A colourful fashion blog supporting independents & sustainable fashion in Bristol and beyond since 2011

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Organic Basics: a sustainable alternative to activewear

As a big supporter of sustainable and ethical fashion I was happy to try out these activewear garms for Organic Basics.

Using carefully selected, environmentally friendly fabrics and factories that care about their impact on the planet, Organic Basics are so transparent at every step of production.  I like the way they have so much info on their website about the fabrics they use and the family-run factories they work with too. They really have put the effort and time in to be as sustainably conscious as they can. 

There are some great insights into the factories from using recycled nylon threads to create their SilverTech™ Activewear and one factory repurposing all of their fabric scraps as furniture upholstery, which is a rather good idea, isn't it? 

Organic Basics aim to create products that will last. Their range is minimal yet contemporary and graphic, with a softer more natural focus on activewear with less go-faster stripes and a more basic 90s Calvin Klein ad aesthetic, which isn't a bad thing.

Offering incredibly soft and comfortable fabrics (that are sustainably made remember!) on a range of underwear and activewear pieces in basic black, white and muted shades in taupe, burgundy and soft greys, there really is something for everyone, well adults!

From triangle shaped soft bras, seamless bodysuits, vest tops, sports crop tops (my fave) and pants...

Oh my gosh, I just cannot bear the word briefs, I know, I know that's what most retailers call them but I just can't do it or knickers! That's even worse...! If I say pants that's what I mean. If you are American then pants means a totally different thing again.....I digress.

There are also t-shirts, active leggings, cycle shorts and sports socks. The latter making frequent appearances here at No Debutante over the years and I still love them! They were a no-brainer for my selection of the Organic Basics range.

My chosen item after the sports socks was the SilverTech™ Active Workout Bra. 

The first reason is that I love crop top shaped vests and the second is I need a new sports bra to wear running and for yoga (and hopefully encourage me to do more of this active stuff!).  This super soft but durable work out bra, which it made from 89% recycled nylon, is also breathable and doesn't need washing as often either! It's proper comfy too! 

Thanks to Organic Basics for reaching out to a fellow sustainable fashion supporter and if you lovely lot want a piece of Organic Basics goodness add EMMAGOB to your order for a sweet 10% discount*

Together we can keep spreading the sustainable fashion word, to slow fashion right down and help save the planet. Right on sistas and bruvvas!

*the Organic Basics X No Debutante code is valid until 17 Dec 2019

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The death of fashion....as we know it

Pioneering fashion designer Vivienne Westwood - Photograph by Justin Sutcliffe

What is a fashion designer?

"a person who designs high-fashion clothing."

Fashion has always been about the latest trends or the next big thing..... then we got greedy.

The more that was on offer, the more we wanted until we ended up where we are now. Up to our necks in fast fashion waste!

Until about 10 years ago, it was all about following the corporate fashion designers seasonal trends. This was a big enough problem as we were encouraged to update our wardrobes to meet the current seasons colours, shapes and must have items.

Now, we now have mid season and pre-collections with some brands dropping weekly limited edition pieces at extortionate prices. This in turn influences the high street and the smaller brands.

Every day the high street fills itself up with more fast fashion products competing with online stores to have the latest items available, (often the same sort of turfed out fast fashion is seen from shop to shop), all made super quickly and sold mega cheap, on a buy now and throw away later ethos! It is complete madness!

Shocking fast Fashion waste - istock image/justhavealook

How can supporting independent designers help slow fashion?

Despite the big, and rightly so, fast fashion backlash, we should still all be free to create.
There should be no stigma attached to somebody wanting to become a fashion designer or run their own fashion brand.

Most independent fashion designers and makers are not in it to make lots of money. They want to create and aspire to be able to become successful enough to start up their own small business, instead of working the 9 to 5, only creating in their spare time.

Independent fashion designers and makers work super hard to achieve their ambitions with a passion to create beautiful things!

An independent designer will make small capsule collections, often by hand, collections of limited editions on a tiny scale, reducing the amount of waste used and if you buy independent, you are supporting slow fashion too!

There are many amazing independent fashion designers and makers out there but we also have the independent brands, which is slightly different and could be seen as a problem.

The extremely hardworking , Bristol fashion designer Joh Rindom from independent streetwear brand & shop - That Thing  who also support other sustainable & independent UK Brands. 

