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Featured on Vida Moda this week

This week Vida Moda has focused on some nice items in black. Yes it’s summer time but black is also an important colour in summer. Our featured choices this week all come in a range of plus sizes and are versatile, you can choose to wear them for any number of occasions. We’ll get you started with a some simple suggestions for each, perhaps you’d like to add a comment and tell us when you would wear this weeks featured items?


First up is a summer dress, it is a lovely black and white cotton print and has a strong handkerchief hem. Our model is shown wearing the dress with a pair of white trousers and it is a nice combination. This will also look good if worn with leggings. Perhaps you’d wear this if you are going to a BBQ or attending some other afternoon event!

Black Linen Skirt from Bitte Kai Rand
Secondly we have a beautiful black linen skirt with a lovely shape that is a little different, it moves well when you walk and will work well with a variety of footwear. It is very versatile and will be a great combination piece. We think this skirt is good for everyday wear and won’t look out of place if you keep it for a special occasion.

Black Wrap from Anathea by Parakian
Our final choice is a very smooth and flowing wrap. Its very simple but looks wonderful and will go with lots of different pieces. You might light to wear this if you are going out for the evening, what do you think?

These are this weeks choices, how would you wear them? and what would you wear with them?Featured

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John Lewis and the value of “Beigeness”

India Knight has written an excellent piece in her Sunday Times column today. It’s all about John Lewis thinking about changing it’s image to broaden it’s appeal, to shake off it’s “fuddy-duddy” image. Craig Inglis who is Director of Marketing at John Lewis is reacting to the accusation of John Lewis being “beige at times”. John Lewis is embarking on the biggest revamp revamp of it’s marketing and advertising in 147 years according to an article in Marketing Week Magazine. India is somewhat aghast at the notion that John Lewis is going to change it’s approach and lose it’s “Beigeness” to compete with the likes of Tesco and other large supermarkets. India presents a good set of arguments for not making such a change, all of which I agree with.
Never Knowingly undersold
If john Lewis did greatly change it’s approach I would be somewhat dismayed. John Lewis is not that “fuddy-duddy” or indeed that “Beige” yes I’m sure it needs to revamp and update many of it’s stores. We have a lovely John Lewis store in the Grafton Arcade in Cambridge, it is modern, well stocked and very popular and not just with “ladies of a certain age”. John Lewis in my mind occupies an almost unique position in British retail, it has a personality, this is expressed really well through their staff whose attentiveness and ability to provide excellent customer service is well documented. I cannot think of single other high street retailer that currently has such an effect. Marks & Spencers is an obvious direct competitor to John Lewis and Waitrose, but even though they are good, they don’t have the same level of personality that John Lewis has.

John Lewis has managed to maintain it’s retailer dignity rather than be consumed by the retail commerce conveyor belt and the shallowness of celebrity glamour and instant satisfaction that others seem to suffer from. People buy from people. John Lewis is all about people. You go to John Lewis because they represent in no particular order; quality, top products, fabulous customer service and reliability. Its not a shop to rush around in, it is a lovely browsing experience and you’ll always discover or spot something new that you didn’t know they stocked. They don’t get everything right but they are streets ahead of other retailers on actually having a personality.

Tesco is totally soulless, it represents a core function, the weekly shop – which we all need – and that is fine, it has it’s place too. They are very good at what they do, they are cheap, obviously lots of people like that. However they don’t have the best quality produce and they’re not great at customer service, that may be fine for their customer base. So I hope Mr. Inglis knows what he is doing, I’m not saying don’t change anything, change is proactive and should be happening all the time BUT be very careful about changing the personality of the retailer, especially one with such a unique reputation. If John Lewis has to stoop to the level of Tesco to compete on the high street at the expense of it’s personality then it will be a sad day for British retailing.

In setting up our online business we have modeled our philosophy on certain elements of a number of retailers, elements that we admire and feel are important to customers. John Lewis is one of the retailers that we admire. Tesco’s isn’t.

So next time you are in John Lewis, have a little think about why you’ve gone in there, how you feel while you are there and what you like about shopping in John Lewis. Appreciate it because it may not be the same in a year’s time. Please feel free to add your comments to this post so others can read your thoughts about the importance or not of British retailers having a “personality” and don’t confuse this with “brand” or “marketing” because it’s not actually the same thing at all.

This post is inspired by India Knights Sunday Times Column on Sunday 5th June 2011 titled “Sing – nice and softly, mind – if you’re glad to be beige”

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Plus Size dress (18) from Vida Moda

Will the fashion industry change its manufacturing methods to produce clothes that fit properly?

