Spotlight on Sunita Mukhi

Accessories designer Sunita Mukhi believes that handbags are the important item in a woman’s wardrobe. For her a handbag can express one’s personal style through its outward appearance whilst inside it can hold some of our most precious possessions. Inspired by her love of handbags Sunita launched her first accessories collection in 2011; her designs combine a reverence for classic, ladylike styles with a love of colour and embellishment. The result is bags that are wearable and functional yet also glamorous and luxurious. In essence these are products for women who love a good handbag and are not afraid of making a powerful sartorial statement.

Sunita Mukhi’s design signature is her heavily embellished ‘evil eye’ motif; this striking take on a traditional symbol makes her bags utterly unmistakable. This eye-popping pattern doesn’t just adorn evening clutches; it also makes an appearance on totes and other day bags as well giving each of Sunita’s designs a vibrancy all of their own. These are bags that, through their prominent but restrained embellishment, certainly stand out from the crowd and yet they still function perfectly well as handbags; these are not show pieces to be carried but not used rather they are handbags made for day to day living. Despite their bright evil eye decorations Sunita’s handbags could, quite easily, slot into a contemporary wardrobe; these are bags from modern women who love to experiment with bright colours and novel designs.

Each Sunita Mukhi handbag provides the carrier with a stylish but fuss free way to make a conspicuous statement. These are not bags that have to work hard to steal the spotlight; with their vibrant, attractive decoration these are bags designed to catch people’s attention. Yet strip away their impressive embellishments and what you are left with is a range of functional, simple and ultimately stylish handbags.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on Sargossa

Shoe designer Nanna Liv set out to solve a conundrum that has frustrated women for years; simply put why is it not possible to find a pair of stilettos that are both stylish and comfortable. Nanna founded Sargossa to bridge this gap between comfort and style providing women with gorgeous but wearable heels. Made with care each Sargossa shoe features a specially designed in-sole that provides the foot with much needed support meaning that the brand’s designs can be worn all day long. Sargossa’s shoes are designed with today’s demanding modern lifestyle in mind; these are heels for women with busy schedules but a love of fashionable footwear.

Looking at Sargossa’s range of feminine, fashionable and downright gorgeous shoes it is hard to believe that these heels are as comfortable as they are chic. These are certainly not ‘sensible’ orthopaedic shoes rather they are stylish heels that are more comfortable than their counterparts. The brand’s aesthetic is fashionable but not over the top; Sargossa’s heels may be high but they are not sky high and they veer away from overwhelming detailing and instead favour paired down style designed to last beyond this season. These are shoes that certainly have their figure on the pulse of today’s fashion trends and yet exercise a certain level of restraint. The result is shoes that fashion and style conscious women of almost all ages could wear with ease and confidence.

In the world of women’s footwear there are few brands that combine comfort with style; women often have choose between ugly but practical shoes and attractive but unworkable heels. Sargossa is on the few brands that does produce stylish, elegant and comfy shoes. With their irresistible combination of innovative design and contemporary style these are heels for the modern, fashion and comfort conscious footwear lover.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on In One Clothing

In One Clothing founder Sylvie grew up fascinated by multifunctional products, from reversible duvet covers to watches with interchangeable straps. Yet it was the compliments she received whilst wearing a multiway dress that spurred her on to create her own collection of multi-use clothing. Today In One create a range of dresses that can each be styled in up to fourteen ways giving them an almost unmatched versatility. These are wardrobe heroes, dresses that can be styled for the office one day then converted to evening wear the next. Whether you are looking for a flexible bridesmaid option or a lightweight multifunctional piece for your suitcase In One’s versatile dresses could be just what you are looking for.

To maximise on the versatility of their pieces In One keep their dresses simple opting for bold but classic block colours; think black, navy blue and dark purple. For In One the beauty of their dresses is not in surface decoration or detailing but in the myriad of ways they can be styled; these are, in essence, blank canvases that allow the wearer to show off their individual style with ease. Made from fabric sourced in the UK and manufactured in Great Britain these are dresses that really showcase the ingenuity of British design. Each dress gives the wearer the opportunity to indulge their personal tastes and style but in a fuss free and easy way. With an In One dress you do not have to spend time searching through your wardrobe for the perfect piece, instead you can just throw on the dress and style it as you please.

