Friday, March 26, 2010

Chef, Make-up Artist, Stylist Gives Us a Glimpse of South Africa Street Fashion

What has a qualified chef, a vendor of a personal clothing range, and an up-and-coming make-up artist, stylist that is now being featured in several prestigious magazines, such as Oprah, SL, Fairlady, One small Seed have in common - the name NADJA SEALE – 23 year old founder of LILY BLOOM make-up artists and stylists.

Nadja is based in South Africa and she kindly shared with us the following article that she wrote as well as photos that she took in South Africa so we can get a glimpse of the South African street fashion.

Imaginative and Creative. Leopards and ingenious spots.
- By Nadja Seale

South African fashion has grown into a colossal industry showcasing some of our marvelous unique style and culture. My assignment was inspired by leopards and spots and I was not disappointed.

The legend says that the South African Leopard got his spots with the help of an Ethiopian.

Then the Ethiopian put his five fingers close together (there was plenty of black left on his new skin still) and pressed them all over the Leopard, and wherever the five fingers touched they left five little black marks, all close together. You can see them on any Leopard's skin you like, Best Beloved. Sometimes the fingers slipped and the marks got a little blurred; but if you look closely at any Leopard now you will see that there are always five spots -- off five black finger-tips.

'Now you are a beauty!' said the Ethiopian. 'You can lie out on the bare ground and look like a heap of pebbles. You can lie out on the naked rocks and look like a piece of pudding-stone.’

My night spent at Audi fashion week, made me think that there had to be Ethiopian participation behind it. The fabrics were rich and the designers made an effort to combine earthlike- tones and hues with texture that felt tangible as I watched the fashion show from a distance. The crowd and audience had to be my most memorable jiffy. They dressed up in street fashion combined with high-class elegance. I loved the contrast.

That distinction inspired me to go from Audi fashion week to Pretoria/ South African based shop ‘The steam room’. Formed, shaped and created by fashionista herself Mischa Els. It is in the centre of a venue for renowned South African Bands and a prominent Music abode. It has got to be the personification of street fashion and the African vibe. The walls have eye-catching graffiti and an atmosphere of pattern, print, striking and salient. The clothes are a combination of boho, vintage and street. The shoppers are trendy and chic with an expert eye for inventiveness in clothes.

My month of fashion left me thrilled and daunted. I felt like we are all Ethiopians in our own right. We are the ones that can let our fingers slip and create spots and blurrs that gave the leopard his beauty.

A few additional interesting facts about Nadja: She tends to be a blog addict and when she is not searching for inventive ideas you will find her in quirky second-hand shops saving valuable old clothes from non-appreciative hands.

For more photos of this series, check out:

To learn more about Nadja, visit

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gary Pepper Vintage : Nicole Warne

Nicole is the winner of our Fashionista Contest! We love getting to know our photo contributors, so we called her (all the way in Australia!) to congratulate her. Then we had a nice time chatting about fashion and other fun stuff. I hope you all enjoy our interview with Nicole.

Tell us a little bit about your background.
I am from South Korea and I am half Japanese and half Korean. I grew up in Australia all my life. I finished high school really young (when I was 16), because I skipped 2 years. I was fresh out of school and about a year later my parents moved to Tasmania. I couldn’t go to university because I had to support myself since my parents moved, so I worked full-time for about 2 years.

Last year, I started attending FBI Fashion College in Sydney, Australia. About 6 months later I started interning at Grazia and Harper’s Bazaar. I actually got a job offer from Grazia but I didn’t accept it because my heart was not in it.

Not long after, I had this epiphany that I should be doing something that I love. So I started selling vintage on the side, with my full-time job. Then after about 2 months I decided to take it full-time.

When and how did you become interested in fashion?
When I was younger I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to wear but I liked fashion just like most girls. This is going to sound really corny, but I can even go back to when I was probably about 4 and my mom says that I would change outfits like 3 times a day.

I remembered that I dreamed about being a designer when I was 7. As I got older, I realized it was a bit harder to get into. I want to design my own things but I don’t think I would be the next Chanel. I think I’d just be happy having people wearing some of my designs. That would be enough for me.
Fashion comes with confidence – when I got a better idea of who I was, I also got a better idea of what I wanted to wear.
How has your style evolved over the years?
In primary school, I didn’t really care about what I wore. I was probably influenced by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

My high school years were rough and I think that would be true for most people. It was all about looks, what you wore and who you knew. Gradually I realized that I didn’t have to care about what others thought of me - this is how I am.

