Monday, 7 May 2007

For jewellery that really sparkles

Jewellery is a very personal thing. You can catch two people wearing the same outfit, but you’re unlikely to catch them with the same jewellery. We can wear jewellery to make a statement about who we are, or just because we like it. It’s very individual and there’s so much choice today that it can be hard to make up your mind! Fortunately, it’s now much more affordable too so you can have lots more of it!

Jewellery is one of the oldest forms of body adornment. Human beings have been wearing it for centuries. In fact, ever since the Cro-Magnons (circa 40,000 years ago) first wore crude necklaces and bracelets made from bone, teeth and stone or used carved bone to pin their clothes together. And we’ve been wearing it ever since, and continually refining and perfecting it as we’ve gone along!

Of course jewellery has come a long way since then but our ancestors knew the power of jewellery, whether it was for practical reasons, or purely for decorative purposes. They made their jewellery beautiful and it was unique because each piece was handcrafted.

The first pieces of jewellery were made from natural materials since they were the only choices available. But our ancestors were nothing if not ingenious; they used bone, shell, wood, stone and precious metals. Jewellery made from precious metals and stones were just as prestigious then as now and they would have been purely for wealthy and important individuals. But they didn’t just wear jewellery in life, they often took it with them when they died; think of the Ancient Egyptians who entombed themselves with their jewellery and other worldly possessions. That’s what you call a status symbol!

Today we mostly wear our jewellery because we love it than for purely practical reasons but maybe we do still wear it for status; think rolex watches! Of course jewellery has always been symbolic; think of the wedding ring or engagement ring, or the crucifix or Star of David. We use jewellery to make statements about who we are, whether we’re married or engaged, rich, or important. Think of the Queen and the crown jewels!

The jewellery we wear now is influenced by many cultures and by many different periods in time too, think Celtic, or art nouveau for instantly recognisable styles that have been around for quite some time now! Not to mention the rise of the great jewellery houses in the 19th century like Tiffany’s in the US, Cartier in France, Bulgari in Italy and Faberge in Russia. These names are just as prestigious and instantly recognisable today. And just as symbolic too! But influence from cultural trends is apparent in jewellery too, take bling bling for instance. It originated from hip hop culture and has really changed our perception of jewellery. It’s now cool for guys to wear expensive jewellery too!

The fact that jewellery is now mass produced means it’s much cheaper too. Of course some pieces are still expensive; anything with precious metals and gemstones can be pricey. Also anything that’s unique and hand made. But today we have a much wider choice of fabulous things to make our jewellery from, including some amazing man made materials. In fact, you can pretty much make anything into jewellery; gold, silver, bronze, platinum, gemstones, glass, wood, enamel, ivory, shells, and plastics! The only rule is that it looks good and the only limitations are your imagination! Diamonds have long been considered the most valuable of all the gemstones. Not for nothing are they a girl’s best friend! But now if you can’t afford the real thing, you’ve got the choice of some fabulous man made diamonds like cubic zirconia or moissanite. And they look so good it can be hard to tell the difference unless you’re an expert. Spoilt for choice!

Today jewellery is as wonderfully diverse as the materials used to make it. Mass production and the use of artificial gemstones make it affordable too. Thank heavens for costume jewellery! But of course many jewellers still continue to design and make unique individualistic pieces. And if you love the idea of unique jewellery, then you’ll love this fabulous website for really beautiful bespoke jewellery Each piece is hand made from natural materials like shells, semi-precious stones and crystals. And they’re all just gorgeous too! is USA & CA and for UK

So 40,000 years on, and we’re still wearing jewellery! For some of us jewellery is still a great way of flaunting our wealth and status. But for most of us it’s just because we love it!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Why is retro so now?

What is retro?

Is it the longing for what’s passed; a nostalgia for days gone by? What makes us revive the fashions of previous decades?

