that collection, but I liked this winter collection showcased at the Rhythm of Asia fashion show much better.

Photo credits go to Shahid Malik Studio.

Just like the her last show was red and black themed, there was a consistent colour theme to this collection too - white with hints of black and gold:

I'm not keen on this polka-dot fringed one-sleeve outfit, I think it would make a very nice shawl perhaps but as a dress I don't think it works!

There's something about these last two outfits that make me think ancient greek goddess (aside from the fact one of them is worn with leggings!) maybe it's the white and gold colours and the way they're quite loose and flowing.
I'm in two minds about this whole collection, on the one hand there's a cohesive theme based on the colour scheme and if you saw one of these outfits worn at a party it would definitley stand out amongst the "safe" black outfits, however when you seen 10 white and gold outfits all together like this you yearn for a hint of colour - at least I do anyway!

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