Runway to Reality: The Knit Revival


Have you spotted the knit revival this year? From traditional polo necks to embellished sweaters the reliable knit is back with a vengeance. Gone are the days of itchy wool and suffocating sweaters – instead we’ve arrived in a new era of fun catwalk-inspired knitwear in vibrant colours just like my punchy royal blue one. I find the best way to ‘dress up’ a jumper is to pair it with a leather or suede skirt, fitted jeans or layer over a knee length lace dress. Often skirts (like my leather version pictured), look more modern when worn with trainers and a cosy jumper. So don’t be frightened to mix smart with casual – it’s the secret to that ‘effortless style’ we all admire.

Blue Jumper | Debenhams

Leather Skirt | H&M

Metallic Trainers | Zara

Leopard Belt | Zara

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Images: Ivory Pictures


Runway to Reality: Everyday Sparkle

Debenhams Street Style

At this time of year it’s hard to resist the explosion of sequins and sparkle around us. Even if the ‘C’ word isn’t on your mind you won’t have missed the mountains of glitter and embellishment on the high-street. But, of course, you knew this river of sparkle was coming when the Fashion Week gods predicted all things shimmer would be stylish for Autumn Winter 2015. Who could forget that Proenza Schouler dress decked in 300,000 sequins? The truth is, if I was the fashion police, embellishment would be a uniform of sorts worn on days when our routine needed just the right dusting of sparkle. With a sprinkle of glitter in mind this Nine by Savannah Miller jumper is the perfect jewelled antidote to a rainy day. Despite its neutral shade the gold sequins perfectly brighten up a simple monochrome outfit. Wear this jumper with a longline waistcoat (as seen here) or pair it with jeans and flat boots for relaxed everyday sparkle. Shine on!

Embellished Jumper | Nine by Savannah Miller, Debenhams

Long Waistcoat | Red Herring, Debenhams

Black Knee High Boots | DUO (now Ted & Muffy)

Black Shorts | H&M

Gold Belt | Oasis

Debenhams blogger styleNine by Savannah MillerBlogger Personal Styleembellished jumperDuo boots Ted and Muffy

Images: Ivory Pictures


Trade Secrets: Christian Macleod

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Who: Christian Macleod

What: Luxury Belt Designer

Where: House of Fraser, 45 Buchanan Street, Glasgow

How did a former golfer become a belt designer?

When I became a professional golfer only two brands made premium golf wear. I’d spend £500 on an outfit, play in a tournament and five other guys were wearing the same t-shirt and trousers as me. I started getting a CM logo embroidered onto unbranded t-shirts and everyone asked where I’d bought the new clothes but I was too embarrassed to say I’d designed them myself so I pretended they were from a local shop. I came back from a tournament in Spain, had a quick game of football with some friends and broke my ankle. Out of competitive golf for at least a year, I knew I had to supplement my income. The designs I’d made had been getting some attention so fashion accessories seemed like a logical business to pursue.

Talk us through your production process.

To kick start production I booked a plane to Milan and spent two weeks visiting factories. I’d tried for a couple of months in Scotland to get contacts with factories and got nowhere so decided to bite the bullet and fly to Italy in the hope of securing meetings in person. I found three factories, had samples made from each then picked my favourite. I create a design where the CM logo features clearly on the buckle, think about how the leather will sit on the buckle and how the mechanism will work. Once we’ve finalised the designs for a collection the cowhide leathers are cut, grained and dyed into specific colours.

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How does the business function on a day to day level?

I’m a one man band and aged 23 that can be quite daunting but I think the brand itself looks quite established already so I try to let the product do the talking. I’m currently selling around 5-10 belts a day via my website so I package and deliver them myself. Most of my time is spent on brand awareness and brand development.

You’ve invested very heavily in marketing. How did you manage this spend so early in your business?

I saved my earnings for two years because I didn’t want the weight of debt on my shoulders and I didn’t know if things were going to work out. I don’t pay myself a wage from the company at all so everything goes back into the business. I still do some golf teaching to ensure I can cover living costs and put beans on toast on my table. I have great ambitions for the brand so I’m happy to live as cost effectively as I can to make sure I have the money to realise my goals.



Christian Macleod the brand has a very glamourous persona. With that in mind who is your ideal customer?

The price point is relatively high and reflects the price I would pay for a belt. Likewise my recent launch event at the Corinthian in Glasgow was the type of party I like to go to. The people at my parties are the clientele that buy my belts – young professionals that dress well. Some people don’t care about what they wear – a belt is just something that holds up their trousers but to me it makes every difference to an outfit. It’s a product that’s often forgotten but there’s no point investing in a new shirt, shoes and jeans then wearing the same tired old belt you’ve had for twenty years. A good belt is like having a personalised number plate on your car.

