Always Fabulous: An Interview with Yvonne Telford

I first met Yvonne in a South London pub at a Lucky Things meet up. Greeted with a huge smile and confident big brown eyes, I liked her immediately.

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Yvonne is the mastermind behind the brand Kemi Telford. Known for empowering slogan tees and super hot but practical women’s clothing, Yvonne has developed a fashion power house. But what makes her so special? Yvonne really and truly believes in herself, her brand, and her vision, and despite a few wobbles has totally stayed in her lane. It’s paid off. Kemi Telford is going from strength to strength as more women discover the style, comfort, and uniqueness of her designs.

I love Yvonne collections as she combines beautiful fabrics with practicality and comfort. Inspired by her Nigerian heritage, Yvonne encourages women to own their look and not be afraid to stand out and use their clothes to express themselves. This really resonated with me, my style, and the whole ethos behind my Mother With Style blog. After becoming a mother I totally lost my mojo. A combination of exhaustion, hormones, body changes, and media pressures made me feel shit. Yvonne has designed beautiful clothes that empower and make you feel fabulous, but are also practical and wearable for busy women.

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Yvonne kindly agreed to let me in to a few secrets about herself and her business. So here is a little interview with this total babe and mum boss.

What inspired you to start Kemi Telford?

My daughters challenged me to start Kemi Telford. I was a stay at home mother for over 7 years. All they saw me do were the housework and caring for the family. These are all great things but I did not want them to grow up thinking that is the only role a woman plays in her life.

What is the best thing about working for yourself?

Working for myself is hard work but it gives me flexibility.

What is the hardest thing about running your own business?

For me, the hardest thing about running my business is lack of balance in regards to working hours. I never seem to stop.

Where do get ideas and inspiration to inform your designs?

The actual designs are simple but the fabrics we use are bold. The inspiration behind the boldness of the fabric comes from Nigeria where people are not afraid to take up their space through the clothes they wear.

What item can you not leave the house without?

My phone and keys.

What is in the current contents of your handbag?

Phone, tissue paper, wallet, and keys.

What would you say is the hardest working item of clothing in your wardrobe and why?

I don’t have any because I only buy what I know will be worn.

Heels or flats? Can you choose?

Flats. My busy lifestyle has banished me to wearing flats only.

You’re a busy mum of two gorgeous girls, what is your go to look when you are short of time?

When I am feeling overwhelmed or short of time, I ask my daughters and husband for help. Right now, my daughters are at a stage where they are able to help me.

Any tips of what to do when you are feeling far from fabulous?

Wear beautiful clothes and listen to great music. Music in particular changes everything.

What a legend she is! Please check out her Instagram feed and website for a visual feast of wonderful designs.

http://www.kemitelford.com

@kemitelford

#kemitelford #sloganwithmeaning #womeninfashion #womeninbusiness

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Fashion with a Conscience

I love beautiful things. Who doesn’t? But recently I have been thinking a lot about some of my beautiful things, more specifically my wardrobe. Where’s it from? Do I wear it? Do I need it? How was it made? Where was it made?

Following some recent collaborations with ethically centred brands, and Inspired by a recent visit to the V&A Fashioned From Nature exhibition I’ve decided to write a post on how we can make small or big changes (depending on your means and circumstances) to support a more ethical approach to fashion. With some surprising and stylish results like these sustainable fabric high tops from Nike.

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Shall I start by explaining what I mean by ethical fashion? I don’t want to split hairs or sound condescending, but I think it’s helpful to clarify what I mean, and give some context so I can explain some of my choices. Ethical fashion is an overarching term used to describe an approach to fashion life cycles that addresses negative impact on the external world. Phew, that was a mouthful so in real terms it means looking at fashion at design, production, retail, purchasing and disposal in an ethical way. The term covers cover a wide range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, environmental & sustainably, and animal welfare.

