Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BHS: From RIP to reinvented

Having been reading up on the demise of BHS this week, I wish I'd been able to buy it for £1, as Phillip Green did last year in the BHS takeover by Dominic Chappell.  I appreciate The Guardian's view on BHS as it described and summed up the financial dealings behind the scenes as being "bang up to date, typifying the ugly realities of the modern British way of doing business even if the retail aspect of the BHS story strikes a dated note."  I have a huge dislike, like many people, of how big businesses operate to make the greedy rich even richer at the expense of the vast majority of people.

If I'd had the chance to buy it for £1 I'd have worked my vision and made it a truly British retailer.  Imagine each branch with a brand identity as well as an individualism reflecting its local community.  Stores stocking the company's own ranges of clothing, homeware etc as well as local designers work from clothing to jewellery to furniture.  This would offer a platform to support business start ups, giving the established store a brand new innovative approach and a lot of unique stock, and really provide young companies with opportunities for development and growth.  It's online store could work wonders, selling items made in Aberdeen to customers in Bristol, the way online selling should be done.  That's how thinking outside the box should be done, as people are getting bored with the monotonous look of the high street and looking for individual style available online and creating their own identity, and that's the truer version of self expression.

Mary Portas has also written a piece about the issue, again from The Guardian :) saying she'd "add some small startups that are all young British makers or designers, housing them within a market place model and then you start a business with a point of view."  I'm pleased I see myself thinking along the right lines it seems.  Thinking like this needs to speed up and gain momentum now, not trickle slowly and be picked up by the next generation; collaboration needs to get a move on now and opportunities to take the means to accumulate more wealth for the super greedy need to be recognised and used by people who have the vision and imagination for an up to date version of retail and economy to begin.


It's a really poor show now that the concept of being an entrepreneur means having the ability and gall to exploit others.
I'm seeing more often that businesses use the outdated business model of requiring (demanding?) cash up front from up & coming businesses. When the fledgling business is an artist or designer who has already made a financial commitment to produce their works surely it would be far more sensible to give them at least a period of grace before requiring cash deposits/rent to stock their goods? Instead it seems they've got to work twice as hard to continue producing and to meet extra financial overheads, and to do extra marketing which you might have thought would have been part of their rental package.
Time to have a rethink about modern business operations I think! it's all about the handover of cash and getting nothing in return, that's not business, that's greed.
To clarify, what I'm particularly thinking of is shop units in malls who charge high rents. If the rents were used to pay for good marketing then that would be ok (say a team of photographer, stylist etc) to produce good commercial images, that would be an indirect payment from designer to team to provide good images to enhance their brand.
Also, I'm thinking of shop units on Edinburgh's Royal Mile which are just turned into yet more tacky tourist outlets to make a quick quid. How about they were turned into shops to show the real face of Scotland - it's innate talent for contemporary design with some traditional references, it's productivity and that's it's genuinely inspiring. Rent free for a period to let the new business establish which is far better than having a unit lie empty. How much more attractive and inspiring would that be for travellers from all round the world to see than another Wee Jock ginger cap?  Even if a loan system was in place rather than paying up front would make establishing a business more beneficial.  Start-ups I'm thinking of are more likely to not succeed because of heavy outlays at the point of launch, and time taken up with covering costs instead of concentrating on the productivity.  I believe the commitment to the business is demonstrated by years of college and financing the production of garments, music, jewellery etc so an initial financial outlay to secure premises should be waived for a grace period at lease.    

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Great Philosopher Once Wrote...

Well, I'm the birthday girl today - 21 times two!!

Very much starting a new phase in life - nothing planned, just the way it's happening.  This year so far has been much better than the last two years altogether, things feeling like they're falling into place at the right time, better perspectives on a lot of aspects of life.  The last six months of 2015 was a process of redefining and reconciling a lot of thoughts and seeing that life is a series of interconnecting events.  Some stuff was quite stressful, but the people who helped me deal with it all are amazing and I now see the part they have in my life in a renewed way, especially one particular person :)  Also, there are some folk who come into your life and can totally change it, not in the way you expected they would, but have left it in a better place than it had been.  Someone else inspired me to get back on the right track, I didn't realise I wasn't on the correct track until their influence made me remember what was more right for me and I redirected myself  to a mindset and an attitude that was frustratingly missing.

Re my last post about redefining how I see styling and fashion etc; that was one of the things I was puzzling over and now I've nailed that through wanting to understand the psychology of fashion, art and the ego.  I bought a book on psychology the other day and I'm looking forward to getting into reading that, I'm wondering if it'll lead to taking a course in psychology - we'll see!