Retro is defined as being part longing for the recent past and part ironic looking back. So it’s taking inspiration from past fashions and selecting the best bits; perhaps adding a modern twist to make them just a bit different to the original. At the moment, it seems wherever you look, we’re reliving the fashions of yesterday. So why is retro so now?
Eventually everything seems to come round again. Just look at the skinny jeans, leggings and baggy tops that are fashionable right now. For anyone who remembers wearing them first time round in the 80s, you’re probably stunned to find them fashionable again! Yet they look great! And if you’re too young to remember, you get to discover them! Lucky you! The Big Fashion Bible is loving the Roxy 'Vibe Pant' skinny jeans in white denim at They’re very retro and very cool!
Sometimes fashion comes back just because it’s flattering and a great classic style. Take the empire line - a high waist gathered just under the bust combined with a long flowing skirt. You can see this style on some of the great tunics and dresses around at the moment. But this style has been coming and going in fashion for centuries. If you know your history, you’ll know it was fashionable with the ancient Greeks and during the Napoleonic era too! But it’s an easy flattering look and it works; it hides the tummy and accentuates the bust. You can check out how great this style looks at sites like
cxlondon and noflysonus So sometimes fashion comes back just because it’s flattering and a great classic style!
Some fashions are so enduring they regularly make a come back. Take the mini skirt. It’s now the hottest new fashion around, and we’re talking micro mini here! Since it’s emergence in the 60s, the mini seems to come around again with nearly every decade but often with a slight twist; maybe a hike or a drop in the length. Or a change in the style; from a-line, to straight or pleated. If you’re a fan, you can find minis with a nice take on an original style at sites like Discoo

Of course retro fashions are not always great; it depends on how classic the style was to begin with. Let’s face it, who wants to revisit the nylon shirts and suits of the 70s!! Some fashions should never be relived! But some fashions never die out. Anything imbued with real attitude seems to survive well. Take the great punk and goth fashions of the 70s and 80s. The emergence of punk and gothic clothing was in total contrast to the disco and new romantic clothes of those eras which were colourful and completely OTT. These clothes were the opposite, they were often black and they were all about attitude. Wearing them was a form of rebellion and that still stands today. Wearing them strikes an attitude, says something about who you are and what you want to be that is just as current now as it was then. Which is why they’re still around! If you like your clothes to make a statement then check out the fab punk and gothic clothing at
attitude Of course it helps if they look good too – and these really do!

But retro is not just about bringing back a distinctive style from the past; it can also be fashion that’s just reminiscent of the past. Take iconic t-shirts for instance. If you take a look at
truffleshuffle you’ll find a huge selection of t-shirts with designs from the 80s. But not all of these were t-shirts that were actually worn in the 80s; some of these just remind you of the decade. And do it beautifully too! They’re nostalgic and ironic too. The best combination in fashion!

One thing’s for sure about fashion, if it works you can be sure it’ll be back! Retro is here to stay.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Hip hop fashion - a brief history

Hip hop is not just a style of music; it's become a culture that has spread worldwide. With hip hop, music and fashion go hand in hand. As the culture of hip hop grew so a particular style of clothing emerged to go with it, the style was just a natural progression of the music. Today, everyone is familiar with hip hop culture, but where did it come from?

Hip hop, or rap music, is part of a cultural movement that began in the US in the mid-1970s. Hip hop culture includes not just the music which consists of rapping (MCing) and DJing (production and scratching). But also break dancing, graffiti art (or tagging), a distinctive language of its own (slang), and a certain look or style.

Hip hop began to emerge in the early 1970s in New York with the rise of the DJ and MC (emcee). New York DJs began experimenting with lengthening the percussion breaks in funk and disco music. When the MCs (emcees), whose role had been to introduce the DJ and the music, started speaking between the tracks, rap was born. It wasn’t long before big name DJs were pulling in big crowds and by the late 70s hip hop was starting to become really popular. It quickly spread from America to the rest of the world and by the 1980s had become so popular it was a major part of pop culture. During the 80s as hip hop became increasingly popular, it began to evolve into different forms with new styles such as gangsta rap emerging and new techniques like scratching developed.

