3 Alternative Ways to Shop This Christmas

 alternative ways to shop

It’s the last day of November so, if you haven’t started to at least plan your Christmas shopping yet, now’s the time!

Monday’s post was all about the best beauty gift sets that our favourite department store makeup counters have to offer, but today I’d like to focus more on HOW we shop, rather than what we’re buying. Over the next month, there are some exciting shopping events and new shop arrivals in Glasgow that are well worth checking out!

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Not only will these stores and markets leave you spoiled for choice, but they’re also a chance to discover something a little bit different while picking up a few festive treats. I can’t wait to share them with you, so let’s get started!

Here are 3 alternative ways to shop this Christmas…

1. Etsy Made Local AKA The Christmas Market You Must Visit 

Returning to Glasgow after last year’s successful event, the Etsy Team are organising an even bigger Christmas fair this year to celebrate local makers and creative talent. Showcasing the work of 132 designers and small businesses over a lively two-day stint at The Briggait, you can expect to browse the work of such clever cookies as Bonnie Bling, Nikki McWilliams, Claire Barclay Draws, Neil Slorance Art and many more.

At Etsy Made Local you’ll find oodles of homeware, art, illustrations, jewellery and accessories – perfect for anyone looking for Christmas gift inspiration. AND you might just discover your new favourite indie designer while you’re browsing! It all kicks off this Saturday at 11:30 and entry to the fair is free – see you there?

 alternative ways to shop

 alternative ways to shop

2. Boutique by Shelter Scotland AKA The Thrift Store for the Style Savvy

Shopping in second-hand stores is something that I talk about a LOT, as not only does it help support charities and the work that they do, but it is also a way to help contribute to sustainability (and avoid clothes going to landfill!). So when I heard about Boutique, the newest project from Shelter Scotland, I was excited to see what the charity had up their sleeve. Teaming up with Wayne Hemingway, Shelter have created a charity shop with a stylish, design-conscious feel (the interior design has been created by Wayne Hemingway himself…need I say more?) and are opening their very first Scottish store tomorrow at 177 Byres Road.

 alternative ways to shop

Having had a sneaky peek inside the store for myself, I really love the curated feel of the shop floor and even spied a few pre-loved gems ready to be snapped up (a beautiful oversized Chloe bag that would be perfect for a few gals I know…).  Shopping second-hand this Christmas will help to support those struggling with poor housing conditions and homelessness, but don’t forget how valuable your donations are too! If you’re planning a pre-Christmas clear out, the team at Boutique by Shelter would love to hear from you – you can pop in store from Thursday or drop them an email at ByresRoadShop@shelter.org.uk

 alternative ways to shop

3. Wear Eponymous x Leiper Gallery AKA The Pop-up Concept Store

Just a hop, skip and a jump from the hustle and bustle of Buchanan Street you’ll find the stunning Leiper Fine Art Gallery, where Wear Eponymous are hosting their latest pop-up shop. Within this traditional space there’s an explosion of contemporary designer brands and more award-winning talent than you can shake a Christmas tree at; including luxury fashion, accessories, interiors, jewellery, lifestyle pieces and art.

 alternative ways to shop

This is Wear Eponymous’ 4th pop-up event, the latest in the team’s quest to introduce key independent designers to a wider audience. After all, some discoveries are too good to keep to yourself! Expect to find pieces from the likes of Helen Ruth, Rebecca Torres and Edge Only (LOVE!) as well as lots of others – all artistically presented in this classic building at 117 West George Street until 31st December.

 alternative ways to shop

With a mega market, a chic charity shop and a powerful pop-up to choose from (OR why not visit all three?) it just goes to show that there are lots of alternative ways to shop over the festive period.

Glasgow is always bursting with fresh ideas and ways to support others, whether it’s charities, small businesses or local design talent and these three retail events are just a small selection of ways to get involved this Christmas! Let me know if you visit any of them – and if you have any other alternative or local shopping destinations for me to check out.

Love,

Signature

Introducing: Chouchou Hollyhood Miss West End Girl

IMG_1099If you’ve been hanging around here a while, then you’ll be fully aware of my fashion love affair with Chouchou. Hood designer and all-round girlboss Silvia Pellegrino has been one of my favourite local talents for the past couple of years but ever since we started hanging out at events, meeting up for countless coffees, and even getting our yoga on together, we’ve become great friends too.

Just over a year ago, Chouchou launched the Hollyhood Lynsay – a super soft take on their signature hood in hounds-tooth jersey that was MADE to snuggle in. I was over the moon that Silvia had named such a special piece after me, and when it sold out I was thrilled (though a little sad to see it go!).

