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The music and fashion relationship

April 4, 2011

Every genre of music has a distinct dress code. In the 50s we had Elvis notoriously defining the extremes of rock style with signature black pants and the studded leather jacket. Today, we have Lady Gaga ‘s controversial outfits, from her meat dress to her egg shaped props shocking the audience, “doing what Madonna did back in the day”, says Ben Gilbert, music journalist.

Being in the industry for 15 years, Gilbert has interviewed the likes of Marilyn Manson, Beyonce and Bono.  He graced us with his knowledge on fashion in the music industry. Check out the video to see which girl group he refers to as strippers and which band has the perfect look.


Q: In the 15 years that you’ve been working as a music journalist, how have you noticed music influence fashion?

A: You can infuse your music with dressing up. It becomes natural part of life as a musician. The Strokes in 2000 got it perfect, wearing the skinny jeans and converses.

Q: So can image overtake the importance of music?

A: Getting the package together is important it gives the artist real potential. If you infuse music with street style you’re are going to go somewhere. There is nothing more boring then four guys playing a guitar. There is also nothing worse then a manufactured style.

Q: How much, if ever, does your work incorporate fashion?

A: I wrote a blog about Lady Gaga it was called “Where does lady Gaga get her outfit from”. I did research and analysed the house of Gaga.

Q: What is the future of the convergence of music and fashion?

A: I’m unsure. There will become a time when Gaga will create her own fashion range. We already have that with Lily Allen’s boutique.

Q: Is there any musicians that you imitate, style wise?

A: Not really. There was one time when I brought a Reiss jacket and it made me look like I was from Kasabian.


The man behind the music, Ben Gilbert.

April 4, 2011

“Music itself has been completely de-valued”, explains music journalist, Ben Gilbert. Today, Gilbert spoke to an audience of journalism students. Explaining music journalism in all its glory and what it takes to bypass the tough critique and get into the industry. He was also giving us an insight into the perks of the job, very nice perks too might I add. More specifically, he spoke about the necessity for record labels to modernise and adapt to the convergence of the music industry and how it’s shifting to the internet; “the music industry, much like the other entertainment forces are having to adapt to the way in which technologies have changed.”

With the likes of Jessie J, Justin Bieber and the not-so-popular Rebecca Black, it is becoming increasingly more popular for new artists to be scouted via YouTube or other social media sites. There is less of a need to be backed by a record label at the get-go when more often artists can become globalised online.”If you cut out the middle man and you learn how to market yourself then you don’t have to pay the record company 40% or pay for their recording time or borrow half a million quid to go on the road.”

Take The Lonely Island as an example, they were merely 3 guys with an imagination and creativity who had some time on their hands to create their own video, “Jizz in my pants“. Through word of mouth and clever link placement, they have managed to land themselves a deal with Universal Republic Records. Questioning what it may mean for consumers who buy music online, Gilbert asks “by not paying for it and having so much of it, are you investing in the same love for it as you would have done if you had to pay for it?”

With this ‘thumb’ generation more inclined to download music online rather than buying CDs will artists continue to gain consumer revenue? Commenting on this Gilbert says, “in terms of the future, you’d imagine that the streaming and download culture will remain to be a crucial aspect of music. Both in the economic sense and the consumption of it” adding, “you can do it all yourself now.”

Here’s some advice Ben gave any aspiring music journalists:

  • If you want to write about music then you’ve gotta start doing it to see if you have the ability. You need to work out how you’re going to promote yourself
  • You have to be weary of the fact that it’s really competitive
  • Set up a blog, go to gigs and write reviews
  • You have to except at some point, unless you’re really lucky, you may have to write about music you don’t really enjoy
  • Focus on one specific area in journalism and just go for it
  • You’ve got to charm artists, try not to ask the same questions they have already been asked
  • Try to be really colloquial with an artist to put them at ease and more willing to talk

Techy Chique x

Ben Gilbert Profile

April 4, 2011

Today at the University of Westminster we will be graced by the presence of music journalist Ben Gilbert. So here’s a background on him.

Gilbert’s journey towards music journalism began in his mid teens when he was “as seduced by the world of rock and roll.”

“I kind of feel like that was sort of a magical era. It was just a different time. I think because the music at that time was in its infancy people didn’t know what to expect next.”

He attended Harlow College studying NCTJ, National Council for the Training of Journalists, for three years. He continued on to work in a local newspaper East Anglian Daily Times writing primarily on local news covering the county magistrate court, local police station, murder scenes and terrorist attacks. He finally broke into music journalism in 1997 Gilbert began freelancing for a music magazine called ‘Select’, which primarily covered Britpop and sadly has been discontinued.  Then for a year in 1999 he worked for ‘Melody Maker‘ covering gigs and album reviews.

And then came the boom where he discovered the power of online journalism. Presently he works as a music journalist for Yahoo! Music. Over the years he has interviewed a wide range of music artists from. 8 minutes with the “glittering” and “intimidating” Beyoncé. An hour with the “extremely intellegent” Marilyn Manson.

Q: What was the best? An hour with Marilyn Manson or 8 minutes with Beyoncé?

A: The hour with Marilyn Manson. In the sense that the interview with Beyoncé was quite traumatic. She just sort of sat in front of you glittering like a diamond or something. I found her really really intimidating which is surprising given the fact that Marilyn Manson is 7 ft high because he’s wears his massive heels and he looks like he just died. And we had to do the interview in the dark to give it a sort of spooky feel. I was more relaxed in his company. Really smart guy. And this was just after Columbine so he was a really controversial figure at that time. But Beyoncé’s lovely. I suppose she just tows the party line really. For 8 minutes.

Urban Flair’s main mission will discuss the link between the music industry and fashion with Ben Gilbert today. Stay tuned for updates and posts on Urban Flair!

