Monday, 20 April 2015

Designers with foot in mouth

It has been reported that Mr Giorgio Armani is the latest fashion designer to say something rather #basic and stupid about a marginalised community of people and this something has very little, if anything, to do with making expensive clothing, beauty products and fragrances.

This stupidity comes shortly after Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana criticised same-sex marriages and IVF and let's not forget John Galliano's fall from grace, shall we? It seems we're running out of designers we can still wear with a sound conscience.

Anywho, you'll have no doubt read elsewhere by now that Mr Armani (as he is exclusively referred by the subordinates who work for him) gave an interview to The Sunday Times Magazine over the weekend, in which he stated: 

when homosexuality is exhibited to the extreme – to say, ‘Ah, you know I’m homosexual,’ – that has nothing to do with me.

Here he alludes that to dress and act in any way other than 'traditionally masculine' - what ever the fuck that means - when you're a cis-gendered male, (and, presumably, when you're not cis, can't imagine Mr Armani is up on trans* rights) is inappropriate. He also said, "man should be man."

Let's break it down for old Giorgio, shall we? As there are many things wrong with this statement, combined with the fact that I do love a list, I feel a bullet-point list is necessary...
  • The expression, or some might say, performance, of gender (such as femininity and masculinity) is somewhat separate from gender identity and to say "man should be man," in order to imply that a man acting feminine counteracts his gender identity is quite reductive and demonstrates a very narrow view of gender, which is saddening as Mr Armani is a visionary creative who has had ample opportunity to broaden his horizons and view on the world and has chosen not to. I'd suggest he go read some Judith Butler. Or better yet, hire an educated/gay/educated AND gay PR manager who can say you're being a dick when you're being one and this thing will never happen again
  • Aside from this being discriminatory towards men, and gay men in particular, what does it say about women? Does Mr Armani believe "woman should be woman"? Does this more obvious demonstration of sexism fit more comfortably with the Armani brand, or not?
  • The idea that "flaunting" sexuality is a no no, but exhibiting gender conformity is A OK is contradictory, right? Why is it OK for you to flaunt your manliness in my face, and, seemingly, your heterosexuality, when it's not OK for me to make it clear (through action or in-action) that I'm a big old bender? Cutting straight to basic logistics, how is our everyday homosexual supposed to get some other everyday homosexual to look inside his new Armani boxers if his homosexuality a big old secret?
  • If Armani is so convinced that men should be men, why did your fabulous staff paint me by numbers at the beauty counter when I, a man, reviewed your latest lipstick collection in 2012? Read more here
  • What the fuck has this statement to do with making expensive (albeit) fabulous clothing? I mean, really?
  • Who the fuck do you think is buying your men's clothing? Queens, that's who sweetumz
  • Regardless of simple economics, your right to an opinion is somewhat superseded by your duty as an extremely wealthy public figure and employer of many people around the world to not be an arse hole to minority groups. Show a little class, man
I'm a great believer in free speech, as is any other fully functioning and sane person on this earth and lemme just reiterate an oft forgotten aspect of this human right. People have the right to say whatever they want, unless what they say directly contradicts another's right to be free from harassment and discrimination. 

Mr Armani, I feel let down by you, but aside from personal feeling, I believe your statement to be ill-conceived, ill-founded and ill-judged. You have a right to an opinion and I'd stand by you in defence of your opinion no matter what it was, but you don't have the right to dictate how I or anyone chooses to live their life, dress their bodies and exhibit their idea of gender and sexuality at all and for that, you've lost a friend in me today.

In conclusion, back off bitch, I'm wearing heels...
A photo posted by Jordan McDowell (@jordanjmcdowell) on


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Twitter and #Fashion

The good people at Twitter UK sent us a box of goodies t'other day at work, and in it was a book all about British fashion and the micro-blogging network. Naturally it was thrown in my direction as everyone else dived for the stationery. 

It's forwarded by the lovely Caroline Rush, Cheif Executive of the British Fashion Council and includes insights into top influencers and how the fashion business uses Twitter and its advertising platform to reach their desired markets.

