How Aussie jewellery entrepreneur Pinar Parry overcame horrific online abuse

Brisbane woman Pinar Parry was in a personal slump when she came up with the business idea that would turn her life around.

The mum was dealing with an ailing business and had put on weight due to stress several years ago.

“I went through a really hard time trying to grow my business and my whole life went to sh*t,” she told news.com.au.

“I wasn’t looking after myself, I put on weight, and I wasn’t living my best life.

“I started looking at what had gone wrong, and I was reading a lot of psychology books about how to find your passion and purpose. I learnt so many new ideas, and I thought it would be great to wear something to remind you to live your best life every day.”

And so the idea behind Delta and Co was born — a jewellery company which produces delicate bracelets engraved with straight-talking “truth bombs” and phrases designed to inspire the wearer.

It officially launched in January 2016 as a side hustle, while Mrs Parry was pregnant with her third child.

At that time, her husband Anthony was often away as a FIFO worker, and Mrs Parry struggled to juggle her hectic family life with her growing business.

Pinar Parry was targeted by online trolls after launching Delta and Co — but she ‘blasted back’. Picture: Instagram/@deltaandco

Pinar Parry was targeted by online trolls after launching Delta and Co — but she ‘blasted back’. Picture: Instagram/@deltaandcoSource:Instagram

For 12 months, Delta and Co products were sold at pop up stores and events but last November, Mrs Parry realised it was time to go “all in” and focus solely on the business.

Her husband quit his FIFO job and joined the company full-time, and they soon “started to find their stride” through Facebook ads.

But then the abuse began.

“I started running Facebook ads as a way of marketing and I noticed some comments on the ads saying I’d copied the quotes from another business,” the 39-year-old said.

“They started popping up every day and at the beginning I addressed them nicely and diplomatically, and then I started deleting them.

“But eventually I decided to address them full-on.”

In a post which soon went viral, Mrs Parry explained the business was “100 per cent original” and that its branding and quotes had been inspired by her own experiences.

“ … if you are going to let yourself be bullied by random people on the internet you won’t survive in business, or in life for very long,” Mrs Parry wrote in her viral post.

Mrs Parry eventually decided to ‘blast back’. Picture: Facebook

Mrs Parry eventually decided to ‘blast back’. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“If you let yourself get pushed around and listen to every a**hole with a two-bit opinion about what you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be doing, you are simply NOT going to make it.

“It’s your life and you need to defend your right to exist, to shine, to grow, fiercely. And no one is going to step in and do that for you, but you.”

The post soon attracted thousands of likes, comments and shares, with many Facebook users praising Mrs Parry for fighting back against trolls.

Mrs Parry posted her October sales figures on the Facebook group Like Minded B**ches Drinking Wine. Picture: Facebook

Mrs Parry posted her October sales figures on the Facebook group Like Minded B**ches Drinking Wine. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“The story about haters trying to hurt my business resonated with people,” she said, noting the post had led to a big spike in sales.

“The haters f***ed up — it ended up turning things from lemons to lemonade because I spun it around and sold so many (bracelets) just by telling my authentic story.

“Being authentic about who you are really resonates, rather than just saying ‘buy my sh*t’ — that doesn’t work.”

[“source=cnbc”]

I was addicted to online shopping! This is how I controlled it

Online shopping, that’s the new bug under the list of behavioural addictions. Some people indulge in it because they hate to invest time and step out to shop, while some do it because of its massive variety and accessibility. However, studies say that the trend has caught particularly with stressed individuals as shopping on the net can provide instant gratification. Whatever the root cause, it is not something that should be taken lightly. A reader of ours, Meha Sindhwani, shares with us her encounter with online shopping addiction and how she chose to combat it.

I have been in a media organization for three years now, the industry that is known to be abreast with everything that goes viral. Also, not to mention, media industry is also known for the high scores of stress it gives to its employees. Though I don’t have hard fact to support my argument but I really think that stress, at least in part, comes from the unfamiliar nature of our job. We never know what may trend or happen in the next second. This has us glued to our seats, overwhelmed by the speed at which the world is moving.Though I like what I do but I would not deny that since the time I have been here, my stress levels have only gone up. I didn’t realize it when it was actually happening but only now that I look in the rear view. And, this stress had many forms of manifestations.

My job required me to stay active on social media platforms. I never realized when I became a junkie from someone who would even browse Facebook just thrice in a week. Being on the mobile so much, I would often browse the various shopping advertisements that showed on my social media feeds. And honestly, I couldn’t help but visit their websites and download their apps.

It started with an order or two every month for the first few months. I loved to order online because it started giving me a happy hit. My most favorite part would be the delivery, which I mostly got done to my office only. All those memes that exaggerate the sense of waiting for an online order, that’s actually me. No kidding.

So gradually, the frequency of my online shopping increased to once in every week. I realized that this was becoming a problem when, towards the end of the month, I would be bankrupt and I would still order clothes, or accessories, or footwear or something or the other, making the payment through my credit cards. And let me tell you, I have never been a credit card person.

