Google launches British Fashion Beta Project

Mandy Harrison European Fashions, designer accessories, scarves, handbags, purses, and fashion jewellery

THE LATEST GOOGLE BETA PROJECT focuses on British Fashion, reveals the latest data on the fashion trends of 2016, and sheds light on British fashion designers and retailers.

Google’s Beta Project team have just launched their latest microsite exploring the creativity and heritage of British fashion. Part of Google Arts and Culture division, this latest release follows on from their last presentation: The Wonders of Yangzhou.

Google document the classic artistry of English luxury fashion house Burbery, the career of British legend Paul Smith, and the revolutionary craftsmanship of Alexander McQueen. And of course, no respectable list of British fashion icons would be complete without the inimitable Vivienne Westwood.

Naturally, the Arts and Culture team utilise the very latest cutting edge web technology to showcase their presentation, including a Gigapixel presentation cleverly titled “Behind the Seams”, and a 360 Virtual Reality video presented by fashion model and nonpareil icon, Naomi Campbell.

Working in collaboration with the British Fashion Council, Google‘s new website provides a glimpse in to the future of British Fashion, what fashion savvy consumers can expect through 2017, and the latest data on the most recent fashion trends.

Other editorial features spotlight the historical significance of David Baileys profound influence on the world of fashion photography, celebrates 32 years of British Fashion Week, and focuses on the history of more than 300 years of design and innovation of London’s preeminent menswear brands.

You can find Google’s latest British Fashion Beta Project here, the full list of Google Arts and Culture projects here, and Google’s “Think With Google” article presenting the latest fashion data here.

High-heels dying out as women turn to comfy trainers

Mandy Harrison European Fashions, designer accessories, scarves, handbags, purses, and fashion jewellery

HIGH-HEELS WERE ONCE considered a symbol of elegance and an essential wardrobe staple for the well-dressed woman, but new data reveals they are dying out, as sales of heels have been eclipsed by trainers for the first time.

Data from consumer analyst Mintel, shows more British women have purchased trainers more than high-heeled shoes for the first time ever over the past year. It comes amid a major backlash against high-heels as experts warn they cause health problems.

Celebrities including Victoria Beckham have also hung up their high-heels this year, with the British style icon switching her famous sky-high Christian Louboutin stilettos for trainers, over back pain issues caused by years of wearing towering shoes.

Some 37% of British women who have bought footwear in the last year purchased a pair of trainers, while just 33% bought shoes with a heel. For 2015, the proportions of footwear purchased was equal in both footwear categories.

And the data shows that the popularity of heels is falling flat in general, as 59% of female shoppers prefer to wear flat shoes, compared to only 12% who expressed a preference for high-heeled shoes.

Tamara Sender, a senior fashion analyst at Mintel, said “For the first time ever sales of trainers have overtaken high-heels“.

“The UK sportswear market has seen strong growth in the last year and there has been a trend for consumers to integrate casual sports clothing into their daily wardrobes, meaning trainers have also become more popular among women, overtaking heels to become the second favourite item of footwear after flat shoes”.

“Athletic footwear is increasingly being used for everyday non-sporting activities showing that trainers are now more likely to be used for non-sports use. Women aged 35 to 44 have become the main trainer buyers proving the trend is no longer limited to younger consumers.”

John Saunders, chief executive of the British Footwear Association, said “There is a trend in the market where ladies have discovered that heels aren’t the be all end all of their lives. They have got to the point where lifestyle and activity is important, for example people commuting are more likely to wear trainers“.

“In the City of London there is still a degree of power dressing, but generally in workplaces it is now more acceptable not to wear high-heels“.

Why the 80’s Were an Iconic Decade for the Fashion World

Mandy Harrison European Fashions

THE 1980’S FEATURED AN ECLECTIC multitude of fashionable trends and the styling power switched from the large fashion houses to the influence of TV, movie and pop stardom. People wanted their fashion to emulate that of their icons and influence came from many genres. It seems that the 80’s is making a comeback in the “Anxious Teenies” so let’s remember what we could be about to see again.

Many of you reading this like myself have been through the iconic 80’s already and remember the giant perms, shoulder pads, neon ra-ra skirts and our love of shoulder pads and leg warmers. (I’m glad none of those pictures of me in the 80’s are on the Internet for the world to see). It’s influenced our fashion choices and changed the fashion world.

With the introduction of popular television becoming more wide spread, TV stars and shows had a bigger influence on fashion. The shoulder pads and power suits from Dynasty and Dallas being adored by the “Yuppies”. People were also crediting Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana with being style icons to follow.

The movie industry influenced the fashion world during the 80’s with the film Pretty In Pink grieving us the preppy-and-lace look, and Flashdance adding the leggings and dance wear to our everyday wardrobes. Michael J Fox became the face of Calvin Klein.

Probably the biggest fashion trend of the 80’s was jeans. Women were wearing jeans now, not for a political statement, but instead for a comfy pair of casual trousers. Early in the 80’s they were tight, straight-legged, creased, and as blue as an evening summer sky. But denim wasn’t deemed appropriate for the night life.