As hip hop culture has become increasingly popular and mainstream, hip hop fashion has correspondingly changed and adapted. In the 1980s the big hip hop stars wore lots of big gold chains, rings and jewellery. Hip hop fashion was all about large glasses (Cazals), sneakers with oversized shoelaces (phat), Kangol hats, gold necklaces and jewellery. Think Run-D.M.C.! Popular hip hop haircuts were the Jheri curl in the 1980s (the film Coming to America in 1988 picked fun at this hair style) and the hi-top fade in the late 80s (popularised by Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air). But by the 1990s the look was starting to change with the music. Baseball caps and bright or neon coloured clothes were in, as were baggy pants.

In the mid 90s, the influence of gangsta rap which had become one of the most popular styles of hip hop music could be seen in hip hop fashion. The dress styles of street thugs and prison inmates were emulated with baggy clothes and baggy pants worn without a belt (influenced by prison where belts are confiscated from new inmates), black ink tattoos and hoodies. Gold teeth became popular in the late 80s and early 90s. With the popular 1983 remake of Scarface the gangster influence could clearly be seen with fedora hats and alligator skin shoes becoming popular. A look adopted by rap stars such as Jay-Z. By the end of the 1990s the look was changing again and hip hop stars like Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs began wearing sharp suits and platinum instead of gold jewellery. The late 90s also saw the rise of the “bling-bling” lifestyle. This was a style which focused on the trappings of wealth; jewellery, fast cars, and high fashion clothing. In the late 1990s, hip hop had started to go mainstream and today many hip hop artists design and market their own clothing lines and Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs was one of the first to realise the potential of developing his own hip hop clothing line.

Women’s hip hop fashion was changing too, where they had previously emulated male hip hop fashion, now they followed stars like Lil Kim and Foxy Brown who popularised full on glamour and high fashion styles. Of course not all female hip hop artists followed this style, some such as Lauryn Hill favoured a more conservative look but it was still a distinctively feminine style. Clothing lines offering this glamorous, high fashion, feminine look sprung up. Hip hop stars such as Nelly, with his Apple Bottoms clothing line, have seen the potential in this market and his popular best selling Apple Bottoms jeans are popular with many celebrities, proving just how mainstream this fashion look has gone. JLO by Jennifer Lopez also offers a high fashion, glamorous range that’s affordable and within the reach of any ordinary women wanting to follow this look. Both JLO and Apple Bottoms also offer jewellery which has remained one of the most distinctive symbols of hip hop fashion.

Hip hop clothing is now high fashion! There are lots of famous hip hop clothing labels, think Jay-Z’s Roc-a-wear or Kimora Lee Simmons Baby Phat. It’s clear hip hop style has metamorphosed from a distinctive street style to a glamorous high fashion style favoured by the stars. Dedicated hip hop retailers such as Dr. Jay’s have emerged to offer purely hip hop fashion. Interestingly, Dr. Jay’s emerged around the same time and from the same neighbourhood as hip hop music! It has developed with hip hop over the last 25 years and with its online shop its influence has now gone global.

Hip hop fashion has changed enormously over the years. Today hip hop fashion is a major part of popular fashion across the world. Hip hop music and fashion have become inextricably linked, one goes with the other. It's how you identify yourself with the culture and it's instantly noticeable. The fashion just like the music is constantly changing and adapting and that's why the hip hop culture has endured. Hip hop is popular today because it still offers a unique way of expressing yourself, you can rap about anything as long as it's original and the look instantly identifies you with the culture. Hip hop music still remains one of the most popular and fast growing forms of music worldwide. Its influence is huge and with the rise of online media, it will continue to grow. So you can expect hip hop fashion to continue to influence the way we dress and look and the rise of hip hop clothing lines shows just how mainstream it’s become. Hip hop is not just high fashion, it's also popular fashion!