In One’s dresses manage to combine simple easy to wear functionality with versatility giving the customer both a practical piece of clothing and the opportunity to wear it as they please. In short In One show how, with a little clever design, one simple dress can become a versatile wardrobe staple.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on Folie a Deux

Taking its name from the French term for a ‘shared delusion’ Folie a Deux is a vintage inspired brand with a love of dressing up. The label’s sultry designs are full of old school vintage glamour but also have a dark side; these are dresses for parties, adventures and the mean city streets rather than the office or a formal occasion. This is clothing that stays just the right side of gothic and draws inspiration from fashion movements as diverse as rockabilly and grunge. This is, in essence, dark but playful clothing for women with their own individual fashion sense and a love of dressing up.

Folie a Deux’s designs vary in style but what links them is their attention to detail and distinctive nods to the fashions of yesteryear. This is a brand that produces figure hugging 1930s inspired evening dresses and bright, light hearted 50s inspired flared dresses. Whatever vintage period or style you look to for fashion inspiration Folie a Deux have a dress for you. Yet for all the brand’s reverence for the fashions of the past Folie a Deux have their feet firmly planted in the 21st century. Despite taking their cues from the past the label’s dresses also appear fresh and current with hemlines and fabrics reflecting modern tastes. This is, in places, vintage dressing for those who do not like vintage.

Folie a Deux is no mere vintage reproduction brand rather it reworks old fashioned style into something to appeal to the modern consumer. Though vintage inspired these are dresses that could easily fit into a youthful contemporary wardrobe; that could be style with modern pieces. This is clothing for those who like to dress up, top experiment with their personal style and make a statement. In short this is clothing for play not for work.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on Pring Paris

Founded in the trendy Parisian neighbourhood of Le Marais in 2007 by Thai-American designer Pring footwear brand Pring Paris creates stylish shoes with a twist. Each pair of Pring’s idiosyncratic designs is handcrafted in Thailand and the brand only uses the very best materials. Pring Paris’ mission is to create beautiful, luxurious and inspirational shoes that wearers will love. These are shoes that combine chic French style with unique contemporary design making them ideal for the shoe lover in search of something a little different. Pring Paris shoes are stylish and sophisticated yet also kooky and individual; this is distinctive footwear for those looking to stand out from the crowd and display their own style.

Pring Paris’ aesthetic is modern, kooky, colourful and cool; wooden heels, snake skins and metallic details all make for shoes that are eclectic, contemporary and often irresistible. This season Pring’s creations include wooden wedges, colourful flats and attractive sandals; the brand’s shoes look up to date and yet do not really adhere to current trends giving them a far longer lifespan than many of the summer shoes available on the high street. These are shoes that are far to distinctive to conform to fast fashion trends rather they combine fresh, current design with a timeless uniqueness designed to last for years to come; in essence these are shoe that will look as current in a couple of years time as they do today.

Dripping with Parisian cool and a fresh, international flair Pring Paris’ footwear is wonderfully desirable. These are shoes with enough individuality to stand out from the crowd that also look incredibly good on your feet. This combination of wearablity and eccentric design is refreshingly unique and would make Pring’s shoes a good fit for almost any style conscious wardrobe. In short Pring Paris creates beautiful shoes for both the fashion lover and the unconventional dresser.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on Mya Blue

Founded by lingerie and swimwear designer Lindsey Brown Mya Blue is brand that creates stylish, wearable and easy to pack beachwear. The brand’s kaftans, dresses and cover ups are ideal for converting swimwear into a glamorous lunch ready ensemble. This is beachwear chic enough to wear by the hotel pool or in a beachside bar yet fluid and comfortable enough to wear whilst exploring the beach. This is light, cool clothing for sunny tropical climes, this is beachwear that is designed to fit snugly into a suitcase and that can be simply thrown on when needed. Mya Blue design, in essence, classic beachwear for women of all sizes.

