Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hand Made Slippers

I went to a workshop today at Bilston Craft Gallery with 'Sammy the shoe-maker', learning how to make sheepskin slippers :)
It was a lush day - tiring as I don't normally use a hammer and nails, but a great experience.
Visit Sammy's etsy shop here

And pictures from the workshop. I'd love to design some of my own to adapt the shape and work into the uppers before assembling them. I saved some pink suede remnants so might add a star or snowflake to the front with a single stitch.

Mine and Kelly's finished slippers x

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shoes for Show

Wish I could go to this exhibition!

Shoes by Daphne Guinness, Christian Louboutin and Natacha Marro

4th - 8th November 2011
An exclusive look at couture pieces from private collections - hidden from public view until now.
Courtesy of
Location: The Loading Bay, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL
11am - 7pm

What to expect?
Here are my fave Louboutins,

Daphne Guinness wearing McQueen shoes,

and some Natacha Marros created for a theatre production,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Christmas Home Ideas

I've got lots of lovely ideas for decorating the home for Christmas this year. J and I are soon moving into a little house and maybe having some family over so I want to make it look gorgeous.

I love this Ikea picture, from the 'Christmas inspirations' section on their website, they also include a link to instructions on how to make paper swans! My theme will be silver swans and white pine-cones. All I need is some patterned napkins, a walk in the woods to gather some pine-cones, and to decorate them, white spray paint and glitter.

Origami swan/crane pdf:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wow: TKMaxx find

Stunning cropped leather jacket by Malandrino
Gold Label @ TK Maxx (Birmingham) around £300 in the sale
Love it !

Monday, October 10, 2011

DanielBlake a/w 2011 Events

I was blessed to be the photographer for two of Daniel Blake's A/W 2011 events, both held in London last week. Daniel Blake offers a 'made to order' service, where you can select your style, size and fabric for your garment. All garments are then made right here in the UK

Here are a some of my favourite shots from last week

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Influence: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions etc., of others

Inspire: to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence
to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon (a person); animate or invigorate
to breathe life into

I am influenced by my passions - fabrics, sewing, creation - and hope for the future.
I am inspired by beautiful friends, their passions, their love and their wonderful freedom.
This one is inspired by Becca.

Part of my autumn range to be released early October.

Printed jersey batwing top for info x

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I ♥ Autumn

Fresh inspiration

Still loving JW Waterhouse paintings as posted previously, but I'm currently working from some of my uni work that I did in April to create a small collection of one-offs.
The project was called 'Bohemian Journey' and is my favourite, most boho design work. I just had to change some of the colours and textures so I could work with fabrics I already have. The collection will be sold under my label Resa Smith

The original project:

And for those who love me, a sneak peak into realisation :)
Sketches and techs, swatches and trimmings

Monday, July 25, 2011

To clog or not to clog?

Last summer clogs came in, and I wasn't sure if they were going to take off or not, but the buyers were clever, choosing designs with faux fur to carry us into a/w... knowing it might take us a whole season to decided if we really like clogs or not.

I remember clogs from when my big sis would be lounging in the garden, I never really thought of them as a high fashion accessory. This summer I was still unsure.. Until I found some gorgeous heeled clogs, that my friend Camilla wore to my house. I just had to be totally inspired and bought some the same (thanks Cam!) x

1.My River Island clogs £45  2.Aldo, £70  3.Zara  4.Chanel, the pioneer of clogs for 2010/11  5.Jeffrey Campbell@free people/urban outfitters  6.Free People £70  7.Irregular Choice £150  8.Jeffrey Campbell snick wedges £70  9.Miss KG £85  10.The Laden Showroom £45 £42

Some are clumpy and bizarre looking, others are boho and funky, but they are all still clogs - don't expect to be walking elegantly in them - by their very nature you will find yourself clogging around :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

British Summer Hot Chocs

This summer evening calls for some hot choc, so here is my own tried and tested recipe with links to the accessories I use.

1) Measure the milk by filling up the mugs you are  going to use. Slowly heat milk and use a thermometer to monitor the heat. Mine thermometer is from Amazon

2) Just before the milk is ready (about 70 degrees to froth well) boil the kettle and fill your mugs/glasses about 1/5 with water. Add the chocolate powder at this point, stirring it in gradually. For a richer result, add 1 teaspoon cocoa powder. You can also experiment with a gentler taste, replacing 1 teaspoon choc powder with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence.

