Wednesday, 27 October 2010

My Space - Thomas Walker from Thom Ticklemouse Make-Up Blog

Thomas Walker has one of those jobs that makes you jealous. He is a make up artist and can be found backstage working on the models during London Fashion Week as well as other glam events. He has been blogging since July this year as a bid to keep his readers up to date on his work. Thom's blog also cover make up trends, product reviews and recommendations as well as the odd post on fashion. Thom Ticklemouse Make-Up Blog is a fan space where you can learn about the life of a make up artist. I caught up with him so he could tell me where he writes his blog.

Describe the concept of your blog.
The concept of my blog is a fun friendly informative approach to make up, I want readers to feel like I am talking to them. I am here to help! I don't like beauty blogs that say 'use this product because it will change your life.' when half the time the product hasn't even been used.

Where do you scribe?
My blog is also a 'follow me' so viewers and readers can read what I have been up too, as my main job is a make up artist. My blog comes second.

Why that place?
I love to research everything so my main time blogging will be my bed. I have a desk but I live in a Georgian house that's pretty cold so I am always under the duvet
What is on your bed, desk and table at the moment?
On my bed right now is my diary, a cup of tea (i am a chain tea drinker) and of course my Blackberry - she's my child. Lol.

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall?
In terms of inspiration I have a large collection of magazines and DVDs. I also have monthly rental subscription - movies inspire me so much. However magazines are wonderful, I am always tearing out pages that inspire me which i will stick above my bed to manifest my own creativity.

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
I am a both tidy and messy. I like the space to be neat but I always work up a mess, I think mess is made by the mind being creative. I like the phrase a beautiful mess.

You can follow Thom's blog here.

You can follow him on Twitter.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Naija Fashionistas: Meet Ngozi Pere-Okorotie the Fashion Designer

Within the fashion industry it would be safe to say that it is the designers who the industry revolves round as it is their designs that are the staple ingredient. A fashion designer's job is to create the concept of their line which represents the ideology of the brand. Meet Ngozi Pere-Okorotie who is the brains between fashion label, Zed-Eye which is a fusion of funky junpsuits, flamboyant shirts and stylish head wraps. Tribal Romance is the theme of Ngozi's collection which is so cool that it caught the eyes of Pride magazine who featured it in their publication. I caught up with London College of Fashion graduate to find out what it is like to be a fashion designer. 

How did you get into the fashion industry?
At the age of six I grew the interest of becoming a designer all due to the influence of my mum. My mother ran a fashion academy so I was always surrounded by fashion in that sense. However a distinct trigger was my mum showing me how to use a measuring tape at age six. This aroused my interest enough for me to practice designing outfits for my dolls and the rest as they say is history.  I have always wanted to own my own label, though I worked freelance for other fashion brands such as All Saints London and Kew by Jigsaw as an illustrator. It wasn’t easy to go solo, but I learnt from all my mistakes and was burnt on the way by different people who were meant to be helping me grow, but I took it and used the positive side and learnt from it. I must say am grateful for it all as it made me strong and determined to make it. So I decided to start my own brand and that’s how Zed-Eye was born.

What made you decide that fashion design was for you?
Well  I have always known it's for me ever since I can remember learning how to talk and have my own imaginative mind as a kid growing up in Nigeria. I have always known that fashion designing was for me; it is what my destiny from God is and I have embodied it by knowing that’s my star.

Tell me what your job consists of.
I am the CEO of Zed-Eye, the clothing brand, I make all the decisions that has to be made regarding the brand. I am very involved and hands on with the manufacturing of the Zed-Eye designs, I research and illustrate my designs, make the samples my self, make my own pattern blocks, and help with the manufacturing of the designs.

How does the fashion scene in Nigeria compare to London?
The fashion scene in Nigeria compared to London is different but not that far apart. The London fashion is in some case more individualised and the freedom of one is not put in a box, while the Nigerian fashion scene is more of a cultural based fashion. Basically we have so much culture to adapt our fashion sense from but speaking for myself I don’t really go with trend, I dress as I feel which is me getting inspiration from both the western world of freedom to be who you want to be and the culture of my mother land Nigeria.

What sort of changes have you seen in the Nigerian fashion industry over the last few years?
I must say I am very proud of the rate at which Nigeria is trying to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to fashion. On the other hand Nigeria has a lot to learn regarding the fashion industry but one must have hope and pray that the younger generations of designers like myself will help to bring that change and be recognised all over the world for this change, it will be a great and positive thing for the Nigerian fashion industry.

Describe a day in the life of Ngozi Pere-Okorotie.
I try my best to thank God everyday first thing for a great day ahead, then straight to researching and creating as well as producing orders to meet deadlines. Or I might have some fashion styling, or image consultancy, fashion directing to do for magazines or styling for other brands which I do along side running the Zed-Eye design team.

You can check out Ngozi's website here.

You can follow her on Twitter

Well that is the last installment of Naija Fashionistas, I hope you have enjoyed reading it as I have certainly enjoyed writing it. I would like to thank all the Naija fashionistas who took part in this series. 

If you missed out on reading the series then you catch up with it here

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Naija Fashionistas: Meet Ijeoma Ndekwu the Fashion Blogger

I find the experience of blogging very therapeutic, I get to say what I want when I want completely uncensored. Also I get to be part of a huge community of talented bloggers who are not only dedicated but experts on their topic. This community is something which the lovely Bangs and a Bun tapped into when she had an interesting experience with a PR company a couple of weeks ago. Like it or not (and believe me some do not) bloggers are here to stay. We bloggers operate under many circumstances; some blog full time, some do it as a hobby alongside their full time job and some work as journalists during the day and blog in the evening. The blogging community is now so large that it can be sub-divided into subject areas and what I find interesting is the way the different communities behave and are perceived by society (check out The Life of Blogger series that I wrote about the different blogging communities). Out of the pack I would say the fashion bloggers are more prolific, some of them now receive kudos from top fashion brands and been invited to prestigious events and some of them have even been hired as consultants by fashion companies. Ijeoma Ndekwu is a style editor for Bella Naija which is Africa's most prominent blog and she also runs her own blog called Naija Fashion Freak. She took time out to tell me what the fashion blogging scene is like in Nigeria.

