Manish Arora  - Delhi Couture Week 2013
Love the flourescent green/pink outfit on the bottom right.

Some adverts hit home

This is a new British Airway's ad campaign which has received mixed reviews on YouTube. I came across this video on my cousin's Facebook today and got very emotional watching it. The campaign features real people and I think it is beautifully filmed and edited. So I am sharing it with you. I believe this is the first of what is intended to be a long campaign targeted at Indians living in the US. I would like to tell the advertising world that this works! At least for me. 

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu

Where have I been?

 After graduating in 2008 I struggled immensely, like most creatives, to get a paid gig in the field of my interest at the time styling/costume designing. I had three jobs at one point working part-time in a bar, a library and doing a work-placement at a magazine. Sleep deprived, overly worked, and underpaid, I thought I was going to die of exhaustion! However, patience and perseverance helped me get through and as you may have experienced it yourself life has a strange way of working itself out.

I finally got work in the library 4 days a week by September 2008 and both the bar and magazine were dropped. I worked in an art and design library so even though my day-to-day tasks were not particularly creative I learned a hell of a lot from that job. This is where I started exploring the world of graphic design. My managers and team were just amazing, probably the best I have ever worked with and they really encouraged me to take on creative projects within the office. So soon I started making displays, designing promotional material and going on courses to learn graphic editing programs. I stayed with them till 2011, and then it was time to move on. During my time at the library I had used my weekends and holidays to do a lot of free work, so I had a decent portfolio I believed I could sell myself with.

It all began in Spring 2011 when I was contacting magazines to see if they would be interested in publishing a photo shoot with a very young and talented fashion designer's clothes I had just completed. I sent probably 200 emails and didn't get anything published but I did get a call from a British-Asian magazine for an interview. So totally chuffed off I went to see them, they had a vacancy for an assistant stylist post they wanted to fill but of course I would have to do some free work for them first. I used up all my holidays to do this and at the end of it even though they claimed to love my work they needed me to do a few more weeks for free which I just couldn't afford to do. So devastated I went back to my library job, I didn't know at the time but this was the best thing that could have happened to me. About a month later a friend told me about an opportunity at the BBC for design trainees. I had known about this opportunity for a few years now but I never applied because I believed it was impossible. I didn't stand a chance so what was the point? I was formally trained in fashion not costume, I had a master's in Fashion Management and my portfolio was filled with low paid or unpaid fashion shoots and a whole lot of images of stills of costumes I had put together for student films. How in the world did I stand a chance against all those formally trained costume graduates? After a lot of pestering by some very loved ones I applied and forgot about it. I went on to do a low paid costume design job on a music video. 

A few weeks later there was a voice message on my phone asking me to call Alice from the BBC  Trainee Scheme. Shocked, nervous and very happy I returned the call. I had an interview in about 3 weeks. I went for the interview in July and as you may have guessed from my last post I got the job  :)

Turns out what I thought was my weakness turned out to be my strength. My non formal training in costume and my new found love for graphics and layouts made my portfolio stand out from the rest and got me the interview.  The interview was a scary affair, I was interviewed by 3 people and had 2 practical tests as well as the formal interview. Later I was told my eagerness to learn and passion for the subject got me the job. 

What happened after?

I had an incredibly intense year working for the BBC on several TV shows, and films. I worked crazy hours, leaving home before sunrise and getting back a few hours after sunset, sleeping became a luxury! I travelled a fair bit for work, visited a number of obscure and beautiful places. Read lots of scripts, worked with costumes from different periods, and countries, put together looks and dressed hundreds of extras. Learned a lot about alterations, keeping continuity, renting, shopping, maintaining and returning costumes. I met lots of amazing people, both famous and not so famous. I worked on some very successful shows, a few films... the list is endless.  In summary all I wished for happened and more! I finished the scheme and carried on working freelance. By December last year I decided I needed a long break and to reconnect with myself so I went into hibernation mode. 

What else did I do? 

I travelled a lot.

Where am I now?

In Barcelona my hometown. 

What next? 

Will keep you updated.  Will also share some images of my work in future posts as everything I worked on has been aired. 

(Image from Vogue UK for the month of June 2010. Photographer Tom Craig takes a trip to Cuba along with Angela Lindvall for the cover shoot)

As promised in my last post here is a list of what I have been up to in the last month or so:

1 - Designing & making costumes for a short film set in Medieval England
2 - Styled a photo shoot for the charity Elizabeth Finn Care
3 - 2 weeks holiday: back home & then Malta
4 - Finished working in the library
5 - Started a full-time role as a Costume trainee

I am going to dedicate this post and the next to Malta which I fell in love with. The image above from Vogue really reminds me of Malta, I guess because many of the houses I visited had a similar feel to them. I went there to see a childhood friend who was a fashion writer in London for Look and now is the proud owner of The Doll's House a boutique based in the beautiful area of Silema, Malta. She also works as a freelance fashion stylist and writer, I was able to see her in action on a photo shoot on my first day in Malta. I promise to share the backstage images of this shoot once the magazine FM has published them. For now I am going to post below the images she styled for her boutique earlier this spring & summer which I believe give a real feel of what the Malta I discovered is like, but of course with a fashion twist.

Photographer: Nicky Scicluna
Model 1: Jana @

Model 2: Valentina Rossi
Stylist: Kira Drury

(Wearing vintage scarf as headband, flower hairpin from H&M, dress from Bershka, shoes from United Nude)

Sorry this post is way way way overdue I will explain where I have been soon but I had to first post this image as I have always wanted to do one of these posts but either didn't find a nice enough outfit or picture. Since this look was very complimented and summer is officially over and I am already nostalgic about the beautiful summer just passed here is a little piece of my summer for you.

My Birthday Weekend

So I am a year older... time to reflect but also to celebrate being alive and healthy! It all started with an amazing pancake breakfast spread my sister and flatmate put together for me. Thank you so much guys!!!

We then headed to one of my favourite places in London Drink Shop & Do. I booked a table for my friends and me which I customized a little with some candy and polka-dotted tissues as seen below...

We ate cake and drank cocktails with lovely names such as Oh So Pretty!

And we played some scrabble!!!

A friend of mine from India who called to wish me, described me as awesomely geeky when I told him about my Bday plans. I must admit this was an awesomely geeky Bday! And I loved it - Thanks to all involved. Love you guys!!!! xxxxxxxxx