3) Froth milk! I filled the jar halfway to the marked line, so it froths over double. If you were making a cappuccino I would recommend skimmed milk, as it froths best. I tend to rinse the glass in warm water before shocking it with hot milk. My milk frother is by Bodum and can also be heated on the hob top.

4) Stir the remaining heated milk into the chocolate syrup you prepared, and top with froth. Admire it for a second, then move on quickly!

5) Top with chocolate sprinkles to impress, although this can cause the froth to disappear more quickly. My latte glasses are from House of Fraser.

Enjoy! x

Monday, July 4, 2011

University review: Course, campus and career

Comparative review of my university experience: Bournemouth v Birmingham.
Scroll down to 'The verdict' if it's too much to read!

I spent 2 years studying at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth (now known as The Arts University College at Bournemouth) and a further 1 year at Birmingham City University. Each year had its own flavor, from a sunny but intense and dramatic first year studying Costume, to the relief of transferring to a Fashion course and then onto the final lap, making a whole heap of new friends in Brum.

The Arts University College at Bournemouth

Bournemouth is a wonderful town, full of colour, variety and art. There is a certain 'Bournemouth look' to the young people to seem to have their own version of 'cool' that you only find down south by the sea. I loved moving out into a house in the student area, and quickly got used to my independence. The course, however, was haaard. In a good way. I think... We were in uni most days, had a register, and had plenty of practical work and notes to keep up with. Intense but good, anyone who survives that course will become a well seasoned, well experienced costume designer/maker. The problem was, even though I put so much into being accepted there, I lost heart for costume and wanted to focus on contemporary pattern cutting.

So I switched. Second year brought me more freedom. I lived with some great girls who were totally organised and it did me some good. The course provided pattern cutting lessons, step by step practical tailoring lessons, and self initative in design, to draw the way we liked and explore. Probably couldn't fault the course except that it didn't have a direct thrid year available, and the 'lessons' for essay writing were less than helpful.

Bournemouth has a well organised campus, a purpose built library (lacking in toilets and doesn't stay open long enough) an enterprise building to support graduates and new business ventures, and a student services centre that accept card payments! Everything is in one place, with areas of grass to hang out, an arts bar and a (too small) cafeteria.
The motto is 'Work hard party harder' which seems to be true for most students. Often there would be events running alongside tight deadlines, DJs playing outside and a BBQ cooking, whilst we are sewing our final collection! Every course seems to be just as intense, so most students lack sleep.
Overall a great arty place to be, if you are self motivated, disciplined and know what you want from life and from the uni experience.

I'm sure Bournemouth has great industry links, I know many students have gone on to do great things once graduating. Two costumers worked on The Kings Speech. One fashion graduate won Norway's 'Project Runway'. However, for me, I didn't feel support in this way. Our course ended after 2 years with the choice to top it up, or leave it as it was: FdA Fashion Degree.
I went out to find my own work experience which I still believe taught me more in 6 weeks than uni taught me in 2 years. Thats not to be harsh on uni - but complimentary of the important of industry experience.
Bournemouth's fashion course did ground me in commercial fashion, which helped my decisions in 3rd year at Birmingham...

Birmingham City University

May I first tell you my bemusement when I saw BCU's library.. The size of a postage stamp! Sorry Birmingham, but that is something you need to work on here!
I choose a 'proper uni' over another arts institute as i wanted 24 hour facilities, a larger work area, larger group of friends, and a different experience. My main problem with Birmingham is that there is no grass. Nevermind it lacking in seaside, some lovely place to chill at lunchtime would be great, instead we had a cold canteen area - the main doors led straight to this area, causing it to be freezing during the winter, and this being the only place to hang out. A massive bonus to the uni is the art shop. This asset dwarfs Bournemouth, who only had an art sale once a month. This shop had all the materials we needed including toiling fabric and much needed chocolate!
We worked in an art block, separate to all the other subjects - hence why the library is probably so small. I have Wolverhampton uni to thank for my dissertation research, whose library is a 4 story atrium abundant in books and resources, and hardly anyone in the fashion section that I needed.
I mustn't be too hard on Birmingham's campus though, as I have heard some whisperings on a new campus at millennium point.

