Archive for the ‘features’ Category

features, Gallery, London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week SS12: Paul Costelloe

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on September 22nd, 2011

Paul Costelloe Spring/Summer 2012

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This is definitely exquisite ’tailoring with oomph’. Paul Costelloe says the inspiration for his spring/summer 2012 collection is comes from the 1962 Hollywood classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? That may very well be, but we can’t help to think of the dapper Mad Men and Michael Caine in 70′s film Get Carter.

features, Footwear, health, Sports, Sportswear

Barefoot Running: The Safe Way To Get Started

By Laura on September 19th, 2011

Last week a good friend posted a video explaining the benefit of Vibram Five Finger shoes, made entirely by fans. At first I was hugely cynical, after all they do look completely ridiculous. However, my friend is a bit of a fitness fanatic and I figured he probably had some good reasons for converting to “barefoot running.” With this in mind I began to do a little research and discovered there might actually be something to this whole Barefoot thing. Below I have put together a guide on how to get started. Personally I plan on picking up a pair to try it out for myself, but we would love to hear if any of you give it a try too.

Since the 1960s athletes have been competing in races barefooted and, with the recent increasing wave of interest in barefoot running, many people have raced to purchase minimalist shoes and jumped, quite literally, feet first into the sport. The reason being that with natural, ‘shoeless’ running, the lateral edge of the human forefoot is the part which strikes the ground with the most force. Running in padded shoes typically alters this as more emphasis is placed on the heel and the area towards the back of the foot – which has been claimed to cause more stress on the heel, knees and hips. Therefore many athletes became interested in the sport to strengthen the foot and help improve speed.

Although not strictly a shoe-less sport, there are various ways of tackling barefoot running; some runners wear specially adapted socks, some opt for running moccasins (like outdoor bedroom slippers) and some use minimalist shoes that resemble ordinary running shoes but are constructed from very thin, unpadded materials and have a flat sole with minimal tread. It isn’t, however, as simple as changing your running shoes.

It’s Not ‘Ready, Steady, Go’….

Going from padded, structured running shoes to minimalistic ones is quite a physical change for
your feet and not one which should be presumed easy or natural. It is essential that you train the foot and leg muscles gradually to run in such minimalistic shoes to help reduce injuries and lessen metatarsal stress. Due to the design of barefoot running shoes it is actually recommended that you alternate; training in barefoot shoes whilst running in your specialised running shoes. As Daniel E. Lieberman*, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University states, “If you’ve been a heel-striker all your life you have to transition slowly to build strength in your calf and foot muscles.”

Choosing Your Minimalist Shoes

The first consideration when choosing your first pair of minimalist running shoes is the thickness, or profile, of the sole and heel as you want your feet to immediately sense and communicate to your brain the type of terrain you are on, adapting to a natural running style. Avoid shoes which have a built up heel as these encourage you to over point your toes when running, which could lead to foot damage.

Secondly, think about the flexibility of the sole and check there is no arch support. Barefoot running is all about training your foot arch to naturally flatten so a stiff sole and arch support will only preventing the muscles from acting in this way. A good way to test this is by seeing if you can twist and bend the sole of the shoe with ease. Obviously it needs to protect the sole of your foot from the environment, but flexibility allows your foot to become more familiar with the ground.

Thirdly, remember that the lighter the shoe the better. If the shoes weight is distributed unevenly
(i.e. heavier at the toe or heel) it will cause a bias tendency in the way the foot moves with the shoe and go against its natural movement.

It is advisable to go for a mid-sole level to begin with. The Nike Free Run range has a helpful 10 point number scale which helps identify the thinness of the soles – for example models with a 3 in the name will be more flexible than those with a 10 (which is the thickness of an average running shoe), making the range a good starting point for first time minimalist shoe buyers. Alternatively, Saucony have the Kinvara or Mirage shoes which are also mid-point shoes.

For the more extreme, hardened barefoot runner, the Saucony Hattori shoe claims to be Saucony’s lightest general purpose running shoe ever, or try out the Vibram 5 Fingers shoe which was the first of its kind on the market and the shoe of choice for many barefoot runners. has a large range of minimalist shoes and is a good place to compare models if you are unsure.

First Steps ‘Barefoot’

As is normal before any running, stretch your hamstrings and calf muscles. Lieberman also suggests that it is a good idea to massage the arches of your feet as this helps in the breaking down of scar tissue and healing.

