Portraits by Tom Flathers
Summer in Britain, not exactly known for its days of blazing hot sunshine and wonderful warm evenings. It more often tends to be 5 random days in mid June reaching over 25 degrees (which obviously happen on days that you are stuck inside) which are then followed by weeks on end of on and off rain with the occasional bit of hail thrown in for good measure. Not exactly the best weather for cracking out the shorts and the T shirts really. Now shorts aren’t exactly a best friend of mine with my tree trunk legs preferring to be in their happy place being wrapped up in 3 pairs of tights. However when if I see a beautiful summer dress then it will tend to weasel its way into my bag and somehow end up back home with me. This ‘summer’ has been no different with long, short, patterned and plain ones all being added to the collection. So even when the weather is looking no better than truly pants I just try to embrace the breeze, throw on my favourite floral dress and remember there must be at least 1 place in the world right now which is 30 degrees and sunny.
This gorgeous cherry print dress from Topshop pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. With its collared shirt detail down the front, to its pretty blue and red print, to the fact that is manages to have no funny cut out sections and actually have with fully functioning sleeves! Actually managing to find a dress with sleeves that isn’t ridiculously short or low at the front has seemed to be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Last year urban outfitters came up trumps and this year it has seemed to be Topshop’s turn. From this i’ve learnt 60’s is the way to go with it’s slim fitting shift dress/shirt dress shape and pretty cherry pint print nicely bringing a touch of vintage to a modern outfit. Despite my yaking on about it being a gorgeous summery daytime piece I definitely think that this piece will stand the test of time being able to take you from day to night and summer to winter. Whack on a good thick tight and a chunky knit jumper and your good to go for a wonderful wintery look.
PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS
Having been back home in the land or trees, sheep and more sheep for probably only about 5 minuets, I am already finding my mind drifting back to my life back in the big smoke. With sirens having been replaced by mooing cows, office blocks by sheep sheds, hard by soft water (whatever that means) and air by well, clean air, it has definitely made me realise how for granted I take living in a city like London. Now as much a love having to wait an hour for the next bus after the one you tired to get didn’t arrive or having to lean half way out of your highest window to get one bar of phone signal the peace and tranquility of the countryside can get a little tedious for a city lover like myself. At home I definitely miss having everything you could want or need on your doorstep with plenty of places to explore and beat the boredom.
Despite having been living in London for nearly a whole year now there are still plenty of places I keep meaning to visit. Borough Market however was one of those recently which I have managed to tick off the list. Now there is no way that I would describe myself as a foodie with the M&S ready meal isle getting far too much of my attention and money of late but going somewhere like Borough Market definitely makes you want to become one. With every meat, vegetable, bread and unearthly food on offer it is least to say you will leave feeling a little peckish.
PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS
So here it is finally, then end of my first year of university has finally come around with only 3 more days left to go. With most of the country having broken up already and having fled their dingy halls bedrooms and in the words of Michael Mcintyre got thoroughly “gabzeboded” on the final night of term, it been something that has felt like a long time coming for me. However its finally approaching and I can safely say there is nothing more I want at the moment that a good old rest back home.
I’m not going to lie it was a strange experience starting over as a first year again, especially with the first time around not exactly going to plan. It definitely made it all the more nerve racking knowing that it so could easily not be all plain sailing and that this is my last chance at getting it right.
I can’t say that I have exactly fitted well into the model “student lifestyle” with going out to get drunk, a light workload and living around constant noise all being things rather low on my list of priorities. Their have been many moments when I have just wanted to run away and leave it all behind with only the fear of what the hell would I do instead keeping me going.
However despite all with this, if there is one this that all of this has taught me it is that even if you feel like you are trapped in something that you don’t enjoy, it really doesn’t have to be like that forever and doesn’t have to be the rest of your life.
With uni not giving me the enjoyment that I needed I had to push myself to find things that I did enjoy and that made me happy knowing that they won’t necessarily find their ways to you on their own. At periods when you haven’t had a day of in 3 months and have been working all nighters to get shit done you wonder at times have I gone too far. However having experienced a couple of “pinch me” moments over the past few weeks, its nice to feel like all your hard work has been paying off and not just lead to nothing.
