Latest posts

Polish born designer Marta Jakubowski proved she was a female force to be reckoned with in her AW19 show, as models were filtered out wearing the likes of power suits, geometric knits and structural, padded coats. They all held an exotic flower in their mouth, symbolising the importance of the female voice and acting as a subtle nod to feminist philosopher Hélène Cixous’s The Laugh of Medusa.

Her pieces were no doubt feminist works of art, and her take on the classic power suit beautifully blurred the lines between the masculine and the feminine. It wasn’t all about the fine, structural tailoring though, as she included some stunning, floaty dresses into her show that embraced all things hyper-feminine.

Her minimalist style was thought provoking, fresh and unique. The geometric knitwear was fun, experimental and bold, donning a punchy red, an on-trend beige and a classic black for a monochrome look. She turned a padded jacket into something so much more, with one look even morphing a suit jacket into a puffer coat, continuing this idea of distorting the masculine and feminine.

The suits, however, were the stars of the show. From oversized tailoring to nipped in waists to a half-suit-half-dress, these pieces made a statement. Her first look was a modern take on a classic two piece, with a fitted blazer paired with some oversized trousers in on-trend hues of beige. Then came out an array of suits that were more playful, experimenting with traditional shapes and cuts, with thigh slit trousers, asymmetric blazers and a grey suit jumpsuit taking centre stage. A style of clothing that was once only made for men has had a huge, feminine makeover, and it feels empowering.

Jakubowski made classic tailoring and everyday workwear a lot more exciting and thought provoking, and her minimalist style worked in her favour. The show was a quirky, young take on some timeless styles, really making them into her own. She’s definitely an upcoming designer that we can’t wait to see more of.

Words: Magda Kaczmarska | Fashion Week Press | @_magda__

 

Runways? Pfft.

For Xu Zhi’s AW19 collection, the audience was invited into his story through the medium of dance. Now, don’t get too excited – this wasn’t a mass Hokey Cokey in the name of fashion, but a story that unfolded through the movement of bodies and brief encounters.

Setting the scene, Xu Zhi created a story of a café where strangers come and go, experiencing a fleeting – and sometimes literal – dance with another. They meet and interact for only a short moment before moving on: their stories short and wholly captivating, accentuated by the haunting sounds of the accompanying pianist. What unites these strangers we’ll never know – except, of course, for their Xu Zhi garms. Duh.

Whether the story resonated with the viewer or not, it was fairly impossible not to immerse yourself in the design. As is the shift we are seeing across the board, the collection expanded to include menswear alongside the women’s, blurring gender and fabric lines to create a fluid and interpretative collection. As a brand built on a feminine image, it's certainly an interesting move - but a sensible one too as Zhi gears up for a new partnership with Chinese online giant, JD.com. From the jarring asymmetric hems, column fits and awkward lengths to the androgynous blouses and boxy-shoulder tailoring, boundaries were suspended and the models were one. From heavy faux fur and mesh to low-brim headwear, there was a sense of hiding the figure beneath. The intention? Anonymity, allowing the protagonists in this particular tale to blur in and out of focus and the moment, existing only momentarily in Zhi’s distorted reality.

Yet, out of nowhere, a vision in hot pink appeared with a fringed dress and hoop-handled bucket bag to die for. Anonymous? Unlikely in that get up, but it's the kind of femininity Xu Zhi is known for. This was the look that turned brief cafe encounters into lingering moments; first glances into double takes. We’ll have what she ordered.

 

Words: Camilla Hunt | Fashion Editor | @camillamcleanhunt
Images: Tasmin Dacres | Fashion Week Photographer | @tasm0n_d

Gender fluidity. Hybrid identities. Creative political expression. These could all read as a strategically curated reel of dumped millennial buzzwords if not handled with the right level of consciousness, integrity and heart. For terms that can mean for much for so many, they can feel so impersonal when carelessly brandished without meaning, particularly by me-too brands and the media. Luckily, when it comes to Tolu Coker’s collection -  this season’s Merit Award winning showcase - there is heart, there is meaning and, above all else, it is deeply personal.

As a unisex fashion brand centred around inclusivity, diversity and social responsibility, Tolu Coker’s ethos and ambition couldn’t be more relevant to now if it tried. But it’s genuine too, informed especially by her own dual identity as a Nigerian Londoner. This collection focused on reimagining black identity within a western context, and fuses icons of her heritage– think old family photographs, cultural prints and designs inspired by own father’s diary – with contemporary fabrics, youthful colour schemes and modern design.

It was loud, it was bold and it was vibrant. The collection felt like the wearer was able to carve out their own unique identity, without the enforced constraints of gender or politics. It was carefree as it clashed naval-exposed crop tops and 90s denim with Nigerian prints and braided hair. Recycled leather in vibrant colours, along with reused scraps of fabric and plastic on both male and female bodies, blurred lines and provided unexpected combinations that spoke to the endless possibilities and juxtapositions that make up each and every one of us.

 

Words: Camilla Hunt | Fashion Editor | @camillamcleanhunt
Images: Fashion Scout

GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is an integral part of the application process of a business school. This is a standardized exam, which is computer-adaptive and computer-based. The test score is usually a part of the requirements for admission into graduate business programs all over the world. The exam is developed and administered through GMAC to offer business schools a standard evaluation of the preparedness of applicants for graduate academic work. It is critical to mention that the GMAT Study Guide and Training Course is not the only requirement for admission process into an institution. Business school admission team also evaluates the applicants’ academic record, work experience, and other supporting documents to evaluate their readiness for an MBA program.

GMAT Test: General Overview

The GMAT test verifies your understanding of basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, grammar, and multi source data analysis. It also measures your ability to think critically, solve problems, evaluate and analyze written material. Most importantly, the exam is designed to measure your skill level in critical thinking. Therefore, it is crucial that you know how to think through and analyze given information in order to achieve an excellent score.

