The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an independent humanitarian organisation that is directly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people, such as those living in countries affected by conflict. This includes sanitation work to prevent the spread of the disease and supporting vital health infrastructure such as hospitals. It also involves working to ensure access to clean water for countless communities and resilience-building activities to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
HOW TO SHOP WITH KLARNA
Klarna gives you different ways to pay for your ASOS orders – so you can shop easier, and budget better.
To pay for your order with Klarna, tap ‘Change’ under payment type when you’re in checkout. Then tap ‘Add New Payment Method’ and add your chosen Klarna payment method. Place your order, and you’re done – £1 of your purchase will automatically go to the ICRC!*
Plus, don’t forget to share this one-day initiative with your friends and family, because every little bit counts.
*Only applies to eligible customers 18+ years of age in the UK, Germany, USA, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Klarna will donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross £1 from every successful ‘Pay 30 days later’ or ‘Instalments’ purchase made through ASOS on 29 April 2020.
I have always been small, in height, the smallest at school… the smallest in every single friendship group since then. The smallest in the family. When I was working at Eli’s school last year, there were even children almost my height, and they were pushing age 8 (!!), if that. I was often mocked as a child because of my height, “short arse” and “little legs” are the nicer of the names I was referred to. It made me feel ‘picked on’, and singled out to be referred to because of my height. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know I shouldn’t, but I actually really DO care what other people think – to my own detriment.
I had the familiar pang of sadness, that I’d had so many times as a child, when Eli came along. He’s on the shorter side of “the chart” for his age – he’s always followed the same line on the chart. He was born with several conditions too (Talipes, Torticollis, Hypermobility) which in turn could have some kind of effect on his growth. He’s actually only just below average height for his age. Most kids are ABOVE AVERAGE in height; making him look smaller. I became/become hyper-sensitive when we get adults proclaim “Oh isn’t he small!” “Eli is so tiny for his age isn’t he!” “My son is 3 years younger than him and already his height!”. Why are you even referring to his height? Why is it such a BIG THING for you to point out? I’m totally digressing from my own issues here because I’m being defensive and protective of him; but just wanted to point out that your throwaway comments about something like height (and I’ll get onto this now, but also, weight) can actually hit someone in such a bad way, especially when they’re already mega conscious of what you’re pointing out. Instead of referring to my son’s height, how about you refer to how agile and strong and clever and cheeky and funny and how unbelievably caring and creative he is?
Back to it.
My height I cannot do anything about and I wholly accept that. So why oh why have I found body-acceptance so damn difficult?
I’m a complete little bit ginger (which again, I was cruelly bullied for as a child), I have a gazillion freckles, I have a rather large nose (which I do now accept and got pierced later in life because I was learning to embrace it… not embraced enough for me to tell my parents I’d had it pierced however!). I didn’t grow up with a good self image. At all. I’ve always struggled to look in the mirror.
I’m ‘petite’ – I’m quite literally 5 foot nothing. I have big old Mothering hips and a bust. I had a big arse well before it was in fash-un. I distinctly remember being told I had a ‘duck bum’ (that protruded as I walked), as a child. Putting on the odd pound here or there makes me look massive because of my height and stature. My body shape is TOTALLY different to how it was when I was 8, when I was 15, when I was 21, heck, when I was pregnant with Eli at 26 and it’s even different to the months and years following the birth of Eli.
When I became a parent, I KNEW, I had to let go of the self-conscious me. I KNEW I had to let go of the cringing in the mirror. I KNEW I had to let go of the posing at my best angle and just live in the now and be the natural me in photographs.
I knew all this and still continued through life with the same mindset – just now being extra careful not to project any of my feelings onto Eli directly. I’m ALWAYS the one behind the camera. Never in front – unless my body is cropped – or unless I take a mirror selfie (the one I post is usually out of around 2000 that I take and cry over before eventually posting). It makes me so bloody sad going through our photos from our recent holiday to Florida; I’m barely in any of them. There’s probably 3 that I let James take of me and I would never ever post them. (He would be the first to admit that he is just awful at taking candid photos – so theres no point wasting phone memory on taking any of me at all). The confidence issue doesn’t stop with the photo-taking though. I also walked around in 40c heat in Florida with my arms covered every single day. I was sweating like I never even imagined I could sweat, but still, I refused to take of the kimono or the jacket or the long sleeved dress. WHY? Because all of these strangers would see my bare arms?! GOD FORBID LASS. It’s nuts isn’t it? It’s actually nuts. I am my own worst enemy.
