Alternative ways of being #5: Katharine Hamnett

‘The reports were appalling… The environmental issues surrounding the textiles and the pesticides poisoning, the deaths from industrial accidents and workers living in slave conditions… it had to change and it was hard. Even trying to get organic cotton was impossible, no one was doing it.


‘Today it’s totally different. We’ve got sustainable recycled polyester, and sustainable alpaca from Peru in natural colours. Swiss mills are making the most beautiful organic cotton. I don’t know why Burberry aren’t using it for all their clothes. They f**cking charge enough!’

– Fashion designer, Katherine Hamnett, 70, on closing her fashion empire in 1989, after she commissioned an impact study into her business and the environment.

The politically driven slogan t-shirt was her signature trademark – George Michael wore Choose Life and her picture wearing her anti-Pershing missile t-shirt meeting Margaret Thatcher is one of her most famous shots.

Katherine Hamnett is now making a comeback with ‘Cancel Brexit’ and ‘Choose Love’ t-shirts and a relaunch of some of her classic pieces (online at now and then Liberty and Matches).

I love her gutsiness to speak out on issues such as the environment, war or social injustice. She wasn’t happy with the status quo of the fashion industry so she shut down her business and found alternative ways of doing things. We can do the same too by trying to influence small, positive changes in the industries we work in and the attitudes of people we meet. If something isn’t right or should or could be done differently for a great good, why not say something and be bold like Katherine Hamnett.

Quote taken from interview with Mark C O’Flaherty in FT Weekend Life & Arts, 11/12 November 2017.

Old-school vintage glamour for Christmas…

Christmas jumpers not your thing? Nothing in ASOS taking your fancy? Then why not style it up with a touch of old-school vintage glamour instead. I popped into Beyond Retro on Great Marlborough Street in Soho, London and struck gold. Well, black actually…

beyondretro vintage sequin jacket christmas party 1 In amongst rails of garish party sequins (which I also love, but wasn’t in the mood for) I found this very elegant cropped cardi adorned with beautiful black beading. I’ll wear it proud this party season and will probably upgrade non-party outfits with it the rest of the year too.
beyondretro vintage sequin jacket christmas party 2

beyondretro vintage sequin jacket christmas party 3

A true classic that I expect will be worn for many more years and occasions. That’s why I love vintage shopping – because you never know when you’ll find a unique piece that will stand the test of time!

Happy vintage shopping x

In My Wardrobe: New Veja Trainers

New trainers! Veja trainers. After years of following the brand, I’ve finally got round to buying a pair. For me, Veja is a brand with the most amazing ethos and commitment to everything related to making a product: the environment, ecology, fair trade, workers and style.

Veja trainers Aida Shoreditch

The soles are made from Amazonian rubber trees (instead of usual petroleum-derived rubber) and help to provide an income for 60 Amazonian families as well as provide an incentive to keep trees up and not deforest.

I love the transparency in the who, where, what and why of Veja shoe-making – check out the video below to see more about how the shoes are made, and the brand’s inspiring commitment to workers and sustainable materials.

By doing things differently they can attempt to distance themselves from worker exploitatio and environmental degradation which is sadly the usual result of most things we produce and consume. Instead, I feel like there’s a lot of respect for people and the land, and that’s my kind of brand.  Read more about Veja materials and projects here

If you’re due a new pair of trainers, and want a decent alternative to the usual suspects, Nike et al, then check out the endless number of Veja stylesAnd if, like me, you try to minimise consumption of leather and animal materials, then many are almost vegan. Some are totally non-leather, others have some or very little. I believe mine (above) have a little bit in the V cut-out. Although I would have preferred a totally non-leather pair, from what I’ve read, Veja leather is said to be eco-tanned without chromium (a lingering pollutant) and with knowledge of the source and living conditions of cattle.

Check out the online Veja store (they ship to UK from France) as well as a few boutiques around London. I bought mine up from the gorgeous Aida in Shoreditch for £75.

Let me know if you have a pair, buy a pair or love them as much as I do. @YanarBeauty

PS – this is NOT a sponsored post. Just genuine love for a decent brand! x

1960s Vintage Makeup Tutorial

We’ve just stumbled upon this fantastic video at work in the BeautyMART office which shows a girl doing her make-up in 1969. It’s seriously slow but we loved it. Just check out the Alsatian dog watching her!

