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Galio jewellery launch design competition with SAFW 2015




Galio Jewellers in St Albans

Work experience with renowned jeweller Shaun Leane and display time within Galio Jewellers are among the incredible prizes for the winner of the Galio Jewellery Design Competition, in conjunction with St Albans Fashion Week 2015.

A week’s worth of work experience with internationally renowned jeweller Shaun Leane is as precious to any aspiring jewellery designer as the metals and gemstones they work with. And this amazing opportunity is within their grasp thanks to a competition launched by Galio Jewellers as part of the St Albans Fashion Week’s (SAFW) Creative Next Generation Initiative.

Three runners up will have their designs displayed in store at Galio Jewellers on George St, St Albans, with the overall winning design being made in silver. The winner will be awarded their finished piece and a trophy at the St Albans Fashion and Beauty Awards, held at The Odyssey Cinema in September 2015. As well as having their talents recognised and celebrated, the winner’s skills will be honed further with the once in a lifetime opportunity of a week’s worth of work experience with internationally renowned jeweller, Shaun Leane, at his new atelier in Mayfair.

Anyone under the age of 25 who’s passionate about jewellery can enter by designing a piece of jewellery, or a muse, inspired by the iconic St Albans Cathedral. The closing date is Friday 29 May 2015. Sarah Gillow, creative director of Galio, and jeweller Shaun Leane will judge the designs. The brief has been given to selected universities and colleges in the UK, including Hertfordshire. For full details, go to

Creative Next Generation-Marley Eliza Hart 1

Gillow says: “We’re thrilled to be able to set this competition as inspiration for young designers. Having had our business in George St for 23 years, with our store overlooking the Cathedral, we thought it would be a fitting design brief. Shaun is very supportive of our aim to give recognition to young local design talent and has kindly offered the winner a work placement at his studio in London. I believe it’s essential for design to be considered within a practical and commercial context. The opportunity to see your design made commercially is amazing.” Gillow added:

“Having this link to Creative Next Generation will give the winner incredible additional exposure, with the prize giving presentation as part of SAFW 2015. The organisers of SAFW recognise the importance of generating interest in the design community locally, so we’re delighted to be able to support that with this creative competition.”

Leane says: “I’m very flattered to be able to work alongside my longstanding partner Galio for SAFW competition to discover the next rising talent. I feel it’s essential we support aspiring artisans and designers to allow our creative industries to flourish and evolve. I was very lucky to have been taught by two great masters who passed to me all their knowledge and skills. Then later to have worked alongside visionary Alexander McQueen for 15 years, for it was this combination enabled me to be the jeweller/designer I am today.”

Jewel in the crown
Famed for pushing creative boundaries, Leane worked closely with Alexander McQueen for 15 years and some of his pieces are currently on display at the hugely successful Alexander McQueen, Savage Beauty Exhibition, at the V&A Museum in London. As well as collaborating with Alexander McQueen and other designers such as Daphne Guinness, Leane’s striking pieces of work are also popular with celebrities, including Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Cara Delevigne and Beyoncé. To work with such a recognised talent is an exceptional prize and makes this competition a must for anyone interested in jewellery design.

Creative Next Generation
Recognising talent is at the heart of SAFW’s Creative Next Generation. The initiative was set up to unearth, support and showcase the next generation of creative talent. Its aim is to build a legacy in St Albans, not only to raise the profile of fashion, design and creative students in the city, but also to be the bridge between study and the world of work. SAFW offers a large variety of work based learning opportunities across a broad spectrum of subjects, including all elements of fashion and beauty from design, photography, merchandising and show production to media and PR. Students are also offered free masterclasses and workshops with industry professionals to help prepare and support students for their next steps in the world of work.

SAFW runs during October half term (26 October – 1st November 2015) to enable students to take part fully. For details of all the amazing opportunities available to students interested in furthering their careers, go to
Ellena Ophira, SAFW’s founder and organiser, says: “It’s so exciting for us that Creative Next Generation can offer this wonderful opportunity. This is exactly what we hope for CNG, that it can offer real platforms into the creative world of work. We’re grateful to Shaun Leane for giving us his time, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for a passionate budding jewellery maker and we hope that all interested apply.