How did you get into the fashion industry?
Getting into fashion was more of a natural transition than a conscious one. I was taking a gap year after A Levels and decided to start up a fashion blog called Naija Fashion Freak to channel my passion for fashion into something productive.

What made you decide that fashion blogging was for you?
Writing and fashion comes natural to me and fortunately I absolutely love doing both. There's a certain thrill in writing reviews of designer collections and excitement in discovering fresh talent. But most importantly, fashion is my passion; promoting African talent and also setting a standard for the industry in fashion journalistic writing.

Tell me what your job consists of.
I am the Style Editor of Bella Naija, my job focuses on content provision, content generation and also content quality control- ensuring content is Bella Naija worthy in its writing style and presentation. It is also managing the style page by aligning content to reader sensibilities, and hiring and managing style correspondents and contributors. In addition, building and maintaining beneficial and sustainable relationships with people in the fashion Industry.

How does the fashion scene in Nigeria compare to other cities?
In general, the fashion scene in Nigeria is like every other major city, there's an industry, its professionals and the public made up of fashion enthusiasts who patronise local and international designers. However, when you critically assess it, its a lot less dynamic in comparison; it's void of the high street. All locally produced clothing is still under the umbrella of "designer clothing" and this is one of the reasons why people still favour tailor-made clothes to designers, something that's quite unique to the Nigerian fashion scene. In addition,  the industry although improving rapidly, still needs more professionals, who can consistently deliver quality products and services.

What sort of changes have you seen in the Nigerian fashion industry over the last few years?
There's an enhanced structure in the way the industry operates; from how designers promote and present their brands locally and internationally, to available fashion content, with websites like Bella Naija, Ladybrille, Stylehousefiles and blogs like Shopliquorice. This has contributed in generating more public interest in the industry and patronage.

Describe a day in the life of Ijeoma Ndekwu.
 I am an undergraduate, so my day is a balance of school, Bella Naija work, and my social life. It's lectures, reading, sending and responding to emails on the go (thanks to my Blackberry), and editing and publishing the articles for the day. I don't wake up at a particular time, and I sleep whenever I'm done with all that's on my to-do-list for the day.

You can read Bella Naija here.

You can read Ijeoma's blog here.

Tomorrow I will be featuring fashion designer Ngozi Pere-Okorotie.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Naija Fashionistas: Meet Arieta Mujay the PR Guru

In order to raise the consumer's awareness about a brand there needs to be a lot of hype created about it which makes people want to buy into it. This is the job of a PR who creates and mantains the image of a brand by communicating key messages to the customer. Enter Arieta Mujay who is the PR manager for River Island which is one of the top high street stores in the UK. As well as working with journalists so the fashion brand gets lots of coverage in the press, she is also responsible for getting outfits on the back of celebrities. I caught up with her to find out exactly what it is like being a fashion PR.

How did you get into the fashion industry?
By interning, assisting and working my butt off. Doing whatever I could do for little or no pay for the love of it.

What made you decide that fashion PR was for you?
I kinda feel into PR as I was a window dresser, stylist assistant before PR. I kinda loved the fact that I could work hard behind the scene and meet so many influential people at the same time.

Tell me what your job consists of.
Ensuring that River Island is at the forefront of most fashion conversations in the UK. Getting our product in the right magazines, TV shows and of course the right people.

How does the fashion scene in Nigeria compare to London?
The Nigerian fashion scene has come a long way but still has some way to go. The one thing I really love about the fashion scene in the UK is that it's established and you kinda have to make your own way through it as there have been many greats before you and many more to come. In Nigeria on the other hand, very few people actually know what they are talking about therefore there is the opportunity for growth and the chance to be an early adopter, opinion former. I mean Vivienne Westwood may not be calling on me anytime soon to style her collection but Deola Sagoe will. LOL

What sort of changes have you seen in the Nigerian fashion industry over the last few years?
A few designers have made the transistion from being "African designers" to International designers'. designers like Bunmi Koko, Lanre Da Silva and Jewel by Lisa are crossing the boundaries and making things happen. its an amazing time for the Nigerian fashion industry. Also, fashion journalists based back home like Veronica Ebie Odeka from this day actually know what they are talking about.

Describe a day in the life of Arieta Mujay.
Identifying all River Island coverage, meetings, strategise, update myself on all the fashion news, organise shoot for week ahead, gym, food, bed.

You can follow Arieta on Twitter.

Tomorrow I will be featuring Ijeoma Ndekwu who is a fashion blogger for Bella Naija.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Naija Fashionistas: Meet Michele Obi the Pop-up Boutique Queen

Last year I wrote about the growing trend of the pop-up shop; which is basically a brand which sets up shop temporarily at a venue. This can take place anywhere from a nightclub, exhibition or on a high street. Over the last year I have been lucky to see fantastic pop-ups such as Wanderland Boutique in Manchester, Sketchbook magazine on Carnaby Street, The Satorialist at Libertys and Maybelline in Covent Garden. So when Michele Obi told me that she was launching pop-up shops in Nigeria, I was intrigued and quite excited. Us Nigerians love our fashion and we also love a bit of glitter and glamour and there is nothing more glittery and glamorous than going to a pop-up shop for some fun and shopping. Michele Obi is the founder of myfashionlife so she knows a hell of a lot about fashion so she took five minutes to tell me about her new baby, Verve!.