I think that’s why I was drawn to vintage because it gives you options to dress however you want. I had started op shopping in high school and this was before vintage became huge. I met so many people outside of my bubble, and learned that there are many interesting people out there and that made me realize that I want to travel the world, meet new people and experience new places.

This is my 5th year out of school now and I definitely think every year I’m still changing. I’m still evolving. Looking back at my 18th birthday, I remember that was when I became much more comfortable with myself. I think fashion comes with confidence – when I got a better idea of who I was, I also got a better idea of what I wanted to wear. I would say to find your own style - just first be comfortable with yourself.

How would you define your current style?
I like everything simple yet effective – simple, chic, and affordable. I would say everything I wear is usually vintage and a bit eclectic. Some days I’ll dress preppy and some days I’ll be a bit more grunge.

Do you have a favorite piece?
I have a huge ankle boot collection that’s all vintage and I’m always adding to that. That’s one thing that I don’t think I will ever sell. I’m one of these girls that I’ll wear it for a day and then I won’t like it anymore. At the moment, I really love that blue dress from my recent blog, the one with the white peter-pan collar.

When we looked through your blog, we were really impressed with how professional your photos look. How did you do it?
I definitely recommend investing in a good softbox to take nice photos.
A lot of the photos on my blog, I just take myself. You can sometimes see my hand remote. It is good to invest in a SLR camera since I can see the huge difference in regular digital cameras vs. SLR cameras now that I got one. However, it’s not about buying the most expensive camera. I think the key to a good photo is all about lighting. Without the professional lighting, I think using a softbox really helps. I definitely recommend investing in a good softbox.

Why vintage?
I was drawn to vintage just because I didn’t like going to stores and buying everything that I would see a girl wearing down the street. I definitely wanted to be different. I didn’t want to wear something that everyone will know where it’s from. I remember going to an op shop and finding this dress, where I had never seen that kind of a print and colors before in my life. I altered it and changed it like 10 different ways and I just wore it for like a year. I could not part with it. Ever since then, I realized that vintage offer more options.

For me, I think the one thing I love the most about my job is going and actually looking through all the racks and the feeling of finding something that you love and knowing that no one else is going to have it. I don’t keep that much for myself anymore. I just put it all into Gary Pepper Vintage. I’d rather someone else enjoy it instead of me.

Launched less than 6 months ago, Gary Pepper Vintage is already getting featured at Frankie and Famous. If you haven’t checked out Gary Pepper Vintage yet, you should do it now!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tech Tip for Fashion Bloggers: Stand out from the Crowd!

We love reading fashion blogs so we usually have a bunch of them open in our browsers just like this:

Do you notice that most of the blogs have the default "Orange Blogger" website icon? Do you know that you can easily stand out from the crowd by customizing your own website icon?

If you are using blogspot, here is a quick and easy way to customize your icon.

Step I: Create the icon

  1. Choose an image and create an icon with the .ico extension. There are many sites online which provide free service to create icons with the .ico extension. Here is one of them:

  2. Save the icon with the .ico extension onto your computer.

Step II: Find a Place to Host the Icon

  1. Blogspot and other photo hosting services such as flickr do not allow you to upload files of .ico extension. There are 3rd party sites which would host your icon for free. But since your blog is already on google's blogspot, why not host your icon with google sites.

  2. Once you are logged on to Google Sites, click on "Create new site".

  3. Select the "Blank Template", provide the "Name" of your site and click "Create Site".

  4. Now that you have created a site. Click on "Create page" on the top right.

  5. Select "File Cabinet", give it a "Name" and click "Create Page".

  6. Click "Add file" and upload the .ico file that you created in Step I.

  7. Now click on "View". A new window will open up. Copy the URL of this image.

  8. IMPORTANT: Remove the &attredirects=0 at the end or else you will get an error later.

Step III: Tell Blogger where your icon is

  1. Log on to and click on Layout on your dashboard.

  2. Click Edit HTML (below the Layout Tab)

  3. IMPORTANT: You might want to make a copy of your current template before making any changes in case you need to revert it back to the original one if something goes wrong.

  4. Locate the the tag </head>. Notice there is a slash before the word head.

  5. Paste the following just before this </head> tag. Remember to replace the URL in Step 8 in Section II in the PUT YOUR ICON URL HERE placeholder. The single quotes are needed.

    <link href='PUT YOUR ICON URL HERE' rel='shortcut icon' />

  6. Click Save Template. You should see your customized icon!