Become a tribal Goddess

April 4, 2011

Our fashion for decades has been infatuated with prints and colours from overseas,  the sixties and seventies fully embraced African and Middle Eastern influence. The rich colours, pretty prints, the bold and beautiful patterns still retain that retro appeal whilst creating that hippy and bohemian look.

High street shops have been bombarded with tribal prints for us to go and invade. NOW is the time to inject some life in to your wardrobe with a statement print. The key thing to remember is that you want to look colourful and fun!

Aldo bring you the key accessories to look like a bohemian babe.

You can’t go wrong with this tribal print maxi dress for only £32 from Miss Selfridge!

Rich silks and ikat prints accessorized with luxe jewellery and woven bags. Then of course finished with essential patterned platforms.  These are the key essentials in to getting this look right. A celeb who can do no wrong when it comes to this signature look is Beyonce. She is known for being daring and feminine when it comes her personal style. Here she flaunts her voluptuous curves in an exotic print.

Beyonce's kaftan gets a thumbs up!

Tips on how to wear tribal:

  • If there is a brown in the print you’re wearing introduce leathers e.g your bag, shoes or belt. It makes the outfit look a lot more chic.
  • If you want to go for the tribal look but you feel hesitant because you don’t want to look OTT then opt for a tribal print top with a simple skirt. If you’re feeling more daring go for some bold jewellery and colourful footwear.
  • To give your outfit that finishing touch you need jewellery! Make sure that you bring colours to create a summery and fiery vibe to your look. If your garments consist of browns then wood textured accessories would work wonders. If there are bright colours in your clothing you need to bring in the vibrancy through the jewellery for an balanced look.

Emily, 19 from London modelling a pretty peacock print maxi dress.

Amy, 19 from Eastbourne modelling an exotic print maxi dress.

These two girls tick all of the above. Both of them model colourful and fun prints. These outfits can be edgy or sophisticated and easily dressed up or down!

Yasmin AKA Hight Street Hunny =)

The BIG fashion wardrobe

April 3, 2011

After my last blog post I was really curious about what Westfield London’s Spring/Summer 2011 fashion show would be like. So I went along to check it out with my very good friend and photographer Freddie Bell. All the looks you see in the pictures are available at Westfield.

Here are the key high street trends for this Spring/Summer!

Read more…

Westminster Fashion Show!

April 3, 2011

Earlier this week, we had an amazing fashion show at University of Westminster. It was a Thursday afternoon when the 1st year BA Fashion Design students started the event in the university ‘garden’ despite the chilly wind. Models in all sizes and shapes were streaming down the catwalk in colourful prints. A crowd from different courses around the campus gathered all around the green space to watch the show.

“It took me days to find the right garment, and weeks to sketch and make this one dress,” says 1st year fashion design student, Emily Mei Cross. “But walking on a catwalk was delightful! Now that it’s all over, we can all get some descent night sleep”.

If one thing’s for sure is that they’ve succeeded to deliver their work as expected: bright beautiful prints in blue, pink, cream, and all sorts of colours were to be seen mixed (but not particularly matched) with other prints and different garments.

Whilst playing designer chosen tunes from speakers, the models did a pretty good job of not falling over sky-high heels. But it was the cuts and shapes of the every piece in the collection that truly made the audience react in different ways. Fashion design student Alexander Muto caused quite a stir when he walked down the catwalk wearing a body-conscious dress, heels and smoking a cigarette. Seconds later, a female model appeared almost half naked, but elegantly wrapped up in one-piece garment. Some were laughing and others were whispering to each other in surprise of how the dresses turned out looking so fashionable – the University of Westminster fashion show will always make an impact, that’s for sure. We can’t wait to see more of the talented and wonderful at another fashion show later this year.

The wonderful world of Westfield.

April 1, 2011

On one of my rare days off, I decided to head down to the wonderful world of Westfield London for some serious indulgence. With it having 257 shops and it being Europe’s largest shopping centre I knew I was guaranteed to find something to my taste.

My top buys of of the day are both from Republic! The maxi dress only cost £29.99 and the cute little yellow number £25!  Don’t forget to use your student card for 10% discount.

Mooching around the 257 shops in this stylish shopping centre can be seen as a huge effort for some but for me personally, this is high street heaven! Knowing that I had to find myself a stylish high street junkie I knew it wasn’t going to be hard! This shopping paradise is always buzzing. With Fashionistas tottering about on a daily basis this is the place to be for high street inspiration.

My favourite outfit of the day was from Megan Hart; she is rocking a vibrant red dress from Zara, teamed with black accessories.

If you were planning on going to Westfield London I would recommend heading down there this weekend. The shopping centre will be transformed into a giant walk-in wardrobe (every girls dream). A catwalk will be brought out on to the shop floor, showcasing the hot new trends for spring/summer 2011.  So make sure you don’t miss out on this big fashion fest. There will be something for every fashion follower, as they are organising five distinct zones holding different styles. If that isn’t enough to persuade you to turn up to one of this seasons biggest events then check this out, they are giving away free hair and beauty makeovers!

Daisy Lowe a British fashion model known for her unique rock chick look is joining in the fun. Daisy has taken to the catwalk for Burberry, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood etc (and the list could go on and on). Miss Lowe will be at the Big Fashion Wardrobe at Westfield London, she is going to be launching her own Lomography photo exhibition. As well as a chance to meet and greet Daisy Lowe there will be a chance to get styling advice. As if there isn’t enough reasons to head to Westfield London this weekend!

This weekend is a perfect opportunity to indulge in fashion! There are four catwalk shows both Saturday and Sunday, showcasing from over 70 brands that can be found at Westfield! So, you high street lovers put some time aside to check out what’s going on in the fashion world.

Yasmin AKA High Street Hunny =)