What is a brand?

"a product or item made by a famous maker or manufacturer, as opposed to by a generic manufacturer."

The name brand is thrown around and used quite differently nowadays, it's not about making it in the fashion world until you have a recognisable logo.

The word brand can be used if you are creating a range of products, often starting with a logo or signature motif, whether you are a collective of designers or a single designer. Sometimes fashion design doesn't even come into it and it's all about the graphical content.

The worrying thing is that many independent fashion brands are influenced by the big corporates, with a drive to be very successful, even famous. Is it such a great thing to aspire to being just like the fast fashion corporate brands? Everyone is influenced by something right? It's a fine line....

There are many new brands that go straight for the marketing angle, creativity barely comes into it and a background in business is the top priority. By designing basic logos and graphics, many of these forward-thinking brands print them onto ready made tshirts and streetwear items.

They have already considered their marketing plan before designing a single product. Sharing images of bright young things and influencers wearing their (often quite basic) collection of products, promoting themselves on Instagram or Depop as the next big thing.

Many of these brands have an entrepreneurial focus, they haven't come from fashion school and neither do they have a degree in graphic design, they've just decided to do it.

As a fashion journalist, I see so much of this and I often think to myself, but where's the creativity?

You'd have to agree their aspiration (to conquer the fast fashion world!) isn't quite where it should be but they have considered their marketing strategies, it's impressive. In comparison, I've seen amazingly creative and unique designers fall flat as they just haven't considered any marketing plan at all, which means that not enough consumers are getting to see their amazing creations!

There is still some work needed to convince the new independent fashion brands to consider using more sustainable and slow fashion alternatives but at least they've tried to go out there and create something for themselves.

Cat Jameson from sustainable raincape business Carny Valley

There is no harm in starting up a new fashion brand if you are producing a slow fashion product, on small runs. I would support an independent brand over a fast fashion corporate any day!

The only problem is there are so many new brands starting all the time, with Instagram and Depop having a big influence. These days if you are pretty savvy on social media you could end up making a living out of it. This is the dream...

However, this is very different from the way an independent fashion designer works.

Looking at this practically and not strategically, a fashion brand is likely to print and embroider onto ready made sourced items like t-shirts and sweatshirts, they will have a logo and basic graphics and after choosing colourways and print placements, they use their amazing marketing skills to sell their products.

A fashion designer creates their own garments from scratch and often hand makes a whole collection using a selection of fabrics. They are very hands on and understand how to construct a garment and make limited small runs of each collection, with a few one off pieces added ad-hoc. The marketing side often comes in second place but is still extra work on top of all that making and creating. 

A fairly new term that has made it onto the fashion circuit is Cut and Sew. Often used by a brand that has started experimenting with creating their own garments and patterns, bringing a bit more personality and variation, even more creativity into their collections. Again, a Cut and Sew brand will probably still get these ranges made up for them after the initial sample patterns are decided.

Lulu Harrison from Balulu in Bristol upcycles fun garments from vintage Indian bedsheets

There is no right or wrong here...

After establishing what type or designer or brand you are, the big main focus needs to be to make sure you are not contributing to fast fashion. This is a hard one to swallow as anyone creating more fashion products is instantly contributing to the over-flowing fashion mess.

Even if you are the most sustainable and ethical t-shirt brand out there, that's one more t-shirt being created and put out. How can we justify this?

We can't as such, but we can change the mind of the consumers themselves and this is where all independent fashion designers and brands need to start.

Fashion doesn't need to stop, it needs to change. We still need clothes and sometimes we need to buy new clothes!

Helen Brown (left) from Kecks Clothing & No Debutante at a fashion salvage event at BTR in 2015 - Image courtesy of BTR

If you are a fashion brand, don't aim to be the next big thing, by mass producing and contributing to fast fashion, slow things down! Make sure your products are good quality and are built to last. Use ethically and sustainably made t-shirts, print very small, slow fashion runs, promote sustainability and slow fashion.

Too often I have seen a new brand get up to 100 t-shirts printed up only to sell about 10 of them, often to friends. I dread to think what happened to the rest! Start small....

