With sparkly come-hither Christmas windows still filled with twinkly lights and baubles the commercial brands beckon and The Sales have started in earnest. They've made their shops look really nice for us, because they want us to look really pretty and on trend ....
And it's so easy to forget that most big brand clothes are made as quickly as possible, with every corner cut, profit being the driving force behind every stitch. Marketed to be quickly used and disposed of, these throw away clothes give sky-high profits to the owners of the big fashion chains who feed on this cyclical and cynical consumption pattern. Phillip Green, we're looking at you. (See this article from the Guardian 'Should you stop buying clothes at Top Shop?')
Our fashion magazines then encourage us to buy cheap bits and pieces weekly or even daily, and then show us how to purge our wardrobes clear of the rubbish every season, presumably to free up space for next season.
If this were food, we'd be a bit wiser to it and spot it for what it is: Bulimia.
We call it fast fashion but it isn’t really about speed, it's all about greed: selling more, making more money, pile it high, sell it cheap, grab yourself a bargain, morals and ethics cast aside to feed off the cheapest labour, or natural resources in the pursuit of maximum profits.
Yet the fabric or leather in those super-cheap, ‘value’ or fast fashion clothes is no quicker to make or use than any artisan clothes, it takes just as long to sew, and cut. So how do the big chains get such low prices?
Simple - such short lead times and cheap clothes are only made possible by exploitation of labour and natural resources. Sweat shops, pesticides, pollution, child labour and animal cruelty are just some examples of how fast fashion chains and, by extension, retailers maintain their high profit margins on the super cheap stock that they sell.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can design a different system for ourselves that makes money while respecting the rights of workers and the environment, and produces beautiful and conscientious garments.
Smart fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better.
Smart fashion is not time-based but quality-based. (There's a bit more about this on our waiting-list page. Afterall, it's why we have a waiting list)
Smart or slow fashion is not the opposite of fast – it's simply a different approach in which designers, buyers, retailers and consumers become more aware of the impacts of products on workers, communities and ecosystems.
Remember the Three point Smart Fashion checklist:
1. Turn your back on mass produced fashion and it's surrounding culture easily and simply by buying from second hand shops, local designers and artisans. You'll be supporting small local businesses or charity and you'll look totally amazing.
2. Choose sustainable clothing made with sustainable fabrics, ethically made and built with love to last a lifetime. Our big brands have been relentlessly feeding us a diet of disposable clothes so that we buy more, every season (or else they go out of business). More items, more often is their mantra. It doesn't matter at what cost, this is about profit:
3. You probably don't need so many clothes, imagine the joy of having a handful of key pieces that look amazing on you across the years. All you have to do is choose quality garments that will last longer, transcend trends because they suit your body type and colouring, and are repairable. As Vivienne Westwood says '"What I want people to be able to do is to buy well, by first choosing well and then making it last. And I also believe that if everyone wore just a few beautiful things, there would not be such a ... problem,"
Clothes are for life, not just for Christmas.
We were long overdue an overhaul of our glove leather colours, for some time we've been wanting to expand our more subtle colours. So see what you think of these three new beauties, Manchu brown (shown with black edging), K-Ink Blue and Racy Green, puns intended.
For at last 12 months we've struggled to source purple so we've been forced to discontinue it as a stock colour, but when we find it, we'll bring it to you as a Special.
This is a shout out to all those ladies who like to Olympic lift, CrossFit, Body Build and generally move heavy weights around for pleasure. Have you noticed that your bra straps seem to be getting shorter and tighter? (Or even if they are miraculously still long enough, they slide straight off your shoulder).
It's OK, it's not that your bras are mysteriously shrinking - instead, it's all down to your marvelous trapezius shoulder muscles that are growing and rendering your regular sized bra straps useless. And it can be really painful.
I find that after a couple of hours of wear I start getting a really bad headache as the tension bears down on my (not particularly hench) shoulders and I have to change back into my comfy sports racer back bra. Obviously made worse if I was lifting the day before.
So what's going on here and what can we do?
Well, the first bit is easy. Bra makers like to save money where they can, so don't automatically add in an extra 4 inches of strap for Wonder Women like us. And if they do, there's a sporting chance that those straps will fall straight off your sculpted killer trap shoulders anyway.
There's a couple of things we can do to provide relief.
Firstly, if you are lucky enough to have the extra length straps, then simply invest in some confusingly named 'strap traps', (at Amazon or Ebay) and convert to a racer back, like so:
Bingo. Straying sliding straps tamed.