Here are some of my favourite insights:
47% of fashion and beauty followers have bought from a brand as a direct result of following them on Twitter
Top fashion influencers include individuals, like @SusieBubble, @HilaryAlexander, @Alexa_Chung and @disneyrollrgirl (read more of my live interview with Navaz Batliwalla of Disneyrollergirl here)

56% said that Twitter was the one platform where they could have a conversation with people in the fashion industry they admire versus 19% for the next closest social platform

As many as 74% of Twitter users are interested in London Fashion Week

51% of users said Twitter was more likely to offer backstage access to events like #LFW
@AdidasNeoLabel achieved over 1bn impressions for their Twitter-first AW14 campaign which saw Twitter users choose every element of the Neo Label catwalk show via Twitter voting cards

@Missguided saw a £29 ROI for every £1 on its Twitter card website re-targeting and email cross-matching campaign

52% of users said Twitter provides the experts' view on events like London Fashion Week, more than twice as likely as other social platforms

I'm not surprised by any of the statistics in this book, as someone who has both used Twitter to satisfy my personal interest in fashion as well as to meet my objectives as a marketeer (in fashion and outside fashion) Twitter is the number one platform for sharing the immediacy and right here right now feeling of fashion.

Twitter is a noisy, opinionated, crowded, messy space. It's the BFC Tent at Somerset House just before a show, only it doesn't get quiet when the lights go down and the music starts. It's perfect for fashion!

Statistics from Nielson Twitter UK Deep Diver 2014 ("Fashion & Apparel" and "Beauty") and #Birdsignals Twitter & Vision Critical 08/2014


Thursday, 26 March 2015

10 things you can't do, when you have braces

Here's a (non-exhaustive) list of the random things you can't do when you've got fixed braces, or at least, the random things I can't seem to do any more... These things aren't necessarily what you'll find in the So, you're thinking about fixing your botched-up smile? pamphlets, and have come to my attention over the last few weeks of having #braceface.

1. Bite open, anything. Sachets of sauce, sellotape, heads off of bats
2. Bite your lip (in a seductive fashion, or otherwise)
3. Bite your nails (probably a good thing)

4. Do this facial stretch, which you never realised you needed to do, until you couldn't...
5. Suck things out of your teeth, like a boss...

6. Lick your teeth like in an toothpaste advert
7. Eat crusty bread (in case I hadn't already mentioned that)
8. Chew gum
9. Eat apples, like a normal person 

10. Eat carrots like Bugs Bunny


Sunday, 22 March 2015

(some of) The best breakfast joints in Manchester

The boyf and I have taken to a Sunday stroll into the city for breakfast of the past few weeks - and it's fast becoming my favourite thing to do. We've yet to go back to the same place twice, and it's lovely getting to sample some of the city's brilliant breakfast kitchens before everyone wakes up.

Here's a list of some of our favourites, in no particular order, to give you some motivation to get outta bed and sample the delights...

1. The Koffee Pot, Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, £

The famous orange signs, in that same burnt hue as the original Soda Stream machine, have recently been perched atop a new location. The Koffee Pot was resident on Hilton Street, just off Stevenson Square, for, like, ever, until the landlords booted them out to extend the neighbouring hostel and KP set-up shop over on nearby Oldham Street in an old vintage clothing store. I love The Koffee Pot for their Irish breakfast (with black AND white pudding!) and their filter coffee (or, should that be koffee?) because it's as no-nonsense as everything else they do, and how they do it.

2. Home Sweet Home, Edge Street, Northern Quarter, ££

A right cute place, a series of little rooms straight out of Wonderland with top notch breakfast options like Steak & Hash and the usual fry up. Expect hipsters recovering from the night before (probably in Home Sweet Home tbh, as it's not just a breakfast place) and lovely staff.

3. Moose Cafe, York Street, Piccadilly, ££

If you're planning on frequenting this place on a Sunday, expect a long ass queue (over an hour, mostly) unless you get there at the crack of dawn (like we did!) We tried for a month to get in and it wasn't until we rocked up at 9:20am that we got in and took the last available table! Why the hype? It's a Canadian and American breakfast place! I know! For those that have been to American's Denny's (Big up Highway 192 in Orlando FL), you'll know North Americans do breakfast in a special kinda way and Moose Cafe is a small slice of that pie. Pancakes, Maple syrup, streaky bacon and everything in-between. Well worth the wait.

