Shoe Repair London, Handbag Repairs London - The Restory, London


vanessa jacobs
Wearing - Furuki-yo-Kimono-Vintage

Wearing - Furuki-yo-Kimono-Vintage

Hi Andrea, Great to meet you can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m a self-confessed party girl who believes that life is all about working hard, playing hard and knowing when balance is in order. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to get into fashion and made no secret of my desire to get to director level as quickly as possible, ensuring that I was absolutely committed and passionate about the job. I love fashion but won’t become a slave to it. I am  passionate about sustainable fashion and believe that a woman should know her style and dress appropriately. I am all about timeless fashion over fashion trends. I absolutely love the 50s and 60s where you can witness artists at work. Designers with more originality, taking risks and staying true to their brand ethos. I also love to see fashion from different cultures Indian and Japanese traditional dress being among my favourites. Yoga and Pilates are something that I try to do 3 times a week. During my year off from work I discovered both. I found them to be hugely beneficial for my state of mind, improving my core strength, posture and fitness levels.

You have been working in Fashion for over 15 years how did you break out into the industry?

I studied Fashion design and technology at Manchester University. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been so dedicated to studying. I had never shown any interest in the academic side of school, far too distracted by gymnastics, boys and fast cars. I scraped through both my GCSEs and A-Levels. It was the wakeup call that I needed when all my friends left me for university to study medicine, law and marketing. My dream had always been to become a designer, that didn’t happen! On finishing university I applied for a job as a buyers coordinator at Monsoon. With a view to move into design once my feet were through the door.

I interviewed that week and by the weekend I had been offered a role, packed up my life and started a job in London the following Monday. I hated it. There was no formal training, no structure, I had no idea of whether I was doing right or wrong. Within weeks I decided to turn it around and use the situation to my benefit and decide processes and make decisions that way I felt best. It paid off I became an assistant buyer in 7 months and junior buyer 7 months after that. Monsoon was a small boutique brand when I joined and by time I left 7 years later a huge business with a very different strategy. I was becoming unhappy with the direction and my passion started to falter. My boyfriend at the time encouraged me to work on my CV and go after my next dream. My confidence was starting to drop and I decided now was the time. I had one brand in sight, that was Coast. On meeting with agents they advised that I should broaden my horizons and have other brands in mind. I was prepared to wait. A buying role came up, of course I applied, within a week I was offered my absolute dream job as a buyer for Coast on soft separates. I couldn’t believe it. It taught me to stick with what you believe in.

Wearing - Catherine Malandrino 

Wearing - Catherine Malandrino 

I see you were a buying director at Coast, how did this prepare you for your role now?

I worked at Coast for 10 years. I started my career there as a buyer and gradually moved up to buying director after 5 years. It came through years of hard work, passion, dedication and commitment as an ambassador for the brand. I kept trying to push myself to move up, take on more, always be the person where nothing was too much trouble. I travelled excessively to Europe, The Far East and America. I was also lucky enough to travel to The Middle East and South America for a mix of supplier, inspiration and store visit trips.

The role was very hands on. I have a tendency to lean more towards the creative side of buying, and therefore worked very closely with the design directors on the ranges from a creative view as well as commercial.

During my years at Coast I also spent some time managing the design, production and technical teams so I gained a much wider experience than just buying. The variety of my role was very much the reason I stayed for so long, in many other businesses a buying director would focus solely on managing the buying function. This variety in role got me ready for my next role at Precis Petite.

So, you run two brands called Precis Petite and Dash tell us about these brands?

After a year off working I started at Precis Petite as Brand Director in early 2016. The brand had become very underconfident and lost its identity within the market. The handwriting was very old and colour palettes very brash. I was brought in to give the brand a new identity, to define its personality and bring it back to life.

As a petite person myself at 5ft 2 inches I was well placed to understand the challenges and desires of a petite woman. You need to consider flattering shapes, prints that don’t swamp the figure. I engaged with a creative agency who helped bring the brand personality and core values to life. This really helps all of the teams to understand who the customer is and what she stands for. Understanding your customer is one of the most important things you should do in retail.

