All posts by thisaeshaw

Writer. Author. Coffee drinker. Weightlifter. Book-rehomer.

The Poshest Tiger in the Jungle

All great brands tend to have a mailing list. Signing up is usually done in exchange for some sort of discount or favour, or, very occasionally, because you love an aesthetic and want it to crop up in your email amidst incessant and unstoppable LinkedIn/Facebook/spam noise to brighten your day.

This is precisely why I gleefully signed up for the McQ mailing list, and this morning’s delivery was every bit the delight I required: TARTAN TIGER PRINT.

Oh yeah.

In one dress, witness everything that is great about both fashion and the humble, retro form of advertising-communication that is the mailing list. For the former, a basic, classic shape made dramatically chic and surprising with the application of a mashup of two basic, classic prints. No one of these three elements is surprising, but whack the three together, and you have purest sartorial joy. For the latter, there was I, sifting through comment notifications and letters about council recycling which didn’t exactly lift the spirits when one simple tap of the Display Images Below link lifted my spirits into the stratosphere. Whilst I can’t exactly shop McQ right this moment because rent etc, just knowing it’s out there makes the world that little bit better.

Fashion rolls on in safe hands, McQ have succeeded in endearing me at least 13% more to their brand, and I had a smile brought to my face before I’d even got out of bed. Everyone’s a winner!


‘I Think…’ or The Wearable Darwin

Quite some time ago we at Mymble’s Daughter realised there simply wasn’t enough Charles Darwin-based jewellery in the world. Without further ado, this state of affairs was rectified, and everything from the godfather of evolution’s tree of life to his magnificent cascading beard became a joyous focus of our pendants and charms. It’s rather wonderful how many of these we’ve sold to students, scientists, and, in particular, teachers in the more rigorously anti-evolution parts of the USA…

Anyway! What with autumn swimming around again, and trees (in the UK) becoming, er…more branch-y and visible again, much like Darwin’s Tree of Life (THIS IS NOT A TENUOUS LINK BUT A WELL-TIME PIECE OF FASHION INFO HONEST), it seemed like a fine time to share the best of our Darwin collection with you fair faschionistas. Sadly, due to its one-of-a-kind nature our freshwater pearl and portrait epic statement necklace is long gone, but here’s a fine capsule collection for all eventualities:

1. Charles Darwin Portrait Pendant. Magnificent beard and all…

2. Life Instructions: Charles Darwin Quote PENDANT .. ‘A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life’.

3. I Think – the bicentenary necklace with silver plated charm. As the listing will gleefully tell you, this piece was once featured in no less than VOGUE itself…

4. Tree of Life Pendant In mid-July 1837 Darwin started his ‘B’ notebook on Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote ‘I think’ above the first evolutionary tree. This is a reproduction of that page in Charles Darwin’s notebook in pendant form.

5. Transmutation of Species – Tree of Life Necklace. This is a reproduction of that same page of Charles Darwin’s notebook in charm necklace form. It’s nice to have variety of form, even when the content is already perfect, right?

And because tenuous links are my favourite, have an only-natural-world-related-to-Darwin pimping of our newest, and, to my mind, greatest latest piece – the PUNTASTIC Bee Swift .. Bird and Bee Symbol Pun Pendant!

Bee Swift

I bet Darwin would’ve loved a pun. Don’t tell me otherwise.

What’s Next? Trials and Tribulations of Trends.

I’ve been the main minion at since its inception, and in the seven years we’ve been making and selling jewellery around the world, we’ve learnt a lot about trends in fashion and in shopping behaviour. Here are the main things we’ve learnt:

1. They happen. Even to small businesses.

It’s a combination of Sod’s Law and Human Nature. You make a dozen Alice pendants because there’s an Alice in Wonderland film coming out and they’ve done well in the past so surely, surely they’re going to be popular, but NO. Instead, you see a rise in thaumatropes and typography pendants. Your anticipated Alice pendants hang about for months waiting for someone to care for them, mocking you every morning with their lack of interest to the wider world, as you resent the money you spent on materials, and the clever feelings of organisation you had whilst making them.

The thing about trends is, if you run a shop, they likely exist on a scale directly relevant to the general state of your shop (whether it’s two sales, twenty sales, or two hundred sales). If you can catch them, cater for them, they’re pretty damn useful. BUT:

2. It is difficult to work out why they’re happening.

Sometimes, everyone in Texas wants a locket. You can spend a lot of time hypothesising the whys and wherefores of this: is it a group of friends buying them for each other? But Texas is a big place and that doesn’t quite add up, and these people seem disparate. Is it something Texas-centric in the news? Maybe. I’m not going to trawl that to find out. It might be that. Sometimes it’s a popular local blogger, or a jewellery display in some kind of massive shop. Sometimes it’s just…there. Sometimes you can’t even begin to fathom why Singapore’s gone nuts for Edgar Allen Poe, or all the boys of Munich have decided that, this month, they MUST have Oscar Wilde quotation pendants. All the Google-fu in the world can’t retrospectively make sense of the sudden spike in demand for something you’ve sold maybe one or two of in the last three years. With this in mind:

3. It is essential to name and notice trends.

It’s a huge part of fashion on every level.

4. It is a waste of time to try to predict them.

5. Know your staples.

6. Accept that OOAK items, or your super special ideas may serve best not to sell, but to inform/remind customers you exist.

7. Trust yourself.

This is where we get to the trendsetting. Chances are, if you’re a creative sort, you’re tuned into the general sense of creativity, what’s hot, what’s not, for people like you. Even if you think there aren’t any people like you, or that you’re super unmainstream. The internet’s greatest gift is the discovery that you’re pretty much never the only person in the world who likes the things you like, in the combinations you like them. Studs and tutus? Eyeliner and custard? Cats with hats? Hedgehogs on every damn thing? There’s a tumblr for all of them. Maybe not the eyeliner and custard. But probably.

Anyway. Trendsetting might come from the outside if you’re H&M. It might come from watching all the cool kids down by the harbour and seeing what they’re wearing; it might come from checking out the forthcoming big films and TV series and whatnot, and guessing that we’re all going to want to be Katniss come October…sure.

The best way to trendset, fortunately, is the most fun. Ask yourself what you like. Then put it together the way you put things together. The trick, here, is that it doesn’t have to be something you want to wear, personally. You aren’t necessarily designing something for yourself. You don’t have to be the trend. But you can bet that that combination of stuff you like, however random it is, whether it’s Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote gone punk in the 1650s, or whether it’s Marie Antoinette en romana, regardless, if it’s something you love, chances are it’ll click for someone else too. See #6 – it might just be that that’s what brings people in, but they’ll be the right people for your brand/creations, and ‘finding your people’ is a peculiar phrase, but that’s better still than selling a dozen of one thing and having precisely none of those people come back.