My Post-Engagement Checklist

If you follow @FrockTrade on Twitter you’ll have spotted my recent blog posts for luxury jewellery retailer Laings of Glasgow. As some of you may know my other half proposed recently and I’m really enjoying sharing my post-engagement tips with Laings customers and fellow brides-to-be. Find a sneak peek at my most recent post below – read the full article here

Laings Glasgow

(Image above: photography-Hand&Rae, styling-Ann Russell, make-up-Ana Cruzalegui, model-Kristina@Colours)

November 1, 2013
He proposed! You’re engaged! You’re overwhelmed with excitement and can’t wait to tell the world. So what happens after you’ve said yes? Here’s our list of 10 things to do after he’s popped the question.

1/Share your happy news
Once you’ve recovered from the excitement of the proposal it’s time to share the news with your loved ones. Your parents should be the first to know (if they don’t already) so pick up the phone and plan a visit to show off the ring. It probably seems easier to send a quick tweet or post a status update but your relatives won’t thank you if they’re the last to know. Feel free to go online once you’ve had a proper chat with close family and friends.

2/ Get your ring sized
Try to get your ring sized as soon as possible. It wouldn’t be the best start to your engagement if the ring fell off your finger an hour after the proposal. Pop into Laings to have your ring size carefully measured so that your new sparkler fits you comfortably. The resizing process can take time so be patient and remember the most important thing is to have a ring that fits you perfectly.

3/ Get your ring insured
By now your ring should be sized and sitting proudly on your finger. Your next task is to get it insured in case bad luck strikes. If you have home owner’s insurance the best idea is to call your provider and add the ring to your policy. Ask your new fiancé to keep all associated paperwork in a safe place to ensure insurance valuations are accurate.

4/ Set an approximate date
If you’re newly engaged setting an exact date might seem premature so have a discussion about the time of year you’d like to get married so you can field date related questions. Something as vague as ‘We’d like a Summer wedding’ or ‘We’re hoping for the end of next year’ is enough to give people an idea of your timescales.

5/ Buy a wedding planner
Stay organised with a notebook, calendar or folder that you can fill with ideas, cuttings from magazines and wedding fair flyers that have caught your eye. When it comes to making bookings with suppliers you’ll have all the correct contact details in one place. Plus your planner will jog your memory if you’ve forgotten anything and help you visualise the overall theme of your big day.


Fashion – On Location with Laings of Glasgow

Last week I shared some pictures with you from my trip to Spain where I was styling the new campaign for luxury jewellery retailer Laings. Here’s a peek at my blog for the Laings website about our shoot….

“Last week, on a cloudy Glasgow afternoon, a creative team from Laings flew to sunny Marbella in Spain to shoot the new advertising campaign for 2013/2014. As the stylist on location I had the pleasure of working with Photographers Roddy Hand and Andy Rae, Make-up Artist Ana Cruzalegui, Model Kristina Antanaityte from Colours Agency, CEO Stuart Laing and Senior Sales Executive Linda Robertson.

With our luggage allowances checked and toiletries scanned we boarded our flight to Malaga and Linda and I got straight to business. We discussed the clothes I’d brought and matched each piece of jewellery to the most relevant of our four themes – evening wear, casual wear, tailoring and bridal.  I’d specifically chosen elegant and timeless clothing to compliment Laings selection of luxury jewellery and watches. Meanwhile our photographers were making plans for our first location, the sleek Trocadero Beach Club pictured below.” Read more behind the scenes gossip here


10 Questions With….Cally Russell from Mallzee

Cally Russell Mallzee

1. Tell everyone what you do.

I run which is a new way to shop online. We allow you to only see clothes that suit you from your favourite stores. We like to think of it as bespoke shopping. You take a short style quiz, pick your favourite stores to add to your Mallzee account then only see the clothes that suit you from them. To create a great experience we also let you shop with your friends via live chat, interactive polling and browsing together.

