The Big Solent Sell Off Southampton Solent University students have today been given the unique chance to take part in an apprentice style competition, going head to head in order to sell the most products. The stock they are selling is part of a new range of sportswear designed by students, for students. Fashion management and marketing third years became the young entrepreneurs opening up pop up shops around campus in their latest task; ‘the big sell off’ in an attempt to learn about the demands of the financial and fashion markets and win a special competition prize. They were split into four different teams; orange, blue, green and yellow, and each devised their own marketing and selling strategies in an effort to outsell their rivals. The sportswear range features hoodies, varsity jackets and t-shirts in a variety of different styles for both male and females. The range is inspired by the popular trend ‘casual lifestyle’; a look also featured in high street brands such as Fatface, White Stuff and Joe Brown. Yellow team leader Jodie Colles, 25, predicted that the hoodies and t-shirts would be best sellers because of their style and price. “The range is inspired by jack wills as this is a popular brand amongst students. It’s hard to motivate members of my team to get them selling, and it took a while to devise our marketing strategies. It was difficult to get our heads round the task as it is so close to industry, however it is really rewarding to see the final product and go on to sell it.” She said. There has been a clear difference in marketing strategies as Amie Mccarney, 21, of the green team agreed: “We have focused more on customer service rather than selling; offering
potential customers the personal touch of talking directly to them.” But so far it hasn’t proved effective “I haven’t sold anything yet, but there has been a lot of interest, I think the prices are putting them off.” The greens have put up posters of Kermit the Frog with a mobile number attached, causing a stir amongst students. They have also set up an online Facebook competition where students can upload photos of them with Kermit taken in strange places to win a prize. Orange team however, are the only ones with a sponsor provided by local bar aptly named Orange Rooms, where team leader Rosie Price, 21, works; allowing them to provide discount vouchers to customers. She said “We’re the only team with permission to put up posters around campus. We’ve got free cupcakes and doughnuts for customers and an advert on SSU student radio station.” The blue team have taken a more generic approach as sales manager of the blue team, Holly Brooks explained: “Students always get bad press so we wanted to do something positive with an advert in the Daily Echo.” This challenge hasn’t been all fun and games though, she added: “I didn’t realize how hard it would be to sell on the streets. I’ve worked in retail before where they really push you to sell, but that is much easier in a working environment.”
The New Arts Quarter Southampton city will become the new home of a multimillion pound arts quarter, it was revealed today by city council team leader and project manager Jill Low. The new arts development will open in spring 2015 at an estimated cost of £175 million. It will be built on above bar street next to the Guildhall in the heart of the city; a five minute walk from West Quay shopping centre. “The centre of the city needs some serious regeneration. I love the fact there are two universities in Southampton, plenty of bus routes and parks, and also I love the people. Southampton is a gateway to the city and to Europe, and we know that there is a wish for art in the middle of the city, so it made sense to build it here.” Explained Jill, who has been a part of the project for four years and also worked at the arts centre, where she has set up festivals. The arts and cultural quarter is going to have two auditoriums which will “feel informal to fit small audiences and create a nice friendly atmosphere, and also to become a hive of activity”, a bistro style restaurant and coffee shops, as well as ‘Sea City’; a museum to honour the sinking of the Titanic. It is Above Bar and will feature dance and cabaret in the North performance building. “There is a niche market which we need to fill. We already have the Civic Centre and the Mayflower but there is a need for something else to make work for local residents and international visitors coming in. The feedback from residents has been very positive on the whole.” “There will always be those on the Southampton echo website who will say it can’t be done but we had a ‘Midsomer Night’s Dream’ themed event to advertise the development, which attracted 2,000 visitors, proving it can work.”
