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Cambridge Style Week

Fashion Week Season!

We are in the middle of Fashion Week Season. The 4 big fashion shows, New York, London, Milan and Paris will show collections for the 2013 Autumn Winter season. These big traditional and long established events happen twice per year to present designers collections for the next season. These shows establish design trends that then make their way in a subtle fashion into the clothing that we end up buying in the shops or online.

Fashion Week Awareness and the emergence of other shows

Mass media, social media and the Internet in general is enabling more people to be aware of and to pay attention to Fashion Week activities which were previously only really accessible to selected people in the fashion industry. This more mainstream approach is encouraging people to establish other shows and events.

Cambridge Style Week

Cambridge Style Week is an example of this trend and we are very excited to be taking part. Cambridge Style Week runs from February 20th to February 24th. Cambridge is a fantastic city to live and work in. It has a great economy based in science and technology but it doesn’t stop there. Cambridge also has a rich creative side to it and fashion is a part of that with designers and brands hailing from Cambridge establishing themselves worldwide.
This years Cambridge Style Week is hopefully just the first of what will become a regular event promoting fashion in general and fashion businesses from Cambridgeshire.


Vida Moda is an online only retailer of women’s wear size 14 to 28 and is based in Cambridgeshire.

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Knitted Sweater with different colour bands

Golden Rules for shopping the Sales

It’s the season for sales!

It’s that time of year again, when all the high street and online shops try to seduce you into spending any money you have left post-Christmas on their brilliant bargains and cheap as chips chic. We love a bargain as much as the next well dressed fashionista, but we also know that the January sales can sometimes send even the savviest shopper temporarily insane! If you love a rummage on a sale rail, then read on for our golden rules of how to shop the sales:

Tip 1: Is it a sales bargain?

It’s only a bargain if you’ll actually wear it. If your style is casually chic with a muted palette, then that electric blue sequined frock is definitely not a bargain, however cheap it is! Don’t let yourself be seduced by ridiculously low price tags – more often than not, they’re so low for a reason! (And remember, sale items are often non-returnable!)

Tip 2: Plan your sale shopping

Know what you’re looking for.  Before you dive into the sales, have a good look through your wardrobe and identify any gaps.  Are you in need of a great new pair of jeans? Is the majority of your underwear collection looking past its best? Making a list of what you actually need will help keep you focused and make you less likely to be sidetracked by ‘too good to be true’ price drops.

Tip 3: Beware the impulse buy in sales

Try things on or take them back.  We know, it’s busy, it’s a hassle and there’s probably a queue, but wherever possible, do make the effort to try things on before you buy.  If you really can’t face the changing room queue, and you really love what you’ve picked up, then snap it up and try on as soon as you get home.  If it’s not a keeper – take it back! Most women have a shocking number of impulse sale buys hanging in their wardrobe, tags still attached – don’t fall into the trap!

Blue & Grey Dress
Was £54.95 now £38.97

Waterfal Tunic with sliver sparkle thread detail

Waterfall Tunic
Was £59.95 now £35.97

Knitted Sweater with different colour bands

Banded Sweater
Was £49.00 now £29.40

And of course the best tip for shopping the sales, is don’t forget to check out the sale items on offer at Vida Moda – as shown above, Happy Sale Shopping!

Joanna


January Sale now on at Vida Moda | Quality fashion For Women Size 14 to 28

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Beautiful Blouses on Sale

Beautiful Blouses

Now is a great time to be shopping online. any online stores are running fabulous sales and Vida Moda is no exception. We have some great deals on blouses.

Whether you’re looking for something chic to help banish the back to work blues, or you want to smarten up your casual a little for lunch with the girls, you really can’t beat a beautiful blouse. Here are three of our favourites from the collections at Vida Moda – which do you like best? They are all currently in the sale.

Beautiful Blouses on sale at Vida Moda

From Left to right: Silk Blouse by Bitte Kai Rand, Was £178 – Now £89 ~ Watercolour Print Blouse by Que, Was £79.95 – Now £59.96 ~ Pretty Print Blouse by Que ~ Was £59.75 – Now £35.85

All of these gorgeous blouse are available in size 16 upwards.