Anyway, despite this all seeming a bit doom and gloom I am actually feeling rather positive about what is ahead. Uni does eventually seem to be looking up, i’ve found somewhere I’m looking forward to living in and some good things to focus on, hopefully the only way is up from here.
For someone like me who likes to live life at 100 mph it can be scary to look at a 7 week gap in the diary and see very little to fill it. However I am going to make sure that I take this time to properly relax, recharge and fill up on some good old country air and be back ready and rearing to go for the year ahead.
Yet again in a plea of getting a post up this week you join me trying to make some sense at 2am on a Friday morning maybe after having one or two drinks in the SU (so beware of some dodgey sentences). Nothing like lastminuet.com
Talking about being last minuet, In a completely water tight and seamless link, todays look consists of some of my most favourite throw on and go pieces when you have zero time and want zero effort.
You most likely will be bored about me yacking on about these velvet trousers by now however I’m going to continue to do so. Since getting them as a sneaky bargain in the January sales they have barely been off my legs. From going out to dinner to a chilled out weekend they have been a staple for creating a quick and easy outfit yet still feeling vaguely put together. The fact I have now found a small rip in the nether regions, god knows how that got there, is more than disheartening. Paired with some simple layered T shirts (you will be pleased to know my addiction to Zara plain T Shirts is still strong with this lovely green and black striped number not being able to stay in the shop), my classic grey Zara coat and Adidas Gazelles, this creates a cool and relaxed look whilst being so easy to put together. Also with spring not quite popping its head up quite yet this look is perfect for the transitional period were in, as long as Storm Doris docent get too feisty!
So with it being far far to late for someone who has to get up early for uni in the morning, yes believe it or not some students do have to get up early, I shall say farewell and hopefully see you next week slightly less blurry eyed!
While I am spending nearly everyday at the moment spent head to toe in theatre blacks I thought it nice to at least introduce a little bit of colour onto the blog today if nowhere else in my life. Somewhere in the depths of last summer and epiphany occurred to me that these 2 things called colour and pattern existed. From the odd maroon jumper and floral dress here and there I now appear to have got to the extent where double stripes and leopard print shoes together is just a casual Wednesday (and lets not even talk about the disappearance of my beloved docs from my feet).
This look for me was a perfect combination of bringing together the old and the new within my wardrobe. My beloved Topshop blue pin stripe trousers from a couple of years ago are still making regular appreances especially now paired with this lovely double striped shirt from Monki.
As you can see I am still trying to stretch the New Years thingy out as much as possible, slotting in another new years related post in just enough time for it to be acceptable before they start getting to easter eggs out already. You can probably tell from the not very SEO friendly title its taken me a while to get round to doing this but finally with it the end of January approaching I have got round to deciding upon some new years resolutions!
After a crazy christmas in panto land, some time to properly get as far away from anything that remotely looks like work as possible and the hustle and bustle of starting back at uni, this didn’t exactly feel like the perfect time to be turning my life upside down and making changes. From having the month to settle down a bit I feel now is as good a time as any to put together a list of a couple of goals of the year.
A lot of them are rather internet/bloggy based and I know none are particularly ground breaking. If your looking for someone who is going to aim to see the severn wonders of the world and read the complete works of shakespeare, backwards (probably something I should actually think about doing for uni :/) then you have come to the wrong gal. But with last year being how can i put it nicely… a bit pooey, i’m determined for the beginning of this new year to push myself and try and give myself the best chances to enjoy the year as possible.
