Sunday, 28 August 2011

Notting Hill Carnival hits the spot

As a local, it’d be positively rude not to join in the fun at the Notting Hill Carnival.  There’s nothing like it to get you into the dancing vibe.  Despite lots of police (we're lucky it still went ahead after the riots) and some of my friends crying off, I braved it today with a few courageous friends and enjoyed being one in a million, as crowds descended on Notting Hill to get that great positive feeling.

After checking out the floats and following some in their wake shakin’ our stuff on Westbourne Grove and Ladbroke Grove, it was time for lunch, for me it had to be jerk chicken of course!  

Feeling like we needed to work off our lunch, we joined the revelers at different impromptu dance parties that sprang up on the side roads, getting refreshed along the way from enterprising locals.

...  though got property envy, or rather party envy, as I would have been happy to join the ledge/ balcony parties!

…. and as for fashion, well its festival gear all the way, and you can tell a lot about some of the girls just from their footwear: with the pessimists in wellies and the dreamers in 4 inch heels…. I was somewhere in between! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Celebrating London as the world's fashion hotspot - Brick Lane

Located in the East End, Brick Lane is a mix of cultures, where Asia meets young Brit, so not only does it boast the best curry houses (check out the 'curry mile') but also wonderful fabrics and textiles due to the many influences from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. And true to the young Brit culture, its also known for having superb vintage and quirky fashion shops, as well as great markets - so here are some of my favourites when looking for inspiration for and great for anyone visiting  Brick Lane.

Absolute Vintage
15 Handbury St,
London E1 6QR

A dream come true for vintage fashion lovers, endless choice means its possible to spend hours here; I have  friends who come from all over the country just to visit this shop.  It has a whole array of vintage handbags, dresses and belts, and have I mentioned the thousands of shoes and boots they stock! So if you’re looking for clothing for both men and women dating from 1930’s to 1980’s this is definitely the place to go.

This Shop Rocks
131 Brick Lane,
London E1 6SE
Tel: 020 7739 7667

This shop rocks for quality but prices are high as you might expect for handmade one-offs and customized/classic vintage pieces, as this is THE place to go.  This shop is unique and famous for its stunning window displays, so it's always worth passing by and popping when you've just been paid!

Beyond Retro
110-112 Cheshire St,
London E2 6EJ

It may look slightly unappealing at first glance, but once you go inside you will be in awe of the huge range they have of vintage clothing and at very reasonable prices.  Plus they sometimes have live local bands playing often on Sundays - love this quirky feature!

Brick Lane Market
Open 9am - 5pm on Sundays

Make a day of this traditional flea market, with so many bargains to be had and added fun thrown in with street performers and music, what more could you ask for?  If you feel slightly peckish (as I always do when shopping), then choose from a wide variety of food, as here you can definitely feel London's international vibe. 

Learn about Fashion in Brick Lane

Fashion Antidote provide a wide range of courses ranging from absolute beginners 'Learn to Sew', to industry level technical and creative fashion skills and everything in between. They also run courses and workshops on fashion business and how to set up your own company... and luckily they have a flexible approach with courses being run everyday and in evenings/weekends, so if you love fashion and want to get into the industry then this could be the place for you, especially with its superb location in a trendy part of London.

Whitechapel Art Gallery

Need a break from the shopping? Theres many different exhibtions which are either free or varly cheap, it has activities for all ages so you can bring your children along.The latest exhibtions include Thomas Struth Photographs 1978 - 2010 & Rothko In Britain.

Happy Vintage hunting!  Please suggest your ideas here too.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

London - the new No1 fashion hot spot

It’s been tough living in London of late, I don’t want to dwell on why, so its good to see that our trendy fashion scene has been recognised and has improved our global rankings.

London Fashion Week (London Evening Standard)
Global Language Monitor’s recent study that revealed London as the No 1 fashion hot spot, beating New York, Paris, Milan and somewhat surprisingly, Los Angeles came in 5th.  The rankings were calculated by tracking trends in print and social media.

There were two keys reason behind London’s rise to the top, and I’m a huge admirer of both. 

Firstly Kate Middleton (now the Duchess of Cambridge) has developed into a fashion superstar overnight.

The new Duchess of Cambridge (Daily Mail)
Pure elegance (Daily Mail)

Over 3m people were glued to the royal “I do” … as I tweeted earlier this week, people have gone crazy about her wedding dress designed by Emma Burton, with the Peacocks copy selling out in just one hour!
...and ever since, everyone is commenting on her elegant style.

The second major influence was the late Alexander McQueen – a fashion legend.  

Alexander McQueen (TeamPeterStigter)
Alexander McQueen (TeamPeterStigter)

His quirky unique use of shape, texture and colour was inspirational and captured my imagination and the whole world.  Although he died under tragic circumstances, his name and brand live on and like all great artists, his work will always be an inspiration to young fashion designers.

Being based in the heart of London and working in fashion, I’m so delighted and proud of this news that I’ll be publishing a new blog in 12 parts during the year, which will highlight London fashion hot spots, so watch this space!