How did you get into the fashion industry?
I started a blog in 2003 called and the rest is history as they say. From 2005, myfashionlife started to get quite a bit of press attention and as a result it provided me with lots of opportunity to carve out a career in the industry. In the beginning I did all the writing and covered fashion week, however as the business has grown my role has evolved and now I’m always looking at ways that we can expand and grow. Now I’m currently in Abuja, Nigeria and working on introducing the concept of pop-up boutiques. I’ve set up a company called Verve! which is basically a luxury sample sale and we source unique fashion and lifestyle pieces from top designer brands including, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Hermes, Lanvin, Christian Louboutin, Valentino, and more. Our events are held at various venues in key central locations within Abuja.

What made you decide that creating fashion pop up stores was for you?
When I visited Abuja, I realised there was a lack of retail therapy. There are boutiques but they are overpriced because the rent and other expenses are so high. I’d always loved the concept of pop up stores...and I had a vision of providing women with a two day sale at which they could network and really enjoy the shopping experience. I held the first sale at a beautiful spa called B-Natural and we had a great response. We treated our customers to cocktails and cupcakes and paid attention to what they wanted. It’s been a success and has allowed me to gain a stronger understanding of the market. 

Tell me what your job consists of.
Networking! Through holding the sales I’ve gained many clients who are more friends than customers and I spend quite a bit of time, finding out what they like and ensuring we stock what they want. We hold the sales every two months. So a month prior to each sale I’m also doing the buying etc. It’s a varied role which I love.

How does the fashion scene in Nigeria compare to London?
It’s totally different. A lot more flamboyant and colourful. Women in Nigeria love to standout whereas in London fashion is more about comfort. It’s a very exciting time for fashion in Nigeria.

What sort of changes have you seen in the Nigerian fashion industry over the last few years?
I’d say that women here are becoming more aware of the more underground designers. They have a real healthy appetite for fashion and the internet has allowed them to feed their addiction.

Describe a day in the life of Michele Obi.
No two days are the same and I love that. I check my emails every morning and have a to-do list that I make sure I get through every day otherwise the work tends to pile up. Sometimes I could be out visiting clients while other days I could be chained to my desk.

You can check out Michele's website here and you can read myfashionlife here.

You can follow her on Twitter here.

Tomorrow I will be featuring PR guru, Arieta Mujay.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Naija Fashionistas: Meet Sola Oyebade the Catwalk King

Sola Oyebade is a man who has certainly seen it all. From his days as a model he has now graduated to producing high calibre fashion shows as well as running model competitions. He is the face behind Mahogany Models, Mahogany Bridal Fashion Show, Top Model of Colour and Fashion's Finest and also produces fashion show around the world such as Lagos Fashion Week and Fashion Diversity. As well as the recipient of two BEFFTA Awards, Sola is totally passionate about the fashion industry which was demonstrated in his dynamic campaign to get the all Black Italian Vogue issue distributed in the UK a few years ago. Currently he is in the midst of activity regarding Top Model of Colour but he took five minutes out for me to discuss what it is like being a Naija Fashionista.

How did you get into the fashion industry?
From a very early age I have always had an avid interest in fashion but being a Nigerian child back in those days it was not seen as the right career path to follow. When I was in secondary school in Nigeria, I use to model and produce shows which we would do at various schools around Lagos. This passion for modelling and show production continued into university where I actually spent more time modelling than a I did in school. After I finished university I returned to the UK and within know time I was desperate and hungry to get back into the fashion industry but I quickly realised that being a person of colour in the 80’s it was going to be hard to break into mainstream fashion and that proved to be the case, so I decided to give up on modelling and instead decided to set up the Mahogany Bridal Fashion Show as there was no such shows in the UK. From there things have just snow balled and mahogany has grown and grown.

What made you decide that producing fashion shows was for you?
I was lucky enough to be involved in producing fashions shows from a very early age and that continued into adult hood. I always knew that once I finished modelling I would remain involved in the fashion industry and the natural progression was to move from modelling to show production. I have always been a great organiser and love seeing my vision come to fruition. In addition particularly in the UK and now in Nigeria and Africa generally I was always concerned at the lack of good high quality shows that were either being produced by black people or for black people.

Tell me what your job consists of. 
When I am first contacted to produce a show or I am doing a show of my own I initially sit down with the team or organiser to ask them what their vision is for the show and they are trying to produce. Working with them I come up with ideas, a concept and a vision for how we would proceed. I work with the client on finding a venue ensuring it has adequate changing rooms that are in the right location to do a good show. I have to check all things that relate to health and safety. Arrange to bring in a production company to discuss and design the set, sound and lightning. I assist in getting artists to perform and do castings for models and I work very closely with the models on the ensuring they can walk properly and teach them the choreography for the show. A major part of my job is producing a show and a production plan which outlines everything that would take place step by step and minute by minute. As executive producer I recruit all of the key managers that would work with me and ensure they head their departments properly and produce what I require to the right standard.  All of this is just the pre production work as on the day of the show I pull everything together and ensure that the show runs perfectly, is on time and at an extremely high standard. Ultimately I can make or break a show and as such I must always be on my game as I must be able to quickly resolve problems seamlessly so that nobody can see any problems we may be having. I am lucky in that I have produced some great shows across the world.

How does the fashion scene in Nigeria compare to London?
Fashion in Nigeria is taking off at an enormous rate and shows are taking place literally everyday from small and large and compared to the UK I think there is more money to spend on fashion shows but I do think that it is not always used in the best way and I speak generally here as this is not always the case. As with any new industry there are teething problems but as can expected Nigerians are learning quickly. I have done a few shows in Nigeria as well as attended a number of shows and I think where some shows fall down is the attention to detail, cutting corners and in particular the suppliers over extending themselves and promising to do more than they can actually do. Having recognised this Mahogany productions and events has set up in Nigeria and is working with a number of clients and fashion shows to come up with innovative, creative and high quality shows. Compared to the UK shows in Nigeria generally are much bigger, with bigger audiences and can be extremely generous events covered by TV and the press and everyone seems to want to be at all of the events. There are so many new designers and models being discovered everyday and that means that compared to the London there seems to be  a greater variety in terms of keeping things fresh. When working in Nigeria you must have a lot of patience and be very pushy if you wish to do a great fashion show because people tend to take their time in terms of getting things done compared to London; where I tend to make one phone call and once I have paid the service is delivered and I tend not to have to worry whereas in Nigeria one tends to have check and triple check that what you want would be delivered so I guess it all adds to the excitement of doing a show. The Nigerian fashion industry has a lot to offer and is definitely going to be a place to reckon with over the next few years and I believe that as soon as we develop a top international fashion week then the whole fashion scene in Nigeria would change even more and we will make great strides and increase our reputation on the international scene.

What sort of changes have you seen in the Nigerian fashion industry over the last few years?
It is clearly recognised that as an industry to be involved in both from a creative, lucrative and from a career perspective the Nigerian fashion industry is one that a lot of people want to be involved in. It is amazing to see the number of professional people that have left their professions to become full time in the Nigerian fashion industry. Fashion plays a major role in the everyday life of the average Nigerian and as such it is not surprising that the industry has grown so quickly. It has become more professional with various associations and bodies being set up to regulate the industry, shows are more professional and not just thrown together without any thought and more professionals like myself are being used more and more to produce or event manage such events. I do believe that within the next  5 years we will be on par with south Africa as one of the top fashion countries within Africa.

Describe a day in the life of Sola Oyebade
I wake up in the morning to meet 100’s of email (and I mean 100’s of emails from across the world either asking us how we can work together or be involved in their show by producing it or asking me to be a judge or attend an event. The phone rings continuously throughout the day covering everything you can imagine. During the day I try and deal with the emails, calls as well as production and show plans which can be very tedious but necessary. I get to speak to a wide variety of people on a wide array of topics and issues so my job is enjoyable. I spend time updating the website or writing my blog or doing interviews. As standard this what I do three out of four days but alongside the above I also attend numerous shows and events, work on choreography, judge at shows and work on events. I tend to work a 16 to 18 hour day and I am not complaining as I say I will sleep when I die.

Check out Sola's work on his website.

You can read Sola's blog here.

You can follow him on Twitter.

Tomorrow I will be featuring Michelle Obi who manages a series of pop-up fashion boutiques in Nigeria.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Welcome to Naija Fashionistas

Contrary to Louis Theroux's documentary, Law and Disorder in Lagos which aired last week there is a lot more to Nigeria than poverty and corruption. Africa's most populous nation is home to vibrant cities such as Lagos. Abuja and Port Harcourt. Right now Nigeria is undergoing some sort of mini revolution and the communications industry is booming with sectors such as IT, public relations, media and fashion reaping the benefits. The fashion industry has always been a fascination of mine especially the psychology and sociological impacts on society. Over the last year or so I have seen Nigeria become a real player in the fashion scene and with Lagos Fashion Week an important event on the calender it looks like the country will be known for its style as well as oil. I have decided to celebrate this by featuring five of the most celebrated Nigerian fashionistas who work in different aspects of the industry. Next week I will be featuring Sola Oyebade, the catwalk king who produces fashion shows such as Lagos Fashion Week, Michelle Obi who organises pop-up boutique shops in Nigeria,  PR Guru, Arieta Mujay who works for River Island, Ijeoma Ndekwu who writes for blog, Bella Naija and fashion designer, Ngozi Pere-Okorotie. Tomorrow I will kick off with Sola Oyebade.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Grazia TV

I was not sure what to think of this when I first saw it but a couple of episodes in and I am starting to warm to it. The look is very much Live from Studio Five style but it contains exclusive clips and interviews conducted by the Grazia team. Grazia TV launched last month while London Fashion Week was in full flow so it pretty much got lost in the mania. Grazia editor, Jane Bruton describes it as a 'Friday fashion fix' where you can see everything from the stars hitting the red carpet in full 360 fabulousness to designers feeling the heat backstage and I-can't-believe-I-haven't-seen-this-already-but-now-I-have-I'm-sending-it-to-everyone-I-know-type clips. The format comprises of 10 hot topics ranging from fashion events, music. TV shows,  celebrity news as well as human interest news - basically the sort of stuff that is in the magazine. It is a great way to get a quick round up of the entertainment and fashion scene. If you ignore the naff background music which cheapens the great content, then what you have is a cracking little programme. I personally think it is much better than the magazine.

You can check out Grazia TV here.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Social Network