To begin barefoot running, it is a good idea to try it first on a hard, smooth surface such as a tennis court or running track – rather than a bumpy street. Your feet will naturally adjust to moving on this surface by forefoot striking, rather than the heel striking we tend to do in padded running shoes.During your first barefoot run do not exceed more than a quarter of a mile as your foot muscles will tire more rapidly. Leave a ‘rest day’ between each training session and remember that training your feet to run in this way will take time so build up distances by no more that 10% each week. If at any point you experience pain, stop!

Due to the focus on footwear padding and support in today’s shoes our feet have adapted to these luxuries as ‘the norm’, making barefoot running almost an unnatural, new feeling for us. Our feet have evolved to run in specialist shoes, so it will take time for them to adjust to minimalist running and they will be in discomfort to begin with. Sore, tired muscles are normal, but bone, joint, or soft-tissue pain is a signal of injury and if any of these occur, stop running immediately and see your chiropodist.

It is important that you continue to wear your padded running shoes when running long distance
or partaking in any race whilst you train your feet to run barefoot. Only when you feel 100%
comfortable running barefoot and experience no discomfort at all can you start to run in minimalist shoes more often.

Running shoe specialist Saucony highlight that minimalism is isn’t an end, it’s actually a means – and many footwear retailers agree. Brett Bannister, MD of, believes that, “Minimalist shoes can be built into your training regime to help strengthen your feet and leg muscles, but you still need to pick the right shoes and be careful to make the transition slowly.”

Minimalist shoes are very much an excellent training aid which can be incorporated into your
running routine to great effect, but not the be-all and end-all of your running routine. Going back to basics with barefoot running is an exhilarating experience and definitely one you should embrace – just remember to play it safe!


Brand Spotlight, features, sunglasses

Woodzee: beautiful wooden sunglasses

By Laura on September 19th, 2011

A few weeks ago the guys over at Woodzee got in touch to tell us all about their beautiful handcrafted wood sunglasses.

We have seen a few wooden frames around recently and love the concept, but for the most part they have been vastly over priced. Woodzee, on the other hand have managed to maintain a high degree of quality, while at the same time making their glasses incredibly affordable, starting at just $85.

The 100% wood shades currently come in two different styles, Aviators and Wayfarers. Each pair is hand-made with either original bamboo, stained bamboo, Zebra wood, or Pear wood, making no one pair identical. To top it off, for those eco-conscious Woodzee will plant a tree for every pair of sunglasses sold.

We might be heading into winter, but I absolutely love these glasses and plan on picking up a pair next pay day.

Woodzee ship internationally and all styles are available for purchase here.

Brand Spotlight, features

ASOS Urban Tour – The 2011 Fall/Winter Collection

By Laura on September 14th, 2011

Its no secret that we are big fans of ASOS here at Brandish, and we can’t wait to see what they will be rolling out for their Fall/Winter 2011 collection.

To launch the collection they have created a brilliant new interactive website called ASOS Urban Tour, exploring street trends in London, Paris, Berlin, LA, and New York. The Paris video (above) follows an in-line skating crew taking the viewer on a city tour, while showing off some key pieces from the collection.

ASOS consistently demonstrate a fantastic understanding of the current fashion landscape and trends, which once again is reflected in their diverse seasonal offering. Anyways make sure to check out the rest of the campaign here.

Collaborations, Denim, features

Supreme x Levi’s 2011 Fall/Winter Collection

By Laura on September 12th, 2011

Supreme is at it again this time partnering up with Levi’s on their new capsule collection for Fall/Winter 2011.

The collection features a number of standard staples from the American denim giant, including Levi’s 505 Zip-Fly Jean, a Chambray Work Shirt, a Trucker Jacket in leather and suede, a Denim Down Vest and Denim Bell Hat. Although I love the collection, I can’t help but feel that most of it does not look that different from the regular Levi’s collection. Hopefully prices will not be over inflated just because the pieces have a Supreme label slapped in them.

The collection is being assembled in the US and expected to hit stores Sept 15th, Japan on the 17th and the new London store on the 22nd.

features, Footwear

Wolverine No. 1883 Mayall Boot

By Laura on September 12th, 2011

The utilitarian look is set to be big this fall. Both practical and stylish this look is perfect for damp fall weather. Michigan based brand, Wolverine, have been making wonderful rugged boats since 1883, combining tradition with modern style. This season, the Wolverine No. 1883 collection, is comprised of eleven new styles all with an emphasis on fine craftsmanship, heritage and distinctive designs.