Mya Blue’s current collection ranges from pretty boho beach dresses to sultry sheer tunic; this is a brand that creates a cover up for every beach. Mya stick to a light summer palette of turquoise blues, greens with the occasional black, white, however, is perhaps the colour that features most prominently in Mya Blue’s designs giving them a crisp contemporary feel and versatility. Striking embellishments and embroidery further enhance the label’s designs; Mya Blue’s creations may be easy to wear and fuss free but they are also full of femininity and are even pretty in places. These are cover ups and kaftans that attract and enthuse the wearer but that are also simple and straightforward as any good beachwear should be. A Mya Blue beach dress does not need lots of complicated styling or planning; all you need to make a Mya Blue cover up look fantastic is a bikini, sandals and a tan.

If you feel there is a kaftans sized hole in your suitcase this summer then Mya Blue is the beachwear brand for you. Their designs are stylish, feminine and simple; dressing for the beach should never be difficult and Mya Blue’s creations show easy but chic beachwear at its best.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on Komodo

Komodo is a clothing brand born out of a love of fun and travel but the company also has a strictly ethical ethos. This is a brand that truly believes in fair trade, paying workers a living wage and in making environmentally friendly choices. Yet for all their ethical credentials Komodo are a fashion brand first and friends of the environment second; this is a brand that creates good quality clothing that also happens to be ethical. Inspired by travel and the founder’s backpacking days Komodo’s clothes are perfect for adventures abroad, days spent on white sandy beaches and summers of love. This is clothing for the free spirited but practical; for those who crave a bohemian lifestyle but not the traditional ‘boho’ look. Essentially this is clothing for the modern, travel lover who cares both about the provenance and style of their clothing.

Komodo’s style is simple and relaxed but also fresh and contemporary; these are clothes that would not look out of place in a modern suitcase but that do not slavishly follow fashion trends. The brand regularly uses environmentally friendly materials such as hemp, organic cotton and bamboo yet looking at the clothes one would never suspect that they in fact eco friendly. These are wearable wardrobe basics that rival anything found on the high street in both aesthetics and affordability; this is not clothing solely for eco-warriors or hippies but rather simple, easy to wear clothing for everyone.

Free from fuss of pretence Komodo create clothing that is straightforward, modern and wearable; this is fashion that requires very little effort, which can be simply thrown on. Komodo is not a brand for the fashion forward or style obsessed rather it is a lifestyle label for those who appreciate quality, ethics and good design; for those who want to look good but do not want to try too hard. In short Komodo produce clothes for the free spirited but discerning buyer.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on Zapita

Founded in London by shoe designer Nicola Renshaw Zapita creates great quality, unique, feminine shoes. Zapita’s shoes are expertly crafted in Italy, Spain and Greece; the brand uses only the very best quality suede or leather and each pair of heels has a gel pad in the footbed to increase comfort. Zapita’s shoes are stylish, beautifully crafted and well-designed; these are shoes combine great craftsmanship with contemporary style and practicality. Zapita’s designs look fresh and unique yet they do not adhere to the transient trends of the fashion industry; these are not trendy shoes or even statement shoes rather this is chic but practical footwear for those in search of both style and substance.

Zapita’s signature style is smart and ladylike but relaxed with the brand’s designs opting for natural textures and wearable heels. Zapita’s aesthetic is distinctive without being over the top or un-wearable; the brand’s shoes may be unique but they could also fit, quite easily, into a modern wardrobe. With some of Zapita’s shoes interest is added by the use of striking animal and ethnic prints whilst, elsewhere, ladylike ribbons give others of their shoes a feminine feel. Zapita’s shoes manage to stay just the right side sensible; the label’s shoes are wearable, even practical in places yet they are not dull or unattractive. These are shoes that manage to pull off the impossible in that they are actually easy to wear and stylish at the same time; these are shoes you could wear from dawn till dusk, that could get you through a busy day whilst all the while looking absolutely fabulous.