The GMAT exam covers four different sections, and these sections form the basis of scoring for the test. Two of the sections are scored separately while the remaining two are also scored separately but later combined to produce a composite score. These parts include Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. There is no specific order that the candidates must take the sections of the exam. They can choose their preferred order. You will make this decision at the test center after the computer tutorial and before you start the test. You have three orders to choose from, namely:

  • VerbalQuantitativeIntegrated ReasoningAnalytical Writing Assessment
  • QuantitativeVerbalIntegrated ReasoningAnalytical Writing Assessment
  • Analytical Writing AssessmentIntegrated ReasoningQuantitativeVerbal

The Integrated Reasoning part is scored on a scale of 1-8 in one-point intervals. This section is scored separately. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is also scored separately on a scale of 0-6 in half-point intervals. The Verbal and Quantitative segments are also scored on a scale of 6-51. The most important score for the MBA program is the combination of Quantitative and Verbal scores. For this score, the GMAT test uses the algorithm on the Quantitative and Verbal scores and converts them to the standard 200-800 points.

The time allocated for the GMAT exam is a total of 3 hours and 50 minutes, including the optional breaks. It is advisable that you arrive at your test center at least thirty minutes before the commencement of the test. The breakdown of the exam duration is as highlighted below:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment – 30 minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning – 30 minutes
  • Quantitative – 62 minutes
  • Verbal – 65 minutes
  • Optional Break – 16 minutes

GMAT Test: How Is ItScored?

The GMAT exam is a Computer Adaptive Test. When one starts the GMAT, the computer brings up a medium-difficult question with the assumption that the candidate has an average score. As the student continues to answer correctly, the computer gives more difficult questions and adapts its estimate of one’s ability. If the applicants answer wrongly, the level of difficulty reduces and keeps adapting to the performance of the candidate. The score is computed through an algorithm, and it is calculated based on the ability level of the individual. The scores are based not only on right and wrong answers but also on the level of difficulty of questions that one answered.

By the adaptive nature of the exam, the candidates are not allowed to skip questions. This means that you have to answer every question that the computer gives to you. Therefore, it is crucial that you fully prepare for the test. You also need to know how to strike a balance between dedicating your time to answer difficult questions accurately and running out of time before finishing the exam. It is essential to mention that there are penalties for not answering all the questions at the end of the test.

The Analytical Writing Assessment section gets a score from a computerized program and a human reader. The Integrated Reasoning part of the exam is not adaptive. However, you cannot leave any of the questions unanswered,and you cannot return to the questions after answering them. Immediately after the test, the students receive an unofficial score.

A good score in the GMAT test is relative. It all depends on the requirements of the MBA program you are applying to. Therefore, it is crucial to know the average score of other admitted applicants in the MBA program of your choice. This will give you a good idea of the baseline score to aim for. Although the GMAT uses technical ratings to generate the scores, the MBA programs and business schools usually focus on the 200-800 score combination scale, with a mean score of 552. If you are applying to one of the most competitive MBA programs, you should aim for scores above the 710 points range, which means you should score about 90% or higher in the exam.

GMAT Test: Registration Process

The exam is administered all year round at designated Pearson VUE test centers. You should register for your GMAT test early so that you can choose the exam date that will give ample time to compute your test score and forward it to the business school you are applying to. Usually, the process of sending scores to schools can take up to twenty calendar days.

Last week, one of our favourite stores re-opened the doors of their Spitalfields store and to put it simply, we're excited. They have re-imagined the concept of a traditional store and the result is a modern, immersive experience. We'll never look at high street shopping in the same way again.

The History of Belstaff

Adventure has always been at the heart of Belstaff  - it's what we have always loved about the brand, so it was no surprise that this sentiment has now been extended to their physical stores. To fully understand the concept, you first have to look backwards...

Specialising in leather and waxed biking jackets, Belstaff was founded in 1924 and has become a true British institution. Their dedicated devotees speak volumes. Past collections include a capsule line by David Beckham and Belstaff x McLaren, a collaboration between the two iconic brands.

With roots in the industrial North, Belstaff's impeccable designs and craftsmanship have always sought to reflect the motorcycling spirit, harking back to the heyday of British biking in the 50s and 60s. And now their brand-new Spitalfields store has recreated the community spirit of the cafes where these bikers would congregate.

A Re-imagined Retail Experience

In their new store, an informal space has been carved out so customers can sit back, relax and enjoy a hot drink. All the while they're surrounded by clear nods to the brand's industrial origins - cabinets proudly displaying motorcycle trophies and walls covered in maps and photographs of true legends who were devoted to their jackets, including Che Guevara and Steve McQueen. Not to mention the beautiful locally-sourced furniture that fills the store... We've been dreaming of antique cabinets since our visit!

But it's not just the aesthetics that make this store a pioneer in retail. They've created tactile textile displays that encourage customers to touch and feel the materials before they buy. The store layout is fluid, with the men's and women's collections displayed together and a moving cash desk - all of which contributes to a relaxed and authentic shopping experience that we have desperately needed, but never realised it.

Paving the Way for the Future

Belstaff has already revealed that we can expect to see this concept rolled out to the rest of their stores and each will 'consciously reference the communities they serve'.

The fashion industry has long been desperate for an injection of life like this. We've started to see it on the catwalk, with Anya Hindmarch's immersive installation  'The Weave Project' at London Fashion Week. But Belstaff is leading the way for the high street. Their focus on what their community needs  draws the customer into their story, whilst never abandoning what we know and love about the brand.

They describe their new imagining of the retail experience as 'a new adventure' and it certainly doesn't disappoint.