My favourite has to be the Wolverine Mayall boot which features a butter-soft full-grain leather upper, plaid woven print lining, fold down functionality for extra versatility, and rubber grips to prevent you sliding around the sidewalk.

The Mayall boot is available here for $225 USD or £142 GBP

Accessories, features, music

Is Baggy/Madchester the next big thing in men’s fashion?

By Stefano on September 12th, 2011

The other day The Guardian’s music/fashion correspondent Alexis Petridis wrote about how men’s fashion has suddenly become massively influenced by one year, 1988 and specifically the time in which 80s fashions (think denim shirts, girlie pumps), collided with the 1950s (think quiffs, Levis 501s, Rayban Wayfarers etc).

This odd combination occurred for a number of serendipitous reasons. Firstly big brands – Levi’s, Southern Comfort among others – began to use 50s imagery and music for their ad camapigns. Secondly a nation of indie kids has become obsessed with Morrissey and in turn with his obsession with James Dean. Suddenly 50s fashions were coming at you from all angles.

So if 1988 is the current apex of cool, where is men’s fashion likely to go next? We have already seen Urban Outfitter’s rather lamentable attempts to hype ‘grunge fashion’ (in some ways that’s an oxymoron) with its Cobain label. But by shifting on to the early 90s men’s fashion would be bypassing one of its most fun, creative and populist periods. I refer of course to Baggy.

For the uninitiated, you are either too young or from North American, Baggy was one of those brief periods in British history (see also late 60s and mid 70s) where the nation’s young let it all hang out. This meant taking copious amounts of a new drug – ecstasy – and listening to oddly psychedelic music – The Stone Roses. The difference this time (compared with the 60s) was that Baggy was dance music-oriented with the dominant soundtrack, in clubs at least, the emerging Acid House sound from Manchester, via Chicago. So a killer combination of dancing and drugs predictably wreaked havoc with the nation’s trouser’s width. The 80s had been largely about skinny jeans morphing into easy fit vintage Levi’s as the decade wore on. Suddenly everyone was wearing Flares.

It wasn’t just trousers either. Baggy ought also to be remembered as the first time the hooded top became a high street fashion staple. Baggy also gave us dayglo sweat shirts, later appropriated by the nu rave crew, as well as Paisley and pattern shirts – which to be fair had been bubbling under for much of the 80s – huge Tees and some fantastic headgear.

Drab old Britain was suddenly a riot of colour and its young cared less about perfecting their quiffs and posing in their vintage shades and more about getting off their tits in fields in Berkshire.

Sadly Baggy didn’t last too long. Internal disagreements (and spiraling drug consumption) tore The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays apart. And as for the Baggy Beatles – the La’s – lead singer Lee Mavers decided that the world only really deserved one album of his genius songs and he went AWOL.

By the time Baggy hit the South (it was mainly a northern thing) the bands were on their way out and the clothes had hit the local charity store. For a few months the UK flirted with some horrendous grunge fashions before Blur, Pulp and Britpop smartened everyone up (a little).

So, Baggy is sure to be revived sooner or later, so now might be as good a time as any to comb your local Oxfam for a nice hooded top with mildly psychedelic patterns on the front. Flares will hopefully be optional this time round.

Clothing, Collaborations, features, Gallery

Final Uniqlo +J collection Lookbook

By Laura on August 19th, 2011

A few weeks we announced that the upcoming fall/winter +J collection for Uniqlo would be the last. The lookbook is now out, and I have to say this is possibly the strongest collection yet.

There has undeniably been plenty of hype surrounding this final collection, but I can’t get enough of the contrasting colors, linear cuts and the mix of tech-infused materials with traditional fabrics.

Jil Sander’s was one of the first high-fashion designers to collaborate with a mass-market brand like this, and in many ways really set the benchmark for these types of collections. She has continually brought her own unique, dark and structural aesthetic to the Japanese retailer, and this collection is no exception.

One of the most interesting features of this collection is the mix of sportswear with highly tailored pieces. Although it might seem an unusual combination, it is a look that we are seeing quite a bit of at the moment, and something we expect to take off this winter.

The fianl J+ collection will be Available soon in Uniqlo stores the world over.