Part of the city’s new proposals to bring culture into Southampton includes a space for the community to come together where projects are planned, such as workshops, an art gallery, dance studios, and independent and commercial cafes. It is part of a master plan to create revenue for small businesses and bring tourism to the city. The project is costing £175 million with a fund raising target of £2.1 million and £7.2 million contribution from the arts council. Southampton council are investing over £2 million and there is also a budget for £160,000 a year for the performing arts quarter. Jill explains the benefits of the new quarter: “Culture is an absolute essential part of life. It will make people aware of the city and give them a reason to live here; it will create jobs and also keep the students here after their studies. Other cities have proved that a cultural quarter can regenerate interest in a city, and this proves how essential this project is.” “During the recession we spent two years convincing our funders that there is still a need for this project in Southampton. I only take part in things I am passionate about and I’m really passionate about this project. We are trying to create an informal atmosphere in a very modern building; a buzzing centre which will make people want to come into, watch a film, have a coffee, take part in a workshop, feel safe and more importantly be entertained.” Working together with Jill is Southampton City council’s Communications Director Ben White. He said: “Public sector funding is essential. Council subsidization means we couldn’t afford to carry on. We want to attract tourists but also appeal to existing students and residents. We need to create a balance between people coming off the boats, and
those who already live here. Southampton is proud to be a gateway, it’s part of the history. I’m not saying that everyone in the world will want to come and visit, but it has enough potential to work for everybody.” Jill, who is also in charge of designing the project, explained more about the architecture of the building and revealed that presenting her ideas to the council wasn’t easy. “When we presented our design of the contemporary arts gallery, the council asked: ‘Why would you want to put windows in an art gallery?’ We want them on the ground floor so that people can walk past and look in, and be intrigued about what’s going on inside.” Her plans for the outside of the quarter include several cafes and restaurants surrounding the buildings. “I want it to look special, a place where people can sit and watch the world go by. I want to create a cosmopolitan area, a hub.”
Stylish in Southampton: What does fashion mean to you?
want to be different. I am strongly influenced by old-school rappers and vintage wear.”
The fashionistas of Southampton were out in force today, revealing their style secrets and how important fashion is to them. West Quay high street was packed with shoppers of all ages, out to bag a bargain and snap up new trends to compliment the existing items hidden in their wardrobe.
Solent student Bradley Hunt, 20, agreed: “Fashion is a way of expressing myself. I wear what I like, and I don’t follow fashion trends as such. I find inspiration from the 80s as I love the shape, patterns and colours.” Excitedly, he also discussed his favourite item of clothing: “I love my trainers! I spend half my monthly wage on them.”
“Looking good is very important to me, I spend hours shopping for new trends and outfits. My style is strongly influenced by celebrity culture and what I see other people wearing. I love looking at people’s blogs for style inspiration and I often change my mind and style as the trends shift.” Alex Martin, 22, a student at Southampton University said. A fan of the high street, she added: “My favourite item is definitely my beige faux fur coat.” Topman sales assistant Sophie Matchan, from Totten also agreed: “It’s everything to me, it’s a way of life, one of the most important things, I couldn’t live without it.” Influenced by her place of work; surrounded by the latest trends 24/7 she explained: “I love seeing new fashions as they come in, and working in Topman means I’m also influenced by men’s fashion such as different style of jeans and quirky t-shirts. I love wearing men’s clothes as I prefer the relaxed fit.” The 20 year old added “My new favourite outfit is my black fitted floral maxi dress, I love the design and colour.” But it wasn’t just the females who were passionate about their appearance. Vicrum Binning, 17, from Southampton was just as enthusiastic: “The way I dress is influenced by the music I listen to, I love being individual and hate how everyone dresses the same. I used to follow fashion trends such as chinos, snap-backs and knitted jumpers but now I just
Young PR employee Zoe Woodford however, had an opposing view on what fashion means to her “Fashion isn’t really an issue for me; I don’t follow trends. If I see something I like then I’ll buy it, it doesn’t matter if it’s not considered stylish, or in season.” The 19 year old from Christ Church explained: “I like New Look because it has different styles and it’s cheap, I only spend about £70 a month on clothes.” Her outlook was also shared with screen writing student Bex Andrews, 18, from Norfolk “I hate the way fashion has become an obsession with people now, it’s not something I ever think about. I hate the high street so I shop in charity shops to pick up one off bargains so I can stand out.”
