It's fair to say this wasn't your average school half-term break. The way I see it, as I pursue my music career, it's important that I keep all my "irons on the fire," eh? So off I went to London Fashion Week as a blogger and what a roller coaster ride it was.
Scroll down to see photos from the event.
As HuffPost Teen readers know already, I have a serious love of fashion. In fact that's an understatement. Since the age of eight when I got my first sewing machine, I have been dabbling in looks. However, I must admit it was when I started to combine my efforts with my big sister Tessie (15 years-old) that it took an exciting twist. She just seemed to know how to put looks together. I would have tons of clothes lying on my bed -- from hand-embellished T-shirts, sequin leggings, crazy tights -- and she would walk in and literally pull things together that at first seemed mad, but then just seemed to click. So naturally I enlisted Tessie as my official LFW stylist. (It's the done thing you know... everyone's got one. I told her that when I make some money in future I would pay her back!)
So last Friday (February 15th) we arrived at the epicenter or hub of London Fashion Week -- Somerset House, just off The Strand and a short walk from Trafalgar Square! Imagine a giant cobbled courtyard, with an impressive tent structure set in the middle called the "Main Tent." As soon as we stepped out from the black cab, we were engulfed by loads of people. The place was bustling with photographers and an array of the coolest fashionistas I have ever seen. I instantly felt at home here. These were my kind of people, I thought -- each experimenting in their own personal identities. And believe me, we're not talking shy and retiring. Think over-the-top multi-coloured faux fur jackets paired with leopard print leggings and Dr. Martens boots. Think hats of all types, imagine serious body piercing and tattoos then at the other end of the spectrum, imagine the most elegant catwalk-like girls wearing the seasons must0have looks, combined with accessories and shoes to die for! This place was heaven. Sis and I could hardly contain our excitement.
After just a short while, I suddenly realized the power of the blogger -- everyone I met was a blogger and hey, so was I! I developed an air of confidence with the ability of being able to confirm too that I too was a blogger, even though I had no clue of LFW blogger etiquette at this stage! This is gonna be great, I thought.
So in my role as confirmed "teen fashion blogger," I surveyed the scene and what a scene it was. True to my ever-curious nature I did a little research and discovered that this is not just a bit of frivolous fun, this is big business. The British Fashion Council, who organize the event, said that they expected over 5,000 visitors to the event and were putting on over 56 catwalk shows, 20 presentations and had fashion media and buyers from all over the world. That was true -- every cobbled stone brought another foreign accent and it wasn't just my broad Scottish tones!
As I wandered around the exhibition space inside Somerset House, there was an abundance of new young brands on display. Topshop had a really cool setup, full of what appeared to be bubble gum machines, which were dedicated to each designer. You put in a token and out came a badge, which related to each of the designers in the space. My favorite was Lucas Nascimento, a Brazilian-born knitwear designer. He isn't your average knitwear guy. We're not talking chunky cable knit here; think super-refined, almost silk-looking garments from a distance.
Next up was Headonism, which was curated by British hat legend Stephen Jones. With my stereotypical Scottish "gall" as my nana calls it, I couldn't leave the place without a pic, so I marched up and introduced myself. (At the back of mind I was of course thinking that I could maybe borrow something in the future... ). Then I saw Glaswegian milliner William Chambers. I have been a fan of William's works of art for years and worn them many times. I sometimes feel under-dressed without a hat. William presented another magnificent collection of very wearable hats.
Further on through Somerset House I reached a bloggers lounge. Bingo, a Vodafone charging station, which was a lifesaver as my iPod was dying under my fashion fingers and there was free drinks, nibbles and a Toni & Guy Blow Out Bar. Yip, you just rocked up and they would give you a quick blow-dry! Then a Mac cosmetics counter offering complete makeovers! I could get seriously used to this I thought, as my big sis and I wandered around pretending that we were actually so used to this but in our usual manner, nudging and giggling together in that not-so-subtle teenage way that we do!
In our queue for our first show we realized the first rule of London Fashion Week! Be underwhelmed! Don't smile, look depressed and act nonchalant as if this whole gig is a drag... yip, we were slowly realizing this was the LFW etiquette.
Outside the main tent a queue began to form. What should we do? We spotted people holding invitations to Felder & Felder and quickly realized this was the place. There were constant streams of street style snappers, pulling people out from the queue to take their quirky looks. (I was so chuffed when I found myself grace the online pages of Glamour Italia, Germany and UK for my wee looks or should I say big sis' looks.)
