karen millen, store

Store – Karen Millen

Karen Millen was founded in 1981 by Karen Millen herself and Kevin Stanford. The first store was opened in Kent in 1983 after they had been selling and manufacturing white shirts to their friends with just a loan of £100.

Gemma Metheringham became the creative director or Karen Millen in 2006, she overseas a team of 12 designers that work in ready to wear, accessories and lingerie collections. This all if a part of Karen Millens success.

The company soon expanded and is now global, from Europe, Russia, Asia and Australia. In March of 2009 Karen Millen was sold to Aurora Fashions, this is the same company which owns Coast, Oasis and Warehouse to name a few.

12 Collections are produced each season covering day, work, occasion and weekend wear. All of this is designed in house, from lace to embossed hard wear. Also have in house pattern cutters to ensure the perfect fit which Karen Millen is known for.

“Each piece of our collection has been individually designed, hand-crafted and perfected by our designers in our in-house atelier to deliver our signature quality and attention to detail. From couture-inspired techniques to luxurious heritage fabrics, every KM garment has a story to tell.” Quoted from www.karenmillen.com

In 2013 Karen Millen went through a huge re branding which cost them millions. This was them wanting to brand out for themselves as they are planning to become independent from Aurora Fashions. Working as a stylist in the Southampton store which is one of the top stores in the region i saw this prosses take place. They wanted the perception of Karen Millen to change, it started to become a dress store, and even though Karen Millen still is very much somewhere you can go to get a dress which you are guarantied a great fit they wanted to be known for more than just that. There campaign brought in younger faces and the photographer David Bailey which huge campaign posters in store and on sides of London buses and taxis. They moved away from the orange and black and moved to the much more fresh yellow and white.

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There campaigns where about separates. Stylists where encouraged to purchase separates instead of dresses for uniform and each show and individual edgy way to wear them which was very successful. They are now beginning to get a more broad client base with knitwear and jeans becoming some of their best sellers.

sophieturnerSophie Turner

Just because the focus isn’t just on dresses and evening wear anymore Karen Millen still work on “Client First” which is showing each client the perfect Karen Millen experience. This is to cater to all the clients needs as a stylist, from preparing a fitting room to completing a outfit. The aim for Karen Millen is for women to feel like they have had a luxury experience as they are a high end high street store.

Client first is also important in knowing information about the garments, from where the fabrics are sourced, to how they fit, how they are printed and even if they have matching accessories. The client is paying more, and average dress being £190, simple t-shirt £50, pair of jeans £99, knitwear £110 and Leather jackets £450. The client needs to know these are luxury items hence the price behind them. They also offer promotions for KM black (who are people who have been noticed to spend a lot in store) and often have 20% off promotions.

The luxury feel is also how the visual merchandising of the store is laid out. From the window displays. The fact there is only ever 4 items of each clothing out at one time and all being in there collections for example. “boyish charm” “modern mod” and “fashion fairytale”.






eco friendly, fashion, zara

Eco Friendly – Zara


Zara has quickly became the worlds biggest fashion retailer, but through this there has been controversy. Being very well known for fast fashion and quoting they can get an idea into store within a short two weeks people wonder what this effect has on the environment.

Zara have started a campaign which they quote, “We are implementing an eco-friendly management model in our shops in order to reduce energy consumption by 20%, introducing sustainability and efficiency criteria. This management model sets out measures to be applied to all processes, including the design of the shop itself, the lighting, heating and cooling systems and the possibility of recycling furniture and decoration.” Being such a big company they had to make changes to avoid criticism.

They now aim to produce less waste, recycling hangers and alarms to be made into other plastic elements, the cardboard and plastic used in packaging is also recycled. They go one step further and educate there staff in sustainable practices, such as limiting energy consumption, using sustainable transport and modifying behavior patterns.

There has been thought into the products they produce, using ecological fabrics and organic cotton, they use biodiesel fuel in lorries when transporting goods, all contributing factions to cut down on Co2 emissions.

I feel like Zara have made a good effort into making there company more eco friendly. I feel like them training there workers about this is one of the most important things as they could have all of these policies but if they weren’t being followed through they would be pointless.





contour, fashion, interview, punk, sub cultures, trends

Life Of Lenny

punk-rockers-image-by-mpbBeing in a room with Lenny Marsh you can tell he is full of stories, he has this ora about him, showing his grandchildren’s school pictures you soon realise he isn’t the a grandad who will slip you an extra sweet when your mums not looking, but someone who very much is still a punk through and through. It was subtle but there would be a tattoo here, a piercing there and a safety pin on a long old chain around his neck and you realised these were the best days of his life.

