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Ah, redundancy. We meet again.

That was me last Autumn when I found myself in a familiar situation – my career, my identity, my lifestyle cut short once again by decisions out of my control, by budgets that couldn’t support me and by a misguided big wig who didn’t believe I could cut it. Yes, life threw me another redundancy sentence, but this time I embraced it, left my former job within a week and didn’t look back – only now to reflect and share what I learned.

The first time I was made redundant, I was one of fifty. We were a small, struggling start up and the owner decided to close up shop so everyone in the company was getting let go. That was scary. I didn’t know how to navigate the world without a job. For someone who likes to – has to be in control, not knowing what was next was nerve-wracking. But I did eventually find another job, the perfect job. It was for a cool, modern fashion brand and it was my dream role, working on editorial, art directing photoshoots, and when it finally became available, I leapt and poured my heart into every interview and assignment they threw at me and I got the offer!

The second time I was made redundant in my career, I had no fear. I had gone through the seven stages and came out the other end, so I knew in my bones that I would come out the other end again. I welcomed this redundancy with open arms, it was the break I needed but was too scared to take on my own. You see, my dream job had turned out to be a nightmare. I was indifferent with some of my co-workers, emotionally drained, wracked with anxiety, drowning in unachievable expectations. When I left, the first thing I did was finally switch off.

offline

Invest in yourself.

I didn’t look for a new job straight away, I needed to nourish myself again and patch up my soul. It was still Summer so I spent a month soaking up rays in the park, reading my favourite magazines that I never had time to read, spending long sessions at the gym working out. I simply recalibrated. Sometimes what we all need is a moment, a breath and a chance to acknowledge ourselves. One of the most important lessons that I learned after being made redundant was the realisation that I had let my work make me miserable, I allowed it to consume my life and my weekends, I wore my despair and anxiety on my face, in my expressions. I learned never to do that again.

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Be free and freelance.

I went freelance for 9 months mainly as a photoshoot stylist and was on the books at a commercial fashion studio. It had some bittersweet moments. On some days, I found myself dressing mannequins for eCommerce product shoots, when I used to be the one managing the person who dressed the mannequins for eCommerce product shoots. It truly felt like a step down, however, my experience directing shoots and working with stylists for a number of years meant that I tackled my quota with speed, I was comfortable in a set environment and I knew the styling tricks to get the best shot. All of this soon led me to plum shoots and being requested by photographers to work with them. I got sent to Germany for shoots, I got sent to Leicester to work with a big client – it was all great experience and put my transferrable skills to great use. Being free as a freelancer also meant that I had the luxury of going back home for seven weeks to New York City and to take up an online graphic design course on the days I wasn’t working. Stepping outside the 9-to-5 full time bubble helped me see there’s so much more out there if you’re willing to seek it and try it out.

Take a leap of faith.

I worked in the fashion industry for 8 years and it hadn’t dawned on me that I didn’t have to keep looking within this industry for work. In my down time, I realised a few things. I didn’t particularly like the irrelevant dramas over a dress, the constant competition with other fashion brands, or the drop-everything-we-must-launch-20%-off-on-the-web-right-now-we-are-down-10%-vs-last-week drill. I also shuddered when I thought of stepping into yet another fashion brand’s editorial team. I realised, I was done.

Jump to present time and I still work in creative, but now I look after creative branding for an events company. The role calls on my creative eye, my design skills, my project management skills, my presentation skills, but without the soul-crushing pressure that I thought was part and parcel of a great day’s work, but really was just the characteristics of your average fashion company.

No regrets.

There’s a saying that goes, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be”, and I have no regrets of where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, what I’ve gone through as it all led me to where I am now, and I’m happier than ever. In the time I was let go at my last full time role, I’ve made new friends through freelancing, I developed my technical design skills and I was able to spend quality time in New York with my family.

Redundancy can be life changing and it can be the best thing that happens to you. The biggest lesson from redundancy is that you learn to be resilient. Shine on.

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I’m in love with fashion right now. SS17 is blooming with florals, entwined in bows and ruffles, off the grid with gingham and awash in pale pinks. It’s unashamedly feminine but not overtly girly. That’s because this season ruffles are folded into shredded denim, bows are knotted onto skate style trainers and florals, they repeat and play all over everything. Go bold or go home, it’s girl gang season and these are the pieces to wear now.

gingham 1 copy

Left to right: Caroline Constas Gabriella Off The Shoulder Top £364, New Look Gingham Floral Bandana £8, Sandy Liang Accord Gingham & Lace Dress £625, Sonia Rykiel Cropped Gingham Trousers £570Christopher Kane Gingham Shirt £475, Marques Almeida Wraparound Gingham Sandals £250

ruffles wish list 4

Left to right: Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini Cropped Ruffled Denim Top £315, J.W. Anderson Ruffled Suede Boots £655Isa Arfen Amazon Stripe Knot Top £445, Topshop Flute Sleeve Lace Dress £38, No.21 Satin Knot Bag £380Pull&Bear Frill Sweatshirt £26

florals

Left to right: Topshop Embroidered & Floral Print Jumpsuit £49, Pull&Bear Floral Print Halter Top £13, Marni Embellished Floral Earrings £390, Zara Floral Print Gingham Tunic £40, Fendi Strap You Bag Strap £780, Topshop Embroidered Knot Front T-shirt £36, Zara Floral Fabric High Heel Ankle Boots £60

Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign launches today, with Emeli Sande, Laura Bailey and Jessica Ennis leading the sensational cause with its call-to-arms message of, Wear Your Support!