Final Uniqlo +J collection

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Brand Spotlight, Clothing, features

Introducing Avelon: AW’11 collection

By Laura on August 18th, 2011

With summer days numbered, we have been looking at some of the trends we expect to see this coming fall/winter. One trend that continues to stand out for us, is the focus on the ratio between the softness and volume of garments. Expect to see everything from slick tailored pieces juxtapose with slouchy long cardigans to skinny jeans and warm chunky knits. One brand that is really owning this trend is Avelon.

Avelon was first discovered by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for their multibrand boutique Spiga 2 in Milan. It is now listed among the 3 bestsellers, and it is not hard to see why.

The collection has a really urban industrial feel, and plays beautifully with shapes and proportions. Leather features heavily through out the collection and appears on almost everything from denim to knits, shirts and tops in the form of elaborated detailing and patchworks. This dedication to detail, is what really makes this collection really stand out for me. I love all the subtle details, such a their signature metal zip lined with bright blue satin.

The label has built its philosophy around the idea of constantly mixing different materials and textures in order to create the most unusual effects, this collection does exactly that.

I predict that Avelon is a label we will be hearing a lot more from in the future.


Keep Aaron Cutting

By Laura on August 10th, 2011

Many of you who read this site will know that I live in London. What you might not know is that I live in the midst of the areas that have been effected by the recent violence. Over the past few days I have had to watch thugs destroy the city I love, and hold its citizens hostage with fear.

I have heard and seen so many heartbreaking things over the past few days it would be impossible to recount them all here. In many ways I still can’t believe this has happened. How can some people have such a lack of basic human compassion.

As images of burnt out buildings and looted shops flood the news, there was one image that really jumped out at me. The image depicted 89 year old Aaron Biber sifting through what little was left of his barbershop. This image more than others, really highlighted to me just how senseless this violence has been.

After tweeting about the image one of my followers directed me to a microsite that has been set up by Björn and Sophie, two interns at BBH, to help raise money to help repair Aaron’s shop. Aaron did not have insurance and as he can not afford the repairs is faced with closure.

To see people coming together trying to restore faith in each other and in London is truly wonderful. It helps remind us all why London is such a great city.

Please check out their site here and maybe even donate a few pounds to help restore Aaron’s livelihood.

features, Grooming

Gentlemans Relish – the return of the barber shop

By Laura on August 5th, 2011

Yesterday evening I headed to Gentlemans Relish in Clerkenwell for some head and face topiary.

My hair was long, misshapen, permanently unruly and I’d not shaved for a few days, so this assignment was perfectly timed.

A brief run down of the company – Paul Jackson opened the company’s first salon in Colchester in 2007 and has been steadily expanding the business every year since. The Clerkenwell salon is the company’s second in London (the other is off Brick Lane), and they have ambitious growth plans, aiming for a solid 45-50 across the UK in the future.

The salons sell products by some quality male grooming brands as well, including Kevin Murphy, American Crew and Lock Stock & Barrel.

The Clerkenwell outlet itself is classy as hell, the centrepieces being four perfectly restored 1950’s cream and red crocodile-leather chairs with heavy-duty foot rests. An intimate size and excellent online booking system means there’s no one impatiently thumbing dog-eared copies of GQ on the sofa either.

That said, a barbershop is only as good as the guy holding the scissors. Salon Manager and GR Managing Director Darren Agyei-Dua sat me down, and I ran through my normal style before deciding to just let him do what he liked.

He’s trained in pretty much everything there is to train in in terms of hair and grooming, and cut for numerous agencies including CLM, Caren and Jed Root. He even cut Robbie Williams’ hair at a Brit Awards Ceremony recently. Impressive stuff.

Darren was quick, precise and effortless with his cutting. He had consistently good chat as well, which really does make all the difference.

The shave was of matching quality. I had a Turkish shave in Istanbul last year and it was going swimmingly until they burnt my ears with a lighter. Darren assured me no ears would be burnt.

If you’ve never been shaved, have it done. It’s quite therapeutic. At Gentleman’s Relish you have your face washed, some ‘skin food’, a warm towel, badger brush applying the foam, straight razor taking it off and then a cool towel to close your pores. Your skin is left as smooth as the day you were born and feels fantastic.

It’s really not that expensive either – £25 for a cut and £15 for a shave, which is considerably more accessible than what Gentleman’s Relish’s previously charged.