Joanna


Beautiful Blouses on sale at Vida Moda | Quality fashion For Women Size 14 to 28

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Mind The Gap – Skinny Fashion Mannequins – Are They A Good Idea?

The fashion industry is fickle and often driven by style directors keen to wave the next cool thing right in front of us. Historically designers and retailers or possibly art directors in media have done this with lazy respect for the responsibility they wield.

“What responsibility?” I hear you ask. Well in simple terms these people are in a position of power when it comes to influencing other people. None more so than the big brands. For a lot of them their audience is young people and a lot of them will be affected by the visions that style directors and the art directors push for a particular brand or season.

A friend of ours pointed us in the direction of The Gap and the mannequins they use. I haven’t been in Gap for a number of years, I’m perhaps not quite too “old” for the their clothes but I’m definitely too fat for them if their mannequins are anything to go by.

The Gap - Using super skinny mannequins

Mannequin Too Skinny?

Their mannequins are skinny, and please note dear reader not just thin, but broom stick thin. This is the image Gap present to the customer. A lot of their customers will be young, girls and young women who will (subconsciously) look at those mannequins and may think they need to look like that too in order to look cool, be super skinny to wear those clothes and carry off that particular look. Brands like The Gap (they aren’t the only ones) have immense power when it comes to influencing people and how they look. They should be more responsible in using this power.

There is endless debate about health and weight which will carry on indefinitely. Retailers and brands could and should be a little more conscious of their role in portraying a positive body that perhaps is closer to a healthy reality than is currently the norm. This is isn’t the first time this has been commented on. Gap were taken to task in the media last year over their use of super skinny mannequins.

I’m not ranting at Gap, just asking for some thoughtful consideration of the impact they may be having on their vast customer base and requesting that they take some positive action on this issue.

They have a responsibility to think about the style image they are presenting and potential effect it may have on young people, particularly young women. We all want to look good and dress well. There is a line that can be crossed and like everything there is an up side and a downside to crossing the line. All too often it is easy to ignore the darkness of the downside. They pretend it doesn’t exist and instead focus on the upside which is shiny and glamourous but laced with risk.

All too often the fashion industry finds itself on the wrong side of the line which is a shame.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Plus Size Designer Fashion For Women With Curves

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Designer Fashion Plus Size Clothing Patterned Tunic By Vetono

Ladies! you can help choose our designer fashion collections for Autumn Winter 2012

Designer Fashion For Women With Curves

We’re on a mission to bring a choice of designer fashion to ladies with curves and at this time of year we are busy viewing plus size clothing collections that are going to be available later this year in Autumn and Winter. We are looking for well designed fashion that makes a statement, is beautiful, well made AND available in a range of sizes that go well beyond size 16! That is not as easy you might think. As independent retailers we have to choose what we want to stock in the Autumn and Winter and order it now so it can be manufactured in time. This is quite difficult we as retailers are totally dependent on a designers impression of where a trend is going or we could be at the mercy of their artistic whim and as fashion taste is subjective, one person’s heavenly vision might be horrific for someone else!

Designer Fashion Experiment

Because of this dilemma we carried out an experiment last weekend. We attended a large designer fashion trade fair and we posted pictures on our facebook wall of various pieces that caught our attention and we asked for friends/fans/ followers opinions. Plenty of people ventured their opinions and we asked a few more questions about colour, pattern, style etc and again people responded. It was really helpful for us to have a direct live interaction with potential customers to allow us to get a perception of their needs and desires. See below for sample image of the designer fashion pieces that we posted on our facebook wall.

Designer Fashion Plus Size Clothing Patterned Tunic By QueDesigner Fashion Plus Size Clothing Patterned Tunic By VetonoDesigner Fashion Plus Size Clothing Bold Patterned Tunic by Que

We tested our own taste designer fashion choices by including pictures of pieces that we didn’t particularly like (but we didn’t say this on the posts) to see what your opinions were. On the whole we were pleased to see that our tastes largely reflected your tastes. i.e. generally where people indicated (often in volume) they didn’t like something we agreed with them.

Your Feedback About Plus Size Designer Fashion

There were other things we picked up from your feedback too.