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Breast cancer affects nearly 50,000 women and 400 men a year, with more than 1,000 who die from the disease every month. Founded in 1994 by the renowned designer Ralph Lauren, he was inspired to use fashion to help breast cancer charities across the globe raise awareness, give support and further increase the research needed to fight this deadly disease. The campaign is hugely successful and since its inception has raised more than £13 million!

This season, the charity has paired up once again with High Street heroes, Topshop, Warehouse, River Island and many more to deliver three capsule collections (Pastel Sundae, On Target and Breezy Daze) of covetable fashion finds for Spring, with a minimum 30% of proceeds going towards the fight against breast cancer.

From statement swimwear to cool tshirts, day dresses and the perfect pair of pink trainers, what a season to ‘wear your support’! Get a sneak peek of the collection here…

Fashion Targets Spring 2014Clockwise from top left: Debenhams Red Herring Bikini £32, M&S Lipbalm £3, Superga 2750 Trainers £45, River Island Oversized Print & Petal Tshirt £18Topshop Raglan Sleeve Tee £18, River Island Oversized One + Only Tshirt £15

Fashion Targets Breast Cancer

Clockwise from top left: H! By Henry Holland Bracelet £5, Warehouse Floral Top £30, Warehouse Floral Shorts £32, M&S Bracelet £7.50

To view the full collection and find out more about the campaign, visit the official Fashion Targets Breast Cancer website. The campaign runs for six weeks, so don’t forget to check their website or by going direct to the High Street brand’s website often as items become available.

It would of been a weekend in March like any other except High Street heroes, Warehouse decided to put on a spectacularly stylish event in Brick Lane under the guise of a FREE fashion festival!

Fashion Shooters is the latest campaign from Warehouse launched in tandem with their SS14 collection. In my opinion, this is a totally exciting campaign wherein the brand encourages young photographers and novices alike to pick up their cameras and shoot! There’s also a competition to capture the 13th campaign shot for the brand, with mentoring by none other than the super talented Helena Christensen, who has extensive experience both in front of and behind the camera.

ImageAnd on that note, came the festival this past Saturday where bloggers, photographers and fashion enthusiasts were treated to a packed, wall-to-wall space of sponsored fashion, style, photography, food and pampering treatments.

With my weekend-appropriate OOTD all ready, channeling my Ska-loving days with hi-waisted tartan, I set off to the Loading Bay space just off Brick Lane, which lucky for me is a mere 10 minutes walk from my flat.

OOTD Selfie

Since this festival was all about encouraging photography, I became a little snap-happy with my, um, iPhone at the event…

Warehouse Fashion Shooters Festival

Wah Nails were on hand to dress the talons of London’s fashion pack, while I had a great demo of the latest hot tech gadget for iPhones. The 3-in-1 Olloclip lens is now firmly on my wishlist.

Warehouse Fashion Shooters Festival

Warehouse Fashion Shooters Festival

Quick bites were supplied by The Wandering Chef who aptly named their culinary creations after Instagram filters, below are the 1977 prawn cocktail and the Valencia ‪jamón ibérico‬ salad. Speaking of food, well done to Warehouse for keeping guests watered and fed throughout. There was Red Bull, bottles of Evian and endless chocolate passed around.‪‬

Warehouse Fashion Shooters Festival

Also, on display was the latest photography work from students at the University for the Creative Arts.

Warehouse Fashion Shooters Festival

There were queues for pretty much every station but it was all worth it for a free printed Tshirt or for a firsthand glimpse at the new Warehouse collection with Elle Magazine. There was truly something for everyone at the Fashion Shooters festival, seriously a day full of fashion and no fluff!

Warehouse Fashion Shooters Festival Itinerary

Can we take a brief moment and bask in the amazing-ness of Simone Rocha please?

There isn’t a style by this rising star that I wouldn’t want to wear. The designer’s distinct styling of brogues-meets-dress carries just the right amount of runway rebellion, while lashings of statement femininity keep it totally wearable. Cue baroque touches, playful perspex, statement silhouettes and pearls used with panache…

Simone Rocha AW14

Simone Rocha AW14

Simone Rocha Brogues

Simone RochaHeader Image: Pearl Embellished Loafers £705, Clockwise from left: Coated Mesh Jacket £905Pearl Flow Clear Handbag £855, Coated Mesh Skirt £540Faux Pearl Embellished Flats £715

Simone Rocha SS14

Clockwise from leftWhite 3/4 Length Prom Dress £1,095, Leather Doctor’s Bag £885Pearl Embellished Satin Sandals £915

Simone Rocha Designer

Image Source: Elle UK, Artwork: Blogger’s Own