I think these videos are quite rare but Glamour Daze has sourced them and built an AMAZING archive of vintage fashion history, make-up guides, videos and tutorials from 1920-1950s. Really quite amazing, check them out. I’m hooked. and

Vintage lovers, go to Whitstable

Vintage Curiosities antique shop in Sandwich, Kent

Vintage Curiosities antique shop in Sandwich, Kent

We didn’t mean to go to Whitstable but decided on the day, after purchasing a Stagecoach Explorer Kent Dayrider ticket, because we didn’t have a car. Sounds terribly geeky I know, but for a tenner, two of us could hop on and off all day, with lovely little old ladies. Plus everyone knows there are great vintage and charity shops to be discovered out of London, so I was more than happy to hit the road with a pair of magpie eyes and a pocket full of money.

Starting in St. Margaret’s Bay, with a bus full of OAPs, or ‘senior citizens’ as they like to call them around there, we popped to Deal for a coffee and some second-hand book shopping; I struck it lucky with Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species.

Onwards to Sandwich where we got off the bus and saw the little antiques shop, Vintage Curiosities (pictured above) sitting invitingly opposite the bus stop, and a big Age Concern charity shop on the other side – how convenient.

I took home a couple of pieces of old, engraved cutlery but had to tear myself away from an amazing, old turquoise typewriter which had an unbelievable price tag of £18. Frustratingly it was just too heavy to carry. Can you courier to London? No. Meep!

Back on the bus after a portion of chips in the sun, and onwards to Whitstable. Only 20 mins from Canterbury this little seaside town has an endless string of charity, second hand, vintage and antique shops. I couldn’t actually believe how many there were – in all my years of hunting down charity shops in the nooks and crannies of towns and villages, I’ve never seen such an overwhelming concentration of them all in one place. I quite simply was in second-hand heaven!

Surprisingly I was very constrained, and kept purchasing power to a minimum. We found a lovely little vintage store called Anchors Aweigh Vintage which had a well-sourced, almost curated collection of every vintage item you might want in your life – from clothes and purses to fabrics, tins and glass ware.

I found a cream, 1960s house coat in a feather-light quilted material, a bit like a dressing gown, in immaculate condition.

1960s cream coat from Anchors Aweigh Vintage

With the perfect A-line fit, so reminiscent of that era, it has little three quarter sleeves and beautiful embroidery on the collars and across the pockets – it really was too cute to leave behind.

1960s cream jacket from Anchors Aweigh Vintage with beautiful embroidered collar 1960s cream coat from Anchors Aweigh Vintage pocket detail

The only downside is its dangerously cream colour: I’m a messy pup at the best of times and I’d probably only have to look at it to get it dirty but I would love to wear it when it’s warmer – I just need somewhere where I only need to stand still, not eat, drink or travel on public transport. How likely an event is that? Exactly! For now, it can join the rest of my collection.

As well as a bulging charity, vintage and second hand scene, Whitstable also boasts lots of art galleries and artists. We stopped by a friend of my friend’s pop up gallery and bought a little piece of bee art on a mount, which will look lovely in a little glass clip frame or even against a window to let the light shine through it.

There are also gazillions of seafood restaurants and fish and chip shops – a bit useless for two veggie/vegans unfortunately.

I could have gone second hand shopping crazy in Kent especially for old ladies’ clothes and vintage crockery but it was a day of selective choices – quality not quantity.

I’m also currently in the process of setting up my own online vintage store on so I’m conscious of having limited space for more stuff – but once I launch and start selling, I’ll definitely be pencilling in another visit to Whitstable. Next time I’ll add Canterbury to the trip too as I spotted a row of second-hand and antique furniture shops which were desperately calling my name. Suddenly that family explorer bus ticket doesn’t sound so silly. xx

A vintage weekend in Somerset

West Lynch cottage Somerset

West Lynch cottage Somerset

I think I’m in love. No, sadly not with a real person, but with a house. This weekend I was in Somerset about 30 miles from the nearest railway station, Taunton, practically in the middle of nowhere. While I was feeling quite queasy about how remote it was, once I woke up and looked around I was enamoured by what I saw.