If you are an ethical fashion brand, you have already considered most of the above (well done you!) but make sure your print designs are interesting and unique, as printing a logo onto a sustainably made t-shirt isn't really that much better than fast fashion, you are not contributing anything new.

It is a great thing that you are supporting sustainable and ethical fashion but don't wear it as a badge. Keeping things creative and fresh is key.

A selection of independent Bristol designers and brands at The Island Christmas shop 2018

If you are reading this as a consumer consider the following....

Support slow fashion. Support sustainable. Support independent. Support local.

Watch this space to read my next blog post to find out more on how to be more sustainable as both a designer, a brand and a consumer! 

Read more:  How I became a slow fashion blogger 

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Lucy & Yak X Emotional Waterfall dungarees style up

Talk about slow fashion! It's been over a month since my last blog post. Well, it is the school holidays which means ramming in day trips, holidays and games of monopoly in between, my day jobs and my ridiculous amount of hobbies and projects!

I have had this particular blog post in the making for weeks, from the photoshoot, to creating and editing vlogs and here we are, finally! It's time to share the love for not one, but two amazing independent designers....Drumroll please......

The Lucy & Yak X Emotional Waterfall dungarees! 

This is such an exciting collaboration between the Brighton based ethical dungaree brand Lucy & Yak (you don't own some Lucy & Yak dungraees yet? Where have you been?) and Bristol's finest, fabulous, kawaii punk artist, Emotional Waterfall

I may be a little biased here, as I am clearly obsessed with both of these inspiring creatives (just watch the vlogs!) so, I thought I would include a little No Debutante magic into the mix and show y'all how I wear my Lucy & Yak X Emotional Waterfall dungarees (whilst adding a fun dress up session using accessories from the depths of the - practically vintage - No Debutante wardrobe!). 

Expect a mash up of street and festival style, some surprises and lots of extra independent and sustainable designers. Watch the vlogs below for the full experience.

Sassy Streetwear 

Wear them with a belt, without a belt, with the bib hung low or layered up in the classic t-shirt underneath style (Emotional Waterfall t-shirt alert) or with a t-shirt on top (in this case a Duvet Days bespoke crop top) . Here are just four ways to wear 'em showing off that amazing Emotional Waterfall print! 

Festival glam mash up!

Step up the festival style and nip in your waist with a Butchi & Gosmos bumbag, pop on a neon crop top, adorn your ears with fabulous Dakota Rae Dust tassel earrings and take it to the next level with a luxurious silk kimono and bright yellow stilettos! (the latter not recommended for festivals). Layer up your Lucy & Yak dungarees with the straps up or down. The possibilities are endless! 

Here come the vlogs....

Lucy & Yak X Emotional Waterfall Dungarees style up Part 1

Lucy & Yak X Emotional Waterfall Dungarees style up Part 2

Thanks for watching.
Check out the No Debutante Instagram & IGTV platforms for daily updates into the No Debutante World!

Monday, 1 July 2019

How I became a slow fashion blogger

The No Debutante blog has been going for nearly 8 years in July! It has progressed from a pregnancy fashion blog to a lifestyle and fashion blog that supports independent designers, sustainable and slow fashion. 

There are no more shopping hauls or 'top 5 faves from the high street' posts as I am just not consuming fashion the way I used to and that's a good thing!

June's purchase a pair of mens leopard print trousers from the Urban Outfitters sale

At the most I figure I am buying one fashion item a month and that item is always considered on whether I need it and will I really wear it and most importantly, does it support slow fashion? 

Don't get me wrong. I love fashion, I love design, colour and print! I just don't follow trends anymore or dedicate myself to big fashion designers, which is maybe the wrong way to go for a fashion blogger and journalist, but I'm just being honest with myself and my ethics. 

Layering up in three independent designers creations including earrings by Kashaya Makes, Jacket by Kuccia & Duvet Days trousers

I am not a saint in supporting slow and sustainable fashion either. I love trainers and I am not completely against buying from the high street, I just don't buy that often and I don't crave for the next big thing, not even with trainers! 

I buy fashion items when I love them and limiting yourself helps you to see more clearly, which in turn stops that fast, random purchase, that you just had to buy, but never wore....