Any long time readers here will know that over the year and a bit that Fabric Forward has been residing in this little corner of the internet, having a set schedule of content going up weekly has been some what of a distant dream. So with giving myself a little kick up the arse I am going to try and stick to having 1 post go up every Wednesday morning and 1 video up every Sunday with maybe a couple of extras thrown in for good measure (you will probably be able to tell when I have had a rather boring week). Blogging and youtube is definitely something that I have found a new love for recently most likely due to looking at some many other peoples wonderful blogs out there which I would love mine to be as good as. So over the coming year I hope to continue to push forward with it hopefully making both bigger and better. Now I have written that down it all seems far more scary than it should. At least it is a good start with this going up on a Wednesday, all pray for me this Sunday ;)
This is obviously very much linked with the last one but since moving to London this year I feel like i’ve let the videos slip in number and in quality. Any other student doing youtube will know that it’s not easy trying to film when living in halls with noise coming from all angles, rubbish natural light and not a particularly instagram friendly background to film in front of. Because of this over the year there have definitely been some videos that I have posted for either the sake of feeling like I should be posting a video to be regular or just to trying to get on board with some of the current youtube trends. Obviously I still have a tiny audience and in the grand scale of things this probably isn’t something that I should maybe be worrying myself with but being something I enjoy I want to be able to create quality interesting content that I love and that I am proud of and would want to watch myself.
With realising I don’t have the best set up at home this year I am aiming to take the camera out of my cardboard box of a room, get out into the world and start doing more daily vlogs and lookbooks. Of the few that I have done these have always been my favourite to shoot and and edit (with there being only so much of your badly lit face on a strange cream background that one can manage). I know I am no editing wiz with having two pieces of footage in the same frame still making me far to excited but I do have a couple of ideas for some slightly different videos up my sleeves so when I find some free time I will be looking forward to getting cracking on those!
If you read my last post all about ways of busting the new year blues you will know that I spoke about how I find coming up a with a couple of new meals for the new year is a good way bust the blues and make life a little bit more interesting. Well, I’m not going to lie, having had to ready meals in a row over the past two nights Pret still drawing me in for lunch, this one hasn’t been going so well for me however slowly in time I will explore the depths of Pintrest and find some new and hopefully healthy dishes to brighten up my evenings.
With blogging being all about photos and imagery and with snapchat and instagram being at our fingertips only a click away, you do feel like you are sometimes taking photos of everything from your dinner to our feet on a pretty flooring just to try and bulk out that instagram theme. Come on, you know you’ve done it. However sometimes it feels its the most enjoyable times be it being with friends of family, working on something cool or exploring the world are the moments that we forget to photograph. So this year I am keen to get snapping and start documenting these occasions to look back on and remember in the future. So beware, if your around me you may have a camera in your face ;)
Also another photography aim of mine is to have saved up to able to buy a swishy new camera lens. The 50mm will always have a place in my heart but a 70 – 200 has been calling my name for a while and my pennies are finally starting to mount up so hopefully it won’t be long until one of them in mine *insert evil movie villain laugh*. Also its rather nice that I can already tick one aim of the list of putting together my own photography website *moment of shameless self promotion* www.chloeknottphotography.come. So if you would like to take a gander please feel free to show me some love and click the link above :)
Its around 4 month now that I have been living in this big old smoke that we call London and despite feeling like I know my way pretty well around central London, I know that with it being so big (shocker) there is so much there for me still to discover and explore. One of my favourite past times over the years has always been exploring new cities with having no fear of going off on my tod to explore all the ins and outs and nooks and crannies. With it being such a cool and vibrant city with always sometime new and interesting going on, its such a shame to let it go to waste and keep doing the same old thing. Having a couple of free weekends down here in the coming weeks I look forward to making the most of and exploring places which aren’t Piccadilly circus and Covent Garden.
Any long term readers may remember that during the summer of 2015 after leaving art college I started up my own brand of makeup bags being made and designed by me. This started off quite well but as is ever the way life gets busy and some things get pushed to the back burner and unfortunately this was one of those things. However now it is finally time to dust of the sewing machine and get cracking on the finishing of the products for the brand new range. (ooo a range how exciting, and I promise they don’t have dust on them really). I have some brand new designs which I love and am proud of which I just need finish so hopefully it won’t be long until they are finally out there in the world!
