Urban Decay

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1996 saw the birth of a makeup brand that believes in the injection of colour and vibrancy in makeup. Urban Decay started trading with a small collection of lipsticks and nail polish, then grew into one of the world’s exciting makeup brands; currently achieving a high-end status with solid five star ratings via beauty magazine reviews.

My personal experience with this brand started only recently, where I chose to ditch my M.A.C  makeup for something fresh. Notably, M.A.C  cosmetics are proud to be renowned for their theatrical presence, offering thick, flawless coverage. However, I never felt comfortable under this sheet of M.A.C  makeup and wearing foundation from dawn till dusk means that I need to feel that my skin can breath. Therefore, I decided to seek a new brand that offered the theatrical wow-factor along with the importance of long-lasting comfort.

Debenhams is proud to host Urban Decay concession and to my knowledge, it was the best-known location for the brand in the Bournemouth area. Being local, I decided to browse round the makeup department for something that caught my eye. And there it was, standing proudly in glossy, glamorous, purple glory was Urban Decay. I was greeted by a very fine young salesman, who made me feel welcome when in awe of the abundance of choice. As a guy, going into a store in search of makeup can be quite daunting, however my confidence was uplifted with the help of a highly skilled Urban Decay makeup specialist. I was pampered and well informed of the different qualities and benefits of the cosmetics such as; being paraben free, having temperature control technology and most importantly, being weightless on the skin to experience long lasting comfort.

Having watched many makeup tutorials on YouTube from the U.S, apart from the huge selection of foundations and base products, Urban Decay is widely known for their more experimental ‘party makeup’, having infinite choices of colour and shades for eyes, lips and nails. However, I only wish to achieve a more flawless, natural finish and as I only really wear BB creams, foundation and the occasional bit of eyeliner, my makeup appointment was fairly brief. Although, in the duration of the visit, I was perfectly colour matched and I left owning a Naked Skin liquid foundation along with an All-nighter makeup setting spray. As I walked out the shop I felt excited and very pleased.

From researching into Urban Decay ‘s well-deserved, highly positive reputation, I became interested in becoming a loyal customer, as from what I was told via the makeup artist’s sales, it was clearly evident that the brand catered for both men and women of all ages. All I can say is that Urban Decay is certainly a universal and beautiful makeup brand with an edge.

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Style Searcher- London

The city of controversy, culture and creativity, London in my opinion is the world leader in fashion. I enjoy socializing in London, mainly because I love how there is such a diverse range of people there; being one the most multicultural cities in the world, my ears are welcomed with sweet tones from foreign languages. It is like travelling around the world by walking down the street.

Defining ‘London style’ is not simple, as there are so many fusions of multicultural influences. However, one can find a sense of traditional heritage dress, rooting from the British gentry from around the turn of the century, notably referring to finely cut tweed suits, stout shoes and beautifully crafted accessories. When I think of British style, designers such as Burberry and Paul Smith; Burberry displaying their signature check fabric and their bestseller beige trench and Paul Smith with his wide array of patterns and colours in his linings and accessories.

But I would say that the traditional suited look is not for everyone. My personal taste in fashion is fairly eclectic, but I must admit, I do love a well-fitted suit. However recently, whilst in London, I decided to really open my eyes, embrace and absorb the fashion culture of the city.

Throughout time, the youth have always been categorized by their appearance and their characters. Firstly, adults have always asked a young person if they are a, ‘punk’, ‘gangster’ or ‘chav’? Well these are infamous stereotypes that have defined youth culture for years. Spikes, chains, skulls, anti-Christ and black are features that define the punk culture. The punk scene became popularized by the late 70’s with punk rock music and the underground clubs. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood made punk clothing fashionable, but true punks are against mainstream fashion. Flat caps, baggy tees, jeans that hang around the knees and bling, all associated with the gangster look. Originating in America in the 80’s with the hip-hop music scene, young Brits have since absorbed the style and made it their own. Nowadays, it holds its prominence by taking key features such as the flat caps and low jeans and merging them with a more urban look. ‘Chavs’, distinctly wear tracksuits or sportswear, gold accessories, baseball caps mixed with fake designer clothes, especially Burberry. I have seen very few ‘chavs’ around London that fit this exact stereotype, as similarly to ‘gangseters’, the new urban look takes inspiration from this cultures, for example the idea of sportswear as casual day wear, mixed with glamorous accessories.