Monday, 26 February 2007

Skate Fashion

Skate fashion, despite the sport itself being over 30 years old, is a relatively new thing among youth culture. As well as this, music seems to influence the fashion more than the sport itself. Skate fashion started to establish itself in the early- to-mid 90s. It followed the then-recent wave of grunge rock music, which had taken the western world by storm. This new music was different than anything the youths had ever heard. It mixed in elements of punk, metal and rock and blended them together in the form of bands such as Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine, Alice In Chains and probably most notably Nirvana. This new wave of music led youth culture in a different direction away from past radical fashions such as punk and the early hip-hop scene. Along with it came a new breed of fashion.

It is often argued that skate fashion already existed before the early-to-mid 90s and that skate fashion is nothing more than an evolution of punk and metal sub-culture fashion. However this new fashion was different than any other because it wasn’t as extreme and categorical as other fashions and sub-cultures. The fashion took on to youths like a bee takes to honey because of the new music reaching out to the modern teens and youths and sending out the message of what the world is like through a teenagers eyes. The controversial aspects of the new music (including several cases of band members being addicted to drugs and alcohol) were only more fuel to the flame as it was an idea that paying homage to these new bands was a statement of rebellion against societies portrayal of what makes a good person.

Around the same time as the Grunge revolution, Punk Rock music was also starting to emerge. Punk Rock was indeed an evolution of punk music because it sent out a message of rebellion and ant-establishment but it was nowhere near as radical. Instead its main focus, like Grunge, was topics that youths could relate to. Bands like The Offspring, Green Day, Blink 182 and NOFX would stick to the traditional punk sense but would also talk about teenage relationships, school life, puberty and just general things teenagers and youths could relate to. Nowadays though, because of the heated conflict between the western world and the Middle East, Punk Rock seems to have taken a step back to its roots of rebellion against governments and other politically fuelled topics.

Grunge and Punk Rock music kind of fused together into one fashion and sub-culture that is skate fashion. A traditional ‘skater’ (although it is proven that a large number of ‘skaters’ don’t actually skate) wears baggy jeans or cargo pants, a particular style of skate shoe and usually a dark coloured hoody with a desired band logo or skate fashion make design somewhere on it. Some of the most famous labels that are associated with skate fashion include DC, Etnies, Vans, Billabong, Element, Quiksilver and Volcom.

Skate fashion was at its peak around the millennium because of the new wave of ‘Nu-Metal’ music that had taken the music scene by storm. Skate fashion coincided well with this new wave of music and much like grunge music people would pay homage to their favourite new Nu-metal bands. Bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Sum 41, Puddle Of Mudd, Lostprophets and Papa Roach were just some of the bands that took skate fashion in a slightly different direction away from the Punk aspects but still remained largely similar in style.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Skate Fashion

Skate fashion derives from the skate, surf, BMX and snowboarding culture, which is very much associated with certain music genres – most specifically the Rock and Punk Genres. The fashion can be traced back to the 1950s when clothes very much corresponded with the type of music that people were listening too. Rock N Roll music was starting to become a dominant aspect of youth culture at the time, it’s new sound was very exciting among youths and this new music soon dawned new fashions in an immediate effect of correlation.

The 60s lead this youth culture in new directions as new musical artists sent out messages of rebellion against politicians and leaders to stand up and be heard for. This lead to the hippie period where many 60s bands were promoting the actions of standing up against ‘the man’. This was in a time when the cold war was at its peak and the war in Vietnam was ongoing. The artists’ music sent out messages of anti-war and pro-earth which was like fuel to the fire that was the hippie movement. Protests and demonstrations occurred regularly, the majority of which were orchestrated by youths. It was apparent that the new wave of popular music hadn’t just changed fashions and lifestyles but had also shaped youth culture for generations to come.