Lockdown Leads to Local Luxury Sustainable Business Now It’s Mine




Lockdown Leads to Local Luxury Sustainable Business Now It’s Mine

Hertfordshire Mother and Daughter Bernie and Rosie Montague decided to capitalise on Rosie’s expertise as an experienced handbag specialist and authenticator to create a local sustainable fashion business.  After leaving a prestigious auction house in London, it seemed the right time to create a business and pursue her passion for handbags and accessories.

Now It’s Mine is an exciting new venture established in lockdown. Their philosophy is `Resale not Retail’. It encapsulates their commitment to sustainability by rejecting fast fashion. Not only can people buy the likes of Classic Chanel flap bags and Louis Vuitton monogram classics, people can also consign their preloved designer handbags and accessories AND in the coming weeks there will be a rental service where you can rent any of the beautiful items on the website from 1 day upwards.

Ethical Fashion is the Now It’s Mine Model

Fashion represents 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions. It’s incredible but many items are disposed of within a year of purchase, and with the Instagram culture may only be worn once. Wearing one item of clothing for 9 months longer reduces our carbon footprint by 30%. It takes 2,700 litres of water to make a T-shirt, enough for one person to drink for 900 days. The Luxury second-hand market is worth £19bn and is set to grow to £40bn by 2023.

They are currently selling via the website and through Instagram and Facebook. Now It’s Mine will also be launching pop-up shops in St Albans and surrounding areas.

Whilst the website allows them to distribute throughout the UK, they are very much a local St Albans and Hertfordshire business. Now It’s Mine is looking to build a network of luxury fashion lovers who understand the importance of the circular economy.

100% authentic preloved luxury designer bags and accessories

With a plethora of websites selling luxury designer items the risk of buying a ‘Super Fake’ has never been greater. Now It’s Mine offers a solution by guaranteeing to sell only 100% authentic goods.  This is demonstrated in their commitment to provide a multilayer formal authentication process and a money-back guarantee.

Visit the website, follow them on Instagram, their Facebook page, and Facebook group.  Sign up for their newsletter to hear about the upcoming local pop-up shops and handbag rental service.

`It just makes sense’ said Rosie `we must all be more committed to sustainability. Fast fashion has got out of hand and the quality of the handbags and accessories that we are selling lend themselves to be recycled rather than discarded, by nature they have longevity – they are timeless’

Now It’s Mine can be found at 116 Old London Road, St Albans AL1 1PU

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Layoners review: On trend sunglasses for all occasion

Lee Hall



Layoners Sunglasses Review

Sunglasses are a fashion essential for both men and women. But like many accessories, they are often overpriced. Fashion houses for many years have used sunglasses as a way to add profitable lines to their portfolio. Times have changed and there are a number of good quality, low priced sunglasses brands that do not compromise on style.

Layoners are a European brand based in Slovenia with a wide range of sunglasses for both men and women. Prices range from £30 up to £90 across all the collections. It’s clear to see that many of their designs are inspired by the classic Wayfarer and aviator styles but they also have many unique sunglasses in their collections.

Layoners for Men

The men’s offering consists of seven unique collections:

  • Alameda
  • Avalon
  • Averill
  • Color
  • Tropic
  • Wooden
  • Windy

Layoners for Women

The women’s offering consists of seven unique collections:

  • Aviator
  • Alameda
  • Color
  • Chic
  • Mago
  • Uma
  • Unique


Layoners Review

Style: We reviewed two different styles from the Layers collection – Tequila Sunrise (Womens) and Alcatraz Dark (Mens).

Tequila Sunrise is an oversized aviator featuring a stunning two-toned mirror effect. The golden yellow frame on the Tequila Sunrise complements the two-tone resulting in an extremely stylish look for all face shapes.
The Alcatraz Dark is my personal favourite of the collection. The detailing on the unique wooden frame obviously has obviously pushed the price up but these vintage-inspired sunglasses offer amazing value at £55.