I was in two minds about whether to see The Social Network or The Facebook movie as it has been dubbed. However, good reviews and recommendations got me intrigued and I decided to pop along to an advanced screening at my local cinema. The Social Network is based on the court cases against Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg where he is sued by his former best friend and the Winkleviss twins for allegedly stealing their idea. The film starts off when Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg is at Harvard and after an argument with his girlfriend in which she dumps him, he returns to his room and slags her off on his blog which he turns into a site called FashMash which rates the attractiveness of the female students on campus. He is punished with six months academic probation but is undeterred because his site has received 22,000 hits in two hours. The overwhelming success of the site brings him to the attention of the wealthy Winkleviss twin brothers both played by Arnie Hammer and their sidekick, Divya Narendra played by Max Minghella. They have an idea about building a website called Harvard Connection and they want him to do the programming. He takes on the project but at the same time approaches his friend, Eduardo Saverin played by Andrew Garfield about creating a social networking site exclusively for Harvard students which will be called
Eduardo is in and begins to bankroll the project and also supplies his valuable connections from Phoenix S-K final club which is a powerful fraternity. When the site is launched it is a total phenomenon and when the Divya and the Winkleviss brothers find out about the site they are furious and accuse Mark of stealing their idea. Mark is undeterred and decides to expand the site to other Universities such as Columbia and Yale and he and Eduardo put together a plan for expansion. The more successful the site gets the more angrier Divya and the Winkleviss get but the site is a long way away from the global icon that it is now. It takes the presence of Napster founder, Sean Parker played by Justin Timberlake to get thefacebook to the level it is now. His first suggestion is small but vital - that Mark and Eduardo drop 'the' from the title so it is just Facebook. He also persuades Mark to move to Silicon Valley as that is where all the action is while Eduardo stays in New York in order to drum up some advertising. However cracks begin to show in Mark and Eduardo's friendship as they have differences on Sean's involvement in Facebook which ends with Eduardo freezing the business account. After Mark secures a substantial amount of funding from a business angel, Eduardo finds himself brutally cut out of the future of Facebook and threatens legal action. Meanwhile the Winkleviss brothers along with Diviya decide it is time to go down the legal route and decide to sue Facebook.
The Social Network is a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be and has quite a few great one liners. There are two parallel stories being told - how Zuckerbeg created Facebok with the money from his best friend and the law suits that followed afterwards. Both  are intriguing. Aaron Sorkin delivers a cracking script here and we all know how much he loves a court room drama remember A Few Good Men? The film really demonstrates not only the social ineptness of Mark Zuckerberg and his 'revenge of the nerd' syndrome but at the same time it also shows the world of privilege and self entitlement that a lot of Harvard students are born into. From the cliquey and almost bullishness of the fraternity clubs where new members are forced to perform demeaning tasks in order to join and in return will be rewarded with old school status to the movers and shakers in the US. Justin Timberlake adds much needed humour in his role as the enigmatic but slimy, Sean Parker - not sure if the performance really warrants an Oscar nomination though. The Social Network offers no happy or sad ending, just an ending that shows that success is hollow if you have to resort to screwing your friends over in order to get to the top. Mark Zuckerbeg comes off as a cold and angry sociopath who is simply an insecure jerk. The irony of Facebook's success is is obvious for all to see - the guy who is responsible for creating a space where millions of people can reconnect with their friends did not have any himself.

The Social Network is out on general release on Friday.

Video and images supplied by Sony Picture Releasing.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Retro Review: 54

I am officially in love with the 70s. I was originally an 80s babe as that was the era of my teens but over the last year I have become more interested in the 60s and 70s. The 70s were defined by disco, flares, sequined dresses, glittery make up and lip gloss. However nothing defined this decade more than Studio 54 which was the nightclub to be seen in and at its peak was the most well known nightclub in the world. The stories about the place were legendary such as Bianca Jagger riding into the place on a white horse, pounds of cocaine being bandied about and people having sex in full display. Studio 54 was opened by the flamboyant Steven Rubell and his silent partner Ian Schrager in 1977 and has become a huge icon in pop culture. So it was no surprise when Hollywood made a movie about the decadent disco which was released in 1998.
54 is told from the point of view of Shane O'Shea played by Ryan Phillippe, a pretty boy who hails from New Jersey. Bored of his mundane life in Jersey City, he spends many a moment gazing across the bridge that separates New Jersey from New York, dreaming of a better and more glamorous life. Enter Studio 54 which Shane sees as a platform to his dreams. After heading down to Manhattan one night he manages to get into the club where he catches the eye of the owner, Steve Rubell played by Mike Myers. He lands a job as a busboy and quickly makes friends with the other staff members including Greg played by Breckin Meyer and his wife, Anita played by Salma Hayek who aspires to be a singer. Shane is infatuated by fellow Jersey girl, Julie Black who is a glamorous actress played by Neve Campbell who frequents the nightclub on a regular basis and is often seen in the newspapers. A brief relationship with music executive Billie Auster played by Sela Ward leads to a promotion to bartender which means gold to Shane. Studio 54 bartenders are famous and this means lots of photo shoots for glossy magazines so he decides to capitalise on it in an attempt to catch the eye of Julie.
54 is not the greatest film in the world and the film does feel like it has been rushed but the cinematography is great and the film captures the whole disco fever of that era. I always thought Ryan Phillippe was under rated and he is great in this film and there are strong performances by Neve Campbell and Salma Hayek also Mike Myers is awesomely creepy as Steve Rubell. The soundtrack is amazing with tracks like Boss from Diana Ross, Relight my Fire by Dan Hartman, Knock on Wood by Mary Griffin, Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Station and Wishing on a Star by Rolls Royce. These songs demonstrate an era that was fun, funky, free, glam and with lots of energy. However, it is the vibrant wardrobe that finally nails it, the ladies are seen in halter neck dresses, one shoulder jersey tops, satin drain pipe trousers, sequined boob tubes, fringe dresses and cowboy hats. Studio 54 may have closed its doors on disco in 1981 and forever in 1998 but it has left an everlasting impact on the entertainment industry.

Check out this video which is a homage to the famous nightclub.

Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad

So here we go again with the third and final exciting installment of L.A. Candy which is Lauren Conrad's foray into fictional writing. The first book, L.A. Candy introduces us to Jane Roberts who has just moved to LA with her best friend, Scarlett Harp and ends up landing her own reality show called L.A. Candy. Pretty soon the girls are plastered all over the media as LA. Candy becomes one of the hottest shows on TV. The second title is called Sweet Little Lies and it shows Jane and Scarlett dealing with celebrity and the pressures of living their lives in a goldfish bowl. Jane is holding down a demanding job as an event planner while Scarlett is undertaking a degree at USC and this takes its toll and the two girls find themselves drifting apart. After a huge row with Scarlett, Jane moves in with L.A. Candy co-star Madison Parker but Jane is shocked to find out that Madison is not all she seems and has actually been selling stories about Jane's life to a gossip magazine in a bid to oust her from the show. Disgusted by Madison's scheming ways, Jane confronts her and moves out of her apartment. Sugar and Spice kicks off with Jane back living with Scarlett and the two friends are now closer than ever. Scarlett is embarking on her second year at college and is happy in her relationship with Liam despite the fact that they have to keep their romance under wraps. She has also decided to take a positive approach to the show and be more co-operative with the producers. Jane on the other hand is busy at work with lots of exciting projects to get stuck into but her love life is getting very complicated. Also there are more surprises in store as it turns out that Madison has a dark secret from her past which is set to impact all of the ladies on the show.

