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 www.very.co.uk – 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 HamaraPhotos.com

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 Raishma.co.uk.