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The Essential Fashion Accessories

Patrick McMurray

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Another Christmas comes and goes, all the painful preparations gone in a flurry of excitement. And next year much the same again. The good news it gets easier more enjoyable and more economical, but only if you take advantage of the convenient services on offer online. No longer is it perceived a dumping ground (bargain Basement) for overstocked and end of season fashion accessories, or counterfeits. There are dedicated commercially minded independents featuring some top brad names like Vivienne Westwood and Timothy Everest of Savile Row and more.

For small independent onliners like us, it’s time to reflect. What sold well and what did not. What are our customers demanding?

Well, the big surprise was and still is Victoria Richards, a fashion designer best known for her handmade silk neckties, often worn by Channel 4 Anchor Man Jon Snow. She struck the right combination of colour, pattern and most importantly texture, giving depth and added interest. And in spite of her little known brand, outsold most styles, the most popular being the “Devon Bar” a combination of broad slightly irregular horizontal lines in varying shades of blues. They’re slightly reminiscent of the original school ties, Remember. Here is an anecdote to prompt your memory.

In 1880, the rowing club at Oxford University's Exeter College invented the first school ties. After an emotional win over their rivals, they celebrated by removing their ribbon hat bands from their boater hats and tying them, four-in-hand around their necks. When they ordered a set of ties, with the colours from their hatbands, they had accidentally created the modern school tie. Schools, clubs, and athletic ties appeared in abundance. Some schools had different ties for various grades, levels of achievement, and for graduates.

Then came Vivienne Westwood and her 2008 cufflink collection. Westwood lovers were willing to pre order knowing their arrival would not be until February 2008. There is value in the product and the name here. And she remains true to good form and function in all her good work.

Here is a very brief look into her past. Vivienne Isabel Swire was born in Glossopdale, Derbyshire, on 8 April 1941. Her mother had been a weaver in the local cotton mills and her father came from a family of shoemakers. Her parents ran a sub post office in Tintwistle before moving to north-west London in the 1950’s.

In 1965 she met Malcolm McLaren together they went on to become one of the most creative partnerships in history and as they say the rest is history.

Vivienne Westwood accepted a DBE in the 2006 New Year's Honours List “for services to fashion", She has won the award for British Designer of the Year three times. In December 2003, she and the Wedgwood pottery company launched a series of tea sets featuring her designs, testimony to her versatility and maturity and the respect she has garnered, a far cry from Punk. Endurance in such a volatile industry for a prolonged time is a hallmark by any measure.

London Badge and Button cufflinks were another big surprise. Based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, The London Badge & Button Company has over 30 years experience in the design and development of fine cufflinks, buttons and men’s accessories and are the manufacturers behind many of the UK’s leading stores and fashion house collections.

Louisa Taylor and Pei-Nap Mok is the award winning design team behind the current LBB London cufflink collection. As a team they have given life to a new breed of cufflinks

Traditionally recognised for its strong & distinctive enamel and silver cufflinks, LBB’s current collection has expanded to use silver & unusual materials for both its classic & contemporary cufflinks with matching accessories.

Ian Flaherty’s handmade Swarovski Crystal cufflinks have always been a good steady seller; his out of ordinary designs blended with classic styling deliver in accordance with demand. His Cube Multi has been a best seller for two years in a row.

All available online for your pleasure and convenience.

A closing anecdote: The first cufflinks appeared in the early 17th century. They were an original alternative to ribbons and lace to retain handles. Considering at the beginning as a personal adornment, it was reserved to the high social class population. In the 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution, the development of precious metal electroplating afforded the masses to get cufflinks in their wardrobe. A wide variety of mechanisms for open and closing cufflinks appeared: the classic chain is replaced by the flip-hinge. Jewellers like Cartier and Tiffany crafted work of art cufflinks in mother of pearl, crystal; precious stones. These famous fashion names establish cufflinks as the essential accessory for men. Mirror of our history, cufflinks espouse centuries through various designs: art deco at the end of 19th century, extravagant in the period 1940-1950, eccentric in 1960 with Hollywood stars and whimsical today. Network


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