Friday, 21 May 2010

Summer Work

Designer Ringlit, sold at FOUND, Leeds or visit website here :)

So this week I began my summer volunteer work. Working in the British Heart Foundation, primarily dressing the window displays and visual merchandising, and also working at FOUND, a gorgeous and very spacious charity/boutique in Leeds.

I have really enjoyed my first week, the hours are brilliant and not very hefty, I have enough time to dress the two windows and four mannequins at BHF in my shift and at FOUND I have more than enough creative time and space to style up plenty of apparel, and may I say the clothing here is yummy and very good quality.

At BHF the process of working there is much more formal and it seems there’s more admin to be sort, the people at BHF are really nice and helpful which is good, and at FOUND it feels quite relaxed and my boss, Vicky is very sweet, kind and helpful.

I started the week at BHF and my first job was to dress our main window, which was hidden behind a huge rail of clothing which, every single time I left the window I had to come through, it kinda felt after the 8th time, that I really was in C.S.Lewis’ famous novel, except it wasn’t as cold as the snowy forest that Lucy finds at the back of the wardrobe.

My aim was to dress the window in summer attire and with the theme of the world cup, yes, that’s right the world cup. So with this I grabbed whatever red and white clothing I could find, I looked for pieces that would suit the BHF audience, specifically in Wakefield were I’m based, the target audience being mainly elderly women. So, I picked a look that a stylish, elderly lady would wear to the pub, maybe for a pub lunch before the match?? I dressed the misbehaving mannequin in a red jersey evening top, short sleeved with red ruffles running along the neckline, some white chinos, an earthy coloured necklace and then simply threw on quite non-chalant, a white blouse (you can’t really trust the weather in the UK so I needed a back up). I gave the outfit a dark brown, wicker material handbag to bring in a natural feeling to the outfit and something light for the summer. I must have done a good job because my shift was only 3 hours and within that time all the mannequins I dressed I sold something from, which is a good sign.

I also had the chance to play with menswear which I haven’t really done before, I rather enjoyed it but womenswear is much more fun to style. For my final mannequin I wanted the look to be aimed at the more younger customer and I styled the look however I wanted, I didn’t really stick to the world cup theme but I’m glad really because I think my final look was my best. I chose a floral blue and orange dress, with a loose denim shirt for cover up, rolled up the sleeves and gave the look some polka-dot wedge sandals and added another wicker bag (BHF had plenty) then whilst having a little look at the books, I came across a really nice looking cover of a book about enhancing your femininity so I put this with my mannequin- the look overall worked quite well, and when I visited the shop today the dress had sold so I definatley seem to be doing something right.

At FOUND, the clothing and the whole atmosphere of the shop feels much more stylish and modern. The music is much better (plenty of 80’s) and the clothing is much more on trend and fashionable than those at BHF, which it should be because FOUND are aiming at a different customer.

I dressed my first mannequin in a festival look- denim frayed edged, shorts, a faux snakeskin creamy brown patent belt, a vintage triangle sweater, short sleeved with a faint pattern on the front and finished the look with a vintage purple and bronze scarf. This is defiantly my favourite look of the week. I will upload pictures of these next week. The other looks included a summer dress with plenty of cute t- party necklaces, an evening look, quite trashy, with a designer made dress, red block bottom and floral top and to this, I added a load of trashy necklaces this looked quite cool; another look was a summer evening look- chiffon peach/ochre shorts with a blue blouse with a neckbow this look however didn’t make it on the shop floor because a customer snagged the gorgeous shorts before they even got a look in from anyone else; and my final look, looked at the trend of underwear as outerwear so I styled a black lace top with white lacing collar with a floral bodice, black and pink, and put silk polka dot shorts to really mix and match the look and give it an edge.

I’ve had a great time so far volunteering; before I started I thought that I might feel a little disheartened with my work because I’m not getting paid, but its something I love; I have free rain of clothes, shoes, accessories, I can use this time to experiment with looks and I basically play dress up for hours.

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