Alternative and burlesque fair

I have been looking for a chance to physically showcase and sell my products for some time now and the Manchester alternative and burlesque fair presented the perfect opportunity.

Trading at an event in the city I am based in seemed like the best option for my first stall. I’m already planning to attend clothes show live in Birmingham in December and as its quite a big event it would probably be helpful to have some experience with stalls before hand.

The most exciting part of the preparation was sorting out the stall layout and buying the fittings. I was actually slightly more prepared for this part than I realised as my dad had brought a variety of suitable items back from his various jobs over the years. These included clear perspex box-stands, head stands and a shop mannequin. The mannequin was originally in quite a state with all the paint chipping off etc. but thanks to my wonderful helpers it was painted mat white in time for the event. I also bought a room divider screen to hang underwear on and two sets of stairs for the accessories.

An other issue to deal with was packaging, especially for all the different accessories as they made up the majority of my stock for the event and included a few new varieties. I don’t put most of my accessories into packets as I feel that, firstly that they are tactile items (I have a lot of textured pieces with appliques, crystals, studs, a variety of frill trims and latexlace which people always like to touch) and secondly that most packets make the items look cheap. I also much prefer boxes which causes a whole different problem as custom boxes are expensive and the affordable ones that I have found only come in certain sizes and colours.

I already have postage boxes that I normally send orders out in but for a stall I decided bags would be more appropriate; so I bought some nice white ones that were available in a variety of sizes and could be easily be personalised by adding a logo sticker. I also have paper packets for smaller items and boxes for the small and large perspex jewellery. This of course left the medium sized jewellery which seems to just be an awkward size that they don’t do boxes in. Eventually, after taking inspiration from other items white attractive packing (yes I am one of these lame people who collect nice packaging) I decided on the kind of box I would like for the medium sized necklaces and other small items such as pasties and bow accessories. I managed to find some clear plastic boxes about the right size and made a pintable folding section for the inside, you can view the outcome below.

Images left to right: Large swans flourish neckalce in box, small necklaces in boxes, large deerskull flourish necklace in box, cameos in boxes, back of cameo box necklace.

After everything was sorted out the event went pretty smoothly (apart from me stupidly forgetting all the flower accessories and my parents having to drive round with them), the Heresy and Heelz staff that were putting on the event were all really helpful and as Rik was sharing the stall with me I didn’t have to set everything up myself. Amber and Jay were also a great help, flyering, encouraging customers and manning the stall so I could have a break.

My camera had run out of battery so the following pictures have been stolen from Lou and Amber (

stall front

Amber and I

heads and pasties

Stacey playing shop

heads and necklaces

Whole stall


Amber and I


head and belts


The event also featured burlesque performances and was a great place to socialise as well as shop. A lot of the people there had never heard of my label before so I would say it was good exposure and overall I had a great day. It was also good to catch up with fellow designers Annabelle (violaceous latex), Jo (Arcanum accessories) and Brig (Zhyon) we didn’t get time to chat much but I always enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by friendly creative individuals who are happy to co-exist and support each other.

Urban deer/preview

As a few of you may have already heard, my new collection for Eustratia is going to incorporate chainmail as well as latex. To achieve this, I have teamed up with my partner in crime, Richard Ayres. I don’t usually release items from upcoming collections before the launch date but as this is quite different to my past collections, I thought a preview of at least this element, would be beneficial. It would also give interested customers the chance to put an item on pre-order or discuss a custom design and have it ready for launch date. As all the items in the collection are to be hand made, the chainmail items can take up to double the time of their latex counterparts to produce. For information contact

With quite a few shows and fairs coming up and chainmail accessories being featured at a few of them, I wanted to print a flyer to represent this element. It isn’t always easy to organise a shoot with a specific purpose in a  short space of time so when Paul Webster decided to book me for a part-pay tutorial shoot with his fellow photographer friends, Mike and Graham, I decided to wear one of the outfits I had in mind and see what they produced.

I wasn’t initially expecting much but I’m actually really pleased with the results. The guys were all really easy going and even let me tweak the editing on some of the images.

Here are some of my favourites from the shoot:

By Paul Webster

By Paul Webster

By Paul Webster, This is the one I used for the flyer

By Michael Brown

By Graham Ella

A couple of these images are also due to be made into digital paintings by my artist friend Cyrus Crashtest ( ).

Buying inspiration

Since the beginning of the month I have been thinking that I probably need an Autumn wardrobe update. This is a particularly exciting concept because the trends on the highstreet may actually have changed! The Summer ’11 trends weren’t my thing at all (70s floral patterns *shudder*) so I resulted to shopping predominantly online for a whole season and am now subsequently feeling out of touch with the shops. I’m hoping that I will find some items that can be a valuable addition to my wardrobe on my next visit to town but I don’t actually know what I’m looking for or have any mental image of the new style I would like to take on for Winter.