Three months went by like this. I paid my credit card bills which would usually be not beyond a certain limit. Then, in the fourth month, I ended up not just crossing that limit, but also doubling it. But I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I knew what I was doing; just that, I couldn’t control it. Some signs that I felt particularly in that month included:

– Browsing shopping apps while travelling, before sleeping and after waking up, basically at all times I could spare. I was surprised myself when during one of the routine night calls, I disconnected because I was sleepy but post that, I browsed a shopping app for 45 minutes.

– Online shopping started making me feel happy. I started looking forward to the time when I would be idle, sometimes just to browse those apps and not even shop.

shutterstock_541434475 shopping online

– Clicking on ‘Buy’ often accompanied guilt and did not take into consideration my financial situation.

– I stopped telling my mother what I bought because she would scold me.

– My cupboard was flowing with clothes, many of them unworn so far and I had to get two new jewellery boxes to contain my accessories.

After having to pay the debilitating bill, I decided that this could not continue anymore. Immediately, I uninstalled all the shopping apps from my phone and reported all their advertisements that stared back at me on social media platforms.

But, by doing so, I was only eliminating my possibility of shopping and not the cause of my shopping problem. I didn’t know how to do that and so, I sought advice from a friend who was pursuing a Phd in psychiatry. It was then I realized that my habit was stemming from stress, majorly at workplace and also because of a recent break-up that I had had, which I earlier thought wasn’t as traumatic as it perhaps was.
I would shop in order to pleasure myself and because the pleasure wouldn’t last, I had to shop again. This was my coping mechanism as it gave me little adrenaline rushes every time I received an order. This has also been proven by many studies, such as one by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. It said that online shopping reduced sadness. Another one by The Huffington Post concluded that every third person shops online to deal with stress.
My friend told me to reroute my mind, which meant that I needed to destress and unwind. She recommended that I do yoga and whenever I get an impulse to shop, I should recognize the underlying negative emotion that’s driving it. Once I know what the emotion is, I can either write about it, talk about it with a friend or just acknowledge it because even that apparently helps. And yes, it did.
It’s been six months since I have not shopped even a single thing online and I am really happy that I could come this far. Not that I will never shop online now. I will, but only much less frequently and when I really need to buy something and it is a necessity, not otherwise.

[“Source-timesofindia”]

How To Become A Jewellery Designer

Gemstones, diamonds and precious metals: jewellery is born of nature’s finest handiwork. It’s unsurprising, then, that it carries an intrinsic emotional value too. It’s not only the act of buying, receiving or wearing jewellery that invests a particular piece with meaning – jewels are charged with their designers’ experiences and values, too. “It’s important to have a personal relationship with the people or stores that are buying my jewellery,” muses Danish designer Sophie Bille Brahe. “If I made it, I want to make sure it has a good life when it leaves my office.” Thus, jewellery is where personal stories, luxury and traditional craftsmanship intertwine, and any aspiring designer needs to have a handle on a broad mix of artistic, technical and commercial skills. Want to know what it takes? Vogue speaks to six industry leaders for a step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer.

What does a jewellery designer do?

The breadth of a jewellery designer’s job depends on whether you work in-house for a brand or set up on your own. Either way, the most important part of your role is to provide a strong artistic vision. At Bulgari, creative director Lucia Silvestri lays out coloured gems, picks combinations and fixes them in putty to model her preferred constellation. The process involves creating a technical sketch, modelling it with computer-aided design (CAD) software and selecting the stones. Production then follows, starting with a 3D-printed prototype and ending with the work of the goldsmith, which includes metal-casting and stone-setting as well as engraving and enamelling. Unless they are going it alone, most designers won’t be physically involved in this part of the process – but they’ll still need to understand the mechanics of how jewellery is made if they want their designs to be wearable.

Lucia Silvestri.

DAVID ATLAN

Guidance from industry leaders and famous jewellery designers

Whether you want to design in-house or run your own brand, the first step is to get educated. And while you can expect to be in school for up to six years, the good news is there’s a lot of flexibility to jewellery design courses. London’s British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ), for example, offers programmes that last from six months to three years, including paid apprenticeships. Depending on the level students apply for, the interview process can include a bench test – in which you’ll show off your measuring, cutting, forming and soldering skills – and a portfolio review. So how do you get that portfolio to the top of the pile? “I would certainly want to see what’s behind a finished piece,” says Sofie Boons, BAJ’s head of academy. Students should always include moodboards and prototypes in their presentations – “so that I can see their thinking, their problem solving, [and] how they have come to a certain solution,” adds Boons.

Alternatively, you could hone in on your preferred craft. Bille Brahe trained as a goldsmith for almost five years at the Copenhagen Technical School of Design & Technology before enrolling on an MA course at London’s Royal College of Art. “Without having the craft, [the design process] becomes quite hollow,” she explains. Or how about gemology? Among Silvestri’s team at Bulgari are graduates of the European Institute of Design (IED), the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Other designers place less emphasis on technical expertise. “I don’t think it’s useful to go deeper if you [want to] create your own brand,” says French designer Anissa Kermiche, who advocates a short technical course to provide the necessary introduction to 3D printing, sketching and stone-setting. It suited her perfectly, combining two technical courses at the BAJ – CAD for jewellery production and Level 2 jewellery manufacturing – with a creative BA in jewellery design at Central Saint Martins.