Since having Eli 6 years ago, my body has changed drastically. I put on 4 stone whilst pregnant with him. It came off quite slowly. I did every diet possible – but in the end I stuck to slim fast and the 5:2. Within a few months, I had gone down to a size 8-10. And I was still miserable. I was still unhappy with my body. The scars, the stretch marks, the wobbly bits. My dumpy little legs and my zero torso cos Petite. I still didn’t want to have my photograph taken. I still didn’t want to look in the mirror.
I’m now 32 and I’m only truly learning what it means to have ‘self-love’. I had a tough time following my miscarriage last year – not just because of the obvious. But because I was blaming this sack of a body I had to get around in. I blamed by body for failing to protect that baby that was so wanted. But my body wasn’t to blame at all. My body did what it needed to. When I realised that, I realised and understood how strong my body really is. How amazing my body actually is. But still, I couldn’t get that emotional response to project onto the outside and transfer into true body confidence.
For years I have watched and admired the confidence of so many amazing women across the media. (REAL women, like you and I). People like @StyleMeSunday and her Body Confidence campaigns – instantly jump to mind. For years I have wished I had just an ounce of that confidence. To be able to dress to my size, to not hide behind the floaty dresses (I will still love my floaty dresses, but not for playing hide & seek in!) , at jaunty angles and to actually feel comfortable within my own skin. To allow photographs to be taken of me… photos of me and my boy. After all, when we’re gone, the only thing that will remain are these photographs of precious times and now all I can think about is the lack of any photographic evidence of us all together. It’s really just so sad, isn’t it? It’s terrible.
About a month ago I went to a gathering organised by @MidsizeCollective – I almost didn’t go. I felt massive. I was beyond nervous. I was going on my own (I did meet up with long-time IG pal @i0wen in the end!). It all felt too much. I didn’t want anxiety to get the better of me.
I’m so bloody glad I went. It was exceptionally inspiring to be in a room with other women who understood me and my body shape. To be able to chat and share in our shopping woes of being ‘middle sized’ women. Because, you know what, we are the forgotten women. Not skinny… but not plus size. We’re NORMAL sized women. But why does it feel like we’re invisible? Why is it so difficult to find clothing that fits us? Why, oh, why, do we find body confidence so damn hard to work with?! Why are we not represented within the Fashion industry… within shops and their marketing? WHY OH WHY OH WHY?
I just want to feel comfortable in the skin that I have. To be comfortable with the skin that I’m in; whatever my size. To have appreciation for my body; and confidence in where my body takes me. We ALL have a body, whatever shape or size or height or colour(s) it may well be. So that’s our NORMAL. No more, definitely, no less. We’re all NORMAL.
And you know what? I heard that THICK THIGHS, SAVE LIVES. So it must be ok!
I also just wanted to give a shout out to @annacarsarina, who has also set up her new account all about Mid-Size and Mid-Age style – she has carefully curated such a beautiful feed full of body happiness and inspiration. So thank you Anna – and thank you to all the other women mentioned above (and to those beyond this blog post) who have shown true and honest versions of themselves in a bid to normalise body confidence. THANK YOU. You are wonderful women and it’s also kind of ridiculous that we’re even having to write about this in 2018, isn’t it? Anyway, again, thank you for being YOU. I wouldn’t be sat here typing this out, without you.
So from this day forward, I swear I’m going to be happier in my own skin – I’m going to ALLOW photographs to be taken of me, candid or otherwise. I’m not about to jump into a bikini and show off all my bits… but I promise that I’m going to beat these bloody body confidence blues and get on with my life. Because you know what? Life is too hard and too tiring and it’s just too damn short to be fussing over what you look like in a pair of skinny jeans or with your arms out… or ON THE DAMN BEACH. Yes I could do with loosing a few more pounds (I cycle every day for almost 2 hours, but I also love crisps and chips and gravy), but importantly, I’m giving up on feeling body-shame and I’m going to embrace what I have, in the now and at the minute. And I would urge you to do the very same.