When it comes to footwear quality is of paramount concern to many people; badly made heels never make anyone look good and spending a day in a pair of uncomfortable shoes can be agony. Luckily Zapita is a brand that creates good quality comfortable shoes that do not skimp on style meaning that today’s woman can have her dream shoes and wear them with ease.

-Hannah Balsdon

Spotlight on Larah England

Larah England is a luxury British handbag brand that focuses on creating sumptuous but long lasting bags. Larah England studiously avoid the allure of the ‘it’ bag instead opting to produce handbags that combine both traditional British design and modern functionality. These are bags for day-to-day living; handbags that look fantastic but are practical enough to use again and again. These are not statement bags rather they are practical, classic bags designed to become wardrobe essentials. Yet for all their functionality and style Larah England’s bags also possess a definitely British spirit and a fun quirky edge. In short with their individualistic, classic and durable design Larah England’s beautifully crafted bags exemplify everything that good about British fashion.

Larah England’s current collection consists of four unique handbags; the Windsor, a roomy tote, the Harewood, a slouchy satchel, the Apsley, a chic shoulder bag and the St James, a functional clutch. The bags all have a distinctly British but relaxed aesthetic; these are spacious, pleasing bags designed to accompany tea dresses or jeans rather than suits and officewear. With unique plaited handles and a logo that features that most British of objects, the teapot, Larah England’s bags have enough kooky English design to make them interesting but such design flourishes do not go so far as to detract from the practicality of the handbags.  Larah England bags are designed for days out in the country, shopping trips and long lunches. In essence these bags combine old fashioned British luxury with a laid back attitude. All of this makes Larah England’s bags fashionable without being too trendy; these are handbags that look effortlessly stylish without trying too hard.

With their relaxed vibe, well thought out design and British style Larah England’s handbags are pretty close to perfect. These are luxury handbags that also possess a functionality and durability that sets them apart from the here-today-gone-tomorrow handbags that dominate the high street. A Larah England bag is not just for this season, it is for life.

-Hannah Balsdon 

Spotlight on The Clothes Lady

For founder Sarah trouser brand The Clothes Lady started as a personal quest; a quest to find a pair of well fitting, comfortable, stylish and affordable trousers. After searching high and low Sarah realised that there was a real gap in the market for well-designed, wearable women’s trousers and so, after teaming up with designer and blogger Victoria, she started her own label, The Clothes Lady or TCL for short. The Clothes Lady now produces a range of stylish but comfortable ladies trousers; the secret to their design’s success clever adjustable waistbands and flat fronts which give the wearer a streamlined silhouette. As a result these are trousers women of all ages can wear with confidence; trousers designed to be a woman’s friend rather than her enemy.

The Clothes Lady’s pieces stick to a clean businesslike aesthetic that makes them ideal for the office or a work environment. Poor quality Officewear is often ill fitting, bland and uncomfortable but TCL’s trousers are easy to wear and are designed to fit the female form.  These are feminine but practical trousers for busy modern women. Free from unnecessary fuss and fast fashion trends these are trousers that can fit seamlessly into a hardworking, contemporary wardrobe. The simplicity of TCL’s designs gives them a flexibility rarely found in smart office attire; these are trousers that could be teamed with feminine blouses or masculine shirts, trousers that would look equally stylish with loafers or heels, a blazer or trench.

In this hectic modern world the trouser, once a bastion of menswear, has become the go-to garment for women of all shapes and sizes. Dresses and skirts may look attractive but for many women the trouser is the most practical option. This does not mean, however, that trousers must remain overly masculine, unflattering or just downright uncomfortable; The Clothes Lady’s well thought out designs provide the female trouser lover with both style and comfort, both practicality and femininity. In short these are trousers created to suit every woman and that is a very enticing prospect indeed.

-Hannah Balsdon