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Fast-forward to today and Silvia is living the Mediterranean dream in Barcelona, but our friendship and passion for coming up with ideas together is stronger than ever. To celebrate the sunny days arriving, we decided it was high time we teamed up again!

Today, I am so excited and proud to show off our new collaboration piece: the Hollyhood Miss West End Girl, to add a splash of colour, fun and luxury to Summer wardrobes…

IMG_1092Chouchou are a brand that were born in Glasgow and inspired by the city. Our ever-changing Scottish weather often means that a shower isn’t far away and we sometimes get the full spectrum of outdoor conditions in the space of a few hours! These photos are a perfect example – at some points the sun was shining brightly, and then at other points a very cold wind picked up!

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And what better accessory for the Glasgow gal on the go than a stylish hood? Chouchou have made their collection of Hollyhoods must-have items, using beautiful materials like Harris Tweed, tartan wool and fluffy faux fur.

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When we decided to collaborate on this project, we didn’t let the distance get in the way. Through regular contact I was able to get involved in every step of the creative process, from selecting the fabric to helping decide the cut and dimensions of the hood. It just goes to show that you can still work as a team, even if you aren’t in the same country!

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So, what sets the Hollyhood Miss West End Girl apart from the other hoods by Chouchou? Well, first of all there’s the fabric, which we picked out to show my love of bright colours and fun with fashion. I can’t get enough of this acid green printed jacquard, the abstract design reminds me of tropical palm leaves – and makes me dream of Summer.

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Next up, there’s the hood itself, which is oversized for a dramatic effect. Some people have referred to my personal style as ‘cartoon-like’ (which I take as a compliment!), so it was important to me that the shape of the hood was exaggerated. We also trimmed the hood in a fluffier-than-fluffy black faux fur which has the most glorious sheen when the light hits it. Go big or go home!

There is a layer of short-pile black faux fur on the inside for extra warmth, but it also means that the hood is reversible and can be worn with the flash of vibrant print on the inside too. Decisions, decisions…

IMG_1088When I wear my Chouchou hoods, I ALWAYS belt them at the waist. Not only does it help them to sit in place when layered under a jacket, but it helps to emphasise my shape. When I explained this to Silvia, we decided to add a custom belt to the hood – never before seen on a Chouchou hood and perfect for hourglass figures everywhere! The belt means that the hood can be worn in even more ways than before – though my favourite is with a big bow at the front. Are you surprised?

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Finally, the bottom of the scarf section has been cut in a straight line, rather than a curved end. This, Silvia explained, is a little nod to my blunt bangs – but don’t worry, you don’t need a fringe to rock this baby!

IMG_1096It’s amazing how a new accessory can help you see your outfits through fresh eyes. I took the Hollyhood Miss West End Girl out for a spin on Saturday, and layered it over a yellow Ralph Lauren dress that I’ve had for a couple of years. What can I say? I fell in love with my dress all over again and now I’m already thinking of when to wear it next! I wore my hood dressed down with sneaker wedges for a daytime look, but it can be styled in so many ways (and if you ask me, it’s just screaming for a night out!).
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The Hollyhood Miss West End Girl is available now in a very limited run of 15 hoods (eeep!) at Chouchou online and in-store at Wear Eponymous Princes Square. If you snap up one for yourself, we would LOVE to see you style it – so be sure to tag me when you’re showing it off online (@misswestendgirl) and use #HollyhoodMWEG so we can see it!
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I’m so thrilled to share this with you guys today, and I really hope you like what we’ve come up with! Here’s to a bright, happy Summer – whatever the weather throws at us.

Love,

Signature

All images by Gary at Trouble With Film
Make up by Dale Plews at Pixie Hair and Beauty

Local Lovin’: Wear Eponymous

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If you’re new around here, my Local Lovin’ series is a little spotlight on designers / stores / creators of marvellous things (and anything else that catches my eye) – all based in Scotland. I believe that we should be supporting the talent that we have so I decided to start Local Lovin’ as a regular feature. If you have an awesome project or create something that you think I might love please let me know! See my Contact page for details of how to get in touch…

Wear Eponymous are a retailer that have been on my radar for quite some time, but I didn’t manage to meet until recently. It was always a case of bad timing – they’d be holding a fabulous pop-up somewhere or inviting bloggers to collaborate on a fun project, and I’d be on holiday or committed to doing something else. Gah! Luckily, I managed to buck that trend when the Wear Eponymous gang set up shop in Princes Square for their 8 Days of Shopping event, which ran for – you guessed it – eight days!