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get all the latest fashion updates.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Its been a rollercoaster few months in the UK...

Eyes only for each other: Prince William and Kate Middleton's fairy tale wedding
Privacy is invaded, tabloid finally gets the boot - a stark warning to others

Warzone in London - burning and looting take over

Finally some good news: England become world's No 1 team 

Us Brits are usually very patriotic, however so far 2011 has been a rollercoaster ride for us.

When the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton took place the whole world adored Britain and we loved every minute of it and were proud to be British.  Let’s face it no one does royal weddings like us. 

However, swiftly after two appalling events shocked our island: the hacking scandal that took the News of the World under and recent riots across Britain that caused outrage.  With journalists invading people's privacy and our streets burning with looters tearing up the streets, the sick British underbelly was shown to the world.  

Our nation's reputation plummeted - it felt unreal to be in a third world country rather than the civilised life we thought we had, as one of the oldest democracies and a member of the G8.... and the nation that is hosting the 2012 Olympics next year. 

After such hooliganism, what should come to the rescue but civilised cricket of course, where England  became the world’s number one test playing nation after demolishing India, the former number one team. Congratulations England! Hopefully this will lift this nation's spirit (nevermind that few nations play, as one of my Spanish friends at the weekend pointed out...they just don't understand its underlying passion)

Cricket commands respect and that there's a gentleman's conduct and innate elegance in their all white uniform that is never flouted.  Now obviously being a brand full of colour and elegance, I would love to bring a bit of colour to the game, but being a good looking team, at least there's always the distraction of some great eye candy between overs!

Friday, 12 August 2011

CarrieMe match makes with Vintage

Here at CarrieMe we love fashion and adore vintage... so vintage fashion is a match made in heaven for us.  Fortunately being based in Notting Hill (not far from the reknown Portobello Market, London) there is plenty of choice for when it comes to vintage clothing.... I've picked some lesser known favourites here.

This charity shop gets a great selection of designer castoffs especially smart ladies’ clothing and accessories, such as Prada evening shoes and DKNY bags. I also love this shop because I support all the hard work Trinity Hospice do, to help care for those towards the end of their life.  
Trinity Hospice, 31 Kensington Church St, W8 (020 7376 1098) High St Kensington tube. Open Mon-Sat 10am-4.45pm, Sun 11am-5pm.


Traid (which stands for Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) has a huge mix of good vintage, high-street and designer fashion. I really like this shop because they recycle clothes and don’t let anything go to waste.  There are some really quirky and unique pieces in this shop.
61 Westbourne Grove, W2 (020 7221 2421/ Royal Oak or Bayswater tube. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

This compact but charming shop just off Islington’s Camden Passage has been keeping local Islington ladies stylishly clad in vintage frocks since 1982. It feels like Aladdin's Cave with a wide range spanning from Victorian times to the 1980s with pretty day dresses, skirts, capes and cardigans as well as some quite special 1950s floral cocktail hats.  Just the thing for Ascot next year! 
Cloud Cuckoo Land
6 Charlton Place, Camden Passage, N1 (020 7354 3141) Angel tube. Open Tue-Sat 11am-5.30pm

I really like these type of shops because I must admit I’m a bit of a hoarder myself and find it hard to throw anything away!  Trends come and go, but I love some of the very feminine shapes and of course the bright colours in vintage clothes from the 50’s,60’s,70’s & 80’s.  Luckily the wide choice of vintage shops in London doesn't break the bank and provides hours of fun and inspiration ... and reminds me of some of my earlier fashion faux pas.

Some of my current temptations.... found on

I love this vivid purple dress (one of my favourite colours of course) from the 60’s, with the cream trim on the neck, cuffs and on the waist emphasising the femininity.  Umm military style buttons and the full skater skirt, very flattering, just worried that its a bit too short... Price £45.00

I’m a big fan of royal blue and love this airhostess like dress from the 1980’s!  Just the ticket for any business meeting....  Price £40.00  

How can I resist this gorgeous brightly coloured stripey beach bag, just looking at it takes me to the beach! I love the canvas texture and the bright orange button to make sure all possessions are kept safe.  Price £20.00

Colour, texture and style, this ticks all the boxes. I love the deep red colour and the fabulous bow on the toe; these would look great on any night out... though slightly scared of those heels and shame I can't squeeze myself into a size 6!   Price £55.00  

Now with such amazing vintage clothes on offer, how do you complete the look?  We will soon be launching the new Vintage Bag Hook - pearls with a modern twist.  Can't say more except that it will be come in 6 gorgeous colours, so look out for it soon!

And there's more to tempt you if you're a Londoner in town for the Notting Hill Carnival over the bank holiday at the Old Spitalfields Market on 16 Horner St, London EC1 6EW; and on 10th September, there's the affordable vintage fair at Bethnal Green. at York Hall, Old Ford Road, London E2 9PJ.  

Check out other dates and locations at: