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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Shops: Hidden Pop-up Shop

I recently blogged about the goodies on sale at Much Too Fun's online store and mentioned that there was a pop-up shop planned. Last Thursday evening was the launch evening of Much Too Fun's pop-up shop at the Hidden Lane, and never one to refuse the opportunity to go shopping, I headed along for a visit.

Scatter cushions by Emily Moir featured at the pop-up shop

The appropriately named Hidden Lane is tucked away just off Argyle Street, but too wasn't difficult to find. For a moment I wondered if I was in the right place - up a dark slightly scary alley - but then I spotted the cheery yellow plastic sign that assured me that I was.

The pop-up shop was full of keen shoppers browsing the shelves in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. I was asked several times if I needed assistance or would like a drink, the customer service was very friendly and personal - so much that at times I felt like I had wandered into someones flat rather than a shop (as it felt cosy, there was no pressure to spend money and the Much Too Fun girls seemed genuinely happy that we were there). I instantly recognised jewellery by Bonnie Bling and saw Lindsay McDowall's nautical necklace being proudly displayed in a glass cabinet which made me smile.

Jewellery by Lindsay McDowall (top shelf) & Bonnie Bling for Obscure Couture (underneath)

Lots of other local designers and creative types had their pieces showcased at the shop, including Downie Allison Downie Bookbinders, Wonky Woolies (whose snowman hat and scarf sets get a special mention for being so cute), Emily Moir's gorgeous printed scatter cushions and The Charm Offensive. I also spotted CDs, handmade cards and yummy cupcakes. It was nice to see some of the products up close in 'real life' after admiring them online. Did I leave empty handed? Of course not.

Some of the knitwear on display by Wonky Woolies

The shop has 'popped up' just in time for Christmas shopping, and is well worth a visit to see what quirky gifts are on offer and also to take the opportunity to support local talent.

Some plastic patter by Bonnie Bling (left) & notebooks by Downie Allison Downie Bookbinders

You can find the Much Too Fun Hidden Pop-up Shop at Unit 24A, The Hidden Lane, 1103 Argyle Street, G3 8ND.

Will you be visiting the Hidden Pop-up Shop for a bit of Christmas shopping?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Say No To Plastic at Oran Mor

My lazy Sunday this week was transformed into an impromptu day of shopping and cake-eating after hearing about Say No to Plastic's Vintage and Craft fair over at Oran Mor. A mere stone's throw away from my flat, and with the promise of goodies from top local creative types, I deemed it too good to pass up. And so, best gal-pal in tow, we headed over to the top of Byres road to see what was on offer.

After climbing up the spiraling staircase and entering the main hall, the first thing I noticed was just how busy it was. Jumpin', as my Dad would say. There was a huge variety of stalls (over 35 at last count) and lots and lots of customers in between. We squeezed through the crowds and slowly browsed around the hall, taking in all of the vintage and reworked clothes, gorgeous gifts, home baking and independent designers.

I couldn't possibly list everything that I liked, but highlights included the super kawaii table set up by I Love Lexy & I Love Spoilt Pig (whose goodies included the very tempting £3 lucky dips), pretty hair accessories by Something Different, knitwear and tweed to keep us warm by Missy Montague & Breagha and far too many vintage stalls to mention (but Vintage Fray and Vintage Inspirations had some particularly lovely pieces). Phew!

Say No to Plastic, as well as showcasing products from local talent, mainly aims to raise awareness of environmental causes - hence the title - by influencing people to reduce their use of plastic bags (more information on this can be read at their website). The event at Oran Mor had an overall message to reduce, re-use and recycle - but certainly showed that being kind to the environment can be stylish with the impressive collection of re-worked and second-hand clothes on offer. As well as the usual vintage fayre, I spotted shoes by Marc Jacobs and a gorgeous Chloe frock.

I enjoyed having a look at all the stalls, there was such variety and the atmosphere was really friendly. I don't know if it was all the cakes, the well-priced fashion, the fact that it was all in aid of a good cause or the fact that Christmas is just around the corner - but whatever it was, it was making people happy. One jolly shopper exclaimed "this is like a car boot sale with attitude" as I squeezed past - and I have to say I agree with him. I purchased a fab ring from the We Are the Robots girls and some gorgeous tights from the ever talented and all-round nice folk at Tights For Sore Eyes...

Love them. A mere tenner and officially my New Favourite Tights.

After the shopping fun we hopped on over to Three Steps to Heaven on Byres Road, to round off the day with tea and cake.

Be sure to keep en eye on the Say No to Plastic website for news, updates and information on any upcoming events.

Were you at Say No to Plastic?

Monday, 8 November 2010


2010 has no doubt been a year for major designer/ high street collaborations. So far we have seen (to name a few) Sonia Rykiel for H&M, Jimmy Choo for UGG Australia, ongoing seasons by Giles Deacon for New Look, Henry Holland for Debenhams and Kate Moss has recently unveiled her last regular collection for Topshop. Across the pond, Target have continued to feature limited-edition joint efforts thus year with an impressive alumni that includes Jean-Paul Gaultier, Zac Posen, Liberty of London and most recently, Mulberry.

Designer/ high street collaborations prove to be very popular for many reasons. Fans of the designers in question are given the opportunity to shop a new collection, the ranges tend to be limited-edition which attracts dedicated fashionistas and eBay sellers alike, and finally in these frugal economic times, they present a chance to buy a high-end label at a purse-friendly price. Whatever the reason, the collections tend to sell out quickly most of the time.

This month another 3 key collaborations are due to hit stores. The first, due at the end of this week will be Biba designer Barbara Hulanicki's hotly anticipated collection for George at Asda. Hulanicki has designed an affordable range for George at Asda, which makes buying designer fashion literally as easy as buying a pint of milk.