The new urban look, vintage, retro, sporty, smart. Just add a touch of youth and  ‘London style’ is born. Vintage shopping is timeless, because ironically in fashion cycle, what was before will come back again. So why not invest in the original, rather than a worse quality copy. Certainly, there is an element of true individuality with vintage shopping because there is a very small chance that someone else will have the same thing. Retro, relates back a to few decades ago, notably to the 70’s, similar to vintage but more futuristic of its time. Sporty and smart are two opposites, but when combined it equals casual wear, covering everything from joggers to party wear.

I think that Londoners are true individualists because they use references from big heritage brands, combined with their own urban styles. I believe that there is no right or wrong in styling, as what starts as an attractive niche becomes a trend and then its fashion.

Style Searcher- Milan

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I regret missing Milan fashion week, as my trip ended the day before fashion week started. However I did not need couture shows to help determine the style one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world. All I had to do was open my eyes and look around me. From the lady sitting next me on the tram, or the guy walking through the Duomo Square, to the bunch of teenage girls strutting down the designer Galleria; fashion in Milan proves to not just be a vital business, but also a way of life.

Milan is definitely Italy’s most cosmopolitan city, where historical buildings are set against sleek, modern boutiques and big-brand high street stores. Walking down the grand streets leading off the cathedral, one can feel the essence of splendor and decadence when admiring the baroque architecture which frame the abundance of shops, cafes and restaurants. Together with plenty of transport options such as trams, trains, cars and the classic Italian moped, or strutting down the street in Gucci loafers; the 24-hour hustle and bustle atmosphere brings the city to life.

What to wear in Milan? Well, there are a few staple items that are a must. Firstly, it seems compulsory to carry a statement bag, be it Louis Vuitton, Prada or a cleverly stylish Zara number; a decent bag speaks volumes when completing an outfit. I feel that one could easily get away with buying a simple, elegant and stylish bag that would class as a classic, timeless piece to go with everything. Therefore I agree that quality is better than quantity when it comes to bags, as one that fits all saves time and effort than having separate bags for different outfits.

Sometimes we keep our noses too high and forget to look down, especially in a fashion conscious city like Milan, one has to be dressed at their best head to toe. Shoes can make or break an outfit and I think it is possible to make a tracksuit look like couture by ditching the trainers for a pair of Louboutin stilettos. But if heels that defy gravity seem just plain impractical to browse around the sea of shops all day, loafers are the next best thing in my opinion. Being raved about in recent magazines, men and women can enjoy the effortless style, of the classic slip-on shoe. I love the look of lace-ups, but I hate constantly re-tightening them during the course of the day, so loafers seem like the more practical option. Gucci might own the right to being original Italian loafer, but I believe that well made Italian shoes can be found in small independent stores for a fraction of the price.

Eyewear will always make an outfit look runway worthy. When wearing a decent pair of shades, it brings celebrity status and the mystery factor to an identity.  No time for eye-makeup? Or are last-nights hangover eyes refusing to disappear? Look no further than a timeless pair of Wayfarer Ray-Bans or the bug shaped stunners from D&G and Guess to hide insecurities and release fabulous style confidence.

To conclude, I consider the high street to be the true catwalk of Milan, as one can feel that fashion is at the heart of Italian culture, from the way in which the locals dress in their day to day business. Whatever the occasion, from work to leisure by paying attention to these three necessities, anyone can look like an Italian fashionista.

Guys Shopping Like Girls, just as picky and just as fussy!

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Working in retail, I see it every day, the modern day male consumer 18 to 30 browsing round the vast collections of menswear from sporty to smart, investing in generic giants such as Superdry and high-end designer labels like Armani and McQueen due to the rising obsession with male beauty.