I cannot imagine what life must be like for those who are bringing up daughters. The pressure must just be so immense surrounding body positivity. I find it difficult enough bringing up a son in this world and talk endlessly to Eli about how we’re all different shapes and sizes and colours and that’s what makes us all so cool! The fact we’re all different and truly unique and diverse. The more we educate and understand and share the honesty, then the more NORMAL this whole movement will become. Hopefully, it won’t even BE a movement any longer – because, we’re all just out there living our best lives.
Additionally, I’m going to be using my social media platforms as a place to shout about Petite styles and fashion and inspiration because no, there isn’t enough of it out there. I’ve always tried to be inclusive of my styling tips/recommendations, but the industry definitely isn’t inclusive of people like me and my size. So sod the industry, and PETITE WOMEN, LET’S UNITE! #PetiteWomenUnite
And there we have it. My body confidence post, DONE.
Not shy of a good collaboration, one of my favourite fashion brands, &Other Stories has joined forces with one of my favourite interior brands, House of Hackney. Having looked through the entire collection, I can say its as bold and brash and opulent as you might expect!
This is a whole collection of summer must-haves that encourage a style filled with playfulness and extravagance. Founded in 2011 by wife-and-husband team Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle, House of Hackney is known for championing bold print and colour.
PS. Every look in the co-lab has been inspired by the zodiac, aligning each star sign with a maximalist summer style horoscope. Discover yours here.
Here are some of my favourite pieces.
This collaboration will be available online and in selected stores from May 24th.
Wife and Husband team Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle, House of Hackney, talk to &Other Stories.
How do you describe the spirit of the co-lab?
Like a heightened version of nature. This collection show how women are walking to the beat of their own drum. We want those who wear our pieces to feel wonderful, strong and feminine.
What’s the inspiration?
We’re inspired by Victorian psychedelia, in particular Victorian paintings with flowers that don’t exist in real life. Just exquisite flowers created from the painter’s imagination.
Is dreaming up flowers something you’ve tried?
Yes, actually, in this co-lab one of the flower prints is based on the poppy but the rest are flowers that don’t exist in real life. They’re heightened versions of blooms that nature in fact hasn’t created. Yet.
You’re influenced by the author Virginia Woolf, in what way?
The collection is influenced by the style that Bloomsbury artists, like Virginia Woolf, wore when going on country retreats or when she was meeting up with her artist friends around Bloomsbury. The Bloomsbury Group was a crew of true bohemians and free-thinking artists who had meet-ups around Bloomsbury, London, at the start of the 20th century.
How would you style the co-lab pieces?
We love the bohemian mood of the pieces. Playing with the proportions, like wearing the blue velvet jacket with one of the floral dresses. Throwing on a pair of the flat mule shoes, which feels very modern, adding accessories like the small bag with vintage zebra print. And why not tie one of the scarves around your head?
Ahead of Season 2, Stranger Things is having a fashion moment. Be first with the trend and discover our exclusive, limited-edition collection of retro-inspired tees and sweatshirts (think beyond jeans and trainers, and style yours over floaty blouses and dresses or tucked into a velvet mini skirt).
As part of the TOPSHOP & TOPMAN exclusive partnership with Netflix, they have also transformed Topshop Oxford Circus into a Stranger Things-inspired world.
Flickering fairy lights, an alphabet scribbled onto floral wallpaper and a glitchy TV screen… It can only be the Byers’ iconic living room, brought to life in one of the store’s main windows on Oxford Street.
Are you telekinetic just like Eleven? Test your superpowers in Hawkins lab, set at the front of the store.
Will’s hideaway is complete with a cassette player blasting “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash, a JAWS poster and messy bunk bed. You can find it on the first floor at Topman.
Step into the Arcade on the lower ground floor to win big or head to the Upside Down if you dare…
It looks bloody brilliant, doesn’t it?
Be sure to get down to Oxford St asap though, this special instore experience is only open until Tuesday 31st October!
Quintessentially British brand, Liberty, is world-renowned for its iconic prints. Recently launched, they’ve teamed up with TOPSHOP to rediscover the print archives, on modern designs.
This season, three designs from the archive decorate Topshop dresses, skirts and tops in fresh new colourways. Choose
between Elderberry, a hand-drawn berry pattern in blue, yellow and green rose, along with a scattered pansy print in pink and the familiar Capel print – a floral motif from the 1970s now in redesigned in red.