The 70s dawned the punk era and new bands such as the Sex Pistols who were sending out a message of rebellion much like the bands from the 60s were. The punk era was almost an evolution of the hippie movement in that it was an anti-war, anti-establishment subculture. Punk was also a community of people who considered themselves as misfits and that they wanted to be different to society’s portrayal of how people should act, dress etc. The fashion consisted of wearing clothes that no self-respecting adult at the time would wear. Bright clothes, unique hairstyles such as Mohawks, chains and body piercings were just some of the obvious signs to tell whether someone was a punk. Punk was probably the most influential subculture in that it shaped most of the punk rock, Goth, Emo and pretty much all subcategories of rock culture we have today. Punk roots are easily identifiable in the rock music fashions of today in that they all tend to have certain elements that are similar to that of the punk era of the 70s.

The late 70s and 80s brought about the skate culture. UK skate boarding pioneers like Remy Johnson (RIP) and Steve Fletcher (brother of actor Dex Fletcher) All with custom made boards that had Yo Yo wheels and grip tape (nice to see you can still get them). Hog Town in Kentish town was popular and one of the few skate board parks in North London. But who needed a purpose built park when you had Alexdra Palace or Crouch Hill and to be honest any open space with hills would do. My old red Grentic Kyote (minus the YO Yo Wheels) skateboard has long gone and today it’s the South Bank, where the skate boarding underworld can be found with an evolved deck, does doing a daffy duck still exist? Skateboard fashion has not changed at all in over thirty years. It is still a baggy t-shirt, Jeans and sneakers. In my day it was converse high tops, converse weren’t a brand then and ironically they were bought because they were cheap. When the Punks arrived they adopted the base ball boot as part of their uniform. When the punks arrived, my skate boarding days came to end as fashion could not accommodate a skate boarding punk how ever hard I tried. Your bondage restricted movement and those clothes pegs in your hair could end up killing you or some one else if you had a collision and let’s face it… who ever saw a punk with knee pads, crash lid and shoulder pads, cmon?

Skateboarding itself had been around as early as the 50s but had never really taken off as a major activity. Skateboarding coincided well with the punk rock music because skateboarding was (and obviously still is) considered to be a very extreme and dangerous hobby that often had authorities and parents alike trying to ban it. Parents and authorities had always been figures that punk rock was rebelling against so it is easy to see why skateboarding became an icon of punk music.

Skateboarding became more and more popular throughout the 80s and 90s and new music started to venture into its culture. One of them being Hip-Hop. It became apparent that the skate culture wasn’t just a sideshow of the punk culture anymore but it was in fact a new community of urban culture in that street skating and new music reflecting on life in the city was rivalling the traditional sense of listening to punk going to a skate park full of ramps and grind posts. Naturally the fashion came with the branching styles. The more traditional style was to wear a t-shirt and baggy trousers, maybe with a few ornaments like wallet chains. This type was for more for punk and rock listeners. The street skater was made up of a hooded top and jeans. Hip-Hop and rock listeners made up the street skater. No matter which skater style you were though, the message the subculture came with always remained anti-establishment.

Today there isn’t too much difference between traditional and street skaters. It is still possible to identify differences however the skate fashion seems to boast a message of unity among people. Much like what the punk message was. As the years went by, skate culture branched into other extreme sports such as BMX, Snowboarding and Surfing. There are easily identifiable differences in each sport culture however the fashion always seems to remain similar. Nowadays the most popular fashion among extreme sports is to wear logos from people’s favourite bands/artists or to wear certain brands that have come to be associated with the extreme sports fashion over the years such as DC, Vans, Element, Atticus, Etnies, Amplified etc. These are brands that you would never expect to find in traditional sports such as football or basketball, which in itself is a punk element of not being in with the crowd.

In fond memory of Remy Johnson (rest in peace)Steve Fletcher Chris Ellis Phil Macintosh Damien & Hog Town

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Is it possible to define your own fashion style?