Value for money: With an average cost of about £35, Layoners are much cheaper than designer brands that tend to start at the £200 mark. Layoners sunglasses offer great value for money given their entire range is on-trend and very stylish.

Layoners offer an easy 30 day returns from the delivery date. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can return or exchange the goods within 30 days after receiving the goods. If you are looking at this price range, chances are your purchase will be to match a particular outfit. You could buy three and still spend less than £100.

UV Protection: All sunglasses sold within the UK (and EU) should have a CE marked on them – typically on one of the arms. This indicates that it complies with EU standards and will block out 95% of all UV rays below 380 nanometres (the scale on which light is measured). Layoners sunglasses also offer extra durability and glare reduction across their entire range.

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Monsoon Accessorize announces closures in Hitchin & St Albans

Lee Hall



Monsoon Accessorize, the business behind popular High Street fashion retailers Monsoon and Accessorize have announced they are closing 35 stores across the UK with 3 in The Three Counties

Monsoon Accessorize have announced they are closing 35 stores across the UK. Monsoon Accessorize are the business arm behind popular High Street fashion retailers Monsoon and Accessorize. Of the 35 stores set for closure, two are located in the Three Counties. Monsoon in Hitchin is set to close and Monsoon in The Maltings, St Albans will also close.

A deal has been agreed to save the majority of the Monsoon Accessorize outlets. There are currently around 220 stores across the UK. Monsoon Accessorize founder Peter Simon has bought the struggling business out of administration, in a move which aims to save both brands but cuts 545 jobs in the process.

The deal will transfer around 450 jobs to Adena Brands, owned by Mr Simon, which has promised to inject £15 million into the business to allow the remaining stores to stay open.

Monsoon SS20 range

Having launched the Monsoon SS20 range earlier in the year, fans of the retailer in the affected area will need to either purchase the SS20 range online or at one of the remaining local stores. These include Watford’s Intu, Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City, Roaring Meg Retail Park in Stevenage,  Hale Leys Shopping Centre in Aylesbury and Moonson in Hemel Hempstead.

Monsoon Accessorize SS20 range

Monsoon Accessorize SS20 range

Moving in an exciting direction and changing the script for how clothes are made and worn, this season Monsoon continues to create pieces that can be re-worn and recycled. Moonsoon have done this while staying true to their heritage and tapping into key trends.

With consumers becoming more conscious of sustainable fashion, Monsoon aims to make better efforts to create new and current pieces. The goal is to not only be fashionable but also eco-friendly using sustainable materials such as Lenzing,  Ecovero, recycled polyester and organic cotton. 

Over 50% of Monsoon clothing has been made sustainable for ss20. In addition, Monsoon has pledged to be over 90% sustainable by 2023. The ‘clothes for life’ recycling initiative will also continue to be a part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to looking after the planet. Picnic checks, broderie anglaise and dreamy tie-dyes, along with delicate chiffons and summer sequins bring a fun yet fresh approach to the season. Florals are plentiful and have been manipulated into bold geometrics, tropical blooms as well as the classic ditsy, adding diversity to the collection.

Full list of stores expected to close permanently include:

  1. Basildon
  2. Bexleyheath
  3. Burton-on-Trent
  4. Camberley
  5. Canterbury
  6. Carlisle
  7. Chelmsford
  8. Cork
  9. Patrick Street A, Republic of Ireland
  10. Cork
  11. Patrick Street B, Republic of Ireland
  12. Crawley
  13. Derby
  14. Dublin, Republic of Ireland
  15. Hereford
  16. Hitchin 
  17. Huddersfield
  18. Kilkenny
  19. Lancaster
  20. Lincoln
  21. Liverpool Airport
  22. Maidenhead
  23. Maidston
  24. Middlesbrough
  25. Newark
  26. Newtownabbey
  27. Northampton
  28. Southend
  29. St Albans
  30. Staines
  31. Sutton Coldfield
  32. Taunton
  33. Telford
  34. Trowbridg
  35. Truro
  36. Tunbridge Wells
  37. York Davygate

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