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lipsticks jewellery look book FONAL
Photography by Jen Peters, styling by Sarah Westgarth

One to watch: Sarah Westgarth. Sarah Westgarth is a northern gal who describes herself as an ‘image maker.’ Born and bred in Leeds, she flew onto the radar after her innovative work with The Tuts, where she blended girl power and quirky pioneering to create some really cool promotional material for their feminist night in April.

tuts gig london

tuts gig london 2015
Tuts gig London  April 2015, photography by  Kathryn Younger.

SAFETY PIN NECKLACE LOOK BOOK

As well as creating blow you away band imagery, she also makes and sells some pretty out there jewellery for all you colourful characters reading. Each piece is designed and made by her creative self, so there’ll be much less of the awkward “I’m-wearing-the-same-highstreet-outfit-as-you” bumps on a night out.

SAFETY PIN S NECKLACE FIANL

The best thing? It’s all unbelievably affordable with prices starting at just £4. With the Tories being let loose on the country, we all need to be saving where we can now, and these cheap unique pieces are a good way to go about keeping your infamous style, on a budget. Check out Sarah Westgarth’s shop on her website

SMALL F SYMBOL FINAL

Check out her jewellery below:

safety pin broach
Safety pin broach 
 
lipsticks
Lipstick Necklaces
 
f symbol necklaces2
Feminist Symbol Necklaces
 
lipstick broaches
Lipstick broaches
 
lipstick necklaces

 

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leeds rag
Photography by Sean O'Connell

Every year Leeds University plays host to one of the most glamorous and impressive fashion events in Leeds. From designer clothes, professional hair and makeup, to stunning models and Anna Wintour-wannabes, Leeds Rag Fashion Show has mastered the recipe for a successful, unforgettable fashion show. ‘Through The Looking Glass’ managed to transform an entire room into a modern fairytale, raising money for both Leeds Mind and the Richard Mayne Foundation.

leeds rag fashion

In a sea of stylish people, bloggers, journalists, designers and sponsors the show unveiled another side of Leeds’ fashion scene. With disco beats in the background, the first models strutted their way down the catwalk, starting the show with boho vibes, and slowly moving their way up to stronger colours and patterns. It was one tale after the other, from ‘Hansel and Gretel’ to ‘Red Riding Hood’ to ‘The Queen of Hearts’.

leeds rag fashion 2015

As the night went on, the clean, classic looks of the first presentations, moved on to a more psychedelic 60’s vibe and to a Jeremy Scott inspired collection of pastel pink and blue, furry purses, glitter, giant candy, and all that jazz. What I liked most about the show, was the easy going, free attitude of the models who not only smiled on the catwalk but danced their way down and filled the room with good vibes. The best moment of the show was, without a doubt, the male model who rocked a pair of heels better than any other girl I have seen there. The sass, the shade and his fierce confidence, blew everyone away, leaving everyone in awe.

leeds rag fashion week

‘Through The Looking Glass’ was a beautifully produced show, which managed to take all the elements of a professional fashion event and transform it into a fresh, charming experience. With a long, impressive list of designers including: Beaufort & Blake, Annie Oakes, Bo Carter, Carlo Volpi, Faulkner London, Anhha, Zara Mia, Victoria’s Secret Pink and many, many others. Hair by Westrow Academy, make-up by HD Brows and music by Flux, the show was able to enchant, and create a dream world for all the people there.

 

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diyhalloween

We're just going to come out and say it: Halloween is one of our all-time favourite holidays. Sure, the food isn't as good as at Christmas, and yeah it's kind of annoying that women's costumes always seem to be prefaced by the word “sexy”, but there's nothing like the escapism of dressing up and exploring your gothic side. The only problem is finding costume ideas that aren't going to put too much strain on that ever-dwindling pay cheque or student loan. So we asked our fashion writers to put their heads together, and come up with some DIY costume inspiration for those who are feeling cash-poor and time-rich this year.

1. Embellish like a pro

diy halloween costume

Aussie fashion writer, Laura Cheshire, confessed she's new to the tradition of dressing up for Halloween, but still keen to join in with the fun. Armed with enough googly eyes and pipe cleaners to keep Blue Peter in business for several years, she set about making some subtly spooky embellishments to spruce up her outfit.

diyhalloween2

Laura said: “If the mere mention of witches, ghosts and gouls is all a bit too frightening for you, join in with the festivity in a subtle way with these simple embellishments.”

diyhalloween1

Ooogly headband: A cute and inexpensive way to give a nod to Halloween is this kitsch idea for a headband. Take a plain headband and tie on purple, orange or black ribbon. Use superglue to attach googly eyes, and (please for the love of God) leave to dry before putting anywhere near your hair.

diyhalloweencostume

Spider lapels: Twist four pipe cleaners together in the middle, and bend each “leg” about a third of the way down to help them stand up. Glue googly eyes on as a finishing touch and attach to your clothes with a safety pin.