This is question has never been more relevant than today. The fashion industry is still largely focused on young and trendy consumers and that is what they put in the mainstream media. However people’s body shapes are changing and ultimately the fashion industry will have to change to meet demand from the marketplace. Whether or not we’ll see this change in the way media represents fashion remains to be seen.

Fashion retailers (along with the airline and automotive industries) have funded research into how body shapes are changing. Cornell University in the USA have been collecting anthropometric data by using body scanning to study variations in body size and unsurprisingly the results show wide variations.

Body Scan Image

(Image: Cornell Body Scan Research Group)

It has not been possible for the fashion industry in the past to base their designs or manufacturing processes on anthropometric data simply because it has been too time consuming and difficult to collect. This will probably be different in the future as technology improves, but it does depend on a number of factors.

    • Will people be prepared to have their body scanned to so that clothes can be made to fit properly?
    • Can designers apply their skills to different body forms and still satisfy their artistic desire?
    • Where does the cross over point between artistic intent and function?
    • Does artistic intent cease to matter when designers are faced with designing plus size clothes and does that result in clothes for plus size women that are poorly designed?
    • Can technology be used to create clothes on the fly that are specific to a persons size and shape? (automated tailoring)

Is the fashion industry going to change it’s philosophical approach to designing and producing clothes? Currently fashion houses design based on the target market they trying to reach, usually reflecting a lifestyle and price perspective. They then produce a model based on “regular” sizes, and you can be pretty sure this isn’t a plus size. They take their designs and scale them upwards and downwards to produce their garments in a range of standard sizes. Quite often this does not include plus or petite sizes. Why is this? Either because they don’t want to be associated with plus or petite sizes, those sizes aren’t their target market, OR the designs do not lend themselves to be being manufactured in plus or petite sizes. Designing clothes that work as a design statement across a wide range of sizes is a challenge for designers. Manufacturing variations brings its own cost challenges too.

Luckily there are designers out there today who do recognise the needs of their customers and do make beautiful clothes in plus sizes. They look beautiful and from a design perspective they work across a range of sizes, including plus sizes. They may not always make it to high street chains and they may be more boutique fashion but they are available. The internet is offering more choice if you are prepared to look and over time the internet will level the playing field and provide better choice for clothes that “fit and flatter” for plus size women. This is one of the things we are aiming to do with our online shop http://www.vidamoda.co.uk

However the time is coming where the growing variations in body shape and size will force the industry to change because “standards” won’t work any longer, people are demanding and indeed expecting to have a choice. Considerable variation is occurring in different countries but this is being balanced by emerging and growing markets that the fashion industry can tap into, but we do think things will eventually change.

What are your thoughts?

    1. Do you feel you have adequate choice for fit and size of clothes?
    2. Would you shop in a store that used body scanning and made clothes to fit your shape and size?

Leave a comment and let us know what you think :-)

Information in this post references and is informed by the following article from Cornell University http://www.bodyscan.human.cornell.edu/scene7354.html
Body scan image courtesy of Cornell Body Scan Research Group

Plus Size dress (18) from Vida Moda

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QR Quilt

Nancy Feve – Recombinant Art Quilts – an exhibition organised by Bonnie Cotier

Bonnie was an inspirational person and the exhibition detailed below is a fine example of how she used her skills to enrich and promote someone’s talent.

The content in this post is courtesy of @Lindsay_Abbott and Michelle French @designer_tweets who like Nancy were both close friends of Bonnie.

QR Quilt by Nancy Feve

Text by Lindsay
“The late Bonnie Cotier was struck by the patterns of QR Codes and encouraged her friend and colleague Nancy Feve, a quilt expert, to design a quilt that is a functional QR Code.

The quilts will be on show at Williams Art, 5 Dales Brewery, Gwydir Street, Cambridge on Tuesday 7 June 5pm-8pm. Tel: 01223 311687. http://www.williamsart.co.uk

Bonnie designed Nancy’s website and was helping Nancy to organise the event and act as media contact. Her friend and colleague, Michelle French, has stepped in on behalf of Bonnie to make sure that the event is a success.

Further information can be found here: Nancy Feve Quilts: http://www.fevequilts.com/news-media-coverage/

There is also a Twitter hashtag #fevequilts to follow Nancy’s work.

Michelle French: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/michellefrenchdesign

Text by Michelle
“Bonnie did an experiment with Cam Creative last year using QR Codes. At the time there were very few people in the group who were aware of them. I had become intrigued with them when the design firm in London, Moving Brands, presented a case study in a lecture at London College of Communication.

Bonnie and I both have backgrounds in sewing and the cultures of the Southeast US and I was very excited about the combination of low-tech, craft art with the high tech application. (“High Tech/High Touch” example for a John Naisbitt enthusiast.)