I decided it would help if I made a list of items or features I have felt strongly about over the last couple of years and see where it takes me.

1. The ruff

After studying the ruff as part of my FMP for university I acquired a variety of beautiful images and started making my own to wear.

Inspiration ruffs:

credits left to right: Ashley Smith, Marko Mitanovski, unknown from stylecunt, Bibian blue, unknown, Ashley smith.

My ruffs:

photographer credits left to right: Julian M Kilsby, Neal Lewis, Jennifer Byron, Jason harry

2. Bib/ruffle/bow front blouse

Cute blouses

I’ve had quite a few variations of such items over the past few years but it seems they are still in and while looking for pictures I can across some new season items that might do.

3. Longline bras (preferably worn as outerwear)

topshop longline bras

Most of these are from topshop and I actually bought quite a few of them last year. There don’t seem to be many nice ones out for the new season though so I’ve decided to look out for bustiers instead.

4. Leather jackets

I bought two last winter but since English summers aren’t the warmest I ended up wearing them all through the summer as well so am probably due a replacement.

Jackets left to right: Todd Lynn, Rick Owens, some Balmain rip off, Monsoon, all saints, Burberry Prorsum, Balmain

I found loads of beautiful leather jackets, however most of them were not even slightly within my budget. The winner is the monsoon one in the middle as it has a nice shape and is affordable but if I could choose any I would go for the Balmain one at the end.

5. Patterned tights

Having modeled for (probably the most committed tights comparison site in the uk) a couple of times last year, its been a while since I’ve had to buy tights. Having a dog however, means that I go through them quite quickly no matter how many I get given or how good the quality is (Maybe I should start my own reviews on which ones withstood Scamper’s claws the longest). If I had to recommend a particular brand for quality and interesting designs it would definitely be trasparenze, otherwise you can get quite a good variety on ebay at the moment.

Patterned and fishnet tights

6. Platforms

Since I stopped wearing alternative platforms a few years ago I have been searching for something equally as comfortable that coincides with my current style. Though I have a great collection of heels, boots, wedges and flats I still haven’t found something slightly higher off the ground that is suitable for both every day wear and going out.

variety of shoes from office, polygrove and iron fistkg

I have bought the first one on here, purely because it was ridiculously cheap in the office sale and will probably get an other pair of iron fist shoes soon but generally, I don’t think any of these fit the requirements better than the irregular choice flashing light boots I bought last year.

7. Blazers

Having never been a fan of the preppy look I didn’t really wear blazers until recently but with so many new lace, cropped and stylized variations emerging they are bound to become a new favourite.

blazers left to right: H&M, miss selfridge, forever 21, ebay, monsoon, H&M, ebay

I have a lace one and a short sleeved black one so I will probably go for the monsoon one with the pleated sleeve and the grey one next, something stripey is also a possibility.

8. Leggings

My love of panelled and studded leggings has been growing over the past couple of years as more have become available. At the moment I wear leggings nearly every day as they are comfortable to move around and work in and all my favourite pairs are pretty much ruined. I wish I had the machinery to make some myself as I have a few ideas I’d like to try out and I feel adding some more casual items to my range would be beneficial.

Leggings left to right: minkpink sidekick panel leggings, wolford starlet leggings, club L studded leggings, Eleonora carisi panel leggings, rachel Freire suspender leggings, republic clubL lace trim, Rachel Freire Lynch leggings,Johnatha Ashton panel leggings, alexa slash leggings, Maison Martin Margiela panel leggings

I would actually love all of these!

9. Harnesses.

Harnesses are without a doubt my current favourite body accessory and have been for some years now. I bought my first one from NO:WEAR in Camden 3 years ago and have been constantly buying and making more since then.

Here are a few different styles I found online. I hpe to be able to post images from my own range of harnesses soon as well!


10. Shoulder accessories.

Shoulder accessories are a great way to add interest and detail to any outfit and I definitely need more of them. I currently own shoulder pads and shoulder chains of the large and heavy variety but non of these small, light epaulette type things that can easily be worn day to day. I found a few around, mostly on etsy but non that were perfect for me so I’ll probably have a go at making some. I will try and post a tutorial on here when I do.

Shoulder pads and epaulettes

Making this list has definitely reminded me what the key items in my wardrobe are and has actually led me to purchase a few things already. From the images I have selected to post, I can tell that my new wardrobe will look fresh, even though I already had these types of items in mind. I haven’t included dresses and skirts in this post because I feel they are very shape/size/style specific but I will touch on that subject some other time.