Fitness Friday! Jack Wills launches men’s sportswear collection

Ah Jack Wills… home of the grey marl sweat and the brand renowned for making hoodies acceptable attire for non-teens. And who doesn’t love a good hoodie? Well, this week sees the launch of their first ever men’s sportswear collection, featuring international model and fitness coach Roger Frampton – whose abs are another level of inspiring! Think quality gym vests, crew-neck sweaters and long sleeved running tops all in a subtle colour palette that whispers sophisticated sportswear.

Roger Frampton in the Jack Wills Sporting Goods campaign.

Whilst this may not be a huge departure from their usual heritage casualwear, it marks a decisive move into athleisurewear with a range of pieces made from high-performance technical fabrics. Designed in London, and created in Portugal by the same factory that produces products for Olympic athletes, the fabrication ticks all the specialist boxes – quick-drying, breathable, antibacterial and with added sunblock. This follows the successful launch of their women’s sportswear range in January (note their stylish two-tone running leggings and cropped hooded sweaters) and taps into the current fashion obsession with sports-luxe and the booming fitness market.

Jack Wills women’s sporting range includes two-tone sports bras and running leggings

The new men’s sporting range features crew-neck sweaters and training shorts

At this week’s launch I caught up with founder and CEO Peter Williams, who talked about the new direction for the brand and his old love of baseball caps. After founding the company in 1999 aged just 23 , Peter (now 42) has watched Jack Wills evolve with age. He states that he wears the label every day, adding that with menswear it is ‘all about the basics and getting the quality just right. If men find a T-shirt they like they will buy it in every colour and so we ensure that the fit, shape and the weight of the cotton is perfect.’ He also mentioned that one of their current bestselling items is his-and-hers matching baseball caps, a product that they brought back to stores in the last few years. And whilst teens and early 20-somethings buy into the bold branded logo garments, the original customers who have grown up with the label are looking for more understated branding. Hence why the logo on the new sporting range features a more discreet boxed Jack Wills emblem.

The clothing as seen in the Kingly Street London store

Healthy snacks by Protein Haus at the press launch, including their fabulously named Muscle Snickers and Health Balls

Currently the range features approximately 16 pieces, with prices starting at £24.95, but by autumn there will be additional accessories and further garments added to the collection. Oh, and if you happen to see a pair of branded Jack Wills boxing gloves come September, you can credit that idea to me.

Products are available from the Jack Wills London stores in Covent Garden and Soho, Heathrow Terminal 3 or online. To shop the collection go to: http://www.jackwills.com/sporting-goods

For more information about Roger Frampton visit: http://www.roger.coach

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All in the name of charity

Ah January! A time when we are traditionally cajoled (or perhaps even coerced) into making resolutions. I have never been one for strict rules and in reality I find resolutions an endless disappointment. I mean, why torture yourself by testing your weak will & risk hideous self loathing before the year has even really begun?

However, the New Year cleanse that often comes with others’ good intentions is something I can get on board with. And before you get confused I am not talking 6 veg juices or superfood salads here, but clothes, glorious clothes. Also I hasten to add that I myself will not be performing a wardrobe edit. Not a chance! I am a prolific hoarder and have been known to keep jumpers from my University years just in case I should ‘need’ to wear them again. What pleases me however is the quality of the stock in all the charity shops after others have performed their post Christmas/January wardrobe cull. I have never been one for fighting through Boxing Day sales but from 27th December onwards I love to get elbow deep in other people’s castaways.

Recently I had a particularly successful shopping trip at some of my favourite charity shops. These are located in Maidenhead in Berkshire, near my parents and I always try to pop in whenever I am visiting. There is a parade of approximately 6 charity shops that would satisfy any thrift store addict and over the years I have spent more time and money than I care to dwell on in these stores. However the beauty of purchasing from charity shops is that not only does it satisfy your shopping desires (and at a time when funds are usually precariously low) but also you are actually donating to charity whilst filling your wardrobe. Plus there are some real bargains to be found. Surely that’s win, win, win by anyone’s standards.

So this Jan why not try your local Oxfam, Age UK or even the more upmarket Fara. One man’s trash is another person’s treasure after all. And I can assure you there are a lot of treasures to be found. Here are the results of my post Christmas expedition to inspire you.

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I TOTALLY ADORE THIS SKIRT!

Leather patent snakeskin skirt, £4.00, originally Patsy Seddon for Phase Eight.

Black poloneck, Gap; Necklace, Accessorize.

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Green checked dress, £6.00, originally from AX Paris.

Brogues, Clarks; Necklace, Joy.

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White print blouse, £4.00, originally St Michael at Marks & Spencer.

Black jeans, Uniqlo; Necklace, Hobbs.

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Floral top, £3.99, originally Next.

Jeans, Uniqlo; Necklace, gift.

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Leather desert boots, £7.50, originally Seed (a gift for a little boy)

TK Maxx it up

Today’s post is for those that love to bag a bargain, as last night saw the launch of a brand new TK Maxx store right in the centre of Covent Garden.  Store openings are usually quite a dry affair, but this was one hell of a party.  Attended by Eliza Doolittle, Westlife’s Kian Egan and Peaches Geldof, who, judging by her bulging shopping bag is a fan of their designer goods at discount prices. Eliza even took a turn on the decks playing her favourite tunes as shoppers partied in the aisles.