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At the pop-up, I got to browse gorgeous designs by homegrown talent such as Amy McGregor, We Are Rushworth, Rachel McMillan and Elizabeth Martin Tweed to name a few! Wear Eponymous are about much more than showcasing UK designers though, they believe in operating a platform where the brands are promoted equally. They also contribute to positively shaping the fashion community in all that they do, be it sourcing ethical packaging or championing healthy body image in the models that they work with. Is it any wonder then, that Wear Eponymous are nominated for Retailer of The Year at the 2015 Scottish Fashion Awards?

While swooning over their pop-up (and sniffing a few of the Timeless Candles in stock – I couldn’t help myself…), I enjoyed catching up with Elaine from Wear Eponymous and learning a little more about the business…

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Tell me a little bit about how Wear Eponymous got started – was it always your dream to start this business? Wear Eponymous evolved from a need rather than a dream. We were both working as freelancers connected to the fashion industry (myself as a makeup artist and Alan in web development) and the amount of designers and brands discussing their difficulties in gaining traction in such a competitive market, coupled with varying levels of advice and opportunities here in Scotland meant it made perfect sense for us to bring them together under one umbrella brand and use our knowledge, contacts and eternally open door to develop and grow a retail community lead by us. It’s taken a good two years to really solidify what we do and we’re always adapting and evolving.

I love how passionate you are about the designers you stock, do you have any favourites? We couldn’t work with anyone we didn’t connect with and truly believe that there is an abundance of talent UK wide, eager and ready to sell to their markets. As for favourites, we’re naturally drawn to classic with a contemporary twist and are strong supporters of seeing your purchases as investments rather than disposable products. We couldn’t pick a favourite – too many to choose from!

Ah, that’s fair! You’ve pulled off some amazing pop-up shops this year! What can customers expect from a visit to a Wear Eponymous event? Thanks! We really enjoy making our popups look stylish and contemporary, mixing brands that you might not consider selling side by side in a different location. We’re always up for a chat with customers and this quite often leads to social media friendships developing. We’re also proud of our wide customer demographics as it was always a key goal to encourage anyone to engage with us, regardless of age or gender, and we’re proud to say that customers range from teens to seventies (so far!). Who say’s shopping independent is a niche market?

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I can’t help but notice how fun and relaxed your pop-up shop is – was it important to you to create a comfortable retail space? We’re so happy you picked up on the effort we’ve made from day one to make our shops feel fun and relaxed. There’s nothing worse than feeling awkward the moment you step inside somewhere or fail to make any form of engagement with the shop staff. We have to be careful not to get too comfortable though, a perfect example being the guilty candidate (me!) who didn’t notice we were playing a Christmas mix on our iPod shuffle until we were several songs in…not ideal for the last week in July!

What’s your proudest moment so far? It’s hard to pick one proud moment as this industry is so tough that each year you continue should be celebrated. For us, the nomination for retailer of the year at this year’s Scottish Fashion Awards is beyond exciting, as was meeting Theo Paphitis to collected our business award from him in January. We are so dedicated to creating a strong brand for independents to sell with that we’ve neglected holidays for the past few years to give the growth of W.E. our full attention. This means we view any trip to an awards ceremony as a mini holiday so roll on London for the SFA 10th birthday celebrations…we’ve already decided we’re taking you all with us via the hashtag #WE24hourhols (or possibly not!).

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone looking to start their own independent business or design house, what would it be? Our best advice is to listen to your gut instinct. If something sounds too simple, it probably won’t be that easy when you attempt it. If someone is promising you the earth, the chances are they won’t deliver on everything. Business can be brutal but it can also be totally amazing; it really is a roller coaster ride. Take the leap and you won’t regret it but always remember that the best things come to those who wait and it’s rare for any new business to break through immediately. We wouldn’t change what we’re doing for anything!

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And finally, what’s next for Wear Eponymous? Next up is planning for this years Christmas provisions and we’re preparing to launch Catherine Aitken and Protected Species online. Watch out for our next pop-up event and there’s an open invitation to everyone to come in to it for a chat with us anytime!

You heard the lady, so keep your peepers peeled for Wear Eponymous’ next adventures! You can keep updated by visiting the Wear Eponymous blog, or following them on Twitter.

It was really inspiring to meet a company that have so much love for what they do, and belief in who they collaborate with. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about Wear Eponymous today – I can’t wait to see what they do next!

With love,

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A huge thanks to Elaine and all at Wear Eponymous