Sunday, 31 October 2010

Whose coat's that jacket?

In the 10 rules of winter dressing,  Guardian editor Jess Cartner-Morley tells you to 'wear a proper coat'. Not a parka, apparently. The whole article lists a bunch of lush and dramatically expensive stuff, despite clearly wanting to appear sensible and present some core wardrobe additions in this season. 'Proper coat', according to Cartner-Morley, 'does not have to mean an expensive coat. It means a grown-up coat that doesn't make you look like a slobby fourth former on a field trip. The Jil Sander collection at Uniqlo has some beautiful tailored wool coats for around £100 (...)'. Actually, all the +J coats are about £150 (and some men's coats £200). However, Uniqlo minus Jil Sander has a bunch of nice coats, and  I guess for the quality fabrics (it's all wool, tweed, and faux fur) £60-£80 is not awful for a coat which you are likely to wear every day for the next few months. Still, I will never forget once getting two fantastic winter coats on promotion in Beyond Retro for £17 each.

Uniqlo coats

Cheaper and greener ways of getting a buff coat include trawling through second hand and charity shops on the outskirts of town, crossing your fingers that half of London hadn't already trawled through them last week and bought all the good stuff out. But you could also raid your own wardrobe (or that of a friend or relative or anyone else who'd let you) and see what you can find there. Planet Green had this awesome article on updating your winter coat with links to appropriate craftster tutorials:

"There's no need to purchase a new jacket when you can perform a little wardrobe magic on a jacket you already own. With a little cropping, painting, embroidery or sewing, your jacket will look better than new!

1. Crop it!
Make your long dowdy coat short and sassy with a little creative scissor work.

2. Paint it!
A denim jacket is the perfect canvas for a colorful painting. Trim your artwork in coordinating ribbon for a great finished look.

3. Resize it!
Transform your saggy baggy coat into a form fitting jacket. Beautiful!

4. Applique and embroider it!
Here's another great idea for your denim jackets: make an applique from thrifted t's, and embroider a favorite quote.

5. Add details!
This jacket looks completely different with the addition of a zipper, collar, and cuffs."

Possibly a much better example of all of these techniques combined is the work of a young local UCL designer Kate Ross, whose label Trash of Camden is all about upcycled jackets and jumpers:

"Trash of Camden aims to use recycled fabric/found objects/old trash in order to produce customized second-hand jackets, jumpers and other clothing. There's nothing off-the-peg here.The aim is to create fun and wearable hand-made items that are guaranteed one-offs. This is the ultimate in recycled, reinvented and re-worked clothing."

Trash of Camden stuff is the sort of classy DIY aesthetic of contemporary sustainable fashion: none of its style is compromised because of the materials used. Objects that would otherwise be discarded get a new, glamorous life. All pieces evoke a SEX era Vivienne Westwood, though definitely updated with more modern influences, not all harking back to punk. The pervasive leopard print (aka the new denim, in the words of Cartner-Morley) gives a very current trend-conscious impression. All pieces are unisex, which is a rare feature with emerging designers who, however experimental, like to specialize very quickly in set gender conventions.

Aside from jackets and jumpers, Trash of Camden also produces jewellery (subline Crap of Camden), and future plans include customized footwear. A selection of products are stocked in Philip Normal's Happy Shack, shop units 920/921 in Camden Market, an insanely awesome shop packed with labels like Charles of London, Tatty Devine and Red Mutha. Kate is always keen to accept your trash, so if you have stuff you want to donate, email She also takes personal commissions, and all items are unique one-offs.

Lastly, on the topic of upcycling: Upcycle it! blog is looking for your upcycling stories for a publication due out in January:  “Upcycle it! – the handbook” with upcycle manuals, workshop reports and articles.

They are looking for submissions about:
  • Upcycling
  • How to think through the creative process of upcycling
  • Opinions and thoughts about trash – how is it to be a trash collector? How can you store it, live with it, and what can you do with it?
  • Cradle to Cradle and production processes
  • Energy efficiency – calculating the resources when remaking trash, when is it not sustainable to recycle trash?
  • Sustainability
  • Consumerism and anti trash lifestyle
Check out the submission guidelines over at the blog, and if you have any experience with upcycling, let them know!

Comment away on the topic of coats! And maybe even post pictures!
Sustainably yours,

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Hump with Camel.