Is it possible to define your own fashion style these days or do you follow the trends?In the days of Punk, dressing as an individual and anything goes was great. It meant you could be as creative as much as you wanted to be. There was no real dress code. So in 2007, can you still be a fashion individual and would you want to be?Peer pressure seems to dictate fashion trends, being part of a crowd.

But in today’s fashion scene it’s more about fashion collectivism rather then individual expressionism. Even with our most rebellious clothing we still conform to society’s notion of what is acceptable to wear. Have we have become a society of sheep, we have lost our identity and what makes us unique and stand out in a crowd.

Its very rare these days to come across a shop selling some thing a bit different. Whilst browsing for additions to The Big Fashion Bible directory of shops, I stumbled upon an online company called This company specialises in taking art to t-shirts and other apparel. The t-shirts are all limited edition so as in keeping with the unique factor.

The company is comprised of group of artists called simply, The Tank Theory Artist Society. For contemporary artists to get their work shown in traditional art galleries is fairly hit and miss. Mediums like the internet is one way, but what better canvas and advertising then putting their work on T-shirts? This is an ingenious idea, wearing a limited edition work of art. Any graphic designer now has a new vehicle for promoting their talents.

These t-shirts must or should have enormous appeal to metal heads, punks and Goths.Actually, they have enormous appeal to editor. I don’t want to fit the t-shirt art to any particular music genre, its more about fitting the individual to the art, if that makes sense. There is some thing so appealing and strange about these t-shirts that I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that makes me want to buy them all. Perhaps it’s because they are so completely unique and in some cases very surreal in terms of the images. They have a real edge, fresh and raw, all those words that designers use without really understanding the true meaning of urban fashion, I call this cheap bandwagon expressionism the “trendy” middle classes. It’s not a bad thing but Designers like D&G wouldn’t know the term “raw” “edgy” “Urban” if it bit them on the ass.”

artists themselves are based all around the world, mostly from the USA, but nice to see a British artist in the mix, Steve Wilson’s psychedelic pop art meets modern culture. One of his prints reminded me of the artist William Morris.

I can’t stop looking at the work of Asif Mian it’s the ultimate in art anarchy, I love it! is new and vibrant and different, how refreshing. We should be supporting online fashion shops like these, its what we need in a world full of same old, same old.

I think I’ll start a new fashion trend and call it anarchic fashion!

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Celebrity Fashion

Following celebrity fashion has become a bit of a national obsession in recent years with numerous magazines dedicated to what the people we watch on TV, listen to or read about in magazines are wearing now cramming the shelves of newsagents. And whether we admit to it or not many of us will (if pushed) own up to secretly being interested in what famous people are wearing!

Wanting to emulate the style of celebrities is nothing new though. It all goes back to the golden age of film and in particular to around 1916 when the first costume designers were employed to work on the sets of films. Up until then many film stars had provided their own clothing!

Hard to believe now in the era of the celebrity stylist where film stars are styled to perfection to achieve the required image and the ones that get caught out dressed down on their days off wind up in ‘hall of shame’ type features in celeb magazines!

In the past people looked to film stars for inspiration copying the clothes hairstyles and make-up of silver screen sirens such as Veronica Lake, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe or Cary Grant, Marlon Brando and James Dean for the men.

Of course these days it’s not just film actors and actresses who are considered to be celebrities. ‘Celebrity’ today encompasses a wide range of people from classic film actors and actresses through to soap stars and all the way over to people who’ve made a name for them on the ever growing number of reality TV shows.

Like it or not the cult of celebrity doesn’t seem to be going away and finding celebrity inspired clothing or even the exact item your favourite celebrity is wearing has never been easier. Many celebs no longer wear their wealth on their sleeves by consistently appearing in designer labels with designer price tags but shop high street and internet like the rest of us!

For a great range of clothing that several A-List celebs have been spotted in try TruffleShuffle. Their website also features a gallery of the stars seen wearing their tees. You can also find similar over at Attitude Clothing (particularly for the guys) or EBTM.

Happy shopping! From all of us at The Big Fashion Bible.