While the circumstances of my most recent involvement in pushing this show forward have been among the saddest of my life, I have been very glad to contribute.

Nancy is accepting commissions should you want your own QR code stitched into a quilt.”

Please make others aware of the exhibition and if you’re in Cambridge please go and view the exhibition.

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What inspired you today?

Last night I attended a local networking group Cam Creative to pay tribute to the memory of Bonnie Cotier who died in a tragic accident on April 23rd. In honour of Bonnie’s memory people were asked to tell the group about something amazing they had done recently or something that inspired them. Bonnie was highly regarded by the people in the various networking groups that she was member of and she was heavily involved in Cam Creative. I hadn’t yet got to know Bonnie really well but I had spoken to her often enough to realise she was a person that stood out because of her personality and her approach to life, business and people. She was a dynamic person who had a hand in many different projects some of which we heard about last night and clearly had an abundance of energy and enthusiasm to participate and contribute 100% to the projects she was involved in.

So those who wanted to, could stand up and say a few words about what had inspired them. Personally, I struggled with this, after some reflection I didn’t feel I could stand up and tell people about something obvious or spectacular that inspired me. I’ve worked very hard to achieve whatever amount of success I’ve had in life. But again I suspect that’s a common story for a lot of people, I’m just an ordinary person doing ordinary things.

However things have changed in the last 12 months or so and thinking back over that time I realised I stumbled across a source of inspiration I never expected to find. Its not loud and explosive, or in your face. Its rather quiet and subtle but it is insistent and nurturing. It played a big part in my decision to start a business 6 months ago. The business an online store selling plus size clothes to larger women. It’s very early days and it’s a risk, there’s no real telling at this point whether it will succeed or not. The point is, I had the idea to set up this business more than 12 years ago. I did nothing, instead I pursued a career in a discipline in a corporate environment which has gone well for me over the years. Despite being difficult it was still a “safe” option.

The question is why did I start my venture now and not 12 years ago? The answer is of course complex and like a lot of people I can easily come up with a list of why I didn’t start it years ago. Coming up with the list of reason why I started it now is less easy. One of the influencing factors is that I got involved in a local networking group, initially to learn more about social media but pretty soon my thoughts turned to my dormant business idea and I decided to give it a go. I was inspired by simply talking to the people around me at these groups. They are from all walks of life and are running all manner of businesses and I found their energy and positive vibe (often in the face of difficult trading conditions) very inspiring and it helped me get up and do something about my idea. Every time I go to one of these events I make some new contacts and I always come away with something new to apply to my fledgling business.

A number of people I’ve met in the networking group have helped me set up and their efforts are woven into the fabric of my venture and I’m grateful for their contribution. While I wasn’t lucky enough to work with Bonnie she certainly is an exemplar of the type of person I’m referring too and I know she provided inspiration to plenty of others as they sought to develop their business or idea. In fact if you want see how Bonnie inspired and helped someone else then please read the previous post on this blog about an exhibition that Bonnie was instrumental in organising in Cambridge starting on June 7th.

So if you are an entrepreneur starting up or are already well established take a good look around the people at the next networking event you attend. Seek out the ones that like Bonnie, might inspire you and help you do something amazing. They are out there and they will help. In return you may find you can also provide some inspiration to others.

Please add a comment telling us about people that have inspired you, or if you have a story about how Bonnie inspired you please feel free to share it here, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Yay! We’re live

Finally, amazingly, we’ve taken a bold step forwards! We launched our online shop very quietly last week to make sure it worked and to see what a few trusted friends thought of it. The feedback has been quite good so this week is our official launch and we hope those of you that use it will enjoy shopping at http://www.vodamoda.co.uk

Vida Moda is an online store retailing designer plus size clothes for plus size women. “Vida Moda” means life fashion, it is about your life and your fashion.

Vida Moda Cool Linens

If you are a larger lady, if you embrace and celebrate your figure you can be more confident and happy, be who you are and enjoy life even more! We’ll help you do this through our store and this blog. We believe that you, the plus size woman should have a better set of fashion choices in the sizes you need. If you don’t believe us, have a look at our store, all our collections are photographed using plus size models. They are larger ladies just like a lot of you, and they look wonderful. We hope to bring you an interview or two with them in future posts on this blog.

We’ll also tell you more about us in coming posts and we hope to engage you in some debate as well as providing information on fashion along with styling suggestions. Undoubtedly we’ll also talk about life along the way!

Finally we strongly believe you have the right to a good customer experience, and that experience should not be negatively affected by your size or shape. You deserve to look good, and feel good and if we can help you do that in some small way then we’ll be happy!

And remember, we think it is the woman who makes the clothes look good! :-)

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