4. Bagel Nash, Winter Garden, Manchester Arndale and Hardman Square, Spinningfields, £

This deserves a special mention, simply because the boyf loves it. To be honest, they do one thing and one thing well - bagels. But, they also consider 2x hash browns a single portion for £1. So, I'm sold.

5. SuperStore, Tib Street, Northern Quarter, ££ 

I have a love/hate relationship with this place because it's dead lovely, but their staff are a bit pants, at times. They stop serving breakfast at 12noon on a Sunday (bit harsh), but won't take lunch orders until breakfast is polished off - which can take the kitchen an age. Needless to say, we bolted on our second visit after waiting 40 minutes for a menu, to be told we still couldn't order... But, when you do manage to get breakfast, it's divine. Also, there's a grocery store in the basement (which I always forget to have a mooch around) but that's a + point, right?


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Introducing: Braceface

Ladies, gentlemen and all others in between. My name is Jordan McDowell, and I am a Braceface.

It's happened, my metal mouth prison has been affixed and I'm well on my way to an Oral-B advert smile.

 SS15, metallics.

It all happened rather fast, I popped into the Orthodontist's to have one part of the brace fixed and ended up with the whole meat and two veg being constructed! I hadn't even had the chance to have my last supper (crunchy bread, crusty bread and crunchy crusty bread), but que sera, the sooner they're on the sooner they're off.

So, wanna take a tour 'round ma gob? Right now, this is what it feels like.

But, here's what's actually goin' on up in here. Firstly, I have this spring-loaded mouse-trap of a thing wrapped around my back teeth. It's pushing my upper arch out and wider to make more room for my teeth to move without the need for tooth extraction. 

Upper arch widener, a whole lotta metal

This was what I thought I was having fitted when they went ahead and carried on the roadworks. As well as this springy thing, I have upper and lower fixed metal braces, y'know the kind, like those Lisa Scott-Lee wore in the '90s. Perhaps I could be considered retro-cool? (Please?)

Whilst they're rather tender, are gouging sores into my cheeks and lips, my tongue is ulcerated from the arch widener and I broke them in three places within 4 hours of having them on (I craved crusty bread), I'm rather liking getting to know them and I think it'll be an interesting partnership over the next 2-3 years (Oh Jesus, that's a long time, isn't it?) I'm also looking forward to chronicling their noble endeavours here on this very blog.

Oh, just a call out to the team at Manchester University Dental Hospital Children's* Orthodontists Department, they're all rather marvellous and have made what has been a very difficult and stressful decision all the easier to make by being understanding and lovely all the way through. Also, a call out to my beloved boyf who has been carefully planning meals around my inability to chew and bought me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to cheer me up after having a few sleep-interrupted nights through the pain.

*Yes Children's, more on this little gem soon.

Stay tuned for more Chronicles of Braceface.


Saturday, 7 March 2015

SS15 Look Book: All tied up

As a corporate drone, one must wear a tie. But, that doesn't mean it has to be boring! I like to look the part when at work, and judging by my previous workwear posts, I hope you'll agree. Still, what's dressing if you're not dressing up?

I had a selection of ties, grouped together from random shopping excursions, presents etc. and after a clear out, I was ready to add to the collection from this season's selection.

Primark is good for lots of things (it's also bad for some things,) and ties are one of them. They're never over £3 and are often in-keeping with key menswear trends and there buyers are increasingly happy to make a real style statement. I'm lucky, living in Manchester with the country's biggest Primark (it's massive...) so the selection is always top-notch.

"Florals, for spring, ground breaking."

Floral ties, all Primark

These ties offer an instant boost to a plain smart shirt and look great with a white shirt under a v-neck jumper.

Metallic texture ties, all Primark

These metallic ties are nice for a subtle statement because their sheen and texture doesn't let me down in the style stakes. The knitted ties also have a square end, a great modern touch amongst a sea of silk traditional neck ties.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

An evening with Laura Weir and Henry Holland

Designer Henry Holland and British Vogue fashion journalist Laura Weir will appear at Bury Town Hall on 15th March for an evening of conversation. The event is in support of Speakeasy, the charity supporting people with communication difficulties following stroke or head injury, founded by Holland's mother.

You can get your hands on a ticket for £10 by emailing, for more information, pop along to their Facebook event here