2. What prompted you to launch a style website and why ‘Mallzee’?

I think the Internet has changed the way people do a lot of things over the last couple of years but the way we shop online hasn’t really evolved. It’s a massively growing industry but apart from daily deals its not really changed since the early 2000s. I’ve always been blown away by the choice online. Mallzee searches over 750,000 clothes to only show you what suits you – that saves a lot of time.

3. How does Mallzee differ from other online retailers?

We’re a one stop shop. We bring together over 200 stores in one place but only show you what suits you. Our system is totally personal as well so you won’t get the same recommendations as your friends like some other sites.

4. What advice do you give shoppers that struggle to find clothes online?

We’re working on tools to help with finding the right fit online. As a starting basis we look at the shape of clothes to really help find items that suit you.


5. What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion entrepreneurs in Scotland?

That initial early traction, it’s vital to be taken seriously and is harder when you’re in a small country but I think we’ve proved that it can be done.

6. What was the latest thing that inspired you?

I love reading blogs so get inspired by others on nearly a daily basis. The most recent was the quote on the wall at Facebook ‘Get Shit Done’ I think it’s a great mantra and one more people should embrace.

7. Tell us about your biggest fashion disaster and how it shaped your personal style.

It’s not really a fashion disaster but I once messed up with a bottle of hair dye and ended up with jet black hair. I like to think of it as my goth phase!

8. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Bad train manners. I commuted to Glasgow from Edinburgh for a year when setting up Mallzee and I used to hate people who didn’t know how to behave on trains.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

‘Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do’ It’s so true and I would much rather fail trying than regret not.

10. Share something most people don’t know about you.

I’m terrified of snakes. I mean absolutely terrified. I can’t even see them on TV without freaking out.

To find out more about Mallzee visit or check out Mallzee on Facebook and Twitter.

Fashion – Behind the Scenes Styling a Jewellery Campaign in Marbella, Spain

Apologies for being quiet last week. I was in Marbella styling the new campaign for a luxury jewellery retailer. I spent the week in 25 degree heat (bliss!) shooting evening wear, casual wear, tailoring and bridal themes with Hand and Rae (Photography), Ana Cruzalegui (Make-up) and Kristina Antanaityte (Model @ Colours Agency). The final images won’t be released until later in the year so here’s a few behind the scenes pictures until then….


Hand and Rae
Marbella Photo Shoot
Hand and Rae
Marbella Swimming Pool

10 Questions With….Holly Baxter and Matthias McGregor from Hardwear


1. Tell everyone what you do.

Our clothing brand Hardwear started as a combination of reaction and research. We were sick of the laziness of the high street, the tired & unethical business model of importing a thousand white t-shirts from a sweatshop abroad and digitally printing a rectangle on the front. Leafing through source books of Japanese designs we noted the opportunities that opened up if you screenprinted by hand onto rolls of fabric. This developed into the idea of creating something that was designed, printed, made & embroidered locally and from there we built a concept, that Hardwear would be MADE IN WILD WEST GLASGOW.

2. What made you want to design clothes?

We hope our brand will grow to be part of the resurgence of sweatshop-free clothing and we’re looking to collaborate with other Scottish designers and suppliers. Internationally we’re pusing the ‘Made In Scotland’ credential as a key differentiator and are joining in group initiatives with otherlike-minded local companies.

3. How does your collection fit in with Glasgow style?

We were watching the film ’24 Hour Party People’ where Tony Wilson is planning to start his club night. He says ‘I just saw a sign on the wall that said Factory Closing and l thought we can have one called Factory Opening’. We see Hardwear entering a similar landscape. With half of the high street boarded up we wanted to fill it with something new. Our clothes are basics. Our maxi dresses could be worn to the park with trainers and a tote bag or they can be dressed up with jewellery and heels. We want to give people the option.

4. What has happened recently that made you smile?

Our favourite thing so far has been all the surprising opportunities and unexpected connections we’re making. A lady came into our pop-up shop last week and ordered a maxi-dress made-to-measure.When she came to collect it we got talking and she mentioned she is a yoga instructor and asked if we would consider making printed yogo pants for her students.