I do love a Vintage print – this Minimalism journey hasn’t stripped that from me (yet!). And these styles are so lovely and summery too. Team with a leather biker & ankle boots to finish the look.
See my favourite pieces below // all pieces from the collection are available in The Shop.
Meet Erna Leon, founder of MERCER7, an Artist, Fashion Designer, Stylist, Shoot Art Director and super Mama to boot! MERCER7 makes life easier for the Modern Woman; Erna’s keen (sartorial) eye and selection process removes all the barriers that online shopping often presents. Essentially, doing the research and quality control for you; taking the hassle out of online shopping! Because we’re all tight on time these days!
Erna is not only mega inspiring, she’s a joy to be with in real life too. Her accent is one of my favourites, she has one of the best smiles (and wardrobes!) and had SUCH an interesting upbringing! Here, Erna chats about her varied career background, her varied upbringing and the inspiration that drove her to create her start-up.
CB: Hello my darling Erna, please introduce yourself, your background and your concept, MERCER7. EL: I am Armenian, born in Georgia and New Yorker turned Londoner. I spent my formative years in New York, so I call New York home as I lived there from the age of 16.I studied fine arts from a very young age and when it was time to choose my future profession, I decided to go into fashion design at FIT in NY (Fashion Institute of Technology) and took my bachelors degree before working for brands like Halston, Betsy Johnson to Calvin Klein Jeans to name a few.
After marrying a Brit in New York seven years ago, we moved to London and the rest as they say is history. We’ve got two kids now, Luca is 4 and Lily nearly 3, so London definitely became my second home.In terms of concept:MERCER7 is a curated womenswear website for effortless style and collaborative fashion platform.
I focus on timeless, versatile and high-quality pieces that represent timelessness rather than fast-fashion trends. I combine a mix of brands which scale from entry level up to one-off investment. Every item I feature is easy-to-wear and simple-to-style taking you from day to night. The collection is curated to work together seamlessly, allowing women to easily build outfits and their own capsule wardrobe with sustainable pieces that transcend the latest season.
This edited approach helps busy women to simplify the art of dressing by creating your “go-to” uniform: a single aesthetic in endless combinations that never compromises on impact or individuality.
The magazine section of the website is a big part of the MERCER7concept. I interview other creatives and feature articles written by our contributors, so it’s all about giving voice to others, rather than being all about me.
CB: You’ve got so many strings to your bow Erna, but where did MERCER7 begin? What inspired you to start up the concept? EL: I come from a fashion design and art background, so first and foremost I wanted to create a collaborative fashion and lifestyle platform where it enabled me to work with others. From art directing photoshoots, working with brands to curating collections around capsule wardrobes and featuring other creatives on my platform.Online shopping can be overwhelming and websites are all too often saturated with too many options. I used to return most things I ordered online due to poor quality, it would look great on screen but the reality when I received my order was that the pieces looked completely different and I was never a fan of returns. So seeing how time consuming online shopping can be, I wanted to create a focused space with a single aesthetic all in one place, to make shopping easier for busy women.
My personal selection process removes all the barriers that online shopping often presents. Essentially, doing the research and quality control for you, and taking the hassle out of online shopping.
CB: Brand names are a really important first impression of what you’re about, so how did you come up with MERCER7? EL: Coming up with a name was fun, but tricky at the same time. My NY friend David advised me to write my favourite words that had meaning to them. MERCER7was one of them, besides being one of my favourite streets in New York, the true meaning of the word is “Dealer of fine fabrics” which resonates massively with MERCER7 and my focus of quality.
The No.7 resonates with our belief in ‘collective consciousness’, collaboration and positivity. MERCER7 supports and collaborates with other creatives and brands through a series of interviews and features, design and styling.
CB: What is your brand ethos? EL: ‘Shop less, choose well’ Dame Vivienne Westwood said it better than I ever could, and it’s this mantra for sustainability that I live by at MERCER7. We don’t need more. We need better. Whilst this drives my mission, it’s the people that are at the nucleus of my brand.
I want to inspire, collaborate and create a lifestyle concept with a purpose: SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH TIMELESSNESS. I believe that our everyday can be lived in a more sustainable way by being more mindful, consuming less by choosing better.
CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you? EL: Women inspire me. Sisterhood between women and mothers who are working to achieve their dreams. I meet so many incredible supportive women full of ambition and drive, it is truly empowering to listen to their stories. Connecting and seeing how hard everyone works inspires me daily.
