Tuesday, 20 July 2010








Friday, 16 July 2010


Ok, for those of you up to date with Topshop, everyone in the Dressing Up Box is ABSOLUTELY LOVING the new collection from the designer Mark Fast!

In our fancy box we have a hand knitted vintage dress similar to this collection all the way from south africa, and we are all so tempted to nab it up for ourselves! Its amazing...


The Dressing Up Box- our new baby, has been open for a few weeks now, and we are starting to see the same faces popping back into the store to check out our latest stock. While chatting to some of the customers we are getting to know some of your quite well now, but don’t have the time in our store to tell you about our personal style and backgrounds, so we thought what better away for all our lovely customers to get to know us better than on our blog!

We started with Sam McEwen, our undergraduate designer who has put together the amazing Isolated Heros ready-to-wear collection for the shop…

Bonjour Sam! So to begin, how would you describe your style?

I would say my style is quite eclectic. I tend not to follow trends. I do love creating different looks for different days and every outfit is always thought of well in advance. Statement pieces are very important in your wardrobe. One statement piece and your whole outfit comes together from that.

Right now I am totally into sheer iridescent fabrics clashing them with the chunkiest shoes and accessories you can find. Tight as a tiger dresses, oversized statement jackets and Jeffrey Campbell shoes are spot on.
I’m a big fan of prints aswel. The louder the better! 80s geometric, American Flags and Cool Britannia all look amazing on plain printed pieces.

What influences your style?
Oh my god I am constantly excited by new things that are influencing my work and personal style. For my runway collections I am always influenced by some really crazy themes and enjoy bringing it down to a fashion level its all about finding a way that it can be expressed through clothes.

For my BA collection “Love Your Bones”, I started off looking at all these fanatic religious groups and cults and their theories on Doomsday - predicting the end of the world. It fascinated me thinking that there are so many people who genuinely believe this and are creating mass hysteria and fear. Therefore I wanted to create a collection around the area of Survival and Extinction. Taking a really kitsch approach to a really heavy subject. I used dark fabrics made from natural fibres, accessories made from buffalo hide and roe deer bones. However I still managed to make the models look really fun and sexy, Tying bones in their hair and shooting them in all these amazing fight scenes in the studio with their little playsuits on and killer heels all pretending to pull each others hair out. It was SO much fun making this collection!

My day to day style is still influenced by crazy things. I think its important to take in everything that’s around us and portray this in our personal style.

What pieces of clothing could you not live without?
I Love all my clothes! There’s far too many beautiful pieces in my wardrobe to possibly manage to pick one. I have a massive collection of vintage pieces that I have collected over the years and I would NEVER get rid of them. Completely sequins jackets, 80s party dresses and a silver smokers jacket that I just LOVE!
I would have to say my favourite piece out my wardrobe is my arctic fox fur coat. I cost me £55 off some woman on eBay who just wanted rid of it and clearly didn’t have a clue. When my furrier friend looked at it we discovered it cost around £600 when it was made so god knows what its worth now!

Where and how do you shop?
Obviously I make a lot of the pieces I wear. I wish I could make the lot but there’s hardly any time with sewing my collection for the shop as well. I rarely shop high street. Sometimes I nip into topshop, American apparel and Urban Outfitters but its such a boring way to shop! Vintage is so much more exciting. Either buying one offs from stores or online. There is just so much choice. I love thinking about who could have previously owned them and the idea of giving clothes a new life.
I love London and Paris for shopping, saving up and taking a weekend away to just go mad around all the vintage stores and flea markets. A trip to New York for vintage is defiantly on the cards for next year! The internet really is the easiest way to shop though. EBay has amazing vintage stores!!
Right now I want to save for some new designer buys. No only is it so important to buy into the new designer market since all the pieces are amazing and so fresh in ideas. It is also the future of fashion. Quite literally.
Do you have any fashion pet hates?

Not Really. Nothing really drives me mad! I hate waste with fashion. People compulsively buying into the latest “trend” and getting rid of all their other stuff and never wearing it again. I think the high street is mainly to blame for this. It doesn’t matter if your head to toe in the latest “it” pieces. Its still doesn’t mean you are going to look good. Personal touches to garments and style is everything. You either have it or you don’t. People need to learn to love clothes and be more ambitious with what they are wearing.

Tell us about “Isolated Heroes” you new ready to wear line?

I wouldn’t really define all the pieces on my rail as a collection as they are quite eclectic. I try and stick to one or two themes running throughout so it isn’t too mish mash but its quite difficult as the turn around for garments is extremely fast. I’m literally adding four or five pieces every week.
Everything on the rail is a statement piece and has either been influenced by my previous collections, something I’m working on now, or just something I’m really into. I would say the rail really emphasises my personal style and I would defiantly wear everything on it! Its designed for fierce fashionistas who are not afraid to wear what ever they want and look confident in it. Though right now I love all the American flag silk pieces on the rail.
I am definatly into all things Americana! I also love the floral dress with the studded shoulder pads, its definatly a personal favourite! And the number print tops!!
Its important to have different styles on the rail to cater for everyone’s taste.