Lucia Silvestri’s Rome studio.

DAVID ATLAN

How do you go from a student to a working jewellery designer?

Silvestri’s advice on getting that first break? “Shadow expert leaders, maybe abroad, even as an office assistant,” she says. And once you’ve got your foot in the door for an interview, you’ll need a strong portfolio of existing work showing competency at technical sketching and CAD. The BAJ advertises jobs through its social channels, but Boons advises students to keep an eye on trade publications and websites such as Benchpeg, Retail Jeweller, The Artists Information Company and The National Association of Jewellers. In some cases, it’s worth reaching out to companies directly, and important to bear in mind that the jewellery trade still relies on word of mouth. Applying for competitions such as HRD Antwerp or Talente in Munich – which in turn can lead to exhibitions – is essential to let yourself be known to as many industry professionals as possible.

The job interview process varies widely. Small businesses might require only one stage, but established companies can involve up to five, including bench tests, interview panels and, in some cases, a written exam. “Research is key,” says Boons. “Students should look into why their skills can contribute to the company, read their strategic plan and see how they could complement it. [Ask yourself] what job could get me the experience that they are looking for? It’s about planning and being resilient.”

Practice makes perfect

If you’ve been hired by a big brand, expect to keep training for the first two years of your career. “School is good, but practice is essential,” sums up Silvestri. “Even if our new recruits have commendable degrees, they always start by copying jewellery sketches from the Bulgari archives.” It’s the same at the Japanese heritage jeweller Mikimoto, where trainees spend 18 months learning Japanese traditional ink and fine-point brush techniques while sketching the entire Mikimoto design archive. The goal is to better understand how to manage your artistic goals with the mechanics of making jewellery. “Pearls are spherical and it’s quite difficult to incorporate round objects into jewellery,” explains Akira Haga, Mikimoto’s general manager of merchandise development. “It’s not something that you can learn in a day or two; you need a lot of experience.”

Akira Haga.

Learn how to communicate

At Mikimoto, designers compete to have their sketches chosen among dozens of other drafts, so it’s important to learn how to sell your design internally. “We line up all the rough designs on a table, followed by each designer’s presentation,” explains Haga, adding that communication skills are also essential between designer and craftsman. It’s this latter relationship that’s essential for a designer to master, as it’s the artisans who will interpret your design. This is easier in smaller houses; Bille Brahe, for example, manages a team of seven in her Copenhagen workshop. For bigger houses, it can be more complicated: at Cartier, the designers and craftsmen work under the same roof to ensure smooth communication, with Pierre Rainero, the brand’s director of image, style and heritage, describing “an endless discussion between the designers and the jewellers.”

When launching your own business, start small

When launching her brand, Kermiche transformed her house into a jewellery lab, crafting her first prototypes with small, relatively inexpensive stones. “I managed to save money because I spent [the previous] years learning how to make my own prototypes, so I didn’t have to spend on manufacturing,” explains the designer. “I don’t recommend mass producing right away,” adds American designer Jennifer Fisher, who was a wardrobe stylist before launching her own label. “You have to start small, grow from there and see what is successful.” Fisher made personalised dog tag charms for clients on set before setting up a customer-facing website, while Bille Brahe began making bespoke pieces while sourcing the financing for her brand. For the investments you do make, be strategic. “[It was important] getting a team that had the experience I didn’t have,” says Bille Brahe, while Fisher adds the simple but all-important advice to “make sure that the infrastructure of the business is sound.”

Jennifer Fisher.

Learn to tell stories

“Journalists love telling a story,” says Kermiche. Designing personalised pieces with a narrative can help you create an identity for your work in the international marketplace. Fisher, for example, created her dog tag design to celebrate the birth of her first son, while Bille Brahe started incorporating pearls in her jewels after her mother gave her a pearl necklace to celebrate her pregnancy. “You cannot offer anything as amazing as some of the big jewellery houses do,” she explains. “The only thing you can do is offer something that is very different and personal.”

Social media vs traditional PR

If you’re launching your own brand, social media can be your friend in getting the word out. Kermiche used her Instagram account as a lookbook, creating a fully-fledged visual identity for her new-born brand at a minimal cost. She then used the app to find journalists. “It won’t be long before they notice if your product is right,” explains the designer. Hiring a PR agency is another option, but for Kermiche the decision boils down to the designer’s personality. “If your friends are influencers, just do it yourself,” she explains. “But if you’re more of a creative mind, then of course a PR is vital.” However, thinking carefully about commercial partnerships you make and being aware of legal implications, including avoiding long contracts, is paramount. “I would have loved to have had a background in law,” she adds. “It would have saved my life on a daily basis.”

Sophie Bille Brahe.

Value your relationships with retailers

“I think it’s very important to respect relationships in this business, stay true to your word and respect the people who have respected you,” says Fisher. Barneys was the first US brick-and-mortar department store to approach her and she has maintained that relationship exclusively ever since. Similarly, Kermiche manages up to 20 face-to-face monthly meetings with retailers and mines these relationships for consumer insights she can feed back into her design work. “I ask them what sells in [their] shop, what’s the price point they like the most, what’s the colour of gold [they prefer],” she says. “It really helps me target my designs in a way that will sell.”