Dandyism goes back centuries, referring to affluent gentlemen who take care in their appearance from garments to grooming, but this modern take on men dressing to impress includes men from all backgrounds as guys become increasingly fanatical about shopping looking good. Whether he’s a student or a successful businessman, nowadays a guy will go to extreme lengths to appear fashionable and appealing, being under heavy influence from trendsetters in the media. In a recent article by Karen Kay from The Observer Karen Kay said,

‘High profile men like David Beckham have made it acceptable for guys to express themselves through clothes and grooming’.

The article focuses on celebrity hairstylist, Oliver Woods, 41, depicted as the perfect example of the modern-day dandy or ‘neo-dandy’ with a monthly spend of £1000 per month. Not every aspiring dandy can afford to spend this amount on handcrafted designer clothing, but quality does not always have to be expensive. Retail king Zara has seen impressive growth, being 11% up from last year, displaying the rising power of high street clothing.  Historically, men have been geared towards investing in classic, durable clothing; unlike women, who generally prefer to buy into fashion rather than function.

In the past, wives and girlfriends have been known to shop for their men. A mixture of grey, dark blue and black was the optimum colour pallet, and a compact outfit choice consisting of a shirt, pair of trousers or jacket and black shoes.  This dull overview of menswear made shopping for men simple, making practicality and function more important than style or individuality. Now, with the huge selection of stylish menswear, shopping for men can either become a pleasurable experience or a bothersome chore. Menswear buying and merchandising manager at Harvey Nichols, Darren Skey said,

“Men’s shopping habits are changing at a phenomenal rate”.

Thus enforcing the result of increasing consumerism in men’s fashion, leaving great scope for growth, with predictions of 20% for 2013. Overall, this supports the argument that shopping for men is almost certainly turning into a highly desired leisure activity.

Miss Malevolence (Final Edit- Extracted from BUMF Magazine Issue 2)

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How ambiguously brilliant is She. Oh how her soft, flowing feminine features complement the divine cosmic prints and smoky texture of her attire. She is beyond human in her exaggerated features, such as legs that mimic a spider’s stance, or lips that pout like a full bodied summer rose. So far from the norm, yet here she exists among us. A representation of impossible beauty, Miss Malevolence is all that humanity desires, yet beneath the surface lurks a darkness that devours the pure souls of this world.  A peasant to her competition, yet a Queen to the likes of us who stand in awe of her appearance. There is none other like her, or who can imitate her perfection, for her beauty is immortally bound between the guidelines of cultural attire and displayed on the pinnacle of art.

Sensuously seductive, her smile wins our affection, bearing a glimpse at her white teeth. Her eyes, burning with the desire for attention and she relishes each flash of light that hits her beaming face. Arms clenched at the waist, to enhance her slender appeal, her back arched slightly to portray her hunger for vanity. Her feet come to a sharp point of gold, raised twelve inches from the ground defying gravity and sensibility. Her head in the clouds, the sound of applause deafens her so that she becomes oblivious to physical pain. She is lost behind her wall of paint, which masks her true identity. She takes pride in her appearance, yet confidence is her true enemy, for inside she is weakened by the thought of old age and the loss of youth and beauty. Her image is all she has to maintain her dominance in society, as she has no voice in the light. Only in darkness, we hear her malevolent cries of superfluous needs of vanity. She bears no reflection in the mirror of humanity because her soul is blackened with pride.

She draws closer her to her lensed lover, her eyes smoulder lustfully and her breathing deepens with pleasure. She takes one large step in hope of intimacy with the artist and falls, not in love, but down the path of regret as she peers down at her disfigured legs. Now supported on all fours, she begs for forgiveness, as the artist continues to adorn her with blinding light. Like polluted waterfalls, her purple tears are worthless as she sobs at her indiscretion.

Only a fool can be truly subdued by her beauty. No doubt she is flawlessness in imagery, but it is not to say she is a real person. Human beings are not perfect, no matter how we may aspire to be, so we look to seek worship in Miss Malevolence in hope she will show us a perfect world. Her powers however, are weakened by the realities of time and its justice. She will abdicate from the throne, and a new Queen will rise from the darkness.

(Image by Jess Dawes)