2. If in doubt, bin bags

diyhalloween8 

Fashion journalist/impoverished student, Hannah Bell, harks back to simpler times when Halloween costumes meant holes cut in a bin bag which was unceremoniously thrust over your head. Here's the slightly more sophisticated version of that costume from the good old days.

Hannah said: “If you’re wanting to avoid spending half your monthly wage, a tonne of time making something and pretty much avoid looking like a dick, then this idea is right up your street.”

Step 1: Acquire any black material and a long sleeved black top, whether it be something you’ve found at home like I did, or binliners if you’re majorly skint. Ensure the material of your choice is at least as long as the sleeve of the top.diyhalloween6

Step 2: Sew the material to the sleeve. Easiest way to do this is to pin it in places so you avoid sewing through the other side (which would be a massive inconvenience: trust me, I did it.)

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Step 3: If you’re handy with a sewing machine then this will be a lot easier for you. As you did with the arms, pin what will be your wings down the middle of the back and then sew in place. Or use Velcro from a haberdashery shop to stick the bat wings on if you wish.

diyhalloween5

Step 4: Finally, cut a scalloped pattern along the edge of the material. I would suggest drawing a template so you get both sides spot on.

Step 5: It’s done! Time to go out, get pissed, and not look like a dick for Halloween!

diyhalloweenleeds

 

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london fashion week

With the end of London Fashion week, designers throughout the country can breathe a sigh of relief, for they now have all of 24 hours before they start working towards next season. Whilst they pack months worth of partying into one night, here's the rundown of what we learnt about the trends for Autumn/Winter 2015 over the last few days.

1. Spring/Summer's 70's influence remains strong.

This makes it perfectly acceptable to stock up on flares and maxi dresses in the next few months in preparation. Not to mention it gives you time to transform your Gran's curtains into a dress a la Temperley London.

2. 2014’s Winter trends aren't really going anywhere either.

LFW 2 Roksanda Ilincic

Colourful fur is still huge; Roksanda Ilincic has created a remarkably beautiful hybrid version - so wrong, yet so right. Leather also reappeared in autumnal shades establishing itself as the new winter staple.

3. Black is best.

LFW 3 Giles

This season we saw black not only used as a neutral base but given centre stage, it does appear that once you go black you can't go back! Giles brilliantly showcased how to achieve the look sending glamourous goths down the runway, as it now falls on us all to turn to the dark side.

4. The future's bright, the futures orange!

LFW 4 Marques Alemeida

If black is set as the new neutral than orange was the brightest of the bright as a plethora of shades appeared on the runways. For those who want to embrace the trend, Marques' Almeida demonstrated how to dress head to toe without looking like a walking traffic cone. On the other hand, Thomas Tait offered a more subtle nod to the colour of the moment showcasing a muted shade flattering to most.

5. A polo neck isn't an option for Autumn/Winter 15: it's a necessity.

 

Literally layered under everything, or sent out as a statement piece itself, you couldn't ignore it. Seen at, Belstaff, Osman, Barbara Casasola, Erdem, Jonathan Saunders, Paul Smith, Matthew Williamson, Topshop Unique...the list could go on... all I can add is if you have a fear of things around your neck you may want to start looking for coping strategies now.

6. Everything has been supersized!

LFW 6 Joseph

If dressing up in your Mum's clothes is a favourite childhood memory of yours then this is the season for you. Designers seemed to have decided that bigger is most definitely better. Jumpers were to the knees, cardigans to the floor, and scarves very, very, long. Knitwear royalty Christopher Raeburn and Joseph proved themselves champions of the hand me down look.

7. Burberry went Boho.

LFW 7 Burberry

Fringing, suede, and patchwork galore and it was great. Many designers couldn't pull this look off but Bailey managed to weave a collection that was modern, not dated, and fashionable, not fancy dress. Bravo.

8. Patterns were aplenty.

Plaid was most popular, and vertical stripes a close second. Vivienne Westwood's Red Label collection is an excellent example of both- her chalk stripe suits are due credit.

9. Metallics never truly leave the catwalk (I feel we are all far too attracted to shiny things.)

This season the shine appeared as an afterthought in several collections quietly adding a touch of understated luxury into the mix. Markus Lupfer used a molten shade of aubergine to give his youthful designs an edge as he perfectly referenced the sports luxe trend that continues to bubble under the surface.

