So, those of you that have stuck with me for the past year or longer will know that last February I pushed myself right out of my comfort zone and went to my first blogger event, which just happened to be at the London Edge alternative fashion show (read all about it here). It was a scary thing to do, as I'm by nature a pretty classic introvert, but it was such a good day that when I was thinking of my 'experience' (yep, still going on about those) for this month, this was the obvious choice for me.
What I loved about last year was getting to see all the new repro ranges for spring and summer - my favourite seasons hands down - in some cases before the brands had even released their lookbooks. The other thing that was great about last year was the company, but unfortunately Porcelina couldn't make it again, but luckily for me my lovely friend could. So, I had a photographer (get me) and the moral support needed to be brave and put myself out there again - and off we went.
Again, I absolutely loved being able to see the new ranges up close and I hope you enjoy my take on what to watch out for, which I've split it into fashion and accessories...
|On the Collectif stand|
You all know I'm going to start with my first repro love, Collectif. Their stand was again humongous and absolutely packed full of not only SS16 pieces, but also AW16. It took me a while - and speaking to their lovely marketing lady - to realise AW was there too, which was a first for them. I already knew you could expect absolutely oodles more of what they do best for the warmer months as I'd seen their product preview shots already, but it was amazing seeing all the bright and pastel coloured clothes together.
The staff on the stand were all wearing a gorgeous mint green cardigan with strawberry embroidery on that I already had my eye on - mint green and strawberries? Oh Collectif, how did you know? And you heard it hear first, ladies... the strawberry wicker bag is going to return! It will be joined by the adorable flamingo bag you can see in the photo. The Bright & Beautiful range is also going to explode with new goodies over the coming months; I'm really impressed with how rapidly this range is expanding - and such unique pieces too.
Oh and if you want to see my full outfit, here I am standing right next to the Collectif / Bright & Beautiful stand, in a Collectif skirt - what else?).
Another summer range I can't wait to launch is Voodoo Vixen's. I actually didn't spend a lot of time on this stand, but did look it over to try to hunt down the pieces I'd seen in their previews.
Disappointingly, the ones I particularly had my eye on I didn't see - I might have just missed them, mind you. But, you've got to love that pineapple print and adorable lemon bag! I love seahorses too, so I was a big fan of their new cardigan. If you haven't seen the previews yet, do check out Facebook - it will be worth your time.
|Banned Dancing Days|
It's at this point that I should mention that I didn't visit every single stand, as my friend and I wanted to get home at a decent time, it being a Sunday an' all and she living a 2+ hour train-ride home. So my coverage is by no means extensive! However, I can tell you that you should watch out for Banned's Dancing Days range, which I caught some glimpses of on the catwalk.
|Banned Dancing Days|
|Banned Dancing Days|
I wouldn't say anything they're producing is groundbreaking, but I would say they have some lovely shapes and patterns and you know with Banned that you're going to get decent quality for a good price. And they make shoes too, which is always a bonus, because matching is good. And bags, which I'll come to...
I have to say, I'm not sure if I can resist capris that have a print this cute on them...
Another one of my favourites that we spent a lot of time browsing was Victory Parade. I loved their amazing range of prints last year and this year they had many of the same PLUS loads more unique designs. You really can't beat this brand for patterns; they have virtually anything you can dream of. I learned while on this stand that their products are made to order in Manchester, which explains why they're quite pricey compared to other repro.
They're also a pretty small operation, which probably likewise explains why you don't see them working with bloggers all that much. I learned - with total dismay - that the chocolate pattern I've set my heart on (see pic in last year's post) is about to run out. I couldn't bear to miss it... So if you follow my Instagram or Facebook page, you'll know how that story ended (hint: not with me being rich). Anyway, my friend fell head over heels for this adorable bunny and mushroom print.
Special mention as well for Dolly & Dotty, whose stand was small, but so packed with goodies it was hard to see everything. So many prints!
|Dolly & Dotty|
So the first thing to say, before I go any further, is I met the bag love of my life on the Hell Bunny stand. That's right, Hell Bunny are about to release their FIRST bag range. At first glance I didn't really care for them - they're mostly on the kitschy side and not too dissimilar from what other brands are producing. And then I looked again... and I saw this:
|Hell Bunny bag|
This sparkly (not showing at all well in the photo as sparkles never do), mint green frame bag of my dreams was staring right back at me. With every last inch of my resolve, I didn't steal it (even though it matched my skirt SO well it was practically asking for it), but vowed that we would meet again. Don't know where, don't know when...
I also fell for the majority of Banned's bag range too, but particularly this charming heart-shaped wicker bag. Which some of you might think looks am awful lot like Voodoo Vixen's recent design and I think that's true, but I always prefer white accents to black for wicker (and summer generally), so Banned won the battle of the heart-shaped wicker bags, for me.
|CiCi with Cam, Bow and Crossbones|
Moving on from bags, we come to jewellery and a lovely chat was had on the Bow and Crossbones stand with (frankly gorgeous) owner, Cam. I learned that her company has now been going for ten years and is just her and her husband, which is seriously impressive to me as BOY does she have a huge range! So much sparkly fakelite... So many colours and shapes... and, also, seahorses! How did everyone know I love seahorses? I hope to up my jewellery game even more this year and I think Bow and Crossbones are going to be one of my top choices for range and affordability.
|Bow and Crossbones|
|Bow and Crossbones|
And finally, although as I say by no means extensively, we have Erstwilder's stand. So many brooches it was impossible to even work out how many different styles were there. A lot, is all I know. And don't they look so impressive when put together like this?
|CiCi with a new SS16 Erstwilder Pinup Picnic brooch|
The stall owner (who I knew to be a distributor, not Erstwilder themselves), looked a bit confused about the brooch I was sporting that day being, as it is, from a batch that hasn't released in the UK yet. She's so cute though, and she matched my skirt, so I felt it only fair to introduce her to her brooch sisters and brothers. I could happily wear pretty much all of them... But if I have to pick favourites of the designs that are releasing in the near future, it is by miles the brand new Pin-up Picnic range, which my brooch is from (and in fact shares the same name). If you love Erstwilder and you love food, you are not going to be disappointed.
|Erstwilder's Pinup Picnic brooch|
So there we go, these are the highlights from my day. Anything here take your fancy...? And if you went, what did I miss?!
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