Profile on Katherine Wright Musings of a vintage obsesser This larger than life character with a genuine love for all that is second hand, stunned critics and herself by opening up her own vintage shop in Southampton last year. One of the most down to earth people you could meet, she sits in front of me wearing an entirely second hand outfit consisting of a long puffy maxi skirt which she says is “very useful for Halloween”, an Bullfighter belt, and a necklace from her shop; she thrives on picking out lost gems from the past and updating them to wear today. Her outfit was put together this morning; this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, this fiery female is straight talking with a no nonsense approach to her life and business, yet she doesn’t take life too seriously. This may come as a result that her life hasn’t always been plain sailing as you would believe from her jolly exterior; she has been put through more than her fair share of hardship. So what’s next for this strong independent woman who self proclaims to be “good at maths and shit”? Katherine Wright, 48, describes herself as “a bit geeky”. She is living every fashionistas dream of owning and running her own vintage store. Once a part time venture, selling vintage clothing on Ebay, she has turned it into a fully fledged success in its own right. “My friends and I had vintage items in our wardrobe, not because we would wear them but because we liked them, alas too fat to get into them! I never wanted to open a shop, at the time I was a single mum with a vile thirteen year old so that’s what made me want to start online.” We started selling some on the items on Ebay and it became a regular thing every Monday, in our friend’s basement. Once that took off we started it as an online business. Donna, my partner was a musician doing it on the side, but I wanted to make a
business from it, so I began to look for a shop.” Shifting uncomfortably in her chair, it is clear that reminiscing on this time brings back painful recollections for her. “There was a lot of drama in my home life. My son Bill was in and out of hospital, then my daughter Grace contracted a heart problem and needed surgery.” Victim of a car crash which she is adamant wasn’t her fault; her life entered a downward spiral. “After the car crash, my house burnt down. I lost everything.” Peering at me from behind her large designer rimmed specs I can see she’s welling up, revealing her softer side hidden beneath her tough girl exterior image. After finding her shop in Bedford Place, she signed the lease on 22nd September last year. “The only way I could make any money from these clothes was to open up the shop once a month and have a sale, so I committed myself to all those thousands of pounds in rent, for the next five years.” At that moment an unfamiliar loud computerised noise fills the room, she reaches inside her vintage bag and pulls out her iPhone. “Shut up! Shut up!” she exclaims “Its twitter tweeting me. I get more laughs out of twitter in a day than anything else!” Distracted for a moment by her apparent social networking addiction, she continues. “Coincidently life throws shit at you and you have to deal with it.” So where does her love for all things vintage derive from? Talking about her childhood it is clear from her massive grin that it is a time she looks back on fondly. “I am a child of the 70s. I was just beginning to find my fashion feet.” She begins to imitate riding a bike, rapidly moving her hands and feet “Me and my friend Judy would travel with bin bags on our backs, on our bikes to second hand sales.”
“I was a big girl, and back then the high street didn’t cater for big girls, like it does now – I wept buckets! I went to my first gig alone, wearing men’s pin striped trousers, cricket boots and a mens collarless shirt which I’d sewn green on the lapels. So having started as a vintage wearer, I carried on.” Talking with such expression and emotion it is clear that her desire for vintage and her zest for life is genuine. She sinks back down in her seat and clasps her palms together; the tell tale signs she is about to open up again “I’ve never been this upfront about this before but I will be now. The reason that I have become this crazy, bonkers vintage lady that I am now, is because I suffered massive depression. It was the best place for me to reinvent myself. I don’t think I would’ve been brave enough to do this if I hadn’t gone through that.” She looks uncomfortable and reflective, still playing with her hands. So I delve deeper and question her about her true passion; her shop. Her expression immediately softens and her face lights up at the thought of her haven in Bedford Place. “My business is home-made and cogged together. It’s an unusual collection which received a very good response from London stylists and journalists. I cobble my shop together each day, just out of my own common sense. I didn’t pay anyone, the counter I serve you from is the old sideboard from me and my sisters front room! I’m perceived to be slightly eccentric to my neighbours, I think they are a bit mystified by me.” Although she is extremely confident, she is still a normal woman with the same body hang ups as the rest of us; she says she is baffled by the waif thin model and sizing debate. “The whole sizing thing is just ridiculous! I’m 48, and a big bird so I can say this; try it on try it on! Don’t look at the label,
20 years ago if a vintage item is size 12 it will probably be size 8 today- it makes no sense!” You’d think being such an independent and strong woman would mean she would bear no regrets, but I am surprised to find out that, like the rest of us there are some aspects of her life she wishes to change. “I kick myself for not being brave enough. Sometimes it takes me a long time to take a step; I suppose it’s that fear of getting it wrong, which becomes easier as I get older as I know that there’s no such thing as getting it wrong. So as the interview draws to a close, Katherine packs up her things and combs through her wild, red frizzy hair, leaving me with an afterthought which sums her up perfectly. “I get excited when I see celebs in my stock- I know that makes me shallow but we are all a bit shallow aren’t we?”