A step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer

If you want to work for an established company:

  1. Choose a degree in fields like Design, Gemology or Fine Arts.
  2. Scan trade publications for job offers. Applying for competitions, exhibiting your work and networking are the easiest ways to get noticed by future employers.
  3. Get in touch with established brands, even if they are not publicly advertising for a role.
  4. When applying for a job, your portfolio should showcase your technical, manual and creative skills as well as your thought process. Include sketches, prototypes and moodboards.
  5. Do your research and keep up-to-date with industry news. Showing a good knowledge of a company’s history and commercial strategy can give you the upper hand over other candidates.
  6. Communication is key: as a designer you will be required to work with artisans, so practise explaining your thought process and concepts in a clear and concise manner.

Sketches at Akira Haga’s studio.

If your goal is to launch your own business:

  1. Combine a short technical course with a creative degree.
  2. Be financially aware: start with a small production, support yourself with bespoke orders, make your own prototypes and find people with the experience you don’t have.
  3. Self-promotion is essential: learn how to use social media to your advantage by creating a strong visual identity and connect with journalists, clients and retailers. Be mindful of your relationship with retailers: nurture them with personal meetings and use them to better target your designs.

[“Source-vogue”]

Here’s how online shopping websites are planning to deal with frauds

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-commerce companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and virtual reality with a view to cut logistics costs and identify fraudulent orders, said a report by global auditing and consulting firm PwC.

With an emerging middle-class population of more than 500 million and approximately 65 per cent of the population aged 35 or below, India represents a highly aspirational consumer market for retailers across the globe, said the PwC TechWorld report.

“E-commerce players are revamping their technology strategies to maintain their competitive edge. Most e-commerce platforms are upping their investments in areas such as conversational commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) and analytics technologies,” it said.

It observed that to identify fraudulent orders, reduce return rate and also cut down on logistics cost, e-commerce companies are investing in robotics and AI heavily.

“AI-based voice-based shopping in vernacular language enables deeper customer engagement and smoothens the transition from offline to online by overcoming the language barrier,” it added.

Then there is advanced analytics that allows for better optimisation of stock management as well as customisation of content based on data-driven understanding of consumers’ online behaviour and preferences.

Also, there are blockchain technologies that improve fraud detection and enable companies to offer a secure and transparent online medium as it helps in determining authenticity in multi-party transactions and expedite payment settlement, PwC said.

“Almost all customer interaction for online retailers occurs via phone or email and involves banking information or personal data, e-commerce sites are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

“Given the recent episodes of data breaches and alleged misuse of customer information, the need for adopting appropriate security measures has escalated significantly,” said Sandeep Ladda, PwC India Partner

The report further highlighted that frauds or data thefts cause not just financial loss but also reputation damage and consequently loss of business, which is detrimental in today’s global digital economy.
According to research from the Ponemon Institute, in 2017, India recorded the largest average number of breached records at 33,167 (global average = 24,089).
[“Source-gadgetsnow”]

Now you can wear sweatpants to work without anyone finding out, here’s how

Here’s why these new kind of sweats are going to be your best bet for work wear.

Wade Eyerly got an invitation to the New York Stock Exchange, telling him to come dressed in “business professional” garb. He decided to break the rules. The 39-year-old executive put on a pair of stretch fabric pants that look like slacks but feel like yoga wear. “I was, like, ‘This is amazing,’” he said. “I immediately ordered two more pair.”

The pants, sold by athletic-wear label Rhone Apparel Inc., are technically made for commuting. Eyerly, who lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, does a lot of that, given his regular 90-minute trips to Manhattan. The pants are also perfect for flying. “They are just so comfortable,” he said. “They don’t stick to your calf; they aren’t too tight. They look pressed every morning. You could work out in these pants.”

As office environments open up to more casual dress, clothing companies are looking for ways to sell less formal clothing to the working masses. Marketed as “commuter-wear,” brands hope to convince workers that they need clothing specific to the trials of getting to and from work. These new clothes come in all kinds of old forms: blazers, chinos, button-down shirts—you name it—but in fabrics and cuts that can survive Americans’ increasingly long and grueling trips to the office.

It’s also a natural expansion for active wear brands that want a piece of the workweek. While dress codes have eased, employees don’t typically sport lycra bodysuits or compression shirts—at least, not yet. “We see work wear as an opportunity,” said Sun Choe, senior vice president of global merchandising at Lululemon Athletica Inc. Right now, companies such as hers fully own the weekend wardrobe. Now they want the remaining five days, too.

The cubicle may seem an, um, stretch for a company known for yoga wear and leggings, but Lululemon’s research and development labs are working on anti-wrinkle, anti-stink, anti-stain fabrics that can serve the commuter from home to work and back again. Choe points to the ABC pants for men, a colorful abbreviation for their roominess where it counts. Made of something called Warpstreme fabric, the $128 item looks like a regular five-pocket pair of casual pants.

And that’s the key: The fabric is constructed to look like normal woven pants, but it’s actually a knit that allows for more comfort. The back has a zippered pocket to store a phone, too, just in case you’re hopping on a bicycle to get to work.