Speaking of cars, how did you negotiate your collaborations with BMW and Aston Martin?

I hosted my first small event in Inverness a few years ago and asked a local BMW dealership if they would provide a car to sit outside the venue. They agreed, a relationship grew and they subsequently let me borrow cars for photo shoots. Aston Martin saw some of my promotional pictures and were interested in the way I was styling the belts within the cars – wrapping the belts around exhausts, around the steering wheel and trying to be creative. I wanted to align my brand with the cars as much as possible because I felt our customer profile was similar. I now have a gentleman’s agreement with Aston Martin who let me use the cars for promotional activity. I’d love to design seat belts for them one day.


As a newcomer to the fashion industry how do you feel the brand been received?

The response has been largely positive but you’re always going to get people who don’t like what you’re doing. Everyone has an opinion and you can’t keep everyone happy. When it comes to fashion we all have different perceptions of what works and what doesn’t. I once bought a Louis Vuitton wallet and my friends thought it was horrendous. If someone can say that about such a successful brand they can easily criticise my belts and I‘m prepared for that.

What’s been your biggest business challenge to date?

Being in House of Fraser has been a huge learning curve. When you’re amongst the biggest brands in the world it really does open your eyes to how influential they are. I take my hat off to every young person who is trying to run alongside them. I was interviewed for GQ recently and they asked me how long I thought it would take to develop my luxury brand. I said ‘a couple of years’ and they laughed at me. They said ‘just so you know it will take a minimum of 10 years. Do you have 10 years to throw money at a black hole?’. My product is expensive so immediately I’m putting myself into a market where I am competing with established luxury labels. In an ideal world I’d like people to buy their CM belt first and arrange an outfit to suit the belt. Essentially I’m trying to reverse the way people dress themselves.

Christian Macleod’s belts are currently available at House of Fraser Glasgow. See Christian’s full collection here


Runway to Reality: Fringe Swing

Fringe Dress H&M

Who can resist the shimmy shake of a fringed dress? Swinging from coats, dresses and skirts, the Autumn/Winter catwalks were full of fringing and tassels. The ‘F’ word might fill you with fear but fringing is actually easy to wear. Think about it –  those rows of shimmery trim hide all manner of sins and skim over lumps and bumps (because we all have them!). Always wear a dress like this with a belt to define your waist and balance all that texture with one or two minimal accessories rather than full on bling. Essentially it’s a mix of seventies sass and twenties glamour all in one appropriately festive package. With Christmas parties on the horizon it’s time to hit the dancefloor in a fringed dress and literally shake off the winter blues. Before then, wear this dress with tights and flat ankle boots during the day – because bouncy dresses will always make you smile.

Fringed Dress | H&M

Black Ankle Boots | Russell & Bromley

Gold Belt | Oasis

Jewelled Browband | Topshop

 Fringe Dress
Twenties DressFringe DressFringe Dress Greenfringe detailImages: Ivory Pictures


Saturday Digest: Essena O’Neill & A Man on the Moon


Reading: Unless you’ve been living in a cave this week you’ll have read all about Essena O’Neill and her decision to quit the internet. Big deal you say? Well it turns out 19-year-old Essena is a social media sensation and recorded an emotional video discussing the effects of the ‘fame game’. Recent reports suggest the video was a ploy to publicise her new book deal but regardless of her motives her openness about blogger depression caused by a need for online approval raised an important point – don’t believe everything you read online.

Watching: It gets me every year without fail. The official John Lewis Christmas advert was released yesterday and it’s a tear-jerker yet again. We see an old man living a lonely life on the moon whilst a young girl tries to communicate with him from earth. SOB! The advert made me think about people without family or friends to visit them over the holidays. So if there’s an elderly person in your neighbourhood spare half an hour to join them for a cuppa – it’ll make their day.

Doing: Scotland Redesigned held their annual showcase this week at SWG3 in Glasgow and as always it was great to see the next generation of design talent on the catwalk. As the most prolific platform for promoting young designers in Scotland the event goes from strength to strength with panellists including Fashion Editor and Blogger Disney Roller Girl and Managing Director of Very Exclusive, Sarah Curran MBE. The models wore make-up from leading artist Sara Hill including the glitter pots I wrote about this week. Nobody could resist a giant pom pom coat by Cats Brothers (pictured) or the stream of show-stopping sequins from Isolated Heroes. Bling! Check out my Instagram profile for a video of the final runway walk.

Image: Hope Street Magazine