Photo: Pieces from the Barbara Hulanicki for George at Asda collection

Said to be the first of a possible 4 collections, the range of women's clothing and accessories comprises of around 14 pieces and is said to be priced between £8 and "no more than £30" (I have been reliably informed but cannot reveal my source at this time. Lets call him George Asdaman). Earlier this year, House of Fraser relaunched the popular sixties Biba brand and introduced it to the newer generations with some new designs. Hulanicki (who was not involved in the House of Fraser relaunch of Biba, having left the brand some time ago) aims for this new venture to be more economically accessible and with a sold-out collection for Topshop earlier this year under her belt, the George at Asda range will surely be just as popular. The Barbara Hulanicki for George at Asda collection will hit stores on 14th November.

Next up, we have the slickly-campaigned Lanvin for H&M collaboration. H&M are no strangers to successful designer collaborations, a few months back I mentioned some of their most memorable collections while speculating on who would be teaming up with the Swedish fashion brand next. This month sees the launch of Lanvin for H&M which I am sure will be no exception to previous sell-out collections.

Photo: Lanvin for H&M print advertising campaign

Lanvin's Alber Elbaz has come up with an attractive range of clothes, shoes & accessories for men and women, hitting the shops just in time for the Christmas party season. A fairly large collection, it comprises of 48 pieces including party frocks-a-plenty, coats, cute tees, sharp tailoring and statement shoes , this collection will surely have something to please most people. Prices start at £14.99 for sunglasses to £149.99 for some dresses and menswear. This rather chic video showcases the collection very well, displaying the cut and design of each piece in the way of a stylish and atmospheric short film:

Video: Courtesy of via Youtube

The collection will arrive in stores (including Glasgow's own Buchanan Street store) on 23rd November.

Finally, towards the end of this month, high-end fashion house Valentino will be launching their collaboration with Gap. Based on "iconic fashion essentials", the duo will be putting a luxurious spin on basic wardrobe staples. Gap have had previous successful collaborations that have included Mulberry and Stella McCartney. This collaboration is said to be only available in Europe and will be available to buy from 27th November.

Will you be shopping any of these designer/ high street collaborations?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Shops: Much Too Fun

As a self-confessed jewellery fanatic, I knew it wasn't going to be too long before I would be blogging about what treasures have caught my magpie-like eye again recently. Lots of independent jewellery designers and stores have caught my attention lately, through word of mouth, Twitter and simply coming across their pieces while wandering round the shops & craft fairs.

Much Too Fun's online store was one I came across by chance, and I'm so very glad that I did. A fairly new enterprise (it has been up and running around 6 months) hosting in-house and other up-and-coming designers, Much Too Fun specialise in unique pieces that will make their customers smile. While browsing through their collections, I noted a variety of items that expanded beyond jewellery including cushions and bags by Emily Moir, cosy custom knits by Woolly Noodle and Finch & Fouracre's truly lifelike models. Jewellery by The Charm Offensive (specialising in "all things cute and shiny") and Obscure Couture is also on offer, with the latter having recently launched their first collection last month at the Barras centre.

I Heart Tea necklace (£7) by The Charm Offensive

With Christmas fast approaching, there lots of cute and quirky gift ideas to choose from. My favourite collection on the website is the aptly-named Bonnie Bling, which showcases a range of high-quality acrylic jewellery emblazoned with classic Glasgow banter, such as Blether, Peely Wally, Midgies Love Me (so true) and Soap Dodger amongst other well-known phrases. The pieces are bright, affordable and very wearable, sure to brighten up an outfit - here's a few of my favourites:

Peely Wally necklace (£15) by Bonnie Bling

Blether necklace (£15) by Bonnie Bling

Och Aye earrings (£12) By Bonnie Bling

Bonnie Bling have now teamed up with Obscure Couture to release an exclusive jewellery collaboration that correlates with Obscure Couture's Flesh & Bone fashion collection which sees them give traditional Victorian-esque designs a rebellious makeover. Mohawked cameo, anyone?

Bleeding Cameo necklace (£40) by Obscure Couture & Bonnie Bling

The Bonnie Bling collection was created by Mhairi Mackenzie and Sarah Richardson, who are also the dynamic duo behind the Much Too Fun website. Much Too Fun is currently solely online-based, but they have enjoyed successful guest-spots at events such as the 3D/2D West End Festival in Edinburgh, Technofest and Hillhead High School's Fundraising Fete (Ooh! Just next to my house...).

Also, Mhairi from Much Too Fun tells me that the girls are planning a pop-up shop in time for Christmas that will house lots of gorgeous gifts like mirrors, handmade notebooks, natural bath goodies, specially made Christmas cards and prints as well as regular favourites from the online store. The first pop-up shop is set to take place on the 18th of November in Glasgow's Finnieston area, giving fans and newcomers alike the opportunity to browse in person. Details are still to be confirmed so be sure to keep updated by checking out Much Too Fun's Twitter, Facebook and e-newsletter.

A selection of goodies available from Much Too Fun (various prices)

What I really like about Much Too Fun, apart from the awesome range on offer, is the genuine love of creating unique and beautiful pieces behind it. You can really tell that these girls love what they do and the website has a really personal feel to it. You feel like you are buying from actual people and not just another faceless shop brand. More than an online shop, Much Too Fun is a celebration of local creativity run by the designers themselves.

I am excited to see what the Much Too Fun girls get up to in the near future, and with more collaborations, a Bonnie Bling Christmas collection and appearances at Supermercado coming up, I am sure I won't be disappointed.

You can check out Much Too Fun's online store here!

(All photos in this post used from Much Too Fun's website with loads of thanks x)