“It was definitely built with the commuter in mind,” said Choe. “It was very intentional.” Lululemon plans to start selling a version for women in the fall.

Pure athletic clothing developed by such companies as Nike Inc. and Under Armour Inc. isn’t a viable solution for commuters because it’s developed for intense use over short periods of time. A workout T-shirt doesn’t translate well in the office either. Ministry of Supply, a men’s work-wear company that infuses tech in all of its items, is trying to ease commuter stress with gear that can adapt to different environments.

Gihan Amarasiriwardena, Ministry of Supply’s co-founder and president, is focused on managing comfort throughout the day. There’s much more moisture involved when you’re running on a treadmill or kicking around a soccer ball, compared with waiting for a subway train or walking to a car. If you’re on a work trip, you spend hours seated on a plane, but then have to hustle through the airport and still look good when you get to the big meeting.

Amarasiriwardena calls it a “peak demand” problem. “If you use clothing for a very specific moment that’s actually a short period of time, that leads to more discomfort,” he said.

At Ministry of Supply’s lab, a team is working on a jacket that helps create a steady level of temperature and moisture, so commuters don’t have to peel off layers of jackets and scarves when they step into a warmer area.

Researchers gather data through testing on treadmills—because outdoor walking often makes up a quarter of a typical commute—to figure out how the jacket can modulate heat. That means handling temperature regulation, moisture control and movement in what’s called a microclimate—the zone between skin and fabric. If you wear a raincoat in humid weather, your skin feels clammy because that microclimate isn’t being managed appropriately, for example.

Clothing that can help you acclimate to the different environments we travel through every day, while remaining comfortable and office-presentable, is the niche that commuter wear is aiming to fill.

And demand for it is growing. Rhone said its commuter pants, made of a Japanese air-permeable stretch fabric, is the company’s top seller. The company worked on the original pant for a year just to get just the right mix of structure and stretch. It has another version coming out this fall.

“When you’re in commuting situations, you get on the subway—it’s hot down there. The last thing you want is your pants to be retaining heat,” said Nate Checketts, Rhone’s co-founder and chief executive officer.

He admits, however, that comfort—not commuting—is the main reason shoppers gravitate to the pants. “Men in particular crave that comfort,” he said. “If we can give that to them without letting them look like a slouch, I think that’s the real benefit.”

[“source=hindustantimes”]

Fashion’s Grand slam: why Wimbledon is a masterclass on how to look smart in the summer

Match point: the Duchess of Cambridge, Victoria Beckham, Serena Williams, the Duchess of Sussex and Anna Wintour Photograph: Guardian Design Team

From dreamy Ralph Lauren uniforms to all-white jumpsuits, your summer style directive is courtside SW19 – channelling Meghan and Kate, Anna Wintour and Serena Williams

Can we talk about the weather? Is there even any other subject right now? It is the beginning and end of every conversation. How marvellous it is, how lucky we are, obvs, segueing rapidly into the kicker: what on earth to wear? Holiday weather is a breeze when you are pulling a dress on over a bikini. But when you are still on-duty and expected to look smart, summer dressing is a challenge.

But as luck would have it, there is a masterclass on how to look smart in the summer being broadcast live from London for most of the day, almost every day, for the next fortnight. It’s called Wimbledon. While the rest of the country flails hopelessly around trying to figure out what to wear when your work wardrobe doesn’t suit the climate but your holiday wardrobe doesn’t suit the vibe, one corner of SW19 is showing us how it’s done.

Wimbledon is Britain’s best-dressed moment of the year. London fashion week has too many outsize trainers and miniature sunglasses; the Baftas has that baffling “it’s early February, I think I’ll stand outside in a strapless dress and no coat” goosebumpy thing going on; Ascot is Halloween for posh people. Wimbledon, on the other hand, is bona fide summer chic. And Wimbledon is more fashionable than it has ever been, because it lies at the crossing point of two axes of power in style this decade. SW19 is where the glamour of sport and the allure of the royal family come together – and the stock of both in fashion is at an all time high. The unstoppable rise of athleisure has made playing sport (or performatively watching sport, as exemplified by the royal box) more high-profile than ever. And the passing of the Wimbledon baton to a younger generation of the royal family (the Queen, not a tennis fan, has only ever attended four times) has amplified its profile by having coincided with the impact of the tennis-obsessed Middleton family in the royal landscape. Pippa Middleton is even more of a keen fan than her sister, and counts Roger Federer a close enough pal for him to have been a guest at her wedding last year.

If you don’t believe that strawberries and cream at Wimbledon now constitutes fashion’s top table, consider this. Serena Williams, the Duchess of Sussex, the Duchess of Cambridge, Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour are probably the five most influential women in fashion in 2018, and the All England Club will probably play host to all five before next Sunday. Serena Williams, recent American Vogue cover star and currently to be seen in a Dior bodysuit on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, is dominating early storylines on Centre Court as she returns from maternity leave. The new Duchess of Sussex, whose every public appearance leads to an instant sellout of whatever she wears, is a tennis fan (she attended in 2016) and pretty much a dead cert to support her friend Williams. The Duchess of Cambridge is a tennis nut and patron of Wimbledon. Victoria Beckham is a regular at the men’s final. As eight-times champ Roger Federer’s most loyal fan, Anna Wintour is sure to make an appearance as he defends his title. This is a power front row like no other. Oh, and Beyoncé – another friend of Williams, who has attended Centre Court as her guest – is in Europe, so don’t rule out a courtside cameo from the Carters, if they can carve out a moment from their tour schedule.