The Clothes Show 2011 review It’s that time of year again, when fashion entrepreneurs, budding fashionistas and shopaholics from all across the country, travel to the Clothes Show Live to showcase their talents. A vintage fair, health and beauty stalls, and needle work zone were just some of the attractions on offer for visitors to enjoy. There was even something for the fitness freaks, at the dance show zone with professionals offering tips and demonstrations of their skills. Whether you are a lover of vintage, street style or designer wear there is something for everyone at this year’s show. Held at the infamous venue the NEC in Birmingham, this year was as popular as ever. Following the conventional structure as previous years, the show was split into different themed zones. There was the blue zone which featured Chic Boutique and Anita's Vintage Fashion Fair, home to the Image Catwalk and University & College Forum. The vintage fair has become an integral part of the show over the last couple of years, particularly since vintage has really taken off as a fully fledged trend. Spread across multiple stalls, there were a wide selection of second hand garments and accessories such as oversized wooly jumpers, beaten up handbags, cut to the crotch denim Levis and distressed band t-shirts. I loved the fact it wasn’t just high street retailers getting the chance to show off their products to benefit their stall this year; Charity shop Oxfam had their own pitches in the vintage fair too, selling second hand clothing which I think is a really positive addition to the show, giving customers the chance to share their pennies with a good cause. This zone also
featured stalls for over 35 colleges and universities, reaching out to prospective students looking at studying fashion in higher education. As the majority of visitors were college or GCSE students, this provided them with an educational perspective. The purple zone was less of an interest point, in my opinion, with fast-fashion inspired by the 'streets', including the Offbeat Boutique. As the day went on, it became less popular with spectators; perhaps they were put off by the scarily thin scantily clad pole dancers performing their latest routines on a show pole in the centre of their stall. There was no doubt that their talents were impressive, but I can’t help but think that it put a seedy and provocative light on the show which has a high end reputation as a fashion show. Particularly inappropriate for the younger visitors in this zone, was the cleverly punned pyjama line ‘Bedroom Athletics’. The pink zone aimed at every girls forte, hair and beauty. An interactive part of the show it allowed spectators to be made over by the experts, and try out the products and appliances on sale. For example the GHD stand, selling their famous straightening irons and stylers at a discount show price. As always, this caused pre-teens and students to flock to the pink zone, desperate to achieve the polished look of the celebs. The red zone was market stall inspired, again embracing the popular second hand theme, also seen in the vintage fair. There were one off jewellery pieces on offer as well as skimpy crop tops and vintage dresses proving just how much of a large emphasis on this idea of recycling and second hand fashion there was this year. Discount stalls were also in this zone for customers to purchase past season garments from high street giants such as Topshop and Miss Selfridge.
It was clear that the recession had a major impact on this year’s show; for as soon as you entered the hall there was a visible lack of stalls from previous years making it look noticeably more empty. Gone are the days where they would throw freebies at customers practically shouting at visitors to try their products. My annual freebies carrier bag which ventures out with me every year, remained light throughout the day, only being used to carry two free issues of Heat which I picked up on the way out. Call me ungrateful, but the absence of a free goodie bag certainly put a damper on my day. The catwalk dance show titled ‘A night at the department store’ really blew me away and was inevitably the highlight of the show; that much was clear from the standing ovation and warm reaction from the filled theatre of spectators. The show opened with a guest appearance from Lauren Goodger and a performance from Alexandra Burke of her number one hit ‘Bad Boys’. It was as spectacular as ever with a clear structure and a large amount of thought gone into the themes and outfits being modelled. There was more of a focus on dance this year with each scene featuring an energetic, intense routine performed by a plethora of ever shrinking, waif shaped women and sculpted, toned men. The chemistry between the models in the solo dance routines was obvious and they were all perfectly in time with each other. The show was split into different themes belonging to each floor of a department store such as ‘lingerie’, ‘street style’ and ‘menswear’. The ‘designer and accessories’ featured a particularly impressively choreographed version of the infamous ‘Single Ladies’ by Beyonce. The visuals on the computerised screen behind the models were capturing; one scene which sticks in my mind was the ‘wedding wear’ part of the show which played out images of famous couples weddings in
time to the perfectly suited hit ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars. Popping up all over each zones were celebrity guest appearances from a combination of current reality stars such as Kirk Nircross and Lauren Goodger from The Only Way is Essex, as well as washed up has-beens such as Jeff Brazier, famous for dating Jade Goody and XFactor rejects The Risk. Despite my own view on these celebrities there was certainly no shortage of adoring females queuing up, ready to pose next to them for a photograph. So all in all it was a grand day out, and well worth a visit. Yes it may have lacked content and a few small perks from previous years such as the freebies and a few more stalls to browse, but that is all just an impact of the dreaded recession. The dance catwalk show was as spectacular as ever and would impress even the harshest of critics. The displays and stalls within each zone offer something for everyone and the products they are promoting are unique and stylish; it’s therefore a firm thumbs up from me to the Clothes Show Live 2011.
