Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I’m seated at my desk for the majority of the working week, so when I had the opportunity to experience life on the shop floor at the Tulchan factory outlet shop last Thursday I relished the change of scenery. I’m forever reading articles on consumer behaviour and researching what our customers want, surely there is no better way than to get straight to the source?
I have a passion for retail, when I was 16 I had a Saturday job at the soft furnishings company Nightingales. I loved the interaction with the customers, the thrill of a sale ringing through the till and the pride you take in ensuring the store is looking at its best. My day in the Tulchan outlet shop last week was like taking a trip down memory lane! Walking around the shop customers were freely pointing out their likes and don’t likes, I was observing their behavioural patterns and getting to see first-hand how they react to styles in the collections.
The ultimate lesson learnt was quite simply that our customers like being listened to, they wanted to share ideas and thoughts with us and they see it as a helpful process. It makes perfect sense, we want to offer the right product and excel with our customer service and we can look to do this by evaluating our product offering, service levels and react accordingly. I’ll be taking the snippets of comments back to the team to see how we can translate this feedback not only to our outlet shop but to our first standalone store and how we can replicate this on our new e-commerce website too.
We’re looking for a weekend sales assistant in the outlet shop at the moment, perhaps I should apply!
Amy Young, marketing and e-commerce manager, Tulchan Textiles x

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


I want to introduce you to Frenchie, one of the key denim fits in the IDA collection. Frenchie was the hardest fit to get right, the most labour intensive, and so perhaps the most loved now that she’s finally been born.

 From the day I opened the first Donna Ida boutique this is the cut I heard about constantly, and one which I could previously not deliver to my customers.

Something high waisted, that hangs loose from the hip. Definitely not tight on the thigh. Worn relaxed, with a chic but slightly slacker attitude. It was constantly referred to as a French cut when customers were explaining to me what they wanted.

So here she is, Frenchie. For you to enjoy.

Donna Ida, owner of denim emporium Donna Ida.

Monday, 10 December 2012


I recently hosted a roundtable discussion with a handful of the best womenswear indies in the North, including Black White Denim, Amabo, Bottega, Lynx, Halo and Kryshia, and it was a lively, informative and extremely interesting gathering.
We chatted about everything that is affecting independent retailers at the moment (and more!) - from bugbears through supplier relationships, from fashion to the ever changing face of retail and everything in between, we thrashed out ideas and viewpoints about the challenges and opportunities for independent retail.
Guy Hudson of Lynx Harrogate
It was inspiring to see so much passion for the industry and for retail come through, especially as some of the participants have been in the industry for 35 years, and it left me with a massive sense of optimism about the future of indies.
Jo Davis of Black White Denim
We established that the beauty of being an independent is, well, exactly that, independent, and that because of it indies can react quicker to the challenges of the times and create shopping experiences that are unrivaled.
With so much negativity out there, I expected a lot of moaning, but I was surprised by the proactive attitude and can-do approach by the panel. The upshot is of our discussion was that, whilst it’s undoubtedly tough, independent fashion retailers still have a place on the Great British high street, and that by working together, the sector can thrive again.
Louise Routeledge of Halo
Read the full summary of the roundtable discussion in the next issue of WWB, which is out 12 December.

Friday, 26 October 2012


The judging panel, chaired by Hilary Alexander (right)

Recently I had the pleasure of being a judge at the Young Designer competition at the Fast Fashion Tour London.

Chaired by the lovely fashion legend that is Hilary Alexander, my fellow judges and I were very impressed by the high standard of entries, which had been whittled down to five finalists, including Aduu Juma Masudi from the University of Derby, Heather Gerrick from the University of Central Lancashire, Matthew O’Brien from Liverpool John Moores, Diana Oancea from Coventry University and Emily Relton from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Each of the young designers had 15 minutes to present their collection, concept, vision and portfolio, with each of the recent graduates giving very professional and articulate presentations, making our judging job a tricky one.

The well deserved winner was Aduu Juma Masudi, who presented a menswear collection that was both conceptually strong, creative and crafted with impeccable precision, while also already having a recognisable signature and commercial appeal – therefore meeting all of the criteria us judges were looking for.