Beyonce and Jay Z at the Wimbledon women’s final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber in 2016.
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 Beyonce and Jay Z at the Wimbledon women’s final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber in 2016. Photograph: Karwai Tang/WireImage
Wimbledon uniform by Ralph Lauren.
 Wimbledon uniform by Ralph Lauren.

But the A-list are not the point, because what makes Wimbledon truly relevant to the business of getting dressed is that its fashion power does not derive from untouchable haute couture wardrobes. The joy of Wimbledon is that everyone is chic. The famous all-white dress code ensures that every on-court shot is a pure visual harmony. Then there is the Gatsby-esque dreaminess of the Ralph Lauren uniforms. Ballgirls and ballboys wear simple preppy navy polo shirts and polo dresses, while umpires and line judges wear blazers and smart cream slacks. The elegance of the uniforms is a lovely thing, because it makes those working at Wimbledon as central to the glamour of the place as the Duchesses in their Alexander McQueen tea dresses.

Dress, Zara, £29.99
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 Dress, Zara, £29.99 Photograph: Zara

The many style lessons to be learned from watching Wimbledon begin, of course, with white. When you want to look cool and calm in summer, all-white is an excellent place to start. Who wouldn’t take style tips from Roger Federer, the snow-white Centre Court dream whose appearance at this year’s opening press conference caused a reporter to blurt out that he was looking “even more handsome than last year”? I have never mastered wearing white on holiday (incompatible with a regime of spaghetti vongole and pistachio ice-cream) but I have learned that when you want to look competent and chic, white is the simplest formula for summer power dressing.

Blazer, £49.99, zara.com
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 Blazer, £49.99, zara.com Photograph: PR Company Handout

Also, blazers. If you are still harbouring inverse snobbery against the blazer, take a good look at Wimbledon and then at yourself. It is true that if you wear a blazer with a striped shirt and a panama hat and ostentatiously expensive watch, you will look ghastly. But if, on the other hand, you wear a blazer with your normal wardrobe you will find it neatens the edges of your look in a pleasingly no-effort kind of way. The key is not to shy away from going full-on blazer and thereby end up in a boring suit jacket. Gold buttons? Great, wear the blazer with a white T-shirt and cropped trousers and gold hoop earrings. Double-breasted? Surprisingly flattering thrown over a sundress.

Self-Portrait dress, £300, from matchesfashion.com
 Dress, £300, frommatchesfashion.com.

The Wimbledon “look” is smart, but not fraught. Even in the royal box, the dress code for female spectators is surprisingly relaxed. This makes Wimbledon an infinitely more useful template for what-to-wear-in-real-life than the royal enclosure, Ascot, with its compulsory millinery, or the Met Gala with its impossible dress codes (this year, if you recall, was Catholic chic). Self-Portrait is a popular label – Pippa Middleton wore one of their dresses last year, and Beyoncé the year before that – reinforcing its status as the home of formal-but-still-fun dresses. Sienna Miller in a cream Galvan jumpsuit, red lipstick and tortoiseshell sunglasses (2015) will forever serve as a reminder that the Talented Mr Ripley school of summer dressing takes a lot of beating.

This year’s Wimbledon is only just hotting up, but the fashion game is strong as ever. For day one, Mirka Federer teamed her deckchair-striped cotton shirt with a Gucci belt while Laura Carmichael wore a Ganni wrap dress: two strong summer looks, right there. The grass is green, the dress code is white – but this is a red carpet. Pour yourself a Pimm’s, and watch.

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[“Source-theguardian”]

How to nail the art of online shopping

Image result for How,to,nail,the,art,of,online,shopping

As a child, many of us must have tried rubbing on lamps in desperate hopes of coming across a genie. A genie that would make our lives easier and grant our wishes by making things appears in a jiffy.  Fast forward to 2018, we now have the internet which is more or less the same thing. We literally live in an era where we are all just “a click away”. Want a red dress for date night on the weekend? One click and voila it magically appears on your doorstep. Well, we do have to pay for it but doesn’t everything come with a price?

Shopping

Welcome to 2018, where the internet has truly revolutionized the art of purchasing. We have come a long way from physically dragging ourselves to the store in search of the perfect outfit for the annual office party. We no longer have to drive to hunt for things in crowded places. Today, we can sit in the comfort of our home’s wearing PJ’s and explore the entire new season catalogue of our favourite store whilst sipping on some red wine. (Yes, that is my how I spend most of my Saturday afternoons!)