Otherwise your only option is to add some extra length in. Here are three of my Agent Provocateurs (who for some reason make their bras with really short straps) that I've just extended the straps on, which means I can keep wearing them instead of sending them down to the thrift shop.
So, for those of you that can, I'd recommend adding in your extra length at the back of the bra, you'll need a pair of matching 'O' rings, some matching elastic and a microtex needle. (You can buy all these things from us, just drop us an email, priced at £10 per set per bra)
Or, you can let us do the fiddly work for you, cost £15 per bra plus postage, all profits going to straight to beat Breast Cancer with Cancer Research UK
To stop your new straps from straying down your killer traps we've got sets of Strap Traps at £2 a set, includes one each black, white, nude and clear.
Hope this helps clear the mystery of the tightening straps, and please head on over to our Corset and Bra Repair Angel page if you'd like us to help you further.
In the meantime Stay Strong!
I started using Paypal in 2003, and stopped in 2014. During this time they froze my account multiple times for no reason, withheld money, and reversed transactions that had already gone into my bank. Their worse behaviour (reversing my withdrawals and then freezing my account for 3 months and we are talking four figure sums here) happened back in their early days before they were part of the UK banking system and were still outlawed in some US states, an act which nearly put me into bankruptcy. The first few times this happened without any notification from Paypal, I found I simply could not log in to my account, I was suspended, they had the money that had just been paid for a wedding dress, but I still had to make the dress. Eventually, the reason given was there was too much body hair on one of my male photos, and this was not acceptable in the US.
Fast forward to 2014, and whilst they have modified their behaviour to stay in line with UK banking regs, they still have a tendancy to suddenly put a hold on your money. These days you get one of these emails:
'This money is being temporarily held in your pending balance. It will be held for up to 180 days. While it’s being held, it won’t be available for withdrawal.'
So that's 5 or 10k frozen for 180 days, but I still had to process these orders in the hope that I will at some point receive my money.
After numerous emails and calls, sometimes I could progress to this stage:
'We’ll move the money to your available balance after 21 days as long as your buyer hasn’t reported a problem. It may be available sooner if we can confirm that the item was delivered or, if this is an eBay item, your buyer leaves positive feedback.'
I would just like to point out, that since 2003 I have not had a single chargeback, or any case where my customers did not receive their goods, or were unhappy with my service. Never. Not one complaint against me to either PayPal or the credit card companies. Zero. Oh and I don't sell on Ebay.
'We apologize for any inconvenience caused and we appreciate your business.'
So, I've finally had enough. I'm leaving Paypal. Because once they freeze your funds, it doesn’t make sense to continue accepting money through Paypal if I can’t access it. With a secondary risk of me sending out goods and then not receiving payment. Not good.
So I'm out. Lux is joining the mass exodus of sellers, before Paypal can wreak anymore havoc upon us.
I have a great merchant banking system in place, the fees to me are tiny - only £15 a month irrespective of currency and amount (see article below about how Paypal are stealing sneaky money via currency conversion fees), and both me and my customers are covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (see below how you are not covered for purchases over £100 on Paypal, which let's face it are most items on this site.)
So, if you buy anything from Lux from today going forward, your payment will be processed by Iridium and will be displayed as such on your bank or card statement. And hopefully, this marks the beginning of a new hassle free era.
Further reading about the countless Woes of Paypal here:
(UPDATE, 24 hours after posting: it seems this blog post found its way to the powers-that-be at PayPal HQ and I received a phone call telling me that I could now access all the funds in my account. I’m grateful for that, but I still won’t be using PayPal again.) Over the years, I’ve heard countless tales of PayPal screwing over my friends who choose to sell products, services, or tickets through their system (UPDATE, 2 hours after posting: how timely — now it looks like Andy has got his account frozen, too). I’ve read numerous horror stories about what happens when PayPal’s staff blindly follow their draconian rules without applying common sense.......read more.....
PayPal's one of the truly ubiquitous names of the internet. It's been around since e-commerce first became a Thing, and it's even got its own Mafia. Like every Mafia, though, some of its practices are a bit shady, bordering on the downright nasty. It's time for that to change....read more....
I don’t usually write about the financial side of business. But I know many of my clients use PayPal and are probably facing the same situation that I have dealt with. So, this exception seemed to be in order....read more.....
Update July 2015 Via Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert.com
An ever-growing number of retailers now encourage customers to pay via PayPal, but if you’re doing it on a credit card – for items that cost £100+ – you’re missing out on valuable extra protection. That’s because using PayPal scuppers your Section 75 rights.