CB: Can you tell us about, or give us a sneak peak, of something new that’s coming up? EL: I’ve got my launch party coming up May 23rd at the gorgeous space, IceTank in Covent Garden, which Push PR are helping me to organise.
I’m extremely excited about the party and the premiering of the fashion film that I’ve directed and styled, featuring gorgeous Zara Martin and Whinnie Williams. I am grateful to everyone who collaborated with me bringing the vision to life. I had an amazing team of creatives which I couldn’t really do without so it’s all thanks to them – Simon Wisbey was the photographer at my shoot, Sian Davis and Tara Darby filmed it all and Tahira Herold was my guru hair and makeup artist.
CB: How do you juggle being a working Mama? EL: I don’t juggle it very well just yet. I am a work at home mum with two days of childcare per week, which isn’t very much when I work 24/7. But I’m hoping I will learn how to balance it better soon and stop working when the whole world is asleep.
CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you startedMERCER7 / best piece of business advice? EL: How hard it is but how rewarding at the same time. I’ve been so blessed with incredible people who have entered my life as soon as I started this journey. I am not naturally business minded as I am more of a creative type. I’ve always been this way so all I can advice on business front is just be honest, be kind, work hard to turn your vision into reality and…be organised. (I’m not when it comes to keeping receipts, etc so trying to be better at that!)
CB:Anything you wish you’d known before you became a Mama / best piece of parenting advice? EL: How selfless you become, overprotective and paranoid at times. Best piece of advice on parenting would be – listen to your kids, be present and don’t have too many rules.
CB: Parenting-essentials, we know there are more than a few! But what is the one thing you can’t leave the house without? What is your most used piece of parenting/child paraphernalia? EL: Snacks, gotta have snacks in your bag at all times! And baby wipes. I also carry a pencil and paper as Lily loves to draw so if she gets bored, I give her something she can scribble on. Luca is a bit older so he gets an iPhone with puzzle apps which he loves doing if we are out and I can’t entertain them on a bus for example.
CB: Along the same vein as above, what is your ultimate Mum-Essential? What is your go-to item that you just can’t live without? EL: It sounds sad, but it’s got to be my iPhone and my camera. With the new business launch, I am on the phone…a lot. Managing my social media, planning my content, taking product photos, street-style, researching and replying to emails. The list is endless but I could never be able to do it without these two essentials.
CB: What gives you ‘Mum-Guilt’? And how do you get round it? EL: I feel guilty all the time especially since launching. I don’t have much childcare so I am trying my best to find balance and make sure I’m not constantly working around my children (which isn’t possible at this time but I’m trying). It is so important to spend quality time with them without any distractions.
CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out? EL: Watch Netflix, meet up with my friends, or read interesting articles. It’s a rare treat these days.
CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops? EL: I love brands like Acne, Anine Bing, Iro, Joseph, and more accessible brands like & Other Stories, Cos, Tree People, Weekday, Me+Em, Samsoe, Toteme, to name a few. But my ultimate if money was no object brand would be Saint Laurent.
I only shop pieces I curate now as I am one of the customers I keep in mind – on the go busy mum. So if I buy something I wear and love, it goes straight to my shop.
The Outnet is a great one as well because you can get amazing deals on beautiful designer clothing so that’s where I look a lot too.
CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why? EL: A biker and a blazer. I live in them.
CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday EL: Manic. Productive. Fun.
CB: Tell us something about you that might surprise people. EL: I didn’t learn how to ride a bike till I was 30 years old!
CB:Whats the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? EL: My family has been incredible throughout this whole startup journey. My parents helped me massively to set up. And my mother in law is always there for me when I am desperate for childcare. She is also taking the four of us on holiday to Portugal this summer because she knew we couldn’t manage a holiday this year. I am really grateful!
Besides family, Emma Hart from Push PR has been a Fairy God Mother and a mentor to me. This woman is incredible, genuine and kind hearted. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone so supportive and giving as her. 5 minutes in her company and you feel empowered and inspired. Some people have just got this skill to make you believe that anything is possible and she is definitely one of those people.
CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year. EL: I’m a massive music fan, I love old school rock’n’roll albums like The Rolling Stones, Hendrix, for example and indie bands. Also my friend from Alberta Cross is amazing and my LA friends The Peach Kingsare great too. Their new single Treasure Map is a soundtrack to MERCER7fashion film and it’s so good!