Shopping

Most of us are guilty of making purchases every now and then online. “I window-shop literally every other day online. Being on social media literally, 24/7 temptations do get the better of me. But yes, I definitely do most of my shopping online. Firstly, I don’t have the luxury of time to go to the mall and browse stores. Secondly, decision making online is easier. I add stuff to my wishlist and then only make the selections of what goes into my cart. I am not so much of an impulsive shopper, I love seeing all my options and comparing them before buying”, shares blogger Aleena Macker. Even Vishal Singh, co-founder of Benoit Fashion agrees, “With the internet revolution going on in our country, online shopping is here to stay; social media just boosts the whole e-commerce ecosystem. Offline has existed since the beginning, but if I give you options over a lakh in the comfort of your own home, which you can browse through a five-inch screen, who wouldn’t be interested in giving it a try?”

Speaking about the rise of online shopping, Khushali Chauhan, head of online retail at Jade Blue, shares, “Online shopping according to me has become a very convenient option, especially for all the working individuals out there. If a brand isn’t online, it’s losing quite a lot in the market in terms of visibility and revenue, both. Every year we see the numbers increasing. And with the easy accessibility to the internet, we are surely going to keep seeing the rise at least for the coming decade.”

But mind you that shopping online is no child’s play. While it certainly is easy and convenient than its retail counterpart, there are certain things to keep in mind while adding things to your cart online. Read on to find out more.

Shopping

Find the deets
Research before clicking on the “add to cart”! Don’t we visit 10 different stores and then make a purchase while retail shopping? The same principle applies whilst shopping on the internet. Scan a variety of websites before ordering it as most of the times the same product is available on a different platform at a much lesser price or comes without a shipping cost. (Trust me when I say that shipping costs do matter and can really add up). We know you have to have the shiny quilted velvet sling bag that you just saw but hold on, check the internet for varieties, compare and then make a purchase.

Secondly, make it a point to go through customer reviews. (Yes, I know the bags look awfully pretty and you can’t wait to order it and flaunt it but wait!) Pictures provided on shopping platforms make the product look flawless and amazing but make sure to check the pictures in the comments section provided by customers who have ordered it as that is what the product really does look like.  “Online shopping is a blessing in disguise. I shop online quite often. I carefully read about the product and style description before placing an order to save time later”, says fashion blogger Pranjal Salecha. Reading customer reviews can actually tell you a lot about the product (yes, it can tell you if the fit is true to its size or if it actually is the exact shade of pink that it looks like in pictures!) Read and read before you finally make a call on the product as this could save a lot of time on sending the product back if it did not match up to your expectation.

Shopping

Sneaky sales
If there is one word that makes the majority of the female population happy, it is –SALE (well, that and caffeine!). The best part about shopping online is that it provides us sales all year round as compared to its retail cousin where we have to desperately wait for the end of the season to make our purchases. Do you remember the days where we actually had to wait patiently for the in-store sale to arrive to finally buy the item we’d been eyeing since long? (I certainly did!). Luckily times have changed. Shopping online makes things super convenient and non-fussy but also provides you with great deals and discounts on everything. Majority of the Indian shopping sites have a separate sales section and also provide deals regularly on the new merchandise which is why it is essential to understand how the website works.

Shopping

”When shopping for the first time from any website, look for the first-time shopper discount code, almost all websites will have this and always download the app of that particular brand you like to shop from to get a regular notification on offers and discounts,” says Salecha. Chauhan also points out, “The inventory block is also lesser since the old stock can be cleared at higher discounts. The consumers are always at a profitable end as they get the best of the prices for what they want while sitting at home.”

Shopping

Returns and cancellations
Returns and cancellations are one of the key features offered by an online shopping portal. Imagine ordering for a dress only to realize that you are getting it at a better deal five hours later or because you changed your mind and no longer wish to buy it?  This is where the cancellations button comes to mind. If the site does not offer this option, then there is no option other than to have it delivered and send it back (quite tedious, isn’t it?).  “Never forget to read about the return policy before placing the order. Not everything that you think will fit you perfectly will actually do”, says Salecha.

Make it a priority to always read or go through the terms and conditions before proceeding to make a payment for your purchase. Similarly, a lot of websites do not offer returns on sale products. In this case, make sure to be absolutely sure about the purchase as you wouldn’t be able to get rid of it later. Also, a lot of startup websites does not offer the feature so it always helps in looking out for it before rather than throwing the product away later. “Masses, young or relatively old, lower middle class or relatively affluent are giving online shopping a try as though the customer cannot feel the garment or check for the sizes, she is confident with the process as the return options provide a hassle-free experience,” says Singh.

Additionally, In case of ordering something internationally, look for the insurance option, which helps you ensure your purchases in case you have already paid for it. If the product is insured and is damaged or lost in the transaction, the company has to send you a brand new product.

Shopping

The perfect fit
We all have questions like “will it fit me well?” or “will it look as good on me as it does on the model flaunting it” running in our head every time we shop online. Yes, the quality of the garment, the style, the pattern is all important but if it doesn’t fit well then the said garment is of no importance (you really don’t wish to be seen at a party strutting around in a black ruffle dress two sizes bigger for you, do you?). The fit is one of the most questionable thought we all face while purchasing something off the internet. This is where the size guide plays a huge role. “Firstly, go through the site’s size guide. Secondly, check the size that shows wear on the model to understand the fit of that particular size. Zoom in to see the material of the clothing. And make sure to read the complete description,” imparts Macker. The size guide differs from website to website. You may be an M at some website but at another, you could be an S. Therefore, it becomes very essential to sit with a measuring tape while browsing online and measure yourself with a tape to see how well the merchandise would fit you.