I read this book in two sittings which says a lot as my concentration has ruined thanks to Twitter and once again LC has pulled it out of the bag. This book is just as enjoyable as its predecessors and although it is not as eventful and as dramatic as the first two books it is nonetheless still captivating. I found Sugar and Spice very engrossing as it focuses on the mind set of all the characters, even Trevor who produces the show. We get to see how he systematically crafts each episodes and manipulates Jane into acting the way he wants. Also remember how I said in a review of Sweet Little Lies how I was beginning to find Scarlett more interesting? Well all her dirty washing comes out in this book and we get to see a more vulnerable side to her. Sugar and Spice is a really great read and exposes how 'reality' shows like The Hills and The City are constructed. These characters really seem real and you totally buy into it. I was quite sad when I put it down. It has been a good ride and the idea to create a three part series was ingenious and the branding of L.A. Candy is very cute. I have also just heard that there are plans for a spinoff series on Madison which should be very interesting.

Sugar and Spice is out now and available to buy from Amazon.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

I belched when I heard that Shia LaBeouf was playing the lead in the sequel to Wall Street which I did a retro review on here. It was bad enough that they were doing a follow up to one of the most iconic film of the 80s but to choose a dud to play the lead was a really bad start. I have only seen LaBeouf in one film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, where he played the geeky Sam Witwicky to perfection but as far as I was concerned he should not be mentioned in the same breath as the mighty Gordon Gekko. So off I traipsed down to my local cinema to have a peep at Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps to find out if my initial concerns were right. The film commences with Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas being released from jail, now this bit is hilarious because it really demonstrates how Wall Street symbolised the era of the 80s. As with prison protocol Gekko is reunited with the possessions he walked into prison with; a rolex watch, a gold money clip and a mobile phone as large as brick. Now this made me laugh out loud. The second bit that made me laugh was when Gekko walks out of the prison and sees a limo headed towards him which he automatically assumes is his but turns out to be for some rapper from nowhere who is being picked up by his homies. You begin to emphasise with Gekko then because not only has no-one come to pick him up, life has simply moved on without him.
Now onto the story; Jake Moore played by Shia LaBeouf  is the Bud Fox of this movie. Jake is a successful  trader who is also in a long term relationship with Winnie played by Carey Mulligan and  coincidentally Gekko's estranged daughter. At work Jake is mentored by Lewis Zabel, whose major investment bank, Keller Zabel is in serious financial trouble. When Keller Zabel like all the other investment banks crash Zabel is refused a bank bailout by Bretton James played by James Brolin the CEO of Churchill Schwartz and is forced to sell his stock to Bretton at a pittance. Totally broken and with no way out, Zabel commits suicide leaving Jake devastated. However he takes on Zabel's advice to marry Winnie and create a life outside of work. In the meantime Gekko seems to have reinvented himself as some sort of financial guru with bestselling books and sold out lectures warning people about the pending economic downturn. After attending one of his lectures Jake seeks him out and introduces himself as Winnie's future husband and the two men strike up a 'friendship'. Gekko more or less informs Jake that it was Bretin who is responsible for Zabel's downfall and Jake plans his revenge. They make a deal that Jake will reunite Gekko with his daughter and in return Gekko will supply Jake with information that will destroy Bretton.
I thought the whole scenario of the film was ludicrous; the soon to be son-in-law of Gekko forming alliances with him in return for getting him his daughter back who blames him for her brother committing suicide. It was all so cliche. Strange as I don't remember Gekko having two kids - a baby yes but not two children. I also thought that the story was too overloaded with Bretton as the villain, Jake as the wide-eyed kid and Gekko now as some sort of anti-hero. Another criticism was Winnie - I found her to be really soppy and I hated her whole left wing philosophy along with her trendy left website. It just seemed so fake and an obvious set up to polarise her from her father. We are supposed to buy into the theory that an avid believer of left wing politics who invests lots of money into a political website is about to marry a money obsessed banker who is not too different from her father? Finally my first reaction was correct, Shia LaBeouf was all wrong for this, he is just simply too bland. They should have gone for Ed Westwick aka Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl. One good thing about the film is the way they incorporate the current financial situation with the collapse of the banks and traders losing their jobs. Also I like the fact that greed is still a running theme in the movie on different levels for example Jake's former care worker turned real estate mother who is obsessed with making money. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps starts off really well but then skids to a screechy halt. I would advise you to wait for it to come out on DVD. Oh and Bud Fox played by Charles Sheen makes a cameo in the film, blink and you miss it.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is out in cinemas now.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

My Space - Minna Salami from MsAfropolitan

Like most bloggers Minna Salami wears many hats; as a social media consultant, freelance writer, dancer, model and project manager. Yep she is a busy lady and on top of that she manages to find time to run the MsAfropolitan Boutique which is another part of her blog. MsAfropolitan is a fantastic blog that covers topics that affect cosmopolitan African women. Topics such as feminism, african diaspora, fashion, books, sex and celebrities. Minna has been running her blog since 2008 and has picked up a great following since then. I caught up with her so she can tell me where she writes her blog.