Why punk, out of all subcultures, why not a hippy?

“You are having a life right? (He chuckles under his voice) Hippy’s were everything we aimed not to be, long hair, baggy clothes, nahhhh, thats not me! Punk isn’t just about the clothes, its about the community, everyone gets you, I guess i got into punk the end of school when my band starting getting more serious, this was my way to rebel.”

You had a band? Whats the name?

“Generation Clash (He lifts up his ripped shirt sleeve to show a very makeshift tattoo of his band name.) It was my life, i lived for that band, 5 of us, me, Clive, Oz, Kev and Mick. We had all the girls at our feet, they loved the old school garage rock.

What happened to Generation Clash?

“Well, as sad as it sounds we got greedy, when your more into sex and drugs than the music you are waiting to fail.”

What happened when you failed?

“We all took it hard, annoyed with ourselves mostly, let our ego get too big, Mick took it the hardest, hardcore alcohol and drug abuse and poor sod didn’t make it to christmas.”

Was punk just about the music for you?

“No not at all! i was hard core. (it didn’t surprise me.) Short sides, mohawk, my hairs been more colours than you’ve had hot dinners. It was important to look good. Without looking good you weren’t a punk.”

What would be a typical outfit?

“Depends on the person, there would be lass’ in just bin bags and safety pins, i was more of a drainpipe and creeper guy, along with the tartan, no punk was seen without tartan and you trusty leather jacket which i still wear to this day. (In fact he is wearing it now.)”

Was this affordable?

“Definitely, items could be re used, jeans were ripped, patches were put on with safety pins, paint everywhere, looking at it, basically one big mess, (he laughs to himself with a smile) it was simple, effortless, slogans everywhere, anything went thats what i loved about it.”

Was your wife a punk?

“What Betty? Haha no! she wasn’t a fan of me being a punk and the things i got away with, she had a soft spot for my bike though”

To finish what is your best memory?

It all! Being with my friends, people saw us as scary but we were anything but, i enjoyed a simpler time with good music and good company.

As Lenny got up to walk away i saw him clasp the safety chain around his neck, thinking of a different time, one i couldn’t imagine being part of but one i now feel i understand.







Love or Hate: Crop Tops

The Crop top is a marmite item, either love or hate, but in the right way a crop to can make an outfit. It is a key piece to your wardrobe, either being used as a basic to layer upon or a statement for a night out, the crop top is versatile.

The crop top is by know means a new trend, it goes back hundreds of years with middle eastern belly dancers, these often involved tassels which moved when they did, this was also a great way not to overheat with your mid drift out.


From the 40’s crop tops quickly made there place in fashion, to be more conservative crop tops had a collar and short sleeve, this was so less of the body was revealed but had a sexy edge. Crop tops soon became and item of glamour when paired with a high rise skirt to support the hourglass figure, women would wear them to feel glamours. Pop culture had a huge impact in the crop top peak in the 70’s and 80’s, in the same way which celebrities have a huge impact on what people wear now.


Crop tops became very popular in aerobics classes in the 80’s with films like ‘Flashdance’ and ‘Dirty Dancing’ Baby wearing crop tops was very iconic and also very effortless, her style is one which you would often still see around today.

There was controversy when Madonna released lucky star music video with her black mesh crop to and the faze began. This along with the punk era and crop tops really took off! People felt that crop tops were more edgy, using of different fabric, sheer, mesh and net, the starting of underwear as outerwear and the sexuality of being able to see layers of your underwear within but still being covered.

Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Clueless and Saved by the bell all played effort in the crop top making its appearance again in the 90’s. Saved by the Bell was watched by hundreds and a very iconic shows of the 90’s and Kelly Kapowski was always a big fan of the simple crop top. Britney Spears Oops i did it again music video also had a huge impact on school girls as she became an idol and got the crop top banded in schools. Seeing girls on screen revealing there mid drift also made core exercises more popular, the reasons why we today have pilates and Zumba.

The crop top like many fashions faded out over the year, but not for too long. Quickly in 2011/12 designers were bringing new crop tops onto the catwalk and showing new ways they could be worn. There is now a crop top for anyone.

Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Alexander Wang and  Alexander McQueen all brought into the idea, changing the shapes and silhouettes and made the re birth of the crop top.

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Of course the high street has embraced the crop top, and the reason why it is so popular today with Zara, Topshop, River Island, New Look, Urban Outfitters just a few to state many and online retailers like BooHoo, MissGuided and Asos. Making crop tops affordable but quality, there is also a crop top for any body shape and paired with a high rise jean its a great edge to a casual look. A crop top can always be an item you love when worn correctly.