Yes, guilty, my room is a mess. As someone who used to pride herself on her organisational skills and would tidy her room for fun (what?) its a bit sad to see it all descend into what can look like a pit of madness. It definitely gets worse when your busy and the last thing you want to do at 12 at night is hang all your clothes up neatly and tidily. However this year I am going to make extra effort to try and keep my room looking vaguely organised so at least I can see a good chunk of my flooring again.
So, what better way to start than with a Happy New Year you wonderful bunch! I hope you all celebrated in style by either partying the night away or with my chosen method this year, staying in with the bf, a box set of lost and some good old pork chops. What more could a girl want? Anyway, despite only being 2 days into the new year I know I am a tad late on the bandwagon of celebratory end of the year posts.
I will be up with full year in review post very soon however today I have something to wet you appetite in a collection of my top 5 favourite posts of the year. With a whole years worth of content to go through, roughly getting up 1 post a week (I think 0 last week and 3 this week perfectly supports this point) it has been a rather tough decision with many I love unfortunately not making the cut. However I managed to narrow it down this final 5 either from either being some that I have enjoyed shooting the most or just love the results.
In an effort to explore more of my new surrounding, Tom and I decided to take a little trip away to the gorgeous Isle of Arran. Living in Glasgow you really didn’t have to go too far to find some amazing locations and this one definitely proved that. I mean its not many times that you get to stand on a beach with a snowy mountain in the background. We decided to both really test ourselves over these days with the range of shoots we did from me freezing my little toes off in the water for a dramatic True Detective style shoot (something I do not wish to do again too soon) to trying to become some what sexy in an editorial esk bathroom shoot. However I think my favourite of the trip has to be this collection of ‘simple’ fashion shots showing off the amazing scenery that we had to offer.
Take a look at the rest of the Arran series here..
Theres not many times in your life that on a day out you happen to stumble across somewhere which could have been plucked from an epic war film. Well on our trip to Loch Lomond while passing through the village to Bowling we did just that. My inner explorer, who of which rarely comes out to play, had a good old work out on this day climbing around abandoned boats and a rotting pier. With the sun setting around us and no lighting equipment Tom did a fantastic job of capturing this amazing location while I frankly stood in front of it looking grumpy. Well, some of the drama of the whole location would be lost if i was smiling, well thats what I tell myself anyway.
Ever since I started fashion blogging I think it has always been dream location for me to in the middle of summer go to a beautiful flower field. Now it may not have been the beautiful sunny day that we hoped for, with nearly having to give up due to a couple of April showers, in July, but the confetti flower fields in Pershore were a little Gem to find leading to some of my favourite photos of the year surprisingly containing a lot of pink, whatever next!.
With this blog being very much in its infancy back in the summer of 2015, this year on the second annual trip to Norfolk we took full advantage of the seaside location to get another collection of lovely blog photos. I think it was always a little dream of mine as a kid to own a little beach hut on the sea, so if I can’t quite own then at least get some lovely pictures in front of them. Despite the sun not quite playing ball to get the sunrise we wanted, we still managed to, we still managed to get a lovely little set of photos despite me being some what blurry eyed due to the horrendous time in the morning.
With this post coming just at the point of the redesign of the blog I kinda felt like this was the premier post of the relaunching of it with its new beginnings as purely a fashion blog. Being the first shoot we did together in manchester it great to start exploring a new city and see what it has to offer. Also this definitely has to be one of my favourite looks of the year with this fab pair of jeans that I still cant get enough of!
PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS
After usually giving it a few days to the crazed bargain hunters to retire and the shelves to have been tidied up a bit, for the first time this year I braved the boxing day sales on actual boxing day, I mean how could I resist when it was on my way home from work.
For the first time of experiencing the January sales in London I definitely saw some of the true madness of it and I am not surprised why so many people have moved online. But if you are like me and prefer to go the the actual shops and pic things up in person its a good idea to go in with a ready prepared game plan to tackle that madness head on!
So I have come up with my top 5 items to splash the cash on and look out for this January.