Camel. Really? If there was ever a trend to divide the worlds fashion followers it’s that word. Camel. Its sisters are regulars in our wardrobes; beige, brown, cream and even the more distant khaki. But what is it about camel that puts us on edge and start questioning our position in the fashion scene? There is no disputing its predominance this autumn/winter, but will we be missing out by turning a blind eye? No doubt it will be everywhere. The brave will wear it draped around their magnificent bodies in shocking contortion and eye-widening cuts. The classics will wear it, well classically, in the form of a renowned camel coat - a throwback to mothers and grandmothers. Hell, I’m sure the offspring of fashionistas will don a little camel skirt or shift dress. But is that enough to change the likes of me? I find myself veering away from that iffy shade of brown. Oh yes it has been altered to suit the masses in leather jackets, thigh-high boots, even the camel coat has been given new life in more flattering cuts. But I don’t think I could bear the thought of someone saying, “Oh daaaarling, that’s a lovely camel jacket you have there.” The thought makes me shudder. To be honest, I think it’s the name rather than the colour itself, because really it is just a glorified shade of brown.

Two days later…

  This is hard for me to say, but… I’m a camel convert. I found this beautiful camel-coloured (wince) poncho style piece of knitwear in my mom’s wardrobe, wore it out, and have not looked back since this afternoon. There’s no denying it, camel is here to stay, so we may as well just give in to it. Now, I must go and order those taupe… okay fine, camel-coloured ankle boots from the clearance at

Ps. The camel collection on in definitely worth the use of your 20% NUS student discount!



Walking through the UCL campus or strutting around LFW AW 10/11 (or in layman's terms London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2010/2011)? An easy confusion to make. Wandering down the cloisters is much like walking a runway (think Louis Vuitton AW 10/11 show in the courtyard of the Louvre, Paris) and grabbing a bench by the windows like getting front row. Wander down through South Junction to The Print Room cafe for the after party and you won't be disappointed in your fashion expectations. But if you can't make it due to prior comittements in Paris or Milan, fear no more for UCL Style Finder (SF) is here to keep you mododivas more up to date than a tasseled shearling military look jacket by bringing you regular posts of the hot looks SF has managed to snap gracing the UCL runway. Totally subjective, totally fabulous.


Whilst the temperature has been dropping the style has only been hotting up and the opportunities that winter brings in the form of coats, boots and this season's front runner's shearling and fur (faux of course darling) have been seized with vigour all over campus.

 WHERE? At the MODO bootsale in South Junction.
WHAT? The bag - vintage
 WHY? SF loved the red leather bag for its vibrant yet classic colour, understated glamour and a la mode satchel come envelope vinatge clutch

WHAT ABOUT ME? Find similar styles at Portabello Market and Beyond Retro which has several stores in London Find a Beyond Retro Near You! or Rokit in Covent Garden Rokit bag shop online

 WHERE? At the MODO bootsale in South Junction.
WHAT? The coat and the bag... oh the whole look!

 WHY? SF can't get enough of FUR this season - warm and oh so glam. And you can't go wrong with an old skool brown satchel

WHAT ABOUT ME? Alas this mododiva told us her jacket was from a market in Jordan and the bag from a flea market in paris (of course) so unless you're chartering a jet, try markets in London (Portabello, various in East London, and SF's favourite: Battersea Bootfair on a Sunday - more on this later...) or as mentioned above Rokit or Beyond Retro

WHERE? Torrington Place
 WHY? Fur is in this season and is all over the high street like Willow Smith on the catwalk front rows. Here we see it on a bag, fierce, and finishing off the collar of a jacket gorgeously

or any other Oxford Street institution!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

MODO Events: October 20th-27th 2010

This last week has been another busy one for the MODO team, here are some of the highlights!

Wednesday saw the first of this year's Bootsales, organized by our lovely Volunteering Coordinator Tori. I wasn't able to make this event myself so can't claim credit for the photos, these were all taken by our blog team member Saffron.

The sale was a success, and as thus we at MODO have call to say;


If you have anything that no longer fits, or you no longer want, or that belongs to a mean and nastly ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/flatmate*, you are encouraged to place it in the box in the CSC labelled MODO, and we will sell it on in one of our bootsales. Forty percent of our profits go directly to Fairtrade organizations, so come and support a good cause! The next bootsale will be on Tuesday the 16th of November, from 2-6pm in UCL's South Junction.

*Disclaimer: MODO does not encourage the theft of clothes, shoes or books from anybody, however mean and nasty they may be!

Thursday saw callbacks for models following the success of Model Auditions last week. In total 48 people walked for us at callbacks, and our final 34 models have now been chosen. This was a very fun and exciting process (particularly for me as a designer!), and I am now EXTREMELY excited about the show!

In the second picture there, you can see Christine, MODO's Head of Photography, taking headshots of each model. These photos will be put on the website and sent out to all designers in order to help them choose the perfect girls and boys to model their clothes. 

Monday this week saw the continuation of craft circle, which will continue to run every week from 1-2pm in the rehearsal room on the first floor of the Bloomsbury Building. Cake was eaten, stitches were made, and gossip was shared. Feel free to join us next week!

Tuesday brought "How to Design with Marta". The Marta in question was of course our very own blog coordinator, teaching the importance of research and concepts in the design process.