We were staying in an historic, super-sized cottage (sleeps 12) in the magnificent Exmoor National Park, in a tiny village called Allerford. It was short walk from the coast so several rooms had not-so-distant sea views while others over-looked rolling hills and forests. It honestly felt like something out of a Thomas Hardy novel – in fact Lorna Doone by R.D. Doddridge was based in that area.

Not only were the bricks and mortar of this cottage centuries old – it’s been with the same family for three centuries and part of a farm site built in 1400s – but the owners have some serious antique tastes too.

Every room boasted hefty antique furniture, traditional features such as sinks in bedrooms, country-style tapestry and furnishings, local art and large beautiful sideboards adorned with amazing china and crockery that would give Alfies Antique Market in London a run for its money.

Obviously I couldn’t resist taking a few green-eyed snaps…

Allerford, Somerset


Somerset sunset


Allerford coast pebble beach, Somerset

It appears most of these stunning old cottages are now guest houses and holiday accommodation and a quick peek at the holiday rental prices around here and you’d understand why. The owners of West Lynch cottage where we stayed were originally turnip, wheat and barley farmers but 1954 – 1980 was the last time it was a working farm; now the owners rely on paying visitors for income.

If you don’t mind the drive then it’s really worth a trip south west. Take long walks, discover the history, admire some antiques, enjoy the stillness and re-connect with nature. I’m now ready to face the week!

So nasty they're nice…

Gold lame trousers vintage

They’re bold, brash and a little bit nasty. These gold lamé, 80s vintage trousers – a little bit MC Hammer style – with abstract floral print are my latest charity find.

Gold lame trousers vintage

They even came with a cropped matching bolero jacket – a daring combo even for my alternative taste – and definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Dress to impress

When it was pouring with rain last Friday, this was my morning inspiration. Now, after two days of unbelievable sun in London, it’s my inspiration once again. And why not. Take note girls, the message is simple: Dress to impress.

Thanks to Vintage Style Facebook page for the picture. There are plenty more like this posted every day from Vintage Style so check it out if you like. Me, I’m off to shop for a one-piece swimsuit.

Sneak Peek at new site – Opnuu

Opnuu screen-shot-

Opnuu screen-shot-

Just heard of this new site for recycling high-end fashion and vintage clothes called Opnuu – – the idea is that you can lend and borrow desirable items, clothes and accessories, to a community of like-minded people. If you have something to lend, it seems like you set your ‘rental’ price and period of time it’s available and members get to hire the piece out, allowing you to earn money off it. I’d quite like to borrow this hat..perfect for a winter wedding

The idea is great – let others enjoy pieces they wouldn’t usually have access to and obviously a great way of supporting sustainable fashion. But what about if the person damages your one off vintage jimmy choos? The site is an invite-only community so I guess that cuts down on random riff-raffs but accidents still happen. I’m guessing there are codes of conduct to follow to help avoid this. I’ve signed up my interest anyway as I’m curious to know more and have more than enough vintage pieces ideal for rental.

So, another good option for your clutter ladies.. albeit temporarily. And if like me, you’re wondering where the name Opnuu came about, just found a blog post that explains it all – apparently it’s a play on the words ‘new’ and ‘opportunity’ which I really liked…  x

Last minute Christmas shopping

lovelys vintage emporium

If you’re anything like me, leaving EVERYTHING until the last minute then here’s a round up of the stylish, ethical and fabulous places to shop in time for Christmas (and all year round!)…I did a quick check and all can deliver in time for Christmas – if you buy now!

Content beauty boutique1. CONTENT – beauty and wellbeing boutique in London and onlne

Founder Imelda Burke, says it specialises in ’emerging, results-driven niche brands’ but you’ll also find trusted favourites like Lavera, Nvey Eco and Jo Wood Organics. It’s like a treasure trove of adorable beauty finds and walls adorned with vintage mirrors and cute illustrations. There are treatment rooms for beauty and complimentary therapies too so you can treat yourself or others. You can also pick Imelda’s brains on everything to do with natural and organic beauty as she’s a trusted beauty insider.

2. MELVITA – natural beauty brand in Covent Garden, London Melvita beauty store

It’s a newly opened store in a cute new shopping courtyard in Covent Garden and inside there’s enough to keep you engaged until they chuck you out. I had no idea French brand, Melvita, had so many products until I visited the store last week. And, they have the most AMAZING planted wall that had me swooning over it (yes, I’m a little sad!) and wishing to have one installed in my house. The ranges are affordable and gentle on skin, perfect for winter.