The importance is to get the balance right, in these images alone, featuring six of my outfits from the past couple of months, 10 items are from independent designers, 4 items from the high street, one was a present (and was handmade), one item was fashion salvaged and one item is vintage. This includes accessories and footwear too! I am happy that only a quarter of the things I have worn, originally came from the high street! I am going in the right direction! Small changes mean a lot! 

Print clashing in a fashion salvaged jumpsuit and Balulu jacket (upcycled from bedsheets). 

The way I blog has changed too. I used to beat myself about not blogging enough from my style posts to the latest trends and shows. When instagram came along it changed the way I shared my style forever. It's much easier to share one image a day or a week, it expresses your style perfectly whilst reaching a wider audience.

I could have given the whole blogging malarkey up but I still loved writing and wanted to encourage people over to my blog. Things changed again once I started supporting independent designers as this was a new edge on what I had previously been doing (the same as all the other fashion bloggers....yawn), it felt good to support and promote independents and they were also kind enough to share the love and direct their followers to my blog too! 

The No Debutante blog also got me the job as fashion editor at Bristol 24/7 magazine. It's done me proud! 

Vintage meets leopard print (left) my amazing new Bikini Kill t-shirt bought for me for my birthday by Phil (right)

I am not sure about the future of blogging but I will continue to blog at my own pace and hope you enjoy my little posts and that they inspire you in some way!

Do follow what I am up to on my social media platforms too - Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, all under the @nodebutante name 

Big Love & slow fashion xx

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Two worlds collide

For those who haven't been following the No Debutante antics over the past few weeks on social media, this is a quick catch up covering the side of Love Saves the Day that doesn't feature in my articles as fashion editor for Bristol 24/7

Here's some moments of friends and fun that happened at Loves Saves The Day festival here in Bristol, alongside a gig with my band Mono Dots for the M32 Skate Jam after party at The Chelsea Inn, that I managed to squeeze in between the two day event! Phew! It's been a busy one, but that's how we like it! Find out what happens when my two worlds collide!

 Love Saves The Day 2019

Hanging out with our festival faves The Fashpack including the lovely Joh Rindom from That Thing and the hilarious Zoe Zedhead, plus the No Debutante partner in crime, sister fashionista, " I only exist in this realm" Rachael. 

The No Debutante chosen outfit for the Saturday was this amazing pair of Lucy and Yak X Emotional Waterfall dungarees which are just the comfiest thing ever, worn with a crop top on this gloriously sunny day at LSTD. 

Getting my glitter did by Zoe Zedhead and hanging with independent designers Pluma and Balulu! I acquired the sun visor after a few large rum cocktails but it seems to match nicely with my Zedhead pom-pom earrings!

The No Debutante LSTD Sunday outfit (above left) features my fave catsuit by Mannerswear, a bumbag purchased at the festival by Butchi and Gosmos, the antique kimono given to me by an elderly neighbour - who thought I might wear it - (Thank you Mary!) and my lovely new XL tassel earrings by the brilliant Bristol designer, Dakota Rae Dust that arrived just in time for the weekend!

Love these girls!

A couple of amusing shots from the Sunday including Zoe Headhead and NOT Idris Elba and Rachael with the tallest, most fabulous drag queen at LSTD coming in at 7' 2"  (well, she was wearing ridiculously high platforms). 

The M32 Skate Jam After party gig at The Chelsea Inn (Saturday Night)

Rocking those festival vibes in a punk mash-up with my band Mono Dots at The Cheslea Inn at the M32 Skate Jam after party, where local skaters had come together to raise money for the skate park underneath the M32, here in Bristol. 

The Los Savages  - an awesome surf-skate band of goofballs that features Mr Debutante on trumpet.

My new favourite band Tropical Nightmare!!! A- MAZING! 


Sunday, 28 April 2019

Dressing for a Great British Summer

It seems we get less and less time to adapt and think about what to wear in the UK. With heatwaves in February to snow in April, our wardrobes have to be on red alert! 

A transitional wardrobe would usually see us adding layers or wearing less as the seasons change, but in the UK, we don't know where the hell we are, or what to wear, on a daily basis!

I was so excited to be showing off some flesh, albeit short lived, when the sun came back last week; wearing vest tops and shorts again seemed kinda liberating after months of being cuddled up in warm layers.

Now, a week later, I am back wearing a fleece top, trousers and warm socks, with a blanket over me! What the actual.....???