I love my project with the Dressing Up Box! Its so much fund designing with an end outcome and seeing the customers coming in and trying my garments on. Getting their personal feedback means everything to me! It really is so rewarding.

Do you feel your influences run through your style and work?
Absolutely! It wouldn’t be my designs and my work if it wasn’t heavily influenced by all the things I’m into.
Although some of the pieces on the rail are so different they all work easily together as a collection and I think its clear to see that it is designed by one designer.
I was really appreciating some of the floral prints I was seeing cropping up all over the internet and magazines. However my style is definitely not floaty or feminine! So I thought how can I make this sell as something a completely fierce diva would want? So I bought all my fabric in as printed jersey so it would cling to the body and sit perfectly, I then added black velvet shoulder pads with tough conical studs giving the dress a completely new sexy edge.

Although a lot of the fabrics are different in textures and prints etc, al the designs are similar in terms of shape and I use the same patterns throughout the collection so its really easy to commission pieces for people.

If your house was burning down what one thing would you save?
I would probably burn down with it I’d be running about so franticly trying to get everything together.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Oh god there’s been a few!
Me and my flatmates and my friend Gary got arrested for walking home along the m8 over that really high bridge that goes over the river Clyde after a night out before. We couldn’t get a taxi and our heels were too high to walk any further so we decided to take a “near death” short cut. Lorries were driving past us at 90mph franticly tooting their horns at us. It was VERY windy 30ft up on the bridge! I actually thought I was going to die. Very scary to say the least.

I was also in a hurricane at last years Benicassim festival in Spain. My friend Hannah and I were so drunk we didn’t even notice the whole camp site had been evacuated! There was literally metal poles and parts of buildings flying around our tent and we were inside completely oblivious to it all wondering why it was so windy whilst stuffing our faces with Pringles and talking about boys haha! I still think to this day the only reason we survived was because I had packed sooo much clothes and my suitcase was so heavy!

We broke into an abandoned mental asylum for a photo shoot before as well. That was pretty crazy and verrrry funny! All of us in our killer heels clutching cameras trying to break into the buildings. I remember we all freaked out because my flatmate Anna had brought a flick knife. I really don’t know how she was expecting to break in with a knife from our kitchen drawer haha!

Your work philosophy?
Staying true to my personal style and expressing it through my designs is extremely important to me! Designing pieces for all my ideal clients and customers. All the girls that appreciate fashion and like buying one off exclusive pieces but cant afford to spend a zillion pounds achieving their perfect wardrobe.
I’m not interested in making things for people that are entirely their own idea and do not relate to anything else on the rail. I’m a designer and not a dress maker and sorry but that’s blatantly stealing ideas love!

If you weren’t working in the world of fashion you would?
God Knows! I’d probably be desperately unhappy because I would have all these ideas for clothes and no way of expressing them and no skills to make any garments. It would be very frustrating!

I would probably have done philosophy or philosophy of religion. That was my second choice for Uni believe it or not! Its cool that mys sister is away to do it at Glasgow University as I wil still be able to have some in-depth chats about the other things that really interest me.
Plus I don’t think I would be the ideal student. I’d probably end up thrown out of class for drawing what I’m wearing at the weekend all over my notebooks.

Top Tip:
Never throw anything out!
I’m going o be like the bag lady when I’m older and keep everything! It can all be worn again, cut it up, style it up and you have a different outfit!
I honestly cry when I see photographs of my mum in her 80s new romantic days and ask if she still has the dress she is wearing in which she replies “No I’ve binned it!”
I am going to keep it all!!!

Next Up Bethany Bowles, founder of the furniture company, “SOOK” (to be launched soon-so watch this space!) But here we get to know not just about her bea-uti-ful furniture, but about her personal style too.

So Bethany, how would you describe your personal style?

I make a conscious effort to be very feminine. Up-dos and dresses on a day-to-day basis. Getting dressed up the nines doesn’t have to just be for special occassions!

Who influences your personal style?
Artist Paloma Faith, Dita Von Tease, people that mix and match vintage well. I love their pristine, polished styles.

What pieces of clothing could you not live without?
Easy- dresses! Easy to wear and girly.

Where and how do you shop?
Give anywhere a chance. Due to starting up my own business just now, “Sook,” money is limited, so right now I’m right into my vintage and charity shop buys. I like a good rummage around, shops like TK Maxx I love spending time in raking through.

Do you have any fashion pet hates?
Yes- Ugg Boots. No need, slippers are for indoors. Even worse, fake Ugg Boots.

Tell us about your new venture, “Sook?”
Moved back from Glasgow to start my own furniture business. Everything will be advertised through The Dressing Up Box and key pieces of my furniture that’s for sale of show in store. I’m also taking orders for any furniture needing restored. Business has been going great so far, had lots of interest in the town. I’ve just started working on a customers Bureau they wanted restored that they said had been sitting in the spare room for years!