With the introduction of new cable show MTV pop stars became able to influence their fans fashion choices too. Madonna and Michael Jackson were two of the most influential idols of the decade, although household names like Cyndy Lauper and Bon Jovi had their part to play introducing us to “Big Hair”. The punk and glam rock bands had their followers too; there was a lot of tight leopard print on those men!

Fond memories or not, the 80’s hugely changed the fashion world and made fashion far more individual, less dictated by the large fashion houses, and put the current trends in the hands of fashion conscious people. The 80’s are back and I can’t wait for some leggings, some neon colours and some animal print. Fashion that’s fun!

Bringing Beautiful European Fashion to the World

Mandy Harrison European Fashions

THE CHIC AND CHARMING Southern European fashion markets are a Pandora’s box of some the most elegant undiscovered fashion products you can find. Every item unique and of fabulous quality, the individual designs and colours breathtaking. Truly exciting compared to the current UK high street offerings, as every purse or handbag is slightly different in pattern or texture.

I am lucky enough to wander around the European fashion markets regularly to hand-select all the products for the Mandy Harrison website. Enjoying the culture mix and atmosphere as people from all over Europe enjoy locally made products and the shopping experience – even though usually we don’t share the same language.

You can enjoy the luxury of handmade Italian handbags, handmade Spanish leather shoes, Italian and Parisian clothing, and pure Cashmere Pashmina’s. All in styles and colours not seen on the UK high street currently. It’s often hard to stick to your budget but learning to barter helps.

It’s a chance to see new designs and items for the first time, to touch and see the quality of the workmanship first-hand, and to help those small boutique manufacturers become a household name. I would not want to change my purchasing style from the European fashion markets to an online wholesaler as I need to be able to guarantee the quality of every product by inspecting it myself, and building a personal relationship with each seller.

The real allure of the European fashion markets is also knowing that many of the products are unique. As the companies making the items are small, they often only make one of each item. It is nice to know that my customers purchases are truly individual in many cases.

Prowling the local fashion markets can be hard work, but at the end of the day you can sit and enjoy a lovely cup of coffee in one of the gorgeous international cafes.

The Secret Wild Psychology of Animal Print Clothing

Mandy Harrison European Fashions

IN A FEARLESS CASE OF SURVIVAL of the fittest, animal print is a trend that never seems to go out of style. Animal prints are known as one of the longest standing patterns in fashion, representing an enduring trend that continues to get reinterpreted and presented on runways every season.

Animal print adds a wild, exotic, and untamed element to any season, giving the wearer a boost of confidence and air of sophistication. Synonymous with luxury and wealth, animal print pieces and accessories are considered timeless fashion investments and the prized wardrobe possessions of the chic.

Regularly spotted on fashion runways, Hollywood stars and celebrities, animal prints offer mainstream fashion a cutting-edge, designer appeal. Animal prints allow even the most conservative person the ability to show their wild side, bringing instant attention to any fashion statement. And most importantly, people love prints. Animal prints are pleasing to the eye, very versatile and with so many different prints to choose from, there is a perfect print for every occasion and every outfit.

But there is a hidden psychological undertone. Essentially what animal print does is leverage our subconscious human instincts to fear the natural patterns of human predators. Whenever a human (any human) sees the pattern of a human predator, eg: leopard spots, there is a significant amount of subconscious instinctual fear activated in the centre of the brain: specifically, inside the amygdala.

It’s an instantaneous piece of software stored (and triggered off faster than any conscious reaction could ever occur) in the prehistoric part of our hard-drive. It’s left over in our mind as part of the human within us that’s several hundreds of thousands of years old. Put simply, a man’s “inner caveman” feels fear for a split second when he sees “Lady Leopard”, due to a lingering age-old instinct designed to help avoid being eaten. We see animal print, we are instantly automatically subconsciously primed with a version of the classic “fight or flight” response. Whether we think it’s true or not, it happens to each and every one of us.

So an instinctual fear is primed in the centre of the brain, and that subconscious fear increases arousal which is explained to the conscious mind as being attributable to the attractiveness of the object being looked at. Note also that the subconscious fear response causes increased looking time (an instinctual “keep an eye on that predator” response), which can in turn give rise to the mere exposure effect which increases perceived attractiveness in Lady Leopard’s favour.

In the mind of most males seeing females in animal print, the “attack response” is not translated literally to a conscious threat label because females don’t represent a physical threat. The centre of a male’s brain does however compel them to keep an eye on animal print, and they are likely to attribute this also as being due to increased attractiveness.

In fact, the arousal instincts discussed above also increases the looking time of other females when Lady Leopard’s around, which males could also pick up on and attribute as being due to the heightened attractiveness or status of Lady Leopard in the eyes of her fellow lady rivals.

There’s always been serious chemistry between fashion and animal prints. I’ve spent a good amount of time learning to understand this daring trend, from leopard spots to zebra stripes. It’s a look I embrace every season whilst others seek out this years “new black”. To me, leopard print is a neutral that works every day and any time. Big-cat prints are timelessly chic.

Be brave, take a walk on the wild side and release your inner animal!