Once inside this tent, it was an impressive space. There was tiered seating with a wooden catwalk down the center and literally hundreds of snappers in what they call the "press pen" at the bottom of the runway. Before each show, a poor wee runner has to pull off the protective cloth that covers the runway and then we know the show's about to start.
Celebs line the front rows -- I managed to bag a front row seat for a few of the shows and heard a lady say to her friend next to me, "Who is the girl with the big hair and why is she on the front row?" I giggled and thought, "Hey, does it matter I'm here?!"
I managed to take in Daks, PPQ, John Rocha, Holly Fulton, Jonathan Saunders, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry (who scooped joint first for the best invitation in the shape of a butterfly, alongside Henry Holland's cassette invite) -- all awesome. Henry Holland wins prize for best theme. His was entitled "Nana Rave" yip, dedicated to grannies! He even had this '70s carpet as his runway but his looks were anything but "granny." It was an array of psychedelic '80s-inspired pattern dresses and slogan printed T-shirts, which I yearned for. I was gutted to miss Brian Chan, an uber cool young Glaswegian, who was showing off site at a swanky Mayfair hotel. This was due to Queen Viv's show running 35 minutes late, which had the fashion editors in a frenzy!
Highlight for me was undoubtedly the Rihanna for River Island show and what a night it was. Yip, another long queue to get in (clearly not in the VVVVIP entrance where you rocked up to the door, but we were in there, nonetheless). The anticipation inside was a fever pitch, everyone gasping for sight of the lady of the night. Would she come out? I sat on the front row next to a very nice chap. I was telling him all about my singing career and that I was working on a jazz version of a big Rihanna tune. As I do, I asked for a pic (which I did to everyone that I met) and it was later that my mum nearly had a heart attack when she informed me he was a U.S. supermodel -- Tyson Beckford! Cool, huh? Then Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn, more supermodels showed up and bedlam set in. My sis and I approached them for a quick chat, with a little trepidation but they were both on fire and very excited to watch the RiRi show as opposed to walking in it!
When the show started, the audience screamed and out came a series of spring/summer looks. Some a little risqué, but very Rihanna. I had my eyes on the sporty cropped tops with full-length skirts -- seriously on trend. Despite her just 30 seconds appearance on the stage at the end of the show, it was awesome. She came, she conquered and the vibe was unbelievable. I wanted to slap some of the guests who moaned about her not joining the after-party. Are you kidding me? She would have been mobbed.
The next day, big sis and I were invited to the Fashion Monitor Style Lounge, which was a pamper haven in the Mayfair Hotel. Bourjois were doing the makeup, Harrods Urban Retreat the beauty treatments, Leighton Denny the manicures, Guinot the facials and eye massages from a brand called Thalgo? Never heard of half of them but I must tell you -- this was like the best, most indulgent sleepover you could ever imagine except we had to go home!
The evenings were filled with parties. I managed to borrow a dress from The Rodnik Band, an underground label based in London but led by another Scot Philip Colbert. A fellow musician come fashion designer who makes the most incredible dresses. Naturally I opted to wear his "Big Red London Bus" dress! There was the Vertu party who launched a new phone, which I would need to sell a few platinum albums to afford, to The Cambridge Satchel Company who do the coolest school-like satchels in an array of contemporary colors. It was there I learned my other LFW lesson after meeting Internet teen star Jack Harries of Jacks Gap. My sis and I chatted to him and followed each other on Twitter. He was telling us super cool stories about his amazing adventures and given he had over 600k followers on Twitter, I thought it was cool he followed me. The following day I went to tweet him and realized he had "unfollowed" me! "How rude," I said to my sister whilst waiting in yet another fashion show queue when the girl next to us said, "Dahling, one's only supposed to follow 300 people max... it's not cool otherwise, you know!" Oh well, every day is indeed still a school day for me!
My mum gave us curfews so we didn't stay up late, but the fashion pack partied well into the early hours and yet still managed to look fresh-faced and immaculate for the 9 a.m. shows. It was all in all the most awesome experience I have ever encountered. Anna Wintour, editor of U.S. Vogue, even smiled at my fellow Scot, Jonathan Saunders' show, which I'm told is a breakthrough!
So after doing "London spring/summer season," (speaking fashion chat you understand) I feel like a fully-fledged fashion homie.
A short 24 hours later after we returned to Glasgow, Scotland, the alarm clock went off and I was back on the school bus dressed in my uniform walking the corridors to class when a tweet came in inviting me to a Calvin Klein party back in London. "No thanks," I said. I'm swapping the Calvin for chemistry today, and reality set in! But what a roller coaster half-term it was.