What influences your style and business?
Bold colours and bold patterns; the mixing of old and new, whether that be clothing, fabrics, or furniture. I take influences from lots of different eras in my work though, depending on the task.

If your house was burning down, what one item would you save?
A quilt that was made by my grans auntie in Wales just after the second WW. Its made from old scraps of clothing and blankets, its so unique, I adore it!

Last words?
“You can wear last years suit, but can’t eat yesterdays dinner”

Last but not least...

Hiiiiiiii Danielle! You study fashion and textiles at Heriot Watts Galashiels Campus, fashion must be very important to you. How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as nice. When you feel nice in an outfit, you can work it and ooze attitude!

Who influences your style?
I never stick to the same style really, so just when I see someone in the street, in a magazine, in an article I can be influenced. There is a few who stand out in my mind however who have wowed me, Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe, Lara Stone, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively-all absolute beauties! I love the styling in the tv show Gossip Girl- its my guilty pleasure!

Where and how do you shop?
I love high street stores such as Topshop, Zara and Mango mixed with Vintage buys- obviously! I’m impatient, so I’m quite an impulsive buyer, when I shop online I take more time thinking about what I’m going to buy, usually from the comfort of my bed, I love online shopping and there’s usually more choice! I really started shopping online frequently when I moved to Galashiels for uni, for anyone whos been to Gala you’ll know why- lack. of. Shops! So sites like ASOS are great!

So tell us, you must have some fashion pet hates?
People not trying things, with so much to offer now in the high street stores, and lovely vintage shops in the area theres the freedom to be that little bit adventurous. I would love Carnoustie to become a fashionable little town! Even if its just buying a nice little scarf to sprouce up an outfit. Yes, I guess this would be my fashion pet hate.

What influences your style?
Everything around me. It could be the music on my iPod-music always seems to play a big part, something I’d seen the day before, Something someone had said to me; I’m always influenced by things going on around me. I’m always visiting friends and when at uni during term time travelling home, I love the peace of travelling and just looking out the window with my iPod- always influenced by things I see when on train journeys.

If you weren’t working in fashion, what do you see yourself doing?

Something creative certainly; I still have a love for graphics and illustration, maybe something to do with that? Or travelling the world and finding jobs as and when. I’d love that.

Studying Textile and Fashion Design management down at Galashiels must keep you busy as well as having a shop now, how would you describe your work philosophy?
I think its based on my determination a lot of the time. Determination to succeed. I’m always uber busy and put a lot of pressure on myself-but I’m learning to relax and detached when need be!

We quite agree with that last statement, what about in your free time? Whats your favourite past time?
Pretending to be a lady of leisure with Sam (the designer of the Isolated Heros, reay to wear collection in The Dressing Up Box)- we’ll go for wine lunches and find amazinggg vintage buys that we can’t afford and generally do things we can’t afford. I love it. Or when I’m being sensible with my money I like getting the time to read and listen to music and stuff. Right now I’m reading the Jim Morrison biography- “Nodody gets out here Alive,” I adore him!

Tell us something about yourself nobody else knows?
I worry about not living life to the fullest.

Last words?
Forgive, but don’t forget

Monday, 5 July 2010


11.00am: Walking into the back store room of The Dressing Up Box it didn’t exactly scream fashion straight away. A room full of abandoned sandals, bottles of water and half eaten tubes of Pringles. Sam dashes past with a half put together outfit and asks Danielle which shoes, a killer pair of super high Topshop heels or wedges? Now we’re talking fashion!

11.30am: After hair is groomed to perfection and the last coat of mascara and lipstick applied- (there’s no hair pulling, bitching, or screeching in our photoshoot) models get undressed, and changed into their first fabulous outfit ready for the photoshoot. The atmosphere is relaxed and upbeat. Sam has invited a fellow fashion student, Caitlin Ogilvie down to have a peak at the shop and chat about all the goings on, (read Caitlin’s review on www.sprucedup.blogspot.com.)

12.00pm: Emma, one of the models who had been in the Dressing Up Box the following week to do our promo video (that treat is yet to be unleashed!) talks about her highlight of working with Danielle and Sam to date, “Its so fab to be working with two young girls really trying to promote creativeness in the area, and make a small town fashionable! It inspires me to make a more conscious effort on a day to day basis seeing what they are doing- I love it!”

1.00pm: After a few fabulous initial shots the beautiful girls were much more relaxed and there was an all round amazing atmosphere for the photoshoot. This is always when the best photos are created, when everyone can bounce off and work well with each other.

3.00pm: Still shooting and having such a laugh, it was just a very laid back amateur photoshoot to document some of the stock, and show everyone exciting ways to wear our beautiful vintage. The photos of Sam’s Isolated Heros collection were fantastic!

5.00pm: Photoshoot is over and what a day it has been-Everyone leaves on a high! Photos still to be launched….watch this space!!!