The Clerkenwell salon is in a good location, boasts top-notch stylists and is hoping to add a masseuse to the mix by Christmas. They’re creating a new kind of barbershop for a new, style-conscious generation. I’m sold.

Visit their website here
Follow GR on Twitter here and Facebook here.
Read more about Darren Agyei-Dua here and follow him on Twitter here.

Guest post by Alex Clough

Brand Spotlight, Clothing, Coats & Jackets, features

Esemplare Autumn/Winter 2011 Collection

By Laura on August 4th, 2011

The rain is back and although I hope this is not it for Summer, I can’t help but be a bit excited for cooler days, drinks in country pubs next to roaring fires…. and of course knitwear. Okay, Okay I am obsessed I know, but if we have to suffer through months of dark rainy weather, we should at least get to look good doing it.

So like any knitwear obsessive, I have been keeping a close eye on what to expect this winter. One of my favourites so far has to be from the Italian fashion house Esemplare. This is their second collection to hit the UK and consists of knitwear to outerwear.

Esemplare has built a name for themselves with high quality wardrobe staples, with innovative treatments combined with sartorial detailing. Alessandro Pungetti, Creative Director of Esemplare, spoke about the collection stating ”in life there is much more to do and discover, this collection was designed to give life to a menswear line which is essential but never to casual. We maximize the fundamental details to give each garment greater charm and personality”

This season expect ‘city slicker’ overcoats paired with heavy knits and hobo chic jackets. Knitwear made from deluxe Jacquard Norwegian wool in an array of Autumnal colours. All the outerwear is treated and garment dyed to create a worn vintage feel. The addition of detachable collars and hoods in the lightweight jackets, make these items transitional pieces from Winter to Spring.

What do you think of the collection?

Celeb style, Collaborations, features

H&M and David Beckham announce new Bodywear range for men

By Laura on July 28th, 2011

Today H&M and David Beckham announced they are teaming up to produce a new Bodywear range. The line is expected to be released on February 14, 2011 in 1,800 stores spread across 40 countries. This deal apparently marks the beginning of a new long-term partnership between one of the worlds largest fashion retailers and one of the world’s most recognizable sporting icons. We can’t wait to see the results.

Competitions And Promotions, features, Lifestyle & Gadgets

Competition: Break Free from traffic with a brand new GO LIVE 820 TomTom SatNav

By Laura on July 28th, 2011

We have teamed up with our friends over at TomTom to help you break free from traffic by giving you the chance to win a brand new GO LIVE 820 satnav!

TomTom recently commissioned a study to find out more about the psychological effect of traffic on drivers. They discovered that it’s not just a massive pain, but can actually increase stress levels. In fact women suffered an 8.7% increase in stress from driving in traffic, whilst men suffered a staggering increase of 60%. The report went on to suggest that long term exposure to traffic related stress could potentially become hazardous to your health.

TomTom kindly wants to help one of our readers break free from traffic by offering you the chance to win a new GO LIVE 820.The device comes complete with TomTom’s HD traffic service, providing updates every two minutes to help drivers steer clear of delays. In fact it delivers accurate traffic information seven times quicker than any other provider and gives you speed camera warnings, weather reports and information obtained via Local Search with Google.

To celebrate the launch of the GO LIVE 820, TomTom have recruited a host of UK celebrities including John Cleese, Chris Kamara, Scott Mills, and Ronan O’Gara to provide a little comic relief around the stresses of being stuck in traffic.

So if you would like have a chance of winning a GO LIVE 820 device worth £199.99, visit and
‘Like’ the official TomTom Facebook page, watch the John Cleese video and answer the
following question in the comments section below:

What three items does John Cleese take out of his glove compartment?

a) Bunny ears, rubber gloves and a CD
b) Sun glasses, a tennis ball and a CD
c) A sandwich, a bowler hat and a CD

(Competition closes on Thursday 25th August 2011. Only UK fans will be eligible to win the prize. Winner will be picked at random.)

Clothing, Denim, features

The Commuter by Levi’s

By Laura on July 25th, 2011

In May, Levis introduced the Commuter line. The latest collection aimed specifically at cyclists. In order to highlight the features of this groundbreaking product they have created a short video dubbed The Commuter. The moving background sets the tone, as we see the different features of the jeans in action. These technical jeans are surprisingly affordable and a great purchase for an urban cyclist. To find out more about the jeans check out original post.

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