5. What’s the most pressing challenge facing new Scottish designers?

It feels like Scotland is being tested this decade and finding out what it has to offer internationally beyond a photo of a movie star in a kilt once a year. Glasgow’s own aquacrunk-hiphopper Rustie foresaw this in his 2008 music video for Cafe De Phresh. We really admire brands that are taking a legacy of craftsmanship and using it in unexpected ways like Harris Tweed Hebrides teaming up with Converse Japan to release Harris Tweed Converse All Stars.

6. Which designer do you most admire?

Sruli Recht is a real character who not only designs beautiful clothes but also works for the joy of it. He saw some sharks on the back of a fisherman’s truck and followed him home so that he could buy a sharkskin and take it to a tannery. It turns out you can’t make clothes from sharkskin as it is covered in tiny spikes but that didn’t stop him. He made unsellable gloves from the sharkskin just for the fun of it. If anyone actually were to put one on thousands of tiny spikes would pierce their skin and they wouldn’t be able to get it off again.

7. Tell us about your biggest fashion disaster and how it shaped your personal style.

Matthias hates my jelly shoes. He says they look like see through Croc’s but he’s wrong they’re glittery and cool.

8.What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Walking up Buchanan Street behind a girl who thinks her leggings are trousers.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

10. Share something most people don’t know about you.

Matthias was a child chess champion and Holly left her heart in a motorbike in South Korea.

Fashion – ‘Real Women Real Style’ in No.1 Magazine

No 1 Magazine

It’s always exciting to see your own face staring up at you from the pages of a magazine so I was happy when I came across No.1 Magazine’s ‘Real Women Real Style’ feature this week. No. 1 is a Scottish glossy magazine full of celebrity gossip, fashion, beauty, real-life stories and coverage of local events. They asked me a couple of questions about my personal style:

What are you wearing? My photo was taken during a recent cycling trip in Paris so I’m dressed for comfort but also wanted to look chic. I’m wearing a striped jumper from Mango, cropped trousers from French Connection, sunglasses from Ray Ban and studded pumps from Topshop.

Describe your style:  I wear classic shapes but introduce modern colours and patterns to keep my wardrobe current. As a fashion stylist I’m always on my feet so I have a big collection of comfortable flat shoes. I’m a huge fan of designers Holly Fulton and Mary Katrantzou and love Olivia Palermo’s style. She always looks effortlessly elegant and has a great eye for accessories.

No 1 Magazine

10 Questions With….Leah Hibbert from Elite Model Management London

leah hibbert

Hi Leah. Tell us why you’re visiting Scotland.

I’m in Glasgow scouting for the Elite Model Look competition. It’s a huge opportunity for young girls and guys to pursue their dream of becoming top fashion models. Finalists in the UK will have the chance to win a three year contract with Elite Model Management in London. We’re really excited about the 6 semi-finalists we’ve found in Scotland. Our winner last year, Gillian Matthew, is Scottish so we knew we’d find some great potential up here. In the past this competition launched the careers of Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Helena Christensen and Gisele Bundchen so it’s a huge thing to be involved in.

What does your daily routine involve as a model scout?

My routine is different every day. I scout everywhere from train stations and airports to shopping malls and the London Underground. Every weekend I book a train and go outside of London to do some scouting. It’s rare to find anyone by the age of 16 that hasn’t been scouted in London so I try to get out of the city as much as possible and visit small towns. I’m at concerts, gigs and festivals throughout the summer and during term time we work with schools and colleges to scout students there.

Is it hard to switch off when you’re not working?

It’s definitely a full-on job. Even if you’re not officially working you’re always looking for people. You can be in the cinema trying to relax or having a romantic meal and if someone catches your eye you just have to run after them. You never know when you’re going to find someone.

Tell us about your scouting success stories.