CB:What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view? EL: I am in my bedroom at the moment so I can see my garden and a lot of green. We live in Highgate so we are surrounded by the woods and the Heath.
CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why? EL: I would love to be somewhere sunny this weekend! Anywhere, I won’t be too picky, but just sunny and be surrounded by palm trees and have fresh coconut water in my hands.
Thank you so much Erna for taking the time out of your mad-busy schedule ahead of your launch party (incidentally, which is tonight) to chat to me. You’re a wonderful person, so thoughtful, always inspiring – and taking in inspiration in the most curious of places! I’m so lucky to know you and I am MASSIVELY proud of everything you’ve achieved with MERCER7so far. You’re ace of frikkin base pet!
I’m so terribly sad to miss the MERCER7launch tonight (see my Insta @JudyPink🙁 ). But I know you’re gonna smash it and its gonna be super stylish and beautiful; with a room full of incredibly talented folk that all love you heaps! You’ve worked so bloody hard, so let your hair down tonight Mama, you really deserve it!
I think everyone can agree its been quite a rubbish week! (Unless you’ve had a good week! If so, do tell me why!). We’ve had lots of personal issues going down, things not going right, exhaustion and of course, one of our new rabbits sadly passed away last night. But hey ho, the weekend is here! WOO. We made it! And here are my ‘Something for the weekend’ picks for this week.
I’m still hooked on bright red. TOPSHOP have some brilliant wardrobe essentials in this wonder-hue. I’ve also picked the TOPSHOP // MERCI Slogan Teeas its a fab Gucci dupe of THAT tee, for the tiny price of £15.00!
After the week we’ve all had – I think in celebration of it being Friday we all deserve a big GIN – lots of Gin. Adnams are maybe most known for their Beer, but their Copper House Dry Ginis award-winning. I’ll drink to that. Cheers! #SOLIDARITEA
I wanted to give a bit of Friday Woman Love this week to SARAH BAILYand have featured one of her wicked metallic accessories – the GIRL GANG Card Wallet. Sarah is a London-based accessories and outerwear designer, offering the ultimate accessories for party girls and metallic magpies alike. Combining luxury with fun and using her signature bright metallic leathers – all pieces are hand-made in London, Sarah’s design ethos is to create striking and versatile items to inject an element of fun and party spirit into every moment, and to make her clients feel like rock stars every day. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Sarah at the MOTHERS MEETINGS Christmas Party. What an absolute babestation!💖
Have a lovely weekend gang – head to my Instagram to tell me which your favourite pieces are and why – or what you’ve got planned this weekend!
Lucy is bringing to you focused, effortless style with a personal touch. A brilliant concept that I’ve seen grow from idea to launch and beyond. (All whilst juggling being a Mum of two gorgeous girls – that’s Mum-Boss inspiration right there!)
We talk to Lucy about the ideas behind Born At Dawn, the meaning behind the brand name and there’s also a treat for our readers in there too!
CB: Please introduce yourself and your concept. LK: I’m a Northern girl that calls London home and has done for the last 13 years. I grew up in Warrington, Cheshire but these days I live in Walthamstow with my husband Adam and my 2 little girls, Lilia and Pixie Rose. As well as spending time with my family, when I get chance I love playing the host and entertaining- I love bringing our friends together.
I’ve always loved fashion retail, ever since I got my first part time job in a boutique near where I lived (It was in a chain called Morgan if any of you remember it?). I loved clothes, the customers, the buzz and how every day was different. I was always drawn back to it, so following doing a Business Degree at Sheffield University, I completed a Retail Management Graduate Scheme, was a manager at GAP’s flagship store and then spent 8 years at Harrods driving their Womenswear sales and strategy.
I launched BORN AT DAWN at the end of February this year. The mission is to bring focused, effortless style with a personal touch. The collection is mostly Scandinavian and French inspired brands and is centred around wardrobe heroes- beautiful, easy-to-wear clothes that can take you from day to night. All the pieces can be worn multiple times and in different ways, giving you endless options.
A “Night In” experience in also available in selected parts of London for customers that prefer to touch and feel the product before buying. A chance to book in an evening for us to bring the collection to you so that you can invite your friends over for a catch up, have a glass of Prosecco and shop all in the luxury of your own home.