My first encounter at Birmingham set me up to realise the reputation of the course. I was early on the first day and waiting outside the lecture theatre for 15mins, at which point a trickle of 4 other appeared, discussing what time we were supposed to be there. Another 30mins later there were about 16 of us, when a tutor arrived and said the meeting was in yet another 30mins time. Wah!
I love being prompt and on time and I'm afraid there were too many times when meetings were postponed or cancelled, which annoyed me as it was a 1 1/2 hour commute to B'ham for me. This was by no means the tutors fault (I got on very well with Lee and Nathan) but down to having too many students in one year for the amount of staff available. I also had to wait 2 weeks to get some sewing help from the technician as she was just too overloaded, in Bournemouth the max wait would be 2 hours, but we are comparing a class of 35 (B'mouth) to a class of 120 (B'ham) so of course there will be more strains and upsets in the bigger class.

It would be unfair to compare the two universities in terms of career as I did a different level of course, and have only just gotton to interview stage at the moment.
However, Birmingham offers a unique pathway for students who want to make themselves employable. It is called: 'Negotiated brief'. Most final year students create a collection that they hope to show at Graduate Fashion week, however, only 12 students from B'mouth or B'ham are picked for this opportunity, therefore causing some disappointment for other students. Birmingham worked out another option. Instead of making a full collection, I made only 3 outfits, then spent the rest of my time working on my portfolio, and a number fo projects to feature in it. This was then exhibited at GFW, where a number of companies saw it and contacted me. What else does a graduate need? Birmingham City uni worked the timetable in such a way that the ones not being featured on the catwalk could still stand a very good chance in inductry.
Oh and I won an award at BCU for most employable student across Art and Design (called BEST award).. So perhaps I could compare the 2 institutions on this occasion and tip BCU ahead of AUCB?

The verdict:

Bournemouth is a community of artisans, designers and bohemians. The campus is ideal, always improving, moving forward and is inspiring. The work on the walls is current, and the library is tidy and quiet. If you know what you want, if you can self direct and survive a few years of sleep depravation then Bournemouth is for you. It is a place like no other.

For best results: Do a short course, live in Winton, next to the high street: 5mins from shops, 15mins from uni, 30 mins from the sea. Get to know someone who can play guitar. Perfect.

Birmingham uni is big, more grungy and in the heart of the second biggest city in the UK. It is surrounded by big grey buildings, commuters who wish they were in London - not to mention a load of people who don't smile. It did give me, however, the best year of my uni life. I was challenged, forced to do things I wouldn't normally do, and the lack of social occasions to be distracted by severely increased the amount of time i could spend studying and working. The tutors are honest and experienced, we did hear the faculty moan about the lack of money (so we couldn't have a fashion show) but at least there was no pretense or cover-up.

For best results: Live in Wolverhampton so you can use the library there instead. Decide to ignore the banter between the other 100 people in your class. Aim for a first because it is possible.
  • Why I chose Bournemouth: Impressive showreel and final show exhibition. Great vibe.
  • Why I chose Birmingham: Big city, competitive class of students, range of course pathway options and GFW opportunity.
  • To improve Bournemouth: Larger classroom with a separate sewing room (noise reduction) Facilities should stay open for longer into the evening and they need an art shop. More tutorials.
  • To improve Birmingham: A designated 3rd year room - space to ourselves. A warm canteen and about 3 more technicians. Tutorials with time slots to minimize time spent waiting around.

The Best:

  • Library: Bournemouth
  • Events: Bournemouth
  • Facilities: Bournemouth
  • Tutorials: Birmingham
  • Art Supplies: Birmingham
  • City centre: Birmingham: shops, Bournemouth - sea
  • Public transport: B'mouth for buses/local, B'ham for trains
  • Friends/connections/networking: Birmingham
  • Accommodation options: Birmingham
  • Canteen: Neither! The both need work!
  • Trips/visits: Bournemouth
  • Faculty office/student services: Birmingham
  • Vibe: Bournemouth
  • Cultural: Both

Autumn/Winter inspiration

It seems that a/w trends come in before we have even had our British summer. The summer sale in House of Fraser is really good at the moment though, so shouldn't complain. Here's my inspiration for Autumn Winter 2011, by John William Waterhouse (British painter 1849-1917)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Out of everything...

