Birmingham has style… a whole mile of it actually!

1 12 2009

People often say that Birmingham doesn’t have style, but the latest campaign from Style Birmingham is about to prove them wrong.

Launched today, the ‘One Mile of Style’ campaign aims to help shoppers have a stress-free Christmas whilst remaining festively fashionable by exploring the concise offering the city has to offer.

With over 1000 shops, bar and restaurants in the city centre alone, Birmingham has everything you need; from the ultimate gifts and perfect party dresses, to a suitably festive day out.

The launch of ‘One Mile of Style’ comes perfectly in time with my post yesterday about ‘Manic Monday’ where I said that the high street needed to embrace the internet, rather than give in to it. This campaign is a great example of how through the website, Style Birmingham is encouraging people to shop on the high street rather than the internet. The map allows you to explore the city’s key shopping area and the festive activities happening throughout December, without actually leaving your house. As well as downloading the map straight from your computer, you can also link in to the Style Birmingham iPhone App and navigate your way round the city centre.

This works similarly to OSOYOU, where shoppers can explore their favourite high street stores, compare prices and create a shopping list to then go and explore the shops in person.

This is how I think the retail world should work together, to ensure we don’t see the death of the high street just yet.

Oh, and don’t forget to look out for the brand new Style Birmingham TV Advert, which premieres on ITV (after Emmerdale) tonight. Exciting times!

 





We Love Shopping

25 11 2009

Well all knew it was true, but now it’s official. A study by Clothes Show Live (which is back in Birmingham 4-9 December) has revealed that women love shopping more than they love men.

Not surprisingly, results of the survey showed that we are more disappointed when the latest ‘must-have’ is out of stock than being stood up for a date. Apparently, the same study showed that a girly shopping trip is a monthly occurrence but we only invite the other half along twice a year… Christmas and Valentine’s Day, I’m guessing!

Brilliant stat too, but we’ll happily spend £137 per shopping trip but are only willing to spend £68 on a partner’s birthday present.

The survey has already been picked up by OK! Magazine, who also said:

“Women get the same rush of irrational happiness that’s usually associated with new love when they get their hands on a buy.”

So, basically… for all those people on match.com; you’re at the wrong website, it’s asos.com that you need!

Life’s mystery solved! Bye!





Any excuse for shopping – discounts ahoy!

23 11 2009


Brilliant picture by Tim Ellis – on Flickr

Not that I need an excuse to go shopping but Selfridges is making sure that Christmas comes early with a fantastic 20% off. From 26-29 November (yes, this week people!) you can get 20% off your Christmas shopping and 10% off beauty and fragrance brands by printing this voucher.

There’s even better news for anyone in Birmingham, the city’s most stylish independent (as crowned at last month’s Style Awards), Disorder, also has 15% off until New Year’s Eve.

I do believe this weekend will be spent shopping… woo hoo!

Oh, and for those of you who love a good discount, keep an eye on Style Birmingham’s Offers page!





Style Birmingham Launch iPhone App

19 11 2009

Now, very fittingly, as I just published my last post I got word that I could talk offcially about the new Style Birmingham iPhone App… something that I have been waiting to talk about for ages!

Those of you that know me know I am an avid member of the Blackberry camp, and often scorn people that jump on the iPhone bandwagon. But there is no denying that the app’s available on said touchscreen are pretty impressive; my favourite being the spirit level app, I don’t need to explain myself.

And now, Style Birmingham has announced the launch of its brand new iPhone app.

The first of its kind, the Style Birmingham App is free and has a directory of the city’s 1000 shops, bars and restaurants. From major shopping centres and department stores, to unique arcades and independent boutiques, the app has everything you need for a day of retail therapy. If you’re a visitor it also has a list of the best places to stay in the city.

Perfect for the festive shopping season, the app has Google Maps and contact details for each of the stores, making your shopping trip easy and enjoyable…. leaving less time for stress and more time for shopping.

The app also gives you the latest news updates from stylebirmingham.com; including store openings, shopping events, and discounts and promotions. As well as the latest fashion news, hottest trends and expert shopping advice.

Now my only issue is that I don’t want an iPhone. Perhaps an iPod touch will do… Dear Santa…..!