Describe the concept of your blog.
MsAfropolitan is a lifestyle and culture analytical blog highlighting topics that are relevant particularly, but not exclusively, to cosmopolitan African women and showcasing products made by African Diaspora women in the MsAfropolitan Boutique.

Where do you scribe?
I have ditched my desk for my dining table.

Why that place?
I have a city view from the window next to my dining table, it inspires my writing, and it reminds me to gaze out and take a break from the screen every so often.
What is on your dining table at the moment?
Baskets, candles, table mats, a coffee cup, lip gloss, a folder full of things that I aim to look into (!), magazine cuttings, a stack of CD's, books that I've been using for research and of course, my laptop.

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall ie photos, magazine cuttings or extracts?
By my desk, which is more like a mini library for me as I don't work there, I have a magnetic wall panel in between the bookshelves with photos, magazine cuttings and all kinds of magnets (which I collect)..

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
I'm a tidy worker you know. Family and friends have watched in awe as I go about preparing my work day, because it involves an almost obsessive tidying up routine of the space around me. I find that untidiness clutters my thought process, or maybe I'm just procrastinating ;)

You can follow Minna's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Spin Crowd

Command PR is a boutique agency which has office in LA and New York. They have a huge roster of clients such as Jennifer Lopez, P Diddy, Janet Jackson and Rihanna. Started by Jonathon Cheban, a seasoned pro, Command PR is one of the top PR companies in the US and reality drama, The Spin Crowd will be following their moves. Command PR's USP is that they set trends, reflect pop culture and influence the course of public consciousness. Simon Huck is Jonathon's second in command, pun most certainly intended and the two of them make a right pair. Jonathon is pretty highly strung and not afraid to speak his mind while Simon appreciates the art of subtly. Simon is the more saner of the duo and spends a lot of them calming down Jonathon when he loses it which seems to be most of the time. The banter between the two guys is hilarious and Jonathon's bitchy comments crack me up. Also Jonathon hails from New Jersey and has that NJ complex derived from the fact NJ is the dowdy cousin who NYC look down on and make fun of so he has something to prove.
As well as getting to know the rest of the Command PR team which comprises of Katie, Lauren, Erika and Summer and having an insight into their personal lives, we are shown how the Command PR wheel works. We get to see the strategy behind event and product launches and how PRs work with the media to place stories in their publications and maintain their relationships with their clients. However what I like most about The Spin Crowd is that it also shows what happens when things do not go as planned. Like a launch with actress Shannen Doherty where they forgot to bring the scissors that she needed to cut the ribbon. I find the show very inspiring. It just has that ' you can do it' vibe. Surprised to see that it is excursively produced by Kim Kardashian.

You can check out the website for The Spin Crowd here.

The Spin Crowd is aired on E! on Sundays at 10.30pm

Age Is Nothing But a Number

As you know there are lots of fashion blogs out there which I soak up regularly but when I need that extra bit of depth I check out That's Not My Age. Started in 2008 by a seasoned fashionista, the blog covers  good style in fashion, interiors, design and art. It also looks at fashion trends, street style and icons in fashion. That's Not My Age is so revered that it has been mentioned in The Guardian, The Independent, Easy Living and Stella magazine. The anonymous blogger took time out to answer a few questions about her blog.

What made you start blogging?
I started That’s Not My Age over a year ago because I felt there was a gap in the blogosphere for women like me. I focus on life, culture and style but try to make sure that it's a real rather than an airbrushed or botoxed version, and that everyone I talk about is over 40.

Describe the concept behind That's Not My Age?
The name stems from the idea that when you get to a certain age, denial kicks in and you start to knock a few years off (I know I did!). So to try and overcome this, I like to champion the fact that actually, people over 40 are pretty cool, they’ve established their own singular style and aren't swayed by trends. And there's nothing wrong with being middle-aged, just look at Jarvis Cocker, Tilda Swinton, Mary Portas and my current style crush Suzie Bick (saw her at a party on Friday night and she looked fantastic).

Over the last year bloggers have really made their mark in  the fashion industry, how do you think they will continue to push the boundaries over  the next few years?
Blogging has become a way of life and will continue to have influence – I'm a member of Handpicked Media which is a fantastic idea: an independent bloggers' collective run by Krista Madden and a team of experts. We meet up once a month to discuss financial opportunities, technical stuff and most importantly to socialize. I think blogging will continue to exist alongside mainstream media. Most websites now have a blog as another way of promoting a brand/company/product. I’d like to think that there will be greater transparency in terms of advertising and product placement (something Handpicked Media is very keen on), which is still very much a murky area. 

You come up with a lot of unique stories on your blog, how do you get your inspiration?
Ah thank you, so nice of you to say – but quite a tricky question to answer! I’m inspired by lots of things; what’s in the news, people, art, music, fashion, travel, and I suppose living in London helps, there’s always so much to see and do.

What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
Eat, sleep, work.

What are your favourite glossy magazines?
Ooh now this should be easy to answer but I’m not very good at lists and I’m very fickle so my favourite ‘anything’changes on a regular basis. My mum buys me a subscription to Red, I like the Observer’s Food Monthly and most other Sunday supplements.

Name five blogs that you read religiously.

How do you see your blog evolving over the next two years?
Oh blimey, I would like to think that That’s Not My Age will get an update sometime soon but I’m such a Luddite, I’m not sure I’m capable of anything too complicated. I’m just not very good at all that tech-y stuff. So if there’s anyone out there who’d like to help, please make yourself known! Content-wise, I’ll continue to focus on stylish, talented  people over 40 for inspiration.

You can read That"s Not My Age here.