Section 75 says if you pay for something costing between £100 and £30,000, specifically on a credit card, the card company is jointly liable with the retailer.
Here's what the Financial Ombudsman said about Paypal when asked to confirm -
"Although PayPal appears as the merchant on the cardholder's statement, it cannot be seen as the supplier in a debtor-creditor-supplier agreement under Section 75 because it merely acts as the payment intermediary by transferring the money from the buyer's account to the seller's account. Therefore it breaks that chain to be considered under Section 75."
In plain English, this means you can not claim from Paypal as you don’t have Section 75 protection.
No. You have standard consumer rights from the retailer, and PayPal has its own buyer protection scheme – in itself that’s not too bad, yet it is inferior to Section 75.
First of all, PayPal protection isn’t the law – it's just the companies internal code; second, there are timing restrictions; and third, it only applies to 'misdescriptions' or misdelivery, as opposed to the much meatier SAD FART consumer rights rules you get via Section 75.
So if you have the option to pay via credit card for goods over £100 direct rather than through PayPal, at no extra cost, that's the better route.
Let's break a few moulds here and set a couple of things straight.
Not only does one size NOT fit most, but even the regular sizes we're used to often fail to do the job. Men and women and in-betweeners, I hear you. Let's change the options for sizing.
We've all got different body shapes in different ratios.
Men - order by your trouser size, if you feel you are between sizes just ask and we will make you one just for you. It will look a lot better, trust me. Some of you extra blessed men may need a larger pouch size to avoid choking your tackle, no problem.
Women - even more likely to fall between sizes. Don't be shy, let us make one just for you in your in-betweener size so that you can look a million dollars.
Dresses and skirts - here's where hopefully we've made a really good change, from now on you can order by separate bust, waist and hip sizes. In fact, you'll be ordering by bra size since, when you think about it a 38" bust could be either a 38a or a 32e, no need for guess work, just pop your choice in.
Since we make all our items from scratch and Jules personally draws all the patterns, it's easy and enjoyable for us to accommodate you in ways that other companies are not qualified or able to do. So, if you order a regular size and it seems just slightly wrong, then ask for an in-betweener. Claim your in-betweener status and work it!
Here's some more pictures of amazing bodies, enjoy!
Ever feel like a complete dummy when it comes to bras? Well, don't worry you're not alone.
There's comes a time for most of us, with so many sizes, shapes and styles, all promising different things and using language that seems purposefully obtuse, and it soon becomes hard to care.
But take heart, I'm going to share my top tips with you so that you'll soon be feeling like a bra expert.
1. You are a specific bra size. Truth or Myth?
If you already had a sneaky feeling that there was something strange going on in the world of bra sizing, you'd be right. The truth is there is no universal calibration of bra sizes, and even the same bra size will differ in proportions even across the same brand.
Don't let fierce assistants with tape measures make you believe any differently, usually the only way to guarantee a great fit is by trying on at least a couple of sizes.
Here's how that works - firstly band size.
Generally, this *is* a thing you can do with a tape measure. Wrap the measure around your underbust and read off the measurement. In the UK and US, you then add on 4" to get the actual band size. This piece of confusion comes from way back when bras were not made of stretchy fabric and you need to cut the bra large enough to accommodate your rib cage as you breathe. So, girls with a 32" underbust are generally in a 36" bra, but it's worth trying a 34 occasionally.
I've noticed though that girls with larger band sizes, 40+ are often more comfortable with much tighter bands, so sometimes a 40" measurement will equal a 40" bra. Remember - there are no real hard and fast rules here, we're after support, comfort and confidence.
Then we need to add cup size into the mix, and this is where things generally get complex.
First thing to remember, we're trying to estimate volume with a tape measure, so chances are you won't be one fixed cup size. But as a guide you subtract your underbust measurement from your fullest boob. The difference between the two numbers determines your cup size:
Cup size is proportional to band size, you always need the two together. 32D is much smaller than 38D.
As a rough guide a 32D = 34C = 36B, in other words for a specific volume, if you go up a band size, you can go down a cup size to get a very similar fit, so if you find a bra that's close to a perfect fit but not quite there, try a different size. It might provide just enough variation to correct the slight differences between manufacturers.
*You are a specific bra size* MYTH BUSTED! You can be two or three different sizes at the same time.