Everyone looks very deep in thought!

This was one of the classes this year that I was most looking forward to, and was based around an intensive course taught by Central Saint Martins, compressed down into 2 hours. It really shows the power of a society such as MODO that we are able to offer such classes and share our knowledge around so many interested people!

Next week brings a variety of activities:
Designer's Meeting tonight, the EGM on Monday, where we will be electing our new treasurer, Beginner's Knitting on Tuesday (now sold out) and a Model workshop also on Tuesday.

Speak soon,


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

MODO Events: October 12th-19th 2010


Over the next few weeks I'll be bringing you pictures and highlights from all of the events we have held at MODO! Since the start of term we've held a whole host of meetings, including our massively well attended Introductory Meeting, Model Auditions (where 65 gorgeous people joined us), our first Designer's Meeting and PR Meeting, not to mention the success of our Fresher's Fair where 600 people signed up to our mailing list, thanks guys!

On October 12th we held our very first Give It A Go (GIAG) event of the year, Ninja Crochet! Eighteen people came to learn beginners crochet and by the end of the class almost everyone was able to complete their first crochet project, a ninja!

It was very informal and everyone had a really good time, including Ruth Thompson, who made this amazing ninja!

On Thursday 14th we held our very first blog meeting for the year;

From left: Ikhlas, Aneliese, Saffron, Marta, Serena and Rachel (and I'm the one taking the photo!)

The meeting was great fun and very productive, I think we're all very excited about what this blog has to provide you with over the year.

Monday lunchtime (19th) brought Craft Circle, a new addition to the MODO calendar, a knitting/sewing/whatever circle complete with lunch, tea and cake. All are welcome to come, have a gossip, and get to know other MODO members (for free!!) I took this photo after most people had left (hence everyone having their coats on) so sorry to those who I missed!

On Monday evening we held the second of our series of sewing classes. In this class everyone was invited to learn basic embroidery, machine sewing and hand finishing skills in production of a strawberry shaped pin cushion.

Here's my strawberry, which, considering I haven't sewn in about 5 years, I must say I'm pretty proud of!!

That's all for this week, if you want to learn more about MODO, contact us on Facebook using the link at the top right of this page, or email uclu-modoDOTsocietyATuclDOTacDOTuk. A list of all our meetings for this semester (subject to minor changes), along with a short list of useful places in London to visit for textile and craft supplies, can be found in the MODO Designer's Pack (see link in right hand column of blog).

Speak soon,

Michaela xx

Monday, 18 October 2010

Welcome Back!

Dear University Fashionistas, Mododivas, and all affiliates,

Welcome back in the new academic year! Mododiva will hope to bring you lots of interesting and inspiring content in the coming months. We've had an editorial meeting recently and established our objectives for this blogging space. We'll be having a few general themes which we'll post about, and you will be able to easily identify them through the tags. What we want to share with you will circle around the following:

- "trends"
Not necessarily a "must wear xyz this season", but more of an observational approach. We'd like to post about things we notice around us, things that seem to click and fit, things that inspire us and point in new directions.

- places
We thought London needs a bit of guidance. Even those of us who have lived here for years discover new places all the time, not to mention newcomers dazed by the vastness of it all. So we'll post things about all sorts of great locations.

- campus fashion
From the streets to the lecture theatres, we present an entirely subjective selection of diverse, stylish outfits spotted around uni.

- magazine review
So much stuff is printed left and right, on paper as well as virtually, and often these things make up whole constellations of beautiful, awesome, inspiring images. With the help of a scanner, we aim to bring them together and share a bit of the gorgeous stuff we find.

- sustainable fashion
Mododiva would like to keep up the green credentials by giving you lots of sustainable ideas about fashion, which doesn't ever have to be wasteful or environmentally unfriendly.

- MODO events
It would be nice to treat this blog as a platform for reviews and photos from the many events we're running this year. This way you'd learn a bit more about what we do, and hopefully get involved!

On that note, if you wanted to participate in the making of this blog, please do let us know: comment under any entry or email us at uclu.modo at with the word 'blog' mentioned somewhere. It would be lovely to have as many contributors as possible! Writers, photographers, designers, web editors - whoever you are. Looking forward to this whole next year of exciting blogging!

For a start, a make-up inspiration from a recent issue of Wysokie Obcasy:

I tried this out in slightly less extreme versions a few times, and the effect was stunning. For nails, I bought very small nail polish tester type bottles and painted each nail a different shade of red/pink. You could go for a similar effect by borrowing different colours off friends. Same goes to eyeshadow: the above colour combo is so rich it looks great with all-black or all-white outfits. Mix up different shades (again, borrowing from friends is a way that won't require you to buy a million separate products), and you can go a bit crazy with extending the painting surface.

Be playful and experiment,