Shopping

Art of spending
We totally get that shopping online is a wonderful thing and there is nothing that beats the feeling of buying fresh fur-trimmed velvet boots for the season, but it is necessary to draw a line and not run into a debt. It is pretty easy to lose track of spending online and keeping tabs on the online transactions are not really spending cash physically. “I always screenshot and save the online transaction even though the website does send you details on mail to keep track of my spending,” says Salecha. Maintaining a journal or document or keeping tracks of receipts does help to track down the transactions and stick to the monthly budget.

Shopping

Authenticity
While shopping online has a number of pros there are also a few cons that you need to look out for. One of them is whether the product you want to invest in is authentic or not (this really counts if you are thinking of buying high-end luxury items). Make sure to check the website thoroughly and checking if the site has a physical address and a phone number for you to call on in case things go wrong. “As far as product authenticity is concerned, if it is a trusted site and you have purchased things before then there shouldn’t be a problem but if I do like something and am not convinced I check up if they accept returns and refund the product and most importantly I pay for the product on arrival and not beforehand,” mentions Macker.

Additionally, do a web search on the website if you have to, in order to know more about it. Also, read the terms and conditions before as many websites do sell knockoffs or second-hand products (Remember that precaution is better than cure!).

Shopping

Social media
The advancement in the world of technology has us shopping for things from social media too! Akshaya Ramji – who is a designer and makes money selling her creations on Instagram tells, “I used my Instagram handle Wyshkaa to start selling pieces and it did manage to catch the attention of potential customers and bloggers. It all starts with people enquiring about the prices of garments and then translates to us creating customized pieces for them. It all depends on the way your page is marketed.” Chauhan reiterates, “One (brand) can reach to a large number of people while operating from a smaller space, which has benefitted a lot of sellers. The brands which didn’t even have much of a local reach can now have a national reach.”

All you have to do is glance at your explore pages on the gram to know how serious is the selling game on social media.  “Always make sure to check the about you option on the sellers’ page, this way you get to see if people have brought things from the person and have tagged them on the picture,” Ramji informs.

Phew, go on and slay at the online game now!

Text: Ravina Sachdev

[“Source-femina”]

What is cold pressed oil? How it is different from refined oil

1. What makes them different

What makes them different

When we had started believing that refined oils are the best medium for cooking and that they keep us safe from heart diesase and obesity, scientists turned the tables again by a new research which says, cold pressed oils are what we must be consuming and not the refined ones. But what’s the difference between the two? A layman will naturally be boggled by these two types of oils that are same in appearance. Basically, cold pressed oils are the ones that are extracted in a certain way and have more nutrition than refined oil in which during the refining process, the nutritional benefits are lost.

2. What is cold pressed oil?

What is cold pressed oil?

Cold pressed oil refers to a method of oil extraction where the oilseeds are crushed and pressed (without using heat) to extract oil. The entire process involves pressure and no heat and that is what makes this oil healthier than any other form.

3. What is refined oil?

What is refined oil?

As the name suggests, it is all about filtration of oil through various chemicals and heat that makes the final output very light and shiny in texture. The mechanical process makes the oilseeds lose the majority of nutrients that the human body needs on a daily basis. They are rich in fat and devoid of nutrition completely!

4. The ancient process of oil extraction

The ancient process of oil extraction

When it comes to cooking oil, we all have heard a term called ‘Kachi Ghani’. The word ‘Ghani’ refers to a long cylindrical contraption that was used in early days to extract oil from oilseeds. It is more like a mortar and pestle device, made of stone or wood and is used to extract oil with the help of animals like cow or buffalo. This is the oldest and simplest method of oil extraction that involved no heat. Whereas, the modern age oil extraction process involves chemicals, heat, and machines to extract oil from the oilseeds.

5. Difference between the two

Difference between the two

They both come from the same source (oilseeds) but go through different processes. The process of extarcting oil through cold-pressed method is basic and mechnical. It is similar to the way we extract juice from a manual juicer. No wonder, nutrition of the oil is retained.

6. Is there anything called hot pressed oil?

Is there anything called hot pressed oil?

Yes. In this process, the press cylinders or the pressing machine is attached with heaters. Heating softens the oil seeds and hence not only the process of extraction becomes easier but more oil is extracted. However, much of the nutrition is lost.

7. Are cold pressed oils healthy?

Are cold pressed oils healthy?

According to reports, cold pressed oils are way healthier than refined oils. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and oleic acid. Also, they are free from chemicals added to oils during refining process. They are also more aromatic and hence add more taste to the dishes.

8. Are they safe for cooking on high heat

Are they safe for cooking on high heat

It entirely depends upon the type of oil that you are using. For example, sesame oil and olive oil should ideally be used at low temperatures, but mustard oil and sunflower and safflower oil can be used for cooking at moderately high temperatures.

[“source=timesofindia”]