3. Certain bra shapes only fit certain boob shapes. Truth or Myth?
Wow. There's now a whole system of boob classification going on out there, with boobs divided into four, six, and even eight different categories. I'm undecided on this one, over my 15 years of bra fitting, I've seen lots of different size boobs in the same style bra, and really, boobs that may look very different au natural, will usually look pretty similar in the same style bra. So be confident and try whatever style takes your fancy. Bear in mind that the more structure in the bra, underwire, padding, contouring etc. the more support your boobs will get, the more they will change shape. Whereas bras with very little structure like a teeny triangle bikini bra have less effect on shape, but who cares! We are the shape we are, there is no one right or wrong shape, so it follows there can be no right or wrong style to suit you.
*Certain bra shapes only fit certain boob shapes* MYTH BUSTED! Wear what you fancy.
3. So what do these different bra terms all mean?
Underwired and non wired. Self explanatory really, underwires give a tremendous amount of shape support to your boobs.
Here are two unpadded leather bras, Lisa with an underwire, Raphaela without. Same 36C boobs in each, but they look completely different in these styles. You can see clearly how the underwire scoops the boob into the cup.
Balcony and Balconette: Similar but not quite the same. Both sit on a band that goes right around the body, and both styles cup the boob from underneath giving you two round orbs of delight. Balconette styles go more or less straight across at the top with wide set straps, whilst balcony dips down in the middle and up at the sides. They can be unpadded like the Lisa we've just looked at, padded like our best selling Miranda balconette, or two cup sizes larger like our Super Boost Miranda Balcony.
Lastly the Plunge Push Ups.
Plunge bras don't sit on a supporting band like the balconies, instead they have two wings which join at the back and a tiny bridge at the front. Very low cut at the front with wide set straps. They have different wire shape to the balconies and push your boobs together at the centre as well as up, giving defined cleavage. Usually padded, like our Kiss Kiss plunge, but can also be superboosted like our Kiss Kiss Superboost.
Hopefully you're now fully armed with knowledge, but if there's anything you're still unclear about, drop me a line - I never get bored of talking about bras, I'm passionate about them and love to share.
The Nightporter remembered: Exploring the dark side. Lux Tenebrae Luxury leather in collaboration with Benedict Campbell and Miss Miranda, shots from our exploration of the controversial 1974 art film by Italian director Liliana Cavani, starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling featuring elements of Nazisploitation. Here at Lux we despise all forms of racism, sexism and fascism.
I took our Lux Wedding Dress off the site a couple of months back as I had fallen out of love with the lambskin we were using to make it, and I'm not sure if we could do a really successful version in glove leather because of the amount of seams needed.
However, not having it on the site never really stops people from ordering (In fact, as soon as I take anything off the site, people want to order it!) and we've sold several in the interim that have been working their way through the fitting process.
So, I've just sourced our new nappa lambskin for the wedding dress, colour chart here:
Over the next few months I'll be re-shooting the wedding dress as our current pictures just don't do it justice. (They were taken in our old studio on a rickety old camera with no lighting to speak of.) And hopefully adding a couple of new dresses in.
I love making these statement dresses, it's just so exciting to be able to really let go and design something grand.
We're completely over-excited with our first ever batch of 0.45mm gloving leather, the usual thickness is 0.55mm. Look how thin it is! It's like working with silk. Complete sublime luxury. We've also tweaked all of the patterns, following your feedback, so they are now nice and snug but without tight elastic. That should now be true to size, and should give very slightly to fit you perfectly. Pic is Ultralux briefs and matching thong, on their way to Australia.
The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that our original Catsuit is missing from the menu at the moment. Partly, because of my move away from lambskin in 2014, but also because I wasn't 100% happy with the old design.
As with everything, the moment I took it off the options, the orders rolled in and I'm working closely with each of you to finalise each and every little detail. As of early 2016 we've sourced a fabulous new lambskin Nappa in a range of colours, some super new Stretch black lamb nappa, a smoother babybuck calfskin and a 0.65mm grade A glove leather (we use the superfine 0.55mm for our lingerie) Armed with this selection of luxury leathers we can now make your perfect catsuit.
For example, how do you want your collar?
2" stand collar with black zip undone?
Or 2" stand zipped up tight?
Turtle neck with invisible back zip?
Or ornamented biker style?
How about a more traditional Avengers style with open collar?
Or buckle fastening?
Not to mention shoulder pads
Full on Armour...
Or a more natural classic line....
So, I'm using all these super images of strong women rocking catsuits as inspiration for our next design.
In the meantime, you can still order one of our lovely made to measure Catsuits that start at £945, either in glove leather, or finest nappa (design dependent on size of the leather)
And there's lots more source Catsuits over on our Lux Pinterest Catsuit mood board .
Your thoughts? I'd love to hear what you think - please email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org