The last guy I scouted was in Brighton. He was playing basketball with his friends and I had to call time out on the game so I could talk to him. That was 2 weeks ago and now he’s flying off to walk exclusively in the Prada show in Milan. One night I was at a bus stop on Oxford Street at 2am and scouted Duncan Pyke. He’s had two magazine covers, a couple of Topman campaigns and have picked him as ‘one to watch’ this week.

How did you become a model scout?

I worked as a model for about 7 years so that was great training ground for me. I’m naturally an open person and as a model you’re meeting new people every single day so I think scouting came quite naturally. It’s a buzz to be able to change the direction of someone’s life for the better. I dipped into fashion styling and show production then worked as a booker for another agency. I was at Glastonbury with a friend who was also a booker and she told me to scout a girl at the festival. Since then the agency have said I have an eye for it and I know exactly what Elite are looking for.

What characteristics do you look for in a potential model?

The main thing is height. The girls have to be over 5’8 and the guys should ideally be at least 5’11. Occasionally you’ll find shorter girls who are around 5’7 or 5’8 and have an extraordinary face. The industry will make an exception for girls that have something really special about them. Classic good looks and a symmetrical face are important. There’s lot of girls and boys who look fantastic in person but models have to be photogenic. Great skin is key as photographers don’t want to spend a long time retouching. Guys should have a lean physique and good proportions.

Do you necessarily have to be skinny to model? 

It’s a myth that you have to be very skinny to model. The clients look for athletic healthy looking girls that are a dress size 8 or 10. If the girls are too thin they don’t make the clothes look good and the industry is waking up to that. I think that a ‘Victoria’s Secret’ body is ideal because it looks healthy. It’s not just about a models measurements but about their overall look, skin condition and exercise routine.

Once signing with the agency how do you help the models’ career to progress?

We invite new models into the agency and have a look at their overall appearance. Sometimes we send them for a mini makeover like a change to their hair colour and we enrol them in the gym. When they are ready we take Polaroids and introduce them to the industry by sending them out to meet our clients. We do a lot of editorial work for big London magazines like ID, Dazed and Confused and Hunger. Once they’ve built up their portfolio we like to introduce them into London Fashion Week to walk in some of the shows.

How do you reject wannabe models without crushing their dreams?

It’s really important to handle this in a delicate way. Young girls are obsessed with aesthetic and image and you don’t want to dent their confidence. If they’re not right for Elite I let them down gently and make sure they’re with a parent. Beauty is objective and just because they’re not right for Elite doesn’t mean they won’t sign elsewhere. Look at Cindy Crawford. She was turned away from several agencies because she had a mole on her face.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about the fashion industry?

I get annoyed when people try and climb the ladder on social networking sites. Everyone feels the need to broadcast how great they are online. It’s awful and it’s not the real world. People need to spend more time working hard instead of bigging themselves up. The people who don’t shout about themselves are the ones doing well. They’re the ones at home doing research and mood boards for a shoot the next day rather than getting drunk at fashion parties. It’s often the quiet ones that are the most successful.

10 Questions With….Emma Kerr from Elkbi

web Jumper and Skirt

1/ Tell everyone what you do.

As two recent graduates from Grays School of Art, Robert Gordon University, we set up Elkbi. Elkbi is a Scottish fashion label with a focus on locally and ethically produced and locally inspired fashion that is  hand screen printed and hand dyed. Elkbi was created to stand up against the swash of plain high street fashion garments. We stand for individuality and the art of producing one of a kind or limited run clothing editions.

2/ What prompted you to design clothes and why ‘Elkbi’?

We see creating clothing as an extension of producing art. We are living our dreams through our passion for exciting fashion prints. ‘Elkbi’ is an amalgamation of our owners names, ELK coming from Co-Owner Emma’s initials and BI a shortened version of Bison which exists in the surname of the other co-owner Michael Harbison (both pictured below). Also elks and bisons were two powerful animals that lived during the ice age in Scotland. This unique name goes well with our brand ethos of bringing something new to the market.