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Real fur has many alternatives and not just the expected. This Jean Gaultier dress is made entirely from beads, I kid you not!

But for me this also goes far wider. I’m not an Instagram wanker and I don’t purport to be some big fashion blogger I’m just Jules, who likes chatting shit about clothes and sharing ideas and inspiration with other like minded women. So for me fashion with ethics also means a sense of responsibility when I post and share my outfits and ideas.

  1. It really is what I am wearing or what I would actually wear IRL
  2. Its is affordable and accessible (you won’t find much expensive clobber on here – soz)
  3. Its from a brand/person who (as far as I am aware at least) adheres to the same ethical standards as me
  4. I actually really love it

I feel particularly strongly about B . Affordability. I hate the idea of anyone feeling shit about themselves because they can’t afford the latest trend, object of lust etc. Most of us have bills to pay and kids to feed before we make our next shiny sequined purchase. That said it is possible (see many previous posts) to wear what you love on pretty much a shoe string, albeit it takes some time and effort. With a limited clothes budget I spend wisely, and proudly build my collection up with second hand clothes. When I buy new I invest in hardwearing high street separates, or support smaller clothing brands.

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Brand like Familyhood (self love tee above)!whose empowering slogans, tight business ethics,  and sustainable fabrics win hands down on my book.

I’m also not suggesting that you stop ever buying new things, use rock crystal deodorants and live off grid – unless you want to of course! So there you have it. That’s Fashion with Ethics by Jules! So now for some handy hints and information on how I approach this minefield

  1. re-use and rarely buy new –  I donate & sell  preloved items

Shop my own wardrobe (change seasonally & Fix and revamp)

Charity shops

Clothes swaps

Preloved & vintage sales

Ebay and Depop

Boot fairs

Borrowing off my mates (and family)

Flog my stuff second hand or donate to causes

  1. I try to think. I know that sounds bloody obvious but how many times do we rush out and buy something new without stopping to think is it ethically produced? Do I know where the fabrics are from, how it made and is the reason its super cheap? Whilst our budgets and time are crucial factors in our decision making, By pausing and considering our options and choices we might be able to make a more ethical purchase
  2. I read. If it’s not advertised as being made from sustainable materials it probably isn’t. Look for information on websites and blogs and check garment labels. Climate neutral, organic, season less, ethically sources, are phrases to watch out for that referring to more ethical textiles and production practices.

So there you go. We can make a difference. We can have an impact by where we choose to spend our money and the products we buy.

I hope you find this helpful and are inspired. Below are also some familiar at not so familiar brands to get you going.

Lots of love Jules x

  • Asos recycled Denim
  • Asos Eco Edit
  • H&M Concscious Exclusive
  • Monsoon (committed to ethical trading)
  • Ebay,Depop, Preloved Kilo & Vintage Kilo Sale
  • Kemi Telford
  • FamilyHood
  • Family Merch
  • Stratum London

 

Familyhood : A New Approach to Dressing your Brood

Not long ago I discovered a unique clothing brand with stylish threads for all the family. I’m honoured to be an ambassador for this brand and I’m eager to share with you more about this fab British label who specialise in empowering statement tops.

Familyhood is the baby of mum and designer Stacey Hazell. Like a lot of parents after the birth of her first child she found it hard to find fashionable and ethical clothing for herself and kids. She wanted clothing that was practical and exciting, and stood out from the often bland options on our high street. So she did something about it and Familyhood was born!

Inspired by everyday families, real people and music. Particularly music. Like the Beats International 90s classic Dub be Good to Me Tank Fly tee (worn below twinning with the little dude)

Stacey says ‘Familyhood gets its name from something really important to us, we are hugely inspired by everyday families and as you can tell from our designs, music.’

Music unites and connects and often transcends cultures and backgrounds which Stacey and her team find embracing.