3. Lovely’s Vintage Emporium

Oh I love a good vintage hideout and this one is totally fabulous! It’s bright, uplifting and fun to browse. Founder, Lynnette Peck-Bateman, has obviously put a lot of work into the visual experience (which makes a change to the typically dreary vintage shopping sites around) and sourcing of designer and non-designer, unique pieces. It’s my kind of vintage style – statement pieces. A lot of bold and eye-catching finds from 60s, 70s and 80s (as well as other eras) with strong shapes and vibrant colours. These are the kind of pieces that get people asking you where your clothes are from. Check it out!

lovelys vintage emporium

Now I want to know your favourite ethical, stylish and fabulous places to shop!!

Spotted. Beautiful old umbrella.

Last week I had an umbrella crush. Spotted in the window of the lovely Paper Dress vintage shop on Curtain Road in London. It’s a Sixties original, perfect condition with a hooked wooden handle. With the kind of weakness I have for beautiful umbrellas, especially old ones, of course I had to have it…what do you think?!

Ooh la la …

Marie Claire 1940

So much to say, so little time. Last week I was in Paris where I picked up this gorgeous 1940’s edition of Marie Claire from a vintage shop. It’s dated 19 April  1940 and priced at 1.75 Francs. I paid €6. Isn’t it gorgeous!

Marie Claire 1940

What I’d like to find out is whether these are reproductions or originals. I found a stall selling some at the flea market too, which made me doubt their originality. Does anyone know?

I found a few on eBay but no mention to their originality, and around the same price so I wasn’t ripped off. Amazing if they’ve survived that long but equally, I imagine it’s pretty easy to reprint onto yellowed, dusky paper.

Here’s a quick peek inside…In French of course, but the visuals are great and I wish there were more; the magazine in general is quite text heavy.

Inside Marie Claire, 1940Inside Marie Claire, 1940...

My favourite pic…

Inside Marie Claire, 1940 edition

A few ads – recognise the brands?

Colgate advert, Marie Claire 1940Tampax advert, Marie Claire 1940I hadn’t realised Tampax and Colgate were so old. In fact a quick Google revealed Tampax has been around since 1936 (some sources say as early as 1920s) and Colgate since 1806. The Colgate & Company (founded by William Colgate, a soap and candle maker in New York) made their first toothpaste in 1872, sold in jars. The first toothpaste sold in a tube was in 1896. I love a bit of geeky history!

New old shoes

New shoes

New shoes

I couldn’t resist but show you the four pairs of lovely new old shoes I got this week from the Antoinette Costume Hire shop in SE London as they did a big shoe sell-off on Ebay.

It’s amazing that all four fit perfectly, hoorah! Does anyone else get that nervous anticipation when Ebay items arrives, especially shoes: Will they be ugly? Will they fit? However well-versed you are in the art of Ebay and online vintage buying there’s always a small chance the purchase is a big bad no-no.

In fact, this week I bought another pair of shoes off Ebay which were simply horrid. Too big and too nasty. As soon as I opened the package they went straight back in the bag and off to the charity shop. Oops.

These lovely shoes on the other hand are worth showing off; from left to right: a special pair of 1970s Bertie’s platforms (I’ve been looking for a pair of platforms for a while); black fabric and yellow faux-snake skin flats which are very elegant with a cool mix of fabrics; a red patent, slightly battered androgynous-looking lace-ups; and a pair of pointy black quite masculine leathers with a wee buckle on the side which will look great with jeans or mid-length skirts.

Love them all! Please share your Ebay horror or love stories..

Are you ready to ski again?

Ski pants are back!

Ski pants are back! favourite bag

Ski pants are back?! Surely not. Oh yes they are. I saw this wonderful pair in the shop window of my local vintage shop – the brilliant Paper Dress on Curtain Road in Londres – and after walking past them for a few weeks, guess what? Yep, I had to have them. They’re mine now and they look fab!

Worn with a black top tucked in, platform boots, a short jacket and my current favourite handbag (a gorgeous old Italian number featured above) it’s a recipe for love. And luckily I don’t even feel eight years old.

Go on, I think you should try a pair :)

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