The Trend of the Jack-in-the-Box Shop

18 11 2009


Image Credit

The term ‘pop-up shop’ seems to have been thrown around quite a lot recently; with fashion designers, artists and well-known brands opening temporary shops across the country. The trend for these fashionable units is a result of both the recession and throw-away fashion; what better way to stay on top of the style game than to close shops after just six months and move on to ‘the next big thing’?!

Last year London became thoroughly ‘pop-tastic’, with shops, restaurants and art galleries taking over the city’s coolest areas. There was a massive rise in portable restaurants, like the Reindeer Restaurant and Flash, and also art galleries like the Proud Gallery, which started merely as a marquee over a car park. Even retail expert Mary Portas opened a hyper pop-up, open for just one hour and selling vintage clothes, and again this year she teamed up with Grazia to open a charity shop in Westfield.

The trend has continued to grow with On|Off, Doc Martens, and heritage brand Baracuta joining the list of pop-ups. Even London Fashion Week fuelled a host of pop-ups across the Capital.

But it’s not just London benefitting from these shops, this year the trend has come to Birmingham.

Back in September, Councillor Martin Mullaney headed up the Style in the City fringe, Pop Up in the City. Using an empty unit on Corporation Street, he worked with a 14 local designers to open a market-place for shoppers during the three-day fashion and beauty festival.

Now that Christmas is here, Harvey Nichols has re-opened their Christmas pop-up gift shop on Level 3 of The Mailbox, selling the best Christmas gifts and to-die-for hampers. They are also holding a Festive Fete for shoppers on 30 November.

Jewellery festival Brilliantly Birmingham has also jumped on board the pop-up train. Teaming up with Pavilions, the temporary boutique will be open from 5-24 December and will showcase a number of designers, giving shoppers the opportunity to buy original hand-crafted jewellery and commission bespoke pieces.

But the latest and one of the most exciting of the pop-ups to arrive in the city comes courtesy of Punch Records and the Sauce Gallery. Pioneering typographer, sleeve designer and artist Swifty will be setting up shop at the Sauce Gallery in Custard Factory from Saturday 12 December 2009-10 January 2010. From originals and one-off prints, to T-shirts, skateboards and stickers, Swifty fans will have plenty to choose from. Partly inspired by Peter Blake’s ‘Toy Shop’, it will also feature Swifty’s Newsagents installation and be home to the A-Z of Swifty Show. For more info, go to www.punch-records.co.uk.

So, it looks like the pop-up trend is going strong, and I have to say that I’ll champion it all the way. An article by The Times summed pop-ups up perfectly, calling them “The epitome of our high-speed, short-attention-span culture.”

Not only do pop-ups keep the cool crowd entertained but they also gives artists and young designers a platform to showcase their work. They also makes the most of empty and under-used units. A win-win all round, I’d say!





Christmastime, mistletoe and wine… oh and shopping!

18 11 2009


Image Credit

Before you all start, yes I know I have just got back from New York but I’m not talking those holidays; I’m talking about Christmas.

This week, I have been feeling particularly festive having just got back from The Big Apple, where the ice rinks and Christmas trees are set and ready for the festive season and Macy’s infamous windows are lining 34th Street. Even better, when I arrived home from the airport, I turned on the TV and saw the Coca Cola advert, which to me always means the official start to Christmas.

Further fuelling my Christmas Spirit, the German Market is back in Birmingham and bigger than ever. Tonight I had my first trip to said market, and one of my lovely Twitter friends (@danofftheradio) told me about the Hot Chocolate with Jagermeister. Now, two of my favourite things in the world are chocolate and Jager so to put them together was always going to be a winner with me, but it really was a taste sensation!  Luckily, the German Market always encourages Birmingham’s social crowd to meet, at every available opportunity, for some Bratwurst and Gluhwein so I’ll be partaking in plenty of alcoholic chocolate!

Apart from the amazing market, one of the other brilliant things about Christmas is of course, shopping. Not that I need much encouraging – I like to use working on Style Birmingham as an excuse to shop as much as possible (research!) – but nothing beats shopping for presents! We are all too aware that this will be a difficult year with the dreaded recession, but I think that retailers are really pulling out the stops to make sure we all keep spending; after all, that’s the only way to keep the economy going.

Birmingham’s retailers are no exception and have some exciting things happening over the festive season… make sure you check them out!

Shopping Events

Debenhams is offering 25% off across all departments in their Christmas Spectacular Sale! From Wednesday 18th November – Saturday 21st November, you can stock up on presents and bag yourself some goodies too