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What I love about this brand is not just the striking and funky designs, but their ethics. All of Stacey’s designs are made from comfortable ethically sourced fair trade or organic cotton. And she also gets all the family on board. This lady is a total mum boss getting everyone involved to make it work. Avoiding traditional fashions seasons, Familyhood encourage short runs of lines, favouring building up a collection of workable pieces suitable for all year round.

I also love that their designs are free from gender and age stereotypes. Giving freedom and neutrality to family dressing.

I’m really honoured to represent a company that has a modern and sustainable approach to fashion, and one that encourages creativity and freedom with how we dress. So take a look 👀 there’s so much to choose from and all at affordable and real life pricesfamilyhood.bigcartel.com

@familyhood

Jules (MotherWithStyle)#gifted

#familyhood

Picasso 1932: A Year of Genius

A few weeks back my friend Judith and I visited the current Picasso exhibition, Picasso 1932, Love Fame Tragedy at Tate Modern, London.

Ready for an afternoon of colour, power, emotion, and reflection, we were not disappointed. Whether Picasso is an old friends or a new discovery, this brilliantly curated exhibition draws you in from the start.

The show plots a monumental year in Picasso’s career when aged 50 he embarked on a prolific period of experimental creativity. And it really was prolific. I could not get over the vast amount of paintings, drawings, sketches, and sculptures that filled the galleries.

Curated by Achim Borchardt-Hume, the interpretation pulls together both biographical context, family, marriage, lovers, and artistic competition, alongside the socio political climates of a chaotic and dark early 20th century between the two world wars. This approach helps the viewer to allow Picasso to get under your skin, understanding his motivations, drive and feelings.

And get under your skin he does. Judith and I were only in the first room of the exhibition when we both stood as still as statues looking, staring, and breathing. In awe of the monumental and colourful paintings before us. ‘It’s like he’s in the room with us’ Judith said. She was absolutely right we could feel him, his genius – those brush strokes were so very present. How a curator does that is just pure magic.

Judith and I toured the galleries chatting, pausing and discussing. What is genius? How do you know if you have it? We both agreed it’s something innate and spiritual. A raw talent combined with a determination and drive to follow your journey through. A restless creative always looking for more. Always challenging. This is Picasso down to a T!

This artist and this period of history have always fascinated me. Out of the most challenging and chaotic situations is borne some of the most beautiful and powerful art in the world. Many parallels to today. If you see any exhibition this summer make it this one.

Picasso 1932, Love Fame Tragedy is on at Tate Modern until 9 September

Enjoy

Jules, MotherWithStyle ❤️

Family Merch

Loving an exciting new brand called Family Merch who have some seriously cool slogan tees for all the family. Here I am wearing the Mama tee in black.

Family Merch has been launched by Surrey based mum of two Janine Renee, and has a fabulous range of empowering slogan clothing and accessories for all the family.

Founder Janine and I met in Stratford, East London, at an Ola Mama event back in spring 2017, where Sunita Harley of Lucky Things was taking about career confidence. Apt for both of us as busy working mums. Janine had not long just had her first child, and we chatted babies, and about her ambitions to change direction, follow her dreams, and find a way of working that suited her young family. Fast forward to summer 2018, and another baby and a new business has all become a reality for this creative Mama.

Janine has created a brand for all the crew. See me and my son Harry twinning like pros below.

Harry is wearing the Good Vibes Only tee which he absolutely loves. Teaching our kids resilience and positivity is so important in a world full of pressure and options. I love this bold statement design and monochrome pairing.

Janine is clear about her business ethics as well. Great quality, fair prices, and fabrics and processes that are ethical. That’s why all her tees are made from climate neutral cotton. They fit great too. I went for a snugger look in a size small (I’m a dress size 8/10) and loved the shape and rolled up sleeves, which have me a retro 50s feel to my outfit.

So go check out Family Merch to deck your crew out in some fab statement looks. Family Merch has kindly offered my followers a discount on their first order until the end of July. Use code MOTHERWITHSTYLE20 at the checkout.