The positive things so far in 2016 have been starting the year off with starting to put together an online magazine around the Scottish creative industry - showing all the creativity Scotland has and the ability we have to think progressively outside the box, to be motivated and inspiring, to have valid opinions and to be able to express these well.  Then I was working on a feature film, then it was straight into Celtic Connections usherinf followed by Irish Dancing ushering for the Scottish then the World Champs.  For once in the breadnbutter job I had the opportunity to be pro-active and manage people rather than , and I was mixing with the dancers too which made a huge difference to my shifts.  I saw the Huntsman Winters War trailer which inspired me to do some gold warrior queen costume design which is still in the process of being made.

Then I did a wee bit of modelling on an alt photoshoot and had a brilliant time, and on the back of that decided I could put together a wee modelling portfolio of alt shoots, and combing that with my costume design.  The most entertaining shoot so far has been with me lying in a bath of milk :D

Next project on the agenda is a fashion show after a hiatus of over two years.  Got a partner in crime to plan the event with which is making all the difference.  In hindsight I don't know how I did all I used to do in the planning of events cos so much goes into it but I did so go me!  This show is following my favourite theme of the Creative VS the Corporate and me and P.I.C. (Partner In Crime) checked out the venue today which is totally perfect, and the VM loves the whole idea as it's developed so far.  Also been planning a brilliantly surreal photoshoot (styling this one) with a brilliant photographer, Photobara
involving black giant balloons, a wrought iron bed and a beach with an abandoned fishing boat.  Not giving any more away!!

And on top of that, there's the health issue which has been bugging me for the last few years which at first I thought was in intolerance to sweets, fizzy drinks and booze.  I've done a lot of research and a lot of talking with friends with general sense and insight as well as some with similar issues, and seem to have found a cause for this intolerance which will hopefully see it rectified in a few months.  It had better work - the carrot on the stick is the bottle of vodka I bought two weeks ago which will be indulged at the end of the three months!  Between diet changes and meds to change the gut bacteria levels after being on antibiotics since as far as I can remember, I'll hopefully not itch like my fleas have got fleas.  The internet's brilliant for finding so much helpful info, people with good helpful advice etc.  So now on a very healthy diet which isn't a restrictive weight loss diet, it's been making alterations to what I eat every day.  This was linked to me by a friend: http://Scientists Discover A New Link Between The Brain And The Immune System which is very interesting.

So, signing off for tonight :)

Changing your own attitude is much easier than changing other peoples behaviour.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fashion Psychology

I'm needing to find a different take on styling which has more  to it than just looking cool for the sake of it, and I'm really enjoying researching the psychology of fashion. I finished reading Mind What You Wear by Prof Karen Pine last night and I'm looking for more similar titles to read.  I've also seen a few good YouTube vids.

Buying new clothes equals reinvention of self;  clothes can't change you per se but can encourage you to behave in different ways.  Adopting such behaviour traits into your personality is what changes you as a person.

Also more likely by adhering to a style demonstrates a desire to  emulate a personality or a status associated with a look eg ladylike elegance.  Rather than emulate someone else adopt and display the behaviour traits of such a person so you evolve your personality itself rather than trying to be seen as someone else.  Emulating someone else indicates under confidence in oneself by having to display the characteristics of someone else.  Make it about self reliance (and self like) and then you won't need to be as concerned about what others think as you know you've made the most of yourself from the inside out by assimilating attributes you admire into your own character, and therefore you're more likely to feel enabled to take control of your life rather than it being largely controlled by any perceived "authority" you don't think you possess.  Increased self awareness allows you to take more responsibility for your own choices and direction in life.

I think we want to consider WHY we're compelled to behave and express in certain ways, not just the reasons because. eg I'm motivated to wear sharp tailoring as I need to be taken seriously as an entrepreneur today, or I'm wearing a short skirt because it'll make me feel sexy and the REASON FOR THAT is I want to assert or reaffirm my ability to be alluring.

Fashion is about being creatively inspirational and aspirational, so I love the idea of evolving your character to it's utmost potential - that's a true aspiration of spirit rather than a material apsiration to luxury and lifestyle.  I've refined my concept of styling to use fashion as a kind of costume design, developing a character through references and themes and enabling people to feel their potential to be that person and achieve greater confidence and motivation in their own sense of self.  To me that makes sense and is a far less superficial way of utilising and enjoying clothing.  Not that there's anything wrong with enjoying clothes for their own sake, but I feel that fashion is perceived as frivolous in this business dominated world and have felt the pressure to make it more tangible than the whim of a mood, to intellectualise it.  Now I've given my own thoughts some credibility and see my role as stylist more seriously which is enough to motivate me further to develop.


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