What a different a week makes....
Freezing fashion in Wales wearing rainbow puffer, trackpants, Vans & That Thing beanie (left)
summer vibes in Bristol wearing kimono from Zara & shorts by Tail End.(right) 

In the brief heatwave,  I thought to myself, whilst rummaging through my generous wardrobe, 'I haven't actually got many summer clothes' but in truth, I think, I have just forgetten how to style up my existing wardrobe to work for summer, a problem I seem to face at every seasonal change! 

In the colder months, I wear warm layers of mostly bright coloured streetwear pieces, from jumpsuits to hoodies to printed trousers- fun, winter outfits- but when the sunshine comes, things really start to get excitiing, as you are not hiding your amazing outfits under a coat!

As I've said before, I'm not one to pack away my winter/summer wardrobe as the sessons change, I dont have the time or a place to put it all, if I'm honest! As things are with the UK weather lately, we need to keep all of our wardrobe at easy access, all year round! I was right all along!

A trusty oversized hoodie will warm you up after the surf!

As soon as the sun is out, so are my vest tops (usually cropped) and my shorts (often patterned and/or made by an indepepndent designer). I've not been much of a summer dress wearer over the past few seasons but an unexpected new obsession can pop up at any point for me, so I never rule out the return of a fashion item, that may already be in my wardrobe.

The No Debutante summer staples

Vest tops
Crop t-shirts
Cotton trousers (tapered or rolled up)
Slip on Vans (the easiest summer trainer that took me years to discover!).

The No Debutante Essential transitional weather extras

Hoodies and sweatshirts
Long socks
Wellies (camping & festival essential)
Wrap scarf
Beanie hat

ND wearing Carny Valley cape and Duvet Days trousers in Bedminster, Bristol

One thing that we must not get into is buying a whole new wardrobe at the change of every season, this is supporting fast fashion, which has a negative impact on the planet and in your pocket! Updating your wardrobe is fine but do it at a slower pace. Everyone likes buying new stuff, just consider these three rules when shopping.

Do you really need it?
Do you really love it?
Does it look good on you? 

I have been following these rules for the past few years, I admit, I still get it wrong occassionally, but if you consider these rules as a guide, you are on the right track!

Finally, as always, the No Debutante blog is keen to promote and support independent designers, many of whom are also supporting sustainable, slow fashion.

Enjoy the summer when it finally arrives and rethink your wardrobe!

Did you see my rainbow hair??  Perfect for summer, eh?  (Hair by Girl on Curl)

Top image - No Debutante in full on summer flow vest top and shorts whilst Djing on her radio show
 This is Radio Bang with 1020 Radio.
Listen here

Monday, 25 March 2019

Independent women in fashion

Hey fashionistas! It's been a month (or so) of repping independent designers, and mostly Bristol ones too! From upcycled vintage fabrics from Balulu and Duvet Days to having a bash at a zip front fleece for my own slow fashion brand Fruit Salad, it's all about the independents, and independent women at that! 

The amazing Mickey Mouse co-ord by Bristol brand Balulu
Print clashing it up in Duvet Days stripe trousers and matching reversible crop top paired with a Lazy Oaf  oversized shirt. 

More Lazy Oaf and Duvet Days Mash up!

Time for me to pair my own creations with Duvet Days stripe trousers - Pastel fleece by Fruit Salad

Streetwear styling with a That Thing beanie and joggers 

Close up of Fruit Salad zip front pastel fleece

These Duvet Days trousers just go with everything! 

Sunday, 17 March 2019

No Debutante X Jolanta Valeniece

It's here! The No Debutante X Jolanta Valeniece photo shoot collaboration!   

Jolanta is a photographer who works in both Bristol and London, capturing reportage style photographs of clubbers to edgy streetstyle photoshoots. 

This fun female collaboration took place on the same week as International Women's Day and was a great way to celebrate female empowerment! 

Thank you so much to the amazing and inspiring Jolanta xx

Location - Dean Lane Skate Park, Bristol

Photography by Jolanta Valeniece  
Styling & Model No Debutante

Boilersuit  - Lucy and Yak
Rainbow jacket - Primark
Trainers - Nike Air Force One Jester XX
Catsuit - Mannerswear
Mesh dress - Monki
Earrings - Tezla Designs
Beanie - That Thing

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