At Precis Petite we are all about style and proportion for the petite woman. We think that it’s important to look and feel your best. We love colour and pattern. And discovering new ways to wear old favourites. We are happiest when we are with our friends & family, enjoying the moment. Our obsession is fit and attention to detail. The customer is absolutely passionate about fit and quality, she has a love of print. We have worked hard to create more beautiful prints with more variety.

Dash is a very casual brand that has been around since the seventies. Dash is all about modern life understanding that a woman’s life can be busy and demanding. The contemporary woman needs clothes she can live her life in. Dash has a positive attitude to life and wants you to live life to the full. We design clothes that express this and suit this attitude to life. Dash is about giving busy women considered, versatile clothes so you have total confidence and a zest for life. My aim is to feminise the brand through colour and print, and bring about a more cohesive and desirable collection.

Wearing - Self Portrait 

Wearing - Self Portrait 

How do social platforms like Instagram or Pinterest influence your designers?

Instagram and Pinterest have become an integral part of everyday life. Our designers use both every day to help form the concepts at the beginning of the season. We can pull ideas for prints, styling and colour palettes. We also look at key designers, celebrities and bloggers. Its also a great source for real life and ensuring we are in touch with as much as possible that is going on around us. Instagram and Pinterest have really helped to broaden our source of knowledge and inspiration.

What was the best advise that you were ever given and what advice would you give to others wanting to break out into the Industry?

Wearing Self Portrait and Yves Saint Laurent 

Wearing Self Portrait and Yves Saint Laurent 

Stay true to yourself. Believe in your vision and stick to it. Try to avoid becoming a yes person, and follow through with the belief of your convictions. Pay attention to the market and understand consumer behaviours. Watch, observe, listen to various conversations around you. No matter which department, you will always learn a lot. Try things, even if you fail you'll learn. Take risks and be brave. You don’t need to have completed a fashion degree, however a passion and love of it is extremely important. The retail industry requires long hours, therefore loving what you do is an absolute must. Being dedicated and respecting the roles of your peers is something I always tell my team. Each team member has a unique part to play, respect their contribution and pull upon on your skills to create a dynamic high performing team.


We love your Instagram account and see you wearing lots of gorgeous designers what brands do you consider your go to right now?

Thank-you. I do love Instagram. I am a photo fiend, I have about 75,000 photos on my mac. For me looking back through photographs trigger’s memories. My absolute go to brands are Sandro, Zara, And Other Stories and Whistles for my every day. They cater well for my lifestyle and feel age appropriate for me. I have a love for Self Portrait dresses, although sadly due to the success the label is becoming over saturated and copied everywhere. Bags and shoes are my guilty pleasure, most of which are designer.

For bags I adore Celine & Chanel. For Shoes I love Yves Saint Laurent. I believe in bags and shoes being timeless classics that you can wear for years. I have a pair of Gucci shoes that I have owned for about 12 years and they still look as good today as they did when I bought them. 

I do love to shop Vintage every now again. I love vintage kimonos, when I travel to Tokyo I love to find vintage silk pieces with distinctive prints. The one I am wearing in the shoot I bought a few weeks back from a pop up store in Farringdon from Furuki-yo-kimono-vintage, she has the best selection of Vintage Kimonos.

Tell us about something you really love and that you would love to see carefully restored, and why is restoration important to you?

My absolute favourite bag is my mini Chanel classic in black. I have never used or loved a bag as much as this. It’s the perfect size for a weekend away, a night out with the girls, I even take it to the club and get a few funny looks, I don’t care! As a result the lambs leather has become a little worn, and the chain broke. I would love to see my bag restored back to its natural beauty. I would like to use this bag for the rest of my life because its classic, its beautiful and I know it won’t date. Restoration is important to me, because I don’t believe in throw away fashion. Invest in something and keep it forever.