1) We need to stock a better range of plus sizes covering a wider selection of pieces in our designer fashion collections (which we want to do), currently we go to size 24.

2) There was a general comment that there is too much grey and people would like to see more colour, including brighter Autumn shades. Our pictures at the these events will always be taken with a cameraphone in lighting that’s not really suitable for photographing designer fashion items. Therefore colours may not be so accurate, browns, beiges, light greys and blues can all turn out “grey” in these type of photographs. Nonetheless it was wonderful to receive this feedback because “grey” is one of standard colors in a fashion designers palette for Autumn and Winter Collections. Because of your feedback we’ll be looking for pieces spanning a wider colour palette this weekend at the next designer fashion trade fair we’re attending.

3) Your also gave us your views on types of pattern, garment shapes and embellishments that you liked or didn’t like which again will help us shape the designer fashion collections we choose for next season.

Maybe it is a little unusual to inform the selection of collections in this way but we think this is particularly useful for us as an online designer fashion retailer as it enables us to engage directly with potential customers. Designer Fashion trade shows and fairs present us with bewildering choices covering all fashion spectrums and make no mistake it is difficult to choose what is right for our customer base. That’s why feedback through a forum like facebook is so helpful.

We face considerable challenges in operating a designer fashion led business, not least because we are relatively new, in a recession and because we are focused on a core market that could be better served by the fashion industry.

Amongst all the challenges we face we’d most like to provide our potential customers with something that appeals to them. If we don’t do that, there is no point to our business. Finding a way to do that at a particular point in time is quite difficult which is why last weekend was so enjoyable, getting your views live on the day and over following days was so helpful and we hope you enjoyed participating too!

Give Us Your Feedback Live This Sunday

So we are going to do a lot more of this to help bring you designer fashion that you’ll love.

We’re attending another show this weekend (on Sunday) and we’ll post “snapshot” pictures of pieces from various designer fashion collections and seek your views on whether you like them or not. We’ll also post questions relating to style, colour, patterns and textures to help us understand what you like.

Look out for us on facebook through much of Sunday. We’ll be delighted if you can join us now and again and comment on the posts and share your views with our community and hopefully encourage some style debate!

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion and Plus Size Clothing For Women With Curves

Images ©Vida Moda 2012

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Harvey Nichols “Walk of Shame” Video or as we see it “Insulting your customers to sell to them”

Harvey Nichols are currently running an advert on YouTube called the “Walk of Shame”. On the immediate surface it appears to be aimed at helping Harvey Nichols sell more party wear for Christmas and New Year parties. An innocent enough desire on the part of any business you might think.

It goes much deeper than that. The advert is called “The walk of shame” and depicts various young women making their way home in the early hours after a party or a night out, all wearing party wear consisting of generally short and skimpy dresses.

The end of the advert blatantly implies that A) these young women are badly dressed B) They are not capable of making a good fashion choice and need it spelt out in a patronising manner and C) they can avoid “The Walk of Shame” by shopping for a more appropriate party frock at Harvey Nicks! Maybe this is supposed to be tongue in cheek but this strong message has had 535,000+ viewings on YouTube at the time of writing, (we are deliberately not publishing a link to it)

All this advert does is insult women for their fashion choices, their right to dress how they want and their right to have a good time. Worse still Harvey Nichols are running a competition for the best “Walk of Shame Story”, 5 winners will receive a “Stride of Pride kit” (if you read Facebook) or 10 winners will receive a “Walk of Shame Kit” if you read the terms and conditions of the competition. So does that mean there is a choice? Dress well (courtesy of Harvey Nichols) for your after party walk home or dress really badly, but with style! (again courtesy of Harvey Nichols).. confusing to say the least.

The advert also plays on the topic of beauty and size. The subtle message being that if you buy your party frock at Harvey Nichols you’ll be beautiful and slim with goddess like hair and a spring in your step. Oh, and a glamourous smile that will knock early morning postmen clean off their feet. Dressing in this manner may also allow you to live in beautiful flat in a classic city building. The actresses all enduring “The Walk of Shame” were no less beautiful than “Miss Glamourous Pride” at the end of the advert but they nearly all appeared to be wearing dresses that were too small for them thus portraying larger women as being less attractive and perhaps even more prone to “The Walk of Shame”.