You can follow her on Twitter.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Fashion Mavericks

I did a lot of running around during London Fashion Week attending a lot of events that were off schedule. One of the fashion shows that I went to was Fashion Mavericks which is a collection of emerging designers. It is organised by Jacquelline Adhola and was a two day affair taking place at the Strand Palace Hotel and it featured artists such as Anya Wilkinson, Elizabeth Dunn and Sara Shimasue. Jacquelline took five minutes out to give me the lowdown on Fashion Mavericks

What made you decided to set up Fashion Maverick
Fashion Mavericks was set up after discovering there was a need for an event that provides a strong platform to support new and independent designers during Fashion Week. As much as there is a number of other great events that occur during this time there is even more great designers out there that aren't provided a chance to 'show off' their latest collections and creative skills in solo independent shows. Fashion Mavericks is a great place for new and; independent designers as it provides them with a great venue in a great location. More often than not fashion week is dominated by the big labels and the small ones don't get noticed over the noise when they are just as good or better.

How many people work on the project with you? 
It depends on where I'm at in the project life cycle. I tend to do most of the strategic planning myself and then have others designated where necessary. As the event is still in its early stages I can pretty much handle most of it but as I have greater plans for the event I'm currently looking for other professionals to head certain areas. How do you select which designers to approach to show at the event? Designers apply to showcase while some are referred to me for review by stylists and others I source myself
The Strand Palace Hotel was an amazing venue, how did you get them on board? 
It's a case of building relationships but I pay for the venue so in this case its a case of them giving me a service.

What is your work background?
Work background varies but its in my professional field. I have a degree in Marketing and a CIM. I've worked in events, sales and retail. My last 9-5 job was at Emap for Drapers & Retail Jeweller Magazine. I don't have vast 9-5 experience but my strong business acumen, intuition, passion, drive and natural entrepreneurial skills makes me love and enjoy my work and all that I do re Sunshine Grace.

What do you do when you are not working on Fashion Mavericks
Fashion Mavericks is owned by Sunshine Grace which is a PR, Marketing and Events Consultancy. As well as this I'm also a personal stylist. So my main operations are with SG. Through this I have a number of private clients who I style and offer a personal shopping service to of sourcing new or certain items. I also consultant on projects with designers and businesses.

Which designers do you admire? 
I admire all designers. The work they do is enormous. From the initial stages of concept and theme, sketch designs, material sourcing, production there is a lot to do. Not including the pattern cutting, sleepless nights and many lattes.Generally I like and admire hard working people especially when they create innovative products that meet public demand or meet the needs of their market. To get that right is the key to a successful business and that is admirable.

You can check out Fashion Maverick here.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


After much anticipation (well from me anyway) Takers finally came to the UK screens. This film was made two years ago but the release date kept getting pushed back. The reasons were not fully disclosed but I think the Chris Brown and Rihanna domestic may have had a lot to do with it. Takers is a heist film in Oceans Eleven and The Italian Job style which is about a group of bank robbers who embark on one last job. The film stars Idris Elba, T.I, Chris Brown, Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Jay Hernandez and Zoe Saldana. Ok let me give you some back story here: the group was originally formed by Ghost played by T.I but he got put away four years before on a job that the group were doing. Following through on their pact not to spill the beans, Ghost has done his time and is now out. In his absence the group have moved on with Gordon played by Idris Elba taking over as leader. John played by Paul Walker is his second command and AJ played by Hayden Christensen and brothers Jake and Jesse Attica played by Michael Ealy and Chris Brown respectively. To add a spanner to the works, Ghost's former girlfriend, Lilly played by Zoe Saldana is now happily ensconded with Jake and they are engaged.
The film begins with the group completing yet another one of their bank heists and we get to see exactly how they operate. These are no sloppy, two a penny robbers, these guys are organised and very slick - we are talking electronic devices, top notch explosives and some serious planning. The guys also enjoy the fruits of their labour with great houses, flash cars, motorbikes and designer suits. They even donate 10% of the money they have stolen to charity. Oh the irony! Enter Ghost with an in on a very lucrative job that he wants the group to come in on. However the guys are sceptical. Is this the real deal or is it a set up? Is Ghost set on paying them back for his stint in jail? On the flip side we have cops Jack played by Matt Dillon and his partner Eddie played by Jay Hernandez who are hell bent on nailing them and it looks like they are getting closer.
I thought Takers was a great film; it was great to look at visually and the special effects were amazing. Oh and the eye candy was a real treat. The performances from all of the actors were superb and as Michael Ealy said in an interview - everyone brought their A game. T.I was really good in this film, even though he was more or less playing himself he was still very entertaining. Michael Ealy and Chris Brown really do look brothers and their scenes together were very endearing as were the ones with Michael and Zoe. It was weird seeing Hayden in this film because the last time I saw him was in Star Wars but he was awesome but to me it is Idris Elba and Paul Walker who hold this film together. First of Paul Walker really needs a lead role in a major film because that guy has presence but has never quite found the right role to capitalise on it. Idris with his Brit accent and sexy strut totally owns Takers. The great acting allows you to buy into the personalities of the group and I found myself intrigued by them and their lives. Like Gordon's relationship with his older drug addicted sister played by Marianne Baptiste and Jake and Jesse's differences on their incarcarated father. I would have loved to have known how such a bunch of vibrant, smart guys met and got into this scene. I guess we will never know well unless there is a prequel which has been rumoured. My other  criticism was the ending - I hated it but I won't tell you what happens, go and see it for yourself. This film is directed by John Luessnhop and produced by Will Packer who I wrote about here.

On another note I was disappointed that Takers did not get the marketing and PR push that it deserved despite the fact that it topped the US box office in the first week. Where were the posters and adverts? I find it demoralising that in 2010 'Black' films are still fighting for the same amount of investments as mainstream ones. Major fail. Takers is out in cinemas now but I would rush and see it asap before they yank it off the screens like they did to Why Did I Get Married Too and Just Wright. Am I bitter? Yeah just a bit.