So what are you waiting for? @familymerch

http://www.familymerch.co.uk

Big love

Jules (MotherWithStyle) x

#famdemcrew #gifted #slogantee

Swimwear? Outerwear? Who Cares?

I have ventured into some time saving summer wardrobe capsules. Hardworking pieces that take you from the beach to dinner, from day to night, from pool to club. Time is of the essence for me, and I expect a lot from my clothes. They need to be multi functional, practical, and stylish.

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So last season I invested in a rather beautiful black swim suit from Next. Black is a great colour generally for swimwear. Hides a multitude of sins, works on all skin tones, and goes with all your beach accessories. I also cleverly went for a supportive style with a subtle ruching to detract from the Mum tum.

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Great for the pool for, but as you can see from my pics, it also works brilliantly as a top with shorts for a relaxed day time look. I’ve also teamed it here with a kimono for a floaty and practical cover up in the sun.

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I’d also wear this a body with a long floaty maxi skirt and wedges for a glamorous evening holiday look.

So if you need to cut down on packing for your hols (getting the most of that baggage allowance) or if like me you’re a bit lazy in the summer heat and don’t want to have to think of multiple summer outfit combo’s, a great swim suit is the key to easy heatwave dressing.

Next, Asos, and Newlook all have some great body shaping options this season too.

Happy Summer girls

Jules (MotherWithStyle) x

 

 

A moment with Teiko Dornor : The Wrap Collection

I’ve been having a moment with headwraps for a while now, and I want to draw you all to the attention of my headwrap insta crush Teiko Dornor. Teiko makes the most gorgeous headwrapes in London and I want to share with you a bit more about her and her work. Here I am wearing her Kente full head wrap and I just love it!

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Teiko started her business because of her love of headwraps and accessories. She loves bright vibrant pieces that bring life to any outfit.  Teiko has been wearing headwraps for over a decade now and says she loves the way they uplift her outfit and mood. Every Wrap in “The Wrap Collection’ has been carefully selected with love.

Like me,  Teiko is fan of big hoop earrings and when she started wearing headwraps a decade ago she paired with some extra large hoops. She said “it was simply a stylish way of styling my hair in between hairstyles when I had to get my braids or twists redone.” However Teiko said she was initially unaware of the rich cultural significance behind the wraps. img-2164-e1526314745884.png

Teiko grew up in a Ghanian household and saw her mother and aunties wear their wraps with their “cloth” at weddings and funerals, varying in colour and fabric depending on their outfit. She said she always though how very regal they looked. She read up on headwraps and discovered that for many cultures in Africa the headwrap serves as an indication of social status. Often distinguishing between a married/unmarried woman and so on. Both men and women wear headwraps, and they are worn with pride.

During the slave trade in America, headwraps were actually a sign of enslavement and servitude, as time progressed, women in Louisiana wore headwraps as a symbol of rebellion, and would embellish their wraps with jewels and beads.

Today women from all backgrounds wear wraps as a fashion statement, symbol of cultural pride and royal ancestry. Teiko says ‘It’s a truly individual experience, representing their heritage and culture in style.’

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The pattern I have is called Kente. It’s a fabric used mainly by the Ashanti tribe in Ghana traditionally for special occasions. It makes me feel like Queen every time I wear it.

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I love the lively bold print and its rich cultural heritage. Teiko’s wrap are really easy to style, wrap and knot. The waxed cotton fixes in place easily and holds really well. I love wearing my as a statement piece, but they also serve as a great practical solution in between hair washes and to keep you cool in the sun.

So check out this ladies fabulous insta feed for loads of headwrap inspo @ teiko_dornor and shop online on her Etsy page teikodornor.etsy.com

All Teiko’s wraps are handmade in London and come in two sizes half and full head. Happy wrapping!

Love Jules (MotherWithStyle) x

#headwrap #gifted #accessories

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