If you read the comments on YouTube you’ll see this is exactly the image picked up by viewers. In truth there is nothing wrong with the way any of the women dressed in the video and while we are used to the Fashion and Retail industries portraying the “Glamourous Sylph” image it is insulting to rubbish one’s customers in the same breath.

This advert sparked a short online debate between two of my friends a couple of days ago. They had very different views of the advert, one was horrified by the hypocrisy of advert and the other didn’t really see much below the surface of the advert until it was pointed out to them. The interesting thing about my friends reactions is that both of these individuals are different ages and genders, both are informed by their obviously different life experiences. One is very mindful of the hard won achievements for equality and respect for women while the other perhaps takes them for granted.

The advert is very clearly targeted at a certain demographic, namely young women in party mode with some money to spend. Visually, from a technical point of view the advert is well made and it is a clever but dangerous play on a theme. I’d bet the advert is made by people from a younger generation who didn’t think twice about the deeply negative message they are giving about young women enjoying themselves. They also haven’t considered the responsibility they carry with respect to the audience engagement they can generate. Even more sadly there are plenty of people who will not even see the negative message, and will flock, patronised and sheep like to Harvey Nichols to buy that all important party frock.

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda Designer Fashion for Curvy Women | Create your style and walk with your head held high.

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Hattie Said "Don't Dress Quietly!"

Hattie Jacques said “Don’t dress quietly to minimise your size”

I recently read the authorised biography of Hattie Jacques in which she reportedly said she had no idea what her statistics were. She could not buy clothes to fit her off-the-peg and employed a dressmaker to make all her clothes. In later life she managed to find a shop in New York that catered for outsize ladies where she shopped regularly. Apparently she received regular letters from women asking to buy her old clothes from her as they couldn’t find clothes to fit them. It just seems outrageous that such a large proportion of Customers was completely ignored by the fashion industry. Although ladies statistics are increasing globally at the moment, back in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s there must have been a sizable population of women that just were not catered for.

Hattie Said "Don't Dress Quietly!"

Hattie reportedly said

“don’t dress quietly, just to minimise your size. If you are big, you are going to look big anyway. And if you have a colourful personality, then for heaven’s sake play up to it.”

Well said Hattie!! That’s exactly our philosophy at Vida Moda. Hattie thought it was difficult to be fat and feminine at the same time. I think the clothing industry in Britain has moved on since then but it has been very slow and has along way to go. It is easy to understand why someone like Hattie was made to feel that way. In my opinion she was a beautiful woman who did dress femininely in beautiful silks and velvets but the majority of women would not have been able to afford a dressmaker.

While things have changed and progress has been made it is still challenging to find beautiful clothes if you are large and that’s why I opened a shop online, to give women like me the opportunity to have some “designer” choice!

Joanna

Excerpt taken from “Hattie” The Authorised biography of Hattie Jacques by Andy Merriman ©2007

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Mary_Porta

Are Leather Trousers Strictly For The Young?

I read with some interest in today’s “Femail” Janet Street-Porter’s view that leather trousers should not be worn by the over 40s.

Janet_Street_Porter

She describes Mary Portas’s legs as looking like “badly packed black puddings”. Well then, this begs the question: at what age should one wear leather trousers? Is there a statutory age?
Surely, age does not come into this. Any item of clothing can look wrong on any person of any age if not worn with the right combination, not suited to the body shape, a poor fit or inferior quality fabric.

Mary_Portas_Leather_Trousers

Mary has got it right. The leather trousers are part of the package and her look is actually very stylish and dynamic. Elle McPherson, Sharon Stone and Carol Vorderman also look fabulous in their leather trousers. They wouldn’t look so good in knee length polyester pleated skirts, twin sets, American tan tights and sensible shoes (to perpetuate the age stereotyping). It’s all about making the most of what you have and projecting an image that you’re comfortable with, whatever your age or indeed shape.

That’s what we are doing with Vida Moda, we are aiming to give larger women a better choice of clothing, shouldn’t we have the same opportunity to dress stylishly?

Joanna

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