10. SEX is in fashion.

LFW 10 Ashish

Perhaps designers are hoping to cash in on the annoyingly successful Fifty Shades of Grey, but sex appeared today more prevalent than ever. Christopher Kane sent out a beautifully seductive collection, with beautiful bodies entwined upon it, before Ashish presented the world with fur parkas, red latex thigh high boots, and a top literally imprinted with the word SEX. Love it, or hate it, fetish wear is dominating the catwalks.

Overall, though there were some truly beautiful, stand out pieces, this felt like a very safe season. It seems almost as if we have reached the age where making a catwalk collection commercially viable has been prioritised in front of design itself and this saddens me.

 

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plussize modelsArtwork by Rob Cubbon

We all know beauty is superficial. It comes, it goes, but our fixation on it never wanes. What does change though, is its modish shape. Over the past seventy years it has altered dramatically; with the death of Monroe and the early 60s we saw the fuller figures of the 40s and 50s give birth to a more boyish build. Whether this was due to Twiggy’s swinging 60s success, the introduction of the (impractically proportioned and annoying) Barbie doll, or the unabashed skimpiness of the 70s sexual revolution - emaciation was in.

The elitist world of high fashion has always been taken with a pinch of salt, its extravagance fondly ridiculed through the likes of Ugly Betty and Absolutely Fabulous. But somewhere along the line it stopped being a joke. Being thin was no longer just stylish, it was essential. Skinny women smirked down at you from billboards, music videos, films; celebrities were attacked violently by gossip magazines for daring to show a single roll of skin. With the technology boom and high fashion’s integration with high street brands, society screamed that if you weren’t thin, you weren’t allowed in.

Amongst the generation of anorexia devotees and shattered self-confidence, people noticed. Some designers began to creep from size 0, to 6, to 10 on the catwalks, spatters of campaigns for plus-size models appeared in Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair, Paris Fashion Week. The British Plus Size Fashion Weekend surfaced as an event in its own right. Some high street brands began stocking plus-sizes, then making exclusive plus-size collections, competitions, events, many of which are invading the streets of Leeds this summer, concerned not with obesity or mindless vanity but with celebrating the body you’re dealt. Whilst generations vomited miserably through a dark age of razor-sharp cheekbones and thigh-gaps, something bigger has been undulating beneath the surface; whether you like it or not, The Curve is back.

Crystal Renn
Crystal Renn 

 

ICONS

Crystal Renn is an idol of the movement, becoming the first official ‘plus-size’ supermodel to re-grace the catwalks of high fashion. While her weight fluctuates her beauty remains eternal and absolute. Tantalised with the whisper of ‘supermodel potential’ at fourteen, she suffered through four years of anorexia nervosa, before she too gave the world of conventional high fashion the finger and instead embraced The Curve.

Beth Ditto is fat for the sake of being fat, not to impress you. She became the face of Evans in 2009. She posed nude on the cover of NME and LOVE magazines, every alabaster roll a stark contrast to her choppy pink bob and black pout. She’s a far cry from the usual model insects skittering down the catwalk. Not that she scorns those either – Ditto and Moss are known comrades; after the initial apprehension surrounding their introduction, Ditto broke the ice with the cheerful greeting “You skinny bitch.” A notorious activist for all that is unconventional – transgender rights, transsexual rights, gay rights and a defiant lesbian feminist, her I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude leaves your emotions in confusing tatters somewhere between awe and terror.

Beth Ditto
Beth Ditto

We cannot ignore the likes of Lizzie Miller and Robyn Lawley– both shining examples of how beauty does not exist in bones alone.

lizzie miller
Lizzie Miller

Whilst the clamour of fashion and beauty rampages around plus-size women, there is only silence and a lone tumbleweed drifting sadly by the spot where the movements male counterpart should be. Despite his infamous renouncement of all things curvy, Karl Lagerfeld himself was in the decidedly heavier bracket of men. Complete with his iconic white ponytail and eternal sunglasses, and as much as would hate to hear it, he works it like no other.

karl lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld

And then there’s Monroe – obviously.

marilyn monroe
Marilyn Monroe

 

FASHION

Jean-Paul Gaultier is an haute couture warrior flourishing the plus-size banner in fashion. Using the likes of Ditto, Renn, and Velvet D’amour throughout his collections, his most memorable feats are Paris Fashion Week in 2006 and his 2010 A/W campaign, and yes, the show did include 3D glasses. Gaultier’s known for pushing the boundaries in fashion - you remember that pointy-boob thing Madonna wore that time? Gaultier. Though some people complain that designers use bigger women for the shock factor, the only shocking thing about these models is that they’ve not been used before.