My Circular Column Rose Adams: Living a life gripped by an addiction to Facebook I am addicted to Facebook. It’s a sad fact but my life is nothing without it. Even as I write this sitting here at my laptop, I’ve opened up the site in a another tab and I’ve also got the app on my Blackberry open next to me, to ensure I am constantly up to date with my news feed. I think it’s time to accept that my addiction to this social network is getting out of hand and there is nothing I can do to stop it. It’s taken hold of my life, my thoughts and my attention and will continue to do so for as long as the damn site exists. I Facebook my friends more than I call them and it has become the most visited app on my phone, even more so than texting. So since when did Facebook become the be all and end all of my life? To be honest I think it may have been when I signed up to it two years ago. How naive was I to think I wouldn’t get caught in that trap, that I could just use it to log on every now and then to keep inside the social loop and keep in touch with old school friends? One example of how, what was once a fun activity to keep me occupied, has turned into a part of my daily routine, was the time I updated my relationship status to ‘engaged’ to my boyfriend Dan a few months ago as a joke between the two of us. He appreciated my way of showing my love, he found it hilarious and that was the end of it; or so I thought. What I didn’t think about, was the amount of others who would also see this on their news feeds and that same night I was flooded ‘congratulations’ and ‘is it true?’ texts from friends; as well as an angry phone call from my mum who doesn’t even have an account, but had heard about it from her
friends friend who does. I mean really? How had an inside joke between Dan and I caused such a stir amongst my family and friends thanks to this social networking nightmare? I catch myself thinking long and hard about my next status before posting it, just to ensure it makes my life sound interesting and exciting - often much more than it actually is. As soon as I visit somewhere remotely impressive for example my recent trip to Cadbury World, (way more exciting than Disneyland in my opinion as I’m sure you’ll agree!) I log straight on with my Blackberry to check in, with the bonus to see how many likes I get. It’s become an obsession! I can’t watch TV without having my phone next to me signed in, so I can check my newsfeed frequently for any updates on the show I’m watching. My mum is forever nagging at me to put my phone down but I just can’t help it it’s like a compulsion. I check it at least four times every hour and have to quickly sign in before I go to sleep just in case I miss anything. If I’m notified of a bad comment I check it straight away to read it and, if necessary, remove it and I’m not ashamed to admit it’s more than likely that one negative comment will ruin my whole day! Constantly checking my news feed does have its advantages though; would I really remember everyone’s birthday if it were not for the reminders I see on my home page as I sign in? Of course not! Facebook allows me to be lazy and not have to think, which is definitely part of the appeal. Why take the trouble to send someone a birthday card if you can just write the same greeting on their wall? My friends and I are in constant competition to get the most likes on statues and profile pictures. Having the app means I’m always notified if I’ve been tagged in a photo and (particularly after a drunken night out) I will
log straight onto my page and see the damage. If it’s bad I will immediately un-tag myself before anyone else gets the chance to see it. Photos used to be taken as a keepsake, a reminder of memorable times with friends and family, those events we never want to forget – now I just take them to share and upload onto Facebook! Every Friday the girls and I will get dolled up ready to party, then retreat to the kitchen for photos in multiple poses for Facebook variety obviously! We then check the screen straight away so if they are as hideous as we imagined, they can be deleted by the owner before she gets a chance to uploads them! It has become part of the weekly pre drink/getting ready routine. Gone are the times I would look back at bad photographs and laugh; safe in the knowledge it would only be my friendship group that would see them. Now it’s not just mates who see them, but every tom dick and harry who has added me in the past two years! This need to appear popular online doesn’t end in the kitchen; it continues through the night ensuring I get into as many photos as possible whilst out, so that I can be tagged in the highest number; another sad but true fact of what my Facebook dominated life has become. With a mere 700 friends on my account I look lonely compared to my mates lists boasting over 1000 in some cases (who cares that I only know about 100 of them at a push – it makes me feel popular!) My obsession with using the site as a way of making my life seem more interesting and giving the impression that I’m out partying every night, has reached new heights for me since coming to University. I select ‘attending’ to all event invitations I receive when the reality is there’s no way I could be out that much; I’d be even more overdrawn and I’d probably have a
breakdown from the lack of early nights! just so it seems that my life is a fast paced non stop party. “Rose Adams attended student night at Oceana” “Rose Adams attended special guest night at junk” my 700 friends will never know that for the most part of the week, I sit in my room with a big tub of Ben & Jerrys to myself watching ‘The Only Way is Essex’. But what do I really have to prove to these people who were probably also lying about going out on Saturday night? I guess I will just have to come to terms with the fact there is no cure to my Facebook addiction and embrace it. It will remain part of my daily routine and I should not be afraid to admit that I like it that way.