CB: Brand names are a really important first impression of what you’re about, so how did you come up with your online alias/brand name? LK: It is incredibly hard to choose a brand name! The reason I liked BORN AT DAWN is because it had multifaceted meanings behind it that were special to me. In business terms, it represents our focus on the birth of a new way to shop that suits women’s lives. On a personal level, the name Lucy means born at dawn, both of my children were born at dawn (early in the morning) and the launch of my business and the start of my entrepreneurial journey is a new beginning for me too.
CB: Where did it all begin? What inspired you to start up your concept? LK: Listening to other women’s frustrations with shopping (and my own!). It’s easier to dedicate lots of time to shopping and fashion when you are younger, for instance in your early twenties, but as we get older and have more responsibilities, things change. When your life gets busier and more demanding due to our career and/or children, you have less time to dedicate to it. You still want to look good but your style changes slightly- you need more versatile, easy-to-wear, good quality pieces that work well together to make dressing straightforward.
We all know there are great high street stores like Zara that are accessible but as most women know- once you find a great piece there, before you know it all your friends will all have it and it will be all over your Instagram feed by the next week. There are mass market websites like ASOS, but who has time to browse 4000 options for just a black dress? They are catering for so many different customers now that it’s overwhelming. I wanted to focus on harder to find, more exclusive brands and build a collection of beautiful clothes that suit busy women’s lives.
The “Night In” service was devised after interviewing women about their shopping habits as many said they still liked to touch and feel the product before buying but couldn’t dedicate time to visiting the shops.
CB: What is your brand ethos? LK: It’s about always being positive and celebrating real women wearing our clothes in their everyday life. The BORN AT DAWN customer is confident and knows their own mind. She doesn’t want to be a slave to trends or have other people always dictating what she should wear that season. She loves clothes and wants to look good but simply wants to wear what she likes and feels comfortable in.
CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you? LK: Other women inspire me all the time- friends and all the people I have met along the way on the BORN AT DAWN journey. People who are down-to-earth, positive, work hard, follow their hearts and are focusing on their own version of success whatever that may be.
CB: Can you tell us about or give us a sneaky peak of something new that’s coming up? LK: I’m always working on future events as love getting out there and meeting our customers. We’ve done some great pop up exclusive shopping events over the past couple of months and we’ve got much more in the pipeline for 2017. The best way to keep up to date is by following the BORN AT DAWNInstagram and subscribing to our newsletter.
CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you became a parent / best piece of parenting advice? LK: Don’t focus so much on the birth. Of course, you need to do a little research when pregnant but don’t make it your main focus. The birth is over relatively quickly and the midwife can help you with that but then you have a child to bring up for life, so maybe spend a bit more time researching/thinking about that instead. I was pretty clueless and hadn’t spent much time around babies so I have spent the last 4 years either going by instinct or frantically googling!
CB: Parenting-essentials, we know there are more than a few! But what is the one thing you can’t leave the house without? What is your most used piece of parenting/child paraphernalia? LK: I’ve learnt to pack quite lightly with kids now and they’re a bit older so I wouldn’t say I need much apart from some changing stuff and spare clothes (vital!) I always have a few kid’s games downloaded on to my phone too in case of emergency- sometimes it’s necessary if they are playing up somewhere they shouldn’t be.
CB: Along the same vein as above, what is your ultimate Mama-Essential? What is your go-to item that you just can’t live without? LK: Wine. There’s nothing I love better than a glass on a Friday night at the end of the week.
CB: What gives you ‘Mum-Guilt’? And how do you get round it? LK: I don’t often get Mum Guilt but I recently did just before the launch of BORN AT DAWN when the girls were in nursery a lot and family were helping me out with childcare quite a bit too. I missed them! The only way I’ve found to get around Mum guilt is to try and be focused in the moment when I’m with them. I don’t think the important thing is the quantity of time but the quality of time when you are with them. The times I feel bad are when I’ve been focused on other things whilst looking after them and that’s often when they will play up too. Sometimes it’s hard though when you’re self-employed- its inevitably going to overlap from time to time. We just have to do our best, that’s all we can do.
CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out? LK: My guilty pleasures are KUWTK and Loose Women. I like nothing better than watching one of them when I’m home alone and have an hour spare!
CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops? LK: Since launching BORN AT DAWN, I’ve only worn pieces from the collection. I curated it to suit busy women’s lives so it’s perfect for me.
In terms of shoes and accessories- I don’t buy often but I buy good quality. Shoes are so much more comfortable if you pay that little bit more and my designer bags have always lasted for years. I love Isabel Marant, Bimba and Lola for shoes; and Givenchy and Alexander Wang for bags.
For the girls, I like quirky Scandinavian brands like Molo and Bang Bang Copenhagen.
CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why? LK: I love my leopard biker jacket from Mads Norgaard; it makes any outfit feel special. I love how soft the leather is and I’ve always been partial to leopard print so it’s perfect.
CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday. LK: Slow, Tired, Hard.
I had a bit of a rubbish day yesterday- today is much better. I love going to The Yes Mum Moon Clubsand something she talks about is following your energy flow. Some days you feel rubbish and tired, sometimes you feel on top of the world and you can take on anything. That’s just the way we work as women so I try and not feel bad when I have those kind of days-its normal and I know I will be on track again soon.
CB: Tell us something about you that might surprise people. LK: My oldest daughters Lilia’s middle name is Butterfly. I love it but no one believes her when she tells them! Hopefully she likes it when she’s older!
CB: Whats the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? LK: My parents are the kindest people I know. Despite being on the other side of the country, I always know that if I needed them they would drop everything to be there. I couldn’t name one time as there have been so many but they constantly amaze me with their support and love. I hope that I can make my girls feel the same way.
CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year. LK: I liked “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved the concept of creative ideas appearing to you as a gift and if you don’t take them, moving on to the next person.
CB: What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view? LK: My garden and my daughter’s snail collection. We will get her a real pet one day soon!
CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why? LK: I am desperate for a holiday but don’t think it will happen for us this year with the business launch. One of my favourite places is Ibiza in summer so I would love to be there. I’ve been many times and it holds many special memories for me.
A NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE TREAT
Lucy has kindly offered the following code for free delivery on any order: FREEDELIVERY
AND a special rate of £39.95 for a “Night In” service if you are in the catchment area*
*Currently available in most of North and East London and selected parts of Essex. Other areas may be available on request.
Loved chatting with you Lucy. It’s been a total pleasure getting to know you over the last year or so – and watching your BORN AT DAWNconcept grow from idea to a beautiful and wonderful business! Congratulations my darling – hope to see you soon!
There once was a girl who enjoyed shopping for clothes. It was a pastime, a hobby, something she enjoyed…
Then she got a little older. Now she has more responsibilities and demands on her time and the enjoyment starts to wane. Her life has changed and so has her style. She needs a different wardrobe. She needs outfits that will take less thought, are easy to put together and ones that can take her from day to night. She needs the pieces she buys to be versatile, to last, look great and she wants to wear them multiple times and in different ways.
She tries the mass market online websites but they are trying to cater for so many customers that she gets 3908 options for just a black dress. She tries a shopping centre but there is no atmosphere and it’s hot and busy. She manages to discover an amazing jacket at a popular high street store but within a week it feels like every single person on her Instagram feed is also wearing it. She tries to follow catwalk trends but it’s hard to find the time, and by now she knows what suits her. She simply wants to wear things she loves rather than being dictated to.
The perfect solution would be to spend hours browsing independent stores but it’s impossible. So before things go from bad to worse and she runs the risk of ending up in a changing room in her underwear on TV being made over by Gok Wan, we decided to step in.
We have spent the last year researching brands and travelling across Europe to discover harder to find, more exclusive brands and buying beautiful pieces that can be worn multiple times and in different ways so you have endless options. We hope you love the collection as much as we do. X
&OtherStories have joined forces with TOMS, best known for its One for One® giving. Together they have created earthy ready-to-wear garments that resonate with the beauty of Californian living. The collaboration also boasts updated designs of the classic slip-in shoe and new endearingly ethereal leather sandals.
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS®, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One™.
Realising this movement could serve other basic needs, TOMS® Eyewear was launched. With every pair purchased, TOMS® will help give sight to a person in need. One for One™.
“I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little, and I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.” —Blake Mycoskie
In the spirit of collaboration and giving, & Other Stories is a proud supporter of Magic Bus and its Women’s Scholarship Fund to support English language classes for young women in India.