It may be January but at least in the UK there is still plenty of winter left to get a great deal of wear out of a new winter coat. A good old winter coat is something that I definitely look forward to cracking out every winter when that cold weather comes back around (even if I do have to put the leathers away for a while). I definitely have a less is more approach with coats. Its always the way despite there being a lot of nice lower price ones available on the market, that the one you fall in love with that season has a slightly higher price point. If you are able to find that perfect one that will carry you through the whole season and years to come then in this event it is good to wait it out and catch a lovely little bargain in the sales!
As someone who will wear boots shoes all year round, winter is away the best time for me to buy shoes. Like coats, i’m not a big shoe shopper with being perfectly happy with a good pair of Dr Martens on a daily basis. However when this year I seem to have caught the shoe shopping bug and used the sales as the perfect opportunity to expand my shoe collection slightly. My fave bargain this year would have to be my pair of Adidas Gazelle trainers. I may be slightly cheating with this being a 40% off black Friday purchase but a winter bargain is a bargain right?
Having always dreamt of having my own little library in my house consisting of floor to ceiling book shelves and a lovely collection of very instagramable coffee table books just casually laying around . Despite not owning a coffee table of my own, on many a day in Foyles I have spent stroking all the beautiful books they have on sale, most of that time spent wishing they weren’t so damn expensive with not even being able to justify them as being educational. But this year appear to be becoming more of an adult by the day choosing to spend my money on some good old reading material, potentially even throwing in a cook book or two. My favorite little find this year would have to be Bloom by the lovely Estee Lalonde. This is one I have been itching to read since it came out and I managed to pick this up half price at Olivier Bonas and have been flying though it not being able to put it down.
And with a new year ahead of us sometimes it is nice for us to literally turn over a clean page and start anew with some brand new stationary. With a small collection of un-used notebooks at the ready, I seriously don’t need anymore for myself however I thought I would let you in to the not very secret secret that the January sales is a great time to stock up for the year ahead.
This may be something that most people won’t think about during the January sales however there are some great deals out there at the beginning of the new year for various different offers on theatre tickets. If you are a theatre mad a I am then you will know that seeing some shows in London can seriously eat up that weekly student budget. Their never going to be cheap but if you are able to find some money of any that you have been desperate to see then you would be stupid not to take advantage.
Every year winter rumbles on around (funny that) and it was finally time to tear myself away from my beloved leather jacket and into something a little bit more practical for the season. Despite last years orange number still being very much in my good books, Zara has pulled it out the bag again this year with this beautiful double breasted grey number which I have had glued to my shoulders.
Not to diminish my love for a good jumper but probably my favourite things about winter dressing is being able to crack out a good old coat and wrap up all warm and cosy. This look really encapsulates all of my favourite styles at the moment of with the ever so practical for the ankles culottes, a good knitted jumper and obviously a good old cosy coat. With the simple accessories of a chunky black belt and small and simple bag, they nicely finish this simple yet stylish look and keep everything very comfy with my Adidas Gazelles .
There will have rarely been day over the last couple of years where black and white haven’t been staple items within my outfit. From dresses to jumpers my wardrobe has become a sea of blacks, whites and greys (with a couple of hints of red thrown in for good measure). Call it boring, funeral attire, stylish or simple one reason I like it in particular is that it is just easy. Dressing and shopping become so much simpler when you know that everything you buy and wear will mostly likely go with everything else in your wardrobe and never having to worry if that colour will go with anything.
The strappy top or dress over T shirt trend has been a huge trend this past season. Not only do I like the look of it but the practicality of being able to wear your more summery items into the autumn and winter months has been an added bonus. This little black number from Urban Outfitters has to be one of my favourites with it fitting like a glove but I love the edgier side of it with having the longer hems at the sides and the square strappy neckline (and was a lovely little sale bargain to boot!) Despite making more of an effort recently to add a splash of colour here and there, especially helped with my new found love of vintage 90’s dresses, I will always be monochrome lover at heart.
PHOTOS: TOM FLATHERS (at The Custard Factory, Birmingham)