 TKMaxx Eliza Doolittle 2

TKMaxx Eliza Doolittle 1

Eliza Doolittle takes to the decks in an unusual micro mini and padded gilet combo

TKMaxx Kian Egan

Westlife’s Kian Egan with his wife and former Hollyoaks star, Jodi Albert

A selection of beverages and chic canapés ensured that guests were well looked after, whilst the circular, central bar saw waiters entertaining the crowds with their cocktail-making skills. Whilst there, I also had a browse and loved how organised, colour co-ordinated and beautiful the store looked (check out the purses on display below).

 TK Maxx store - Stylitz

In-store – purses are sorted by colour

Based on Long Acre, and flanked by brands such as Reiss and Gap, the new 3-floor store houses mens and womenswear, and a whole ground floor dedicated to accessories.  The fifth TKMaxx to open in London’s Zones 1 & 2, this is the one that will appeal most to central London shoppers due to the prime location in tourist hub Covent Garden.  The store opens to the public today, so why not pop in and pick up a bargain in your lunch hour or peruse the aisles before attending a West End show.  Good labels at prices you’ll love… who can argue with that?

TK Maxx, 15-17 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9LH www.tkmaxx.com

My week at Harrods

So this week (and for the next two weeks) I am working at Harrods magazine, where I am covering someone who is heading off to get married.  I thought her position was Fashion Editor. Turns out I was wrong. The cover is for a prop stylist/production job and has resulted in one of the most random weeks of my life. Today’s post is a tribute to my crazy first week at Harrods Publishing.

Day 1 – Hoovering fake snow from a giant toy lion. You have to see it to believe it…

Harrods Day 1 - hoovering a lion

Day 2 – I had to oversee a shoot for The Ultimate page in the mag.  This meant watching as 2 grown men created a model of Harrods. Out of tiny magnetic ball bearings.  Seriously!  They’re called Nanadots – http://www.thenanodots.uk.com/ – and they’re the next big thing in tiny construction.  Think Lego, but with ball bearings.  They have a cult following apparently.  I made a cute little necklace as they built a mini Harrods.

Harrods Day 2 - Nanodot tastic

Harrods nanodots

The magnetic field in the balls is super strong

Harrods nanodots 2

Harrods nanodots 3

2 grown men + 2 hours + 52,000 tiny magnetic balls = £58k sculpture of Harrods

Day 3 – based in the office.  Today I had to find a disused airfield to use as a location for a photoshoot.  Within the M25.  No mean feat especially with a limited editorial budget.  Whilst researching online I stumbled across this amazing old airbase in Germany.  I want to do a fashion shoot here one day.  The colours are awesome.

Harrods Day 3 wittstock-airbase

Wittstock Airbase in Germany

(taken from http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2010/11/abandoned-aircraft-airfields-airbases-airport-terminals/)

Day 4 – a day of prop sourcing, which varied from searching for 20 orange traffic cones and a chequerboard flag for a car shoot, to sourcing vintage theatre lights and old lanterns for a Home Theatre backdrop for a kids shoot.  Where to start?  Prop houses (companies that lend props for a fee) are the answer. There are plenty of these, but on Friday I used www.themetraders.com for the car shoot props and www.stockyard.tv & www.farley.co.uk for the lanterns and lighting.  Take a look.  You can find almost anything.

Harrods Day 4bHarrods Day 4

Images taken from www.stockyard.tv

This has literally been the most random week ever. On Monday I have an induction in the store – all staff have this, even if you are not employed on the shop floor.  I have been informed that this day is a tour of Harrods that includes grooming guides (I kid you not, there is a grooming area near the staff entrance complete with mirrors and strong lighting) and a history of the store. I will let you know what next week brings…

Main holding image courtesy of Harrods Publishing http://www.harrodsmagazine.com featuring the cover of the current/September 2013 issue.

Boys in blue

Well, what a weekend! If you are British (or better still Scottish) chances are you were glued to your TV set yesterday afternoon from say 2-5:30pm. Even if you’re not a huge tennis fan, Murray mania was enough to get every Brit cheering (whilst sipping their Pimms in the sunshine obviously).

Whilst we were firmly glued to the game, there may have been a little something in the audience that caught our eye. I am of course referring to the bromance in blue that was Gerard Butler & Bradley Cooper, looking super slick in their Sunday best. And it seems the celebs pulled out all the stops to look dapper at Wimbledon. Also spotted were Wayne Rooney & Coleen looking positively regal & British queen of posh VB put in a sophisticated appearance. Girlfriend of the man-of-the-moment, Kim Sears looked delightful in a mint green crochet dress by the aforementioned Victoria Beckham. Whilst at Friday’s Murray semi-final Amir Khan was seen sporting a fetching Gatsby inspired pink suit – very SS14. Here’s a little medley of some of the outfits on show. I think perhaps the boys aced the girls on this occasion. Pun intended.