Aduu Juma Masudi

Having also impressed us with his futuristic and yet wearable collection of high tech fabrics and shapes inspired by architecture, we spontaneously decided to award Matthew O’Brien a special commendation, with his collection, reminiscent of the style of Hussein Chalayan, displaying a great deal of potential for the future. I’m sure this isn’t the last time we have heard from these designers.

I have to say though that the most positive aspect I went away with on the day, is that all of the talented finalists came from universities outside of London, which was not only refreshing, but also goes to show that the UK has got a strong pool of young talent out there, with other universities also playing a key role in shaping the future of fashion in the country.

London is undeniably the capital of fashion and its famous fashion colleges are deservedly in the spotlight – but it’s nice to see that there is so much more out there, too!

Emily Relton

Matthew O'Brien

Me with Heather Gerrick

Diana Oancea

Young Designer Finalists

Isabella Griffiths, editor, WWB

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Sarah Jessica Parker

On Sunday I headed over to the Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road for a nosey at The Little Black Jacket Exhibition: Chanel’s classic revisited by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld.   
After the exhibitions previous success in Tokyo and New York (not to mention the book which the exhibition accompanys) I was curious to see how the Saatchi Gallery had displayed the artwork across its first floor galleries.
What I found were over 100 images on display that range from moody black and white to much larger prints in vibrant colour.
Each model wearing a LBJ is described as a "friend of the House" - basically a selection of beautiful people that make you sick with envy. Amongst my favourites were Elle and Dakota Fanning, Freja Beha, Natalia Vodianova and Lily Lily Donaldson – the last of which I got a free poster version of.
What I enjoyed most about the exhibition was the way Lagerfeld has perfectly captured each individual personality, from those who have adapted the garment to reflect their own sense of style, to the slightly creepy (check out twins Sama and Haya Abu Khadra to see what I mean) and back again to the more straight-laced.

Below are some of my favourites all shot in instagram.
Carine Roitfeld

Dakota Fanning

Elle Fanning

Joan Smalls

Kirsten Dunst

Leigh Lezark


Uma Thurman

Natalie Dawson, fashion writer, WWB

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


You have to do at least one show for London Fashion Week right?  For me it was Sass & Bide, and as it was my only show it had to be a good one – which it was.  Held at the Royal Horticultural Halls, it was the perfect background for the cool edgy monochrome of the show.  

The Sass & Bide girls have raised the bar taking Sass & Bide to an International stage with their strong direction which is instantly recognisable as the core Sass & Bide DNA.

And of course there was the people watching…..Poppy Delevigne, Sasha Wilkins and Alison Mosshart were all in attendance adding the necessary glamour and buzz.

And of course there was the people watching…..Poppy Delevigne, Sasha Wilkins and Alison Mosshart were all in attendance adding the necessary glamour and buzz.

Sass and Bide

 Candice Lake

Liberty London Girl Sasha Wilkins

 Hannah Wick from Harvey Nichols

 Allison Mosshart

Donna Ida, founder of Donna Ida Denim x

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Last night I attended the BuyMyWardrobe.com launch party at Vanilla, London, just off Oxford Street.

The great atmosphere was created by a packed crowd and servings of champagne, Passion Fruit Collins and Mojito's.
We ate caviar and goat's cheese on bruschetta, duck and hoisin sauce spring rolls, followed by chocolate brownies and strawberries dripped in chocolate.

An after party took place at private members club Whisky Mist, with Jodie Harsh on the decks.

During the night the company founder Kal Di Paola made a presentation and thanked all those stylish women who had been with them from the start - including newly appointed director, former Gucci Group Executive, Mimma Viglezio.

Outside the new company car was proudly parked on the street, complete with logo and motto "the smart way to own luxury"
The site is now live as of midnight last night, check it out

Natalie Dawson, Fashion Writer, WWB. x

Thursday, 23 August 2012


Last week I attended a mentoring session for the three Fashion Fringe 2012 finalists at Shoreditch House.
The mentoring sessions (just one part of a rigorous process to get them catwalk ready) are designed to give invaluable insider knowledge as well as leaving time for those burning questions each young designer wants to know the answers to.