3/ Talk us through your first collection and share your future plans?

Our first collection was our humble beginning, testing the waters with what we like in fashion and seeing if others liked our take on the market. Thankfully it’s gone down better than anticipated so it’s all go for the future.  Our first collection launched in Spring of this year with featuring hand illustrated Scottish nature, flora and fauna. Moving on from this we have created a set of designs which are due to launch on the 8th June. These designs are a lot more elaborate and graphic with a strong emphasis on trends and a striking monochrome series for summer.

4/ What are the best and worst things about working as a duo?

Best: Two minds are better than one, especially two creative ones. Worst: Narrowing down the huge wealth of good ideas a team can create and running with the best ones.

5/ What’s the most pressing challenge facing new Scottish designers?

Besides the obvious economic downturn in the UK as a whole the availability of assistance and start up help, particularly in more rural spots such as ours in Dumfries & Galloway, is a huge difficulty. We have been lucky to find a few helpful hands but it has been a fight to get out there and known.

6/ Which designer do you most admire and what would you ask them over dinner?

Vivienne Westwood. She has become an icon and a true fashion innovator by keeping Scottish fashion alive. She proactively uses traditional Scottish textiles and combined with her unique eye and passion she creates something very memorable. If we had the chance to talk we would love to ask her what makes her so passionate about fashion and at what point in her career did she finally realise she had ‘made it’.

7/ Tell us about your biggest fashion disaster and how it shaped your personal style?

I’m a bit of a walking clothes hanger and am often found wearing too much charity shop vintage at once. I think my friends will definitely agree with this. I think it is important to stick to your own style though. I Iike to adapt trends to my own style, collate and combine my own pieces. Fashion is such a personal thing.

8/ What’s your biggest pet peeve?

People who jump on our success. We have been approached by many people who would like to use our hard work for their own gain. We really appreciate what we have because we have worked hard to get here. We believe people should use their own initiative not ours – “A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.” – Banksy

9/ What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Our friends and family have been amazing, and have really supported us. We can’t thank them enough for this and we certainly wouldn’t of made it this far without them. “Life is what you make it, be different.” 

10/ Share something most people don’t know about you?

Even though we met at university most people don’t know that we grew up only 5 miles apart. However it took 200 miles to Aberdeen for us to actually find each other and cross paths again.

For more information about Elkbi visit,  or email

Fashion – Behind the Scenes Favourites

Lots of people ask me what the job of a fashion stylist involves. A large part of being a stylist is planning and co-ordinating a selection of outfits that fit an overall theme. You are also responsible, amongst other things, for collecting and returning stock before and after photo shoots. A stylist is part of a creative team that normally includes a photographer, a make up artist, a hair stylist and a selection of models. Lots of hard work goes into creating beautiful images for publication, a commercial or for the catwalk. Here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes of some of my recent photo shoots….

Scotland on Sunday Spectrum

Metallic dress and waistcoat
Brooks Brothers Shirts
Brooks Brothers
Brooks Brothers

Fashion – Do stylish walking boots exist?

Karrimor Walking Boots

On a recent shopping trip for walking boots (we were venturing into the countryside and decided my studded pumps wouldnt survive the muddy terrrain) I was shocked at the far from attractive footwear on offer. I know in this case function is more important than fashion but that doesn’t mean I should have to settle for something clumpy in a questionable shade of forest green.

The sales assistant was most amused when I asked for something stylish but surely combining function with fashion isn’t that difficult? Has the outdoor market been overlooked when it comes to attractive ladieswear? And why should women feel forced to buy practical pieces that resemble something found on a farm?

I settled for a black and pink pair of Karrimor boots (see above) that frankly were the best of a bad bunch. Granted they’re very comfortable and do the job nicely but with some clever design they’d look and feel  much better. There’s definitely a gap in the market for pretty, practical clothing.  Let me know if you’ve spotted a  label or retailer that sells stylish outdoorwear for women.