And that is far from all. Zac Posen blended plus-size models with the regular aesthetic without so much as a bat of the eyelid in PFW 2010, with added sentiment “For women who love life, and all the best things in it; sex, friendship, food.” Murmured rumours that Marc Jacobs is designing a plus-size collection ripple through the fashion houses. The second edition of Pulp Fashion Week just shimmered through the fashion capital of the world in May; Organised by Histoire De Courbes, Pulp translates (ish) to luscious fruit, celebrating the succulence of the women the show boasts. Designer Daniella Pearl and Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy have announced their new exclusively plus-size collection Pearl just days ago. Meisel and Afanador, both high profile fashion photographers habitually shoot with Renn.

This is just a sprinkling of many names in high fashion taking the cautious baby-steps back to emancipation, not emaciation, in beauty.

The high street crows  Torrid, and Lane Bryant as forerunners, creating designs in plus-sizes as well as exclusive plus-size ranges, leaving the rest of high-street retailers pouting and scrambling to catch up.

Blowing the snide thin-only culture out of the not-even-proverbial water a few days ago, SwimSuitsForAll recreated the 50th anniversary of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition - using wonderfully voluptuous women. This cheeky publicity stunt brought the brand and The Curve under the nose of the world - the brand adamantly refuse to lump either the models or the range with the clunky term ‘plus-size’, instead identifying the range Sexy at Every Curve.

Sports Illustrated

Shareefa’s timeless fro, nineties shades and 40’s inspired white two-piece sets off her mahogany complexion and boasts curves to weep over. I must confess, I myself am slightly in love with Shareefa’s unapologetic monument of an arse (and yes, she does do squats).

 

NOW

The Curve wouldn’t be where it is now without the boisterous voices of the women behind it. I had the pleasure of interviewing Leeds based self-professed plus-size blogger Sarah Hoyes. Hoyes is the event organiser for the imminent Plus-Size Pre-Party (#PSPREPARTY), to be hosted at our own Belgrave Music Hall on the 22nd June, sponsored by PlusNorth and SimplyBe. When I asked what she wanted from the event, she replied thoughtfully; “I basically want to provide an opportunity for plus-size ladies to come together, share experiences and learn some things.” We can expect to see SimplyBe parading their 2014 summer range using full-figured women to flaunt the collection, live tutorials from MUA Beckie Stirk and BBC Hair contestant Annie Davies, as well as Pastille Beauty Bar doing dash manicures. Open to bloggers and the public, the event is sure to be a concentrated shot of what summer is all about. As if these achievements weren’t enough, Hoyes also has the privilege of being Miss Leeds Curve, our representative for Miss Cocoa Couture’s Miss British Beauty Curve competition, with the pageant to be held in London later this summer. Regardless of her successes, Hoyes has her head screwed on right (classic Northern Lass), evident when I asked her about what she thought of image in todays society; “In all honesty I think as a society, we spend far, far too much time focusing on how people look, and not on the actual people and their achievements.” Too right.

ASOS, already a trooper in the movement, are now launching their new ASOS CURVE collection in collaboration with Models1. Following the explosive success of the company's Instagram competition#MakeMeACurveModel last year, the competition is open to all women boasting hips, tits and bums in a size 18 or over, with the winners to be announced later this July.

PlusNorth itself is hosting its own plus-size event in Leeds’ own Baracoa, just off Call Lane, following the triumph of the event last year. Sponsored again by the likes of Topsy Curvy, Yours, and SimplyBe, the event is open to everyone. Kicking off in late August, with exhibitions, catwalks, and models, the event that was in 2013 nominated by the British Plus-Size Events for both “Best Achievement” and “Best Fashion Event” will without a doubt finish off our curvy summer with a big fat gorgeous bang.

But, people cry in outrage, wielding their figurative pitchforks in defence of the world they know, applauding bigger women as role models promotes bad health and obesity!

They are right, I realise in horror, as I dart to the nearest toilet to regurgitate my eight calorie lunch of three carrot sticks: better to stick to the culture we have now, where the models are just the very epitome of glowing health and mental stability.

It’s not that Mossian models aren’t stunning – their ethereal, waiflike features can undeniably be breath-taking. However, having this as a thinspirational prototype of all that beauty, fashion, and style can be is an ugly mutation in the wrong direction. The Curveolution is not there to promote obesity, but equality: it’s there because it deserves to be.

Nothing quite says fuck you to mainstream culture as much as celebrating exactly what it wants us to ignore; with bigger, curvier women coming at you from every angle in high fashion, iconic culture and high street style, maybe we can finally let go of Moss’s worldly proverbs and re-embrace the revolution of The Curve.

 

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