The session I attended was about how it takes a lot more to promote your brand than just creating a good fashion collection. Speakers included:
·         Tamara Sender, Senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel who discussed the business of online fashion, shopping online in general and consumer attitudes for shopping online. She also talked about how m-commerce shopping was rocketing in 2012 – get your tablets at the ready folks!

·         Julian Whitehead and Debra Hepburn, founders of Young British Designers, spoke about what to expect when you take a business online, their customer profile and what it takes to catch their eye when they are making those all important buying decisions.

·         Finally Sarah Bush, Senior Director of Europe for Shopstyle, discussed what constitutes good online marketing, best practise for engaging with customers online, and what is appropriate content for blogs and social media like Twitter and Facebook.

As well as coming away with some great facts (did you know Facebook is seeing a decline in young users but an increase in the age 40+ signing up), I also made some great contacts and hope to bring you more on Young British Designers soon - so watch this space.
I also met the Fashion Fringe finalists (below), Vita Gottlieb, Haizhen Wang and Teija Eilola, and you can follow their progress here as well as checking back on ShopStyle.co.uk to see how its partnership with Fashion Fringe is progressing.
In the meantime I hope you will join me in wishing the three finalists, seen below with Lucie Bartlett, Project Manager for Fashion Fringe / IMG Europe, the very best of luck in the run up to London Fashion Week this September.
Natalie Dawson, Fashion Writer, WWB x

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Last weekend I had the very fortunate job of reviewing Copenhagen Fashion Week for WWB.

When I arrived in town the S/S 13 edition was already in full swing and I dived straight in attending three shows in a whirlwind 48 hours in the city.

CPH Fashion Week is always one of the highlights of show season, with its vibrant fashion scene, amazing street style, friendly atmosphere and beautiful cityscape's it’s impossible to return home feeling un-inspired.

I wanted to quickly share with you some of my highlights from this edition, which you can see below in pictures.

My full review of the show, including the hottest designers and upcoming trends, will appear in the September issue.

Natalie Dawson, fashion writer, WWB x

Image caption: Loving the balloon’s at my favourite trade show for directional designers - Gallery
Image caption: Being squeezed in like a sardine wasn’t enough to put me off attending the Stine Goya catwalk
Image caption: Dinner was served at the beautiful Nimb Terrasse in Tivoli World
Image Caption: the CIFF Kids catwalk – way more fun than any other catwalk I’ve been to!
Image Caption: the CIFF catwalk was a brilliant way to end my two day trip

Thursday, 2 August 2012


The Dressing Room’s Deryane Tadd tells Isabella Griffiths why Independent Retailer Month was a success for her store.

Always one to champion the independent cause, I got behind the Independent Retailer Month initiative wholeheartedly. I am so pleased that I did – it has been a great way to engage with our customers. It is great to remind people of the difference that shopping local makes to their community and to their shopping experience.

With the initiative falling during Sale time, we had to think of innovative ways to celebrate the campaign and drive footfall as discounts would not be an option.

Firstly, we launched some competitions, inviting people to tell us ‘Why do you shop Independent?’. We had a fantastic response to this, people love posting their reasons and stories about shopping indie. We did a different prize each week for the best comment.

We also did a raffle in store and online. Every time someone purchased with us in July, they entered into the raffle – the more they shopped during July, the more chances they got to win a luxury goody bag. Everyone loves a giveaway and it provokes some great conversations about why people shop indie and how they like to support their local businesses.

We also included double loyalty points for our shoppers on Saturdays, to increase footfall – this has had a fantastic effect and has increased trade on Saturdays by four per cent, which has been a direct result of the promotion.

To run this campaign during July has actually been a real success – it has driven footfall at a time when we need to shift sale stock, but we can also show people new season stock at the same time.

For me it is imperative to boost margin during sale time by having 30 per cent of my store at full price, it keeps my regular customers interested and entices new customers, so this is a great opportunity.

I will certainly be backing the next Independent Retailer Month campaign and hope many more join in.

Deryane Tadd, owner of The Dressing Room, St Albans