I worked so flippin hard on my degree work, late nights up sewing, early mornings on photoshop and endless stress with the pen tool in illustrator! The most daunting task was my dissertation, yet out of everything, it was the most rewarding task and the only project I would not change. It is easy to say that I would change my final design collection, as it was not chosen for gfw - so of course I would re-do it. I remember back in May a friend of mine posted some info about the end of the world! Remember that? It was supposed to happen in May - so therefore we decided it was pointless starting our dissertations!

Well here's the pretty cover of my dissy titled 'Nothing will ever replace silk' and a photo of me at Macclesfield Silk Museum - to which I highly recommend a visit, the tour is just amazing


Monday, June 13, 2011


And now I'm hunting for a job in London. It is hard when I'm asked to send 'samples' of my work to job agencies, I have a versatile selection (!) different drawing styles, different age groups, etc but very difficult to choose a selection under 2mb! These are what I send through and I hope it represents my ability in design, free hand drawing, CAD, fabric knowledge, construction and techs...

Definitely looking forward to getting my portfolio back from uni in a week. It has fabric samples throughout and is much lovelier to see in real life.

1) Final project: Research, design development and photoshoot
(by supanew)

2) Mini project, for a younger audience, with tech drawings and photoshoot

 3) Bohemian journey, design development, inspiration scrapbook and colour designs with techs

4) Resa Smith summer 2010 dresses - commercial project example

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Final Year... it's over!

I've finished uni and looking forward to results day in june :)
These pics show my capsule collection that I produced before opting to work more on my portfolio. I'd like to do a 6 piece collection one day, as this had been designed to be 6 pieces originally.
Photos taken by Jonathan. Model: Ruth

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fascination of the week

4 weeks ago:
Spider silk is stronger than steel, it is being used in medical research to create artificial ligaments.

3 weeks ago:
The reason the silk industry in Britain never took off on a global scale is because JamesI ordered the wrong type of mulberry tree to feed the silk worms. Silk worms are monophagous so without the white mulberry tree they died. No one dared say this back in the day - it would have been treason, so they blamed it on the weather!

2 weeks ago:
The amish community has strict rules; how to dress, what to eat, where to work, and the God to pray to. It seems that most who leave are not in search of a more free-ing or exciting world - but a more free-ing and real relationship with Jesus. They are becoming born again Christians, and ex-communicated for it.

Last week:
My upstairs neighbor only has about 10% of her sight. She is completely independent, her computer talks to her - and she can type faster than me. Amazing. It is fascinating to describe things to her - without using visual descriptions too much.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Big Hair

I've been in London for the last couple of days having a fantastic time off from uni work. Daniel Blake invited me to his womenswear event where you select a piece from his collection to have made to order.
I worked as the photographer for the event, with Andy Teo aka photocillin working alongside me as my assistant and support (and to keep me calm and functioning!) We got some awesome shots, you can see a small selection of mine here.
The event was at 'Kink' - a luscious hair salon. James, one of the stylists had 'a go at my hair!' and taa daaa! I have big hair that I actually intend to sport for the next few weeks. Thanks James x
Big hair is fabulous. What with graduating in the next few months - I don't intend to take life too seriously! Just going to work harder than ever, putting my heart into gear instead of my head and do the best I can. I'm not going to mind what outfits I end up in, or how late I am for Church ! Just going to get on and live with my big hair. Yeah :)

Photo courtesy of Andy Teo x

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lazy Baking

Tesco cookie mix 64p
Takes 12mins, makes 6 good sized cookies

I unashamedly love this cookie mix, take a look in my cupboard and there'll be at least two boxes!

Photos taken on J's canon 40d, with his lovely new 50mm f1.4 lens

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Flat

I'm absolutely loving our new flat, right in the city centre of Wolverhampton. It'll be a great base for more Resa Smith work, and fantastic for my current commute to Uni.

We've just had our selection day at university, where the tutors decide who is going to showcase their work at Graduate Fashion Week. Unfortunately I am not one of the few who made it, but I'm still really pleased with the work I put forward. It was probably too commercial for how the university want to represent themselves, we joke at uni that if we'd have stuck some dead birds or meat to our work then we might have been picked. Lols
The show is in June 2011, it'll be interesting to see what my classmates achieve.

Now it's time to concentrate on Resa Smith 2011, organising a photoshoot, and writing a dissertation.

Must dash - got some cookies baking in the oven x