Wearing Self Portrait and Miu Miu

Wearing Self Portrait and Miu Miu

Instagram: @andreahickman

Instagram: @PrecisPetite  and @thisisdash

Frieze Focus with Kaleidoscope

Emily John

With Frieze week just around the corner we are gearing up for a luxury art attack. Frieze art fair, brings together over 160 of the world's leading galleries showing some of the most challenging and mind boggling art being made today. The price tags can often leave you scratching your head but that's where we can step in to help guide you on how to value an artwork.

Each year we advise clients on the best that Frieze has to offer, so here's a sneaky preview for The Restory on what's hot and what's not. This year's edition has a very strong focus on female artists with a section called "Sex Works” with a number of women who had been previously overlooked. I think it's really great that women whose work had been overshadowed are now being given a platform! One particular highlight will be a series of works by Marilyn Minter who explores society’s view of female beauty. Many of the paintings were too risqué to show when they were made in the 90s but they are being shown on full view for us this year!

One Half Man Ray, 1994 by Marilyn Minter

One Half Man Ray, 1994 by Marilyn Minter

One “trend” which we are seeing is artists looking to fuse art and zen, in creating experiences that make us feel calm and meditative. Jarvis Cocker and Steven Mackey will be installing a - wait for it - immersive mind-altering dancefloor meditation at 180 The Strand. It will try to access the state of mind that we associate with deep meditation using only the tools we find in a disco…..something I imagine not many of us have intentionally tried before. We would very much like to journey into sound, rhythm and light whilst tapping our toes!

Frieze usually means multiple dollar signs, however it is also possible to buy affordable works by younger artists and galleries. There is a super section called “Focus” which champions younger spaces allowing them to be at Frieze at discounted rates. Patricia Treib is one artist who we are particularly excited about; she shows with Kate MacGarry and creates beautiful oil paintings on paper that focuses on the space between form with playful bold colours.

Blue Proximity Variation by Patricia Treib

Blue Proximity Variation by Patricia Treib

We will be at the fair all week helping advise people on who to look at and what to be buying. If you would like any help then please get in touch with us at:

Instagram: alexlouisedonaldson


An insight into shoe design with Holly White

Emily John

As we wave goodbye to Fashion Week, we're also looking forward to the coming autumn season. Buy British Day is on the 1st October and to celebrate we're catching up with London based shoe designer Hollie White. The mastermind behind Ellis White, Hollie designs contemporary women's footwear using innovative materials and “-adhoc principles”.


How did you get into shoe design and making?

I originally studied a B. Design in Sydney (where I grew up) which was a multidisciplinary degree in which I covered graphics, textiles and object design. At some point I realised that I was really interested in fashion accessories. I had always made clothes for myself and footwear seemed to sit somewhere in between fashion and object design, which suited me. I started to look into footwear as a vocation and realised I could study footwear design and making here in London and that's partly what brought me here.


Shoemaking is detailed work - what's your making 'hack'?

Prototype! Never go into the final piece without a few mockups. Even a really loose 3D model of an idea can tell you so much more that a sketch. Shoes are completely asymmetrical and quite sculptural so there are a lot of angles left unconsidered in drawings. 


What's the best 'mistake' you've made in the design process?

Every shoe I've ever made has been the result of a mistake. I tend to work outside of standard shoe constructions, so generally - to go back to the previous point - I have miscalculated how one element can connects to another until I start making a prototype and realise there would be a better way. The best example of that was at college. I set out to make a kind of leather version of cork by amalgamating leather scraps and make some heels. The first attempt used wood glue and the result was a very crumbly biscuit looking material, but trial and error lead me experiment with different bonding agents and in the end, the creation of a leather composite became the focus of my Masters degree. I think design is 80% problem solving, so the ability to learn from mistakes is key.


Is there anything you think has changed in the industry since you started?

I think social media and it's impact on retailing and customer engagement is the biggest shift. 7-8 years ago, most people couldn't see past the traditional wholesale model, but today with brands able to connect directly with customers on Instagram, they're able to offer better quality products at a much better price.


Favourite material to work with?

I like wet moulding vegetable tanned leather. It's thick and sturdy, natural leather, but can form into incredible shapes once it's soaked in water and stretched over a last. It dries really solid and holds it's new shape. In the past I've made moulded uppers that don't require any seems or stitching.


What are your most favourite shoes in your wardrobe?

Hmmmm, I think my current favourites are one of my newest samples that I have been road testing. They're a moccasin style on a sporty, EVA, flatform sole, in Russet suede. I've worn them to death over the past few months.


Where do you like to walk in London?

I do a lot of walking just simply because I'm busy running around London and I don't drive. On weekends I sometime walk through Burgess park, down through Bermondsey, across the Thames and into Soho. It's a fairly long walk, but a drink at the other end is all the more deserved.


What can you not live without?

Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) and lime.


What did you wish you'd bought two of?

I wish I had bought two pairs Issey Miyake, Pleats Please, flat zip-up boots. They are the most interesting and wearable shoes I've ever owned, which is a hard combination to find.



Paris Is Always A Good Idea

vanessa jacobs

Paris Fashion Week is on the horizon so we've taken a sneak peak at the 'in the know' places to go when you're not easing your way to the front rows of the fashion shows.

To get in the zone for plush grandeur take a trip to the Palace of Versailles, southwest of the city centre. As in the couture of today, no expense was spared on the 15th century palace, so indulge in a walk through the Golden Gate of Honour or practice your ultimate selfie in the palace's Hall of Mirrors. If you happen to arrive on a Saturday, you can see the 'Fountains Night Show', a stunning visual and musical display in the palace gardens ending in a crescendo of fireworks.

Hall Of Mirrors Address: Palace of Versailles, Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles

Hall Of Mirrors

Address: Palace of Versailles, Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles

Give your fabulous pied's a rest at Café de Flore, a famous old Parisian hot spot frequented by Pablo Picasso, which still entices famous faces. Sit back with a cocktail in the art deco interior or people watch 'al fresco' on the terrace.

Address: Café de Flore ,172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

Address: Café de Flore ,172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

Boost your artist savoir faire walking through the Jardin des Tuileries, past sculptures by Giacometti, Rodin and Maillol, and then head west across the gardens to the Musée de l'Orangerie for a feast of painting’s by Monet, Cezanne and Matisse.

Address: Jardin des Tuileries, 113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Address: Jardin des Tuileries, 113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Recharge your batteries with a stylish organic feast at Season, a restaurant known for serving the best salads in town. They work around the concept that produce is seasonal and therefore the menu changes regularly, ensuring there is always something new. The interior alone has featured in Vogue and Elle.

 Address: Season, 1 rue Dupuis 75003 Paris

 Address: Season, 1 rue Dupuis 75003 Paris

Paris is synonymous with fashion and whilst we love the classic fashion houses of Hermes and Balenciaga on Rue Saint-Honoré, the shopping possibilities are never ending! For a contemporary hit visit the new Stella McCartney boutique where the store aesthetic is as impressive as the clothes – dreamy and arresting!

Address: Stella McCartney, 231 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001, Paris


Whilst Paris Fashion Week will showcase who, what, when & where for spring summer 2018, we are seeing the colour red trending now. Dior is hot on the trail, launching 2 new lipsticks in the lead up to PWF, and of course, the star shade receiving all the attention is red. And word on the street is every girl needs a pair of red shoes too. So why not go matchy-matchy to coordinate your lips with your feet. Drop into the Dior boutique for some inspiration.

Address: Dior, 30 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris


For evening drinks venture to Le Ballroom, a hidden cocktail bar where you can order the most incredible Gin Mule and more. Part of the Beef Club group and the same people behind the ECC, these guys know the essential ingredients for a perfect soirée and will keep your feet tapping late into the night.

Address: Le Ballroom, 8 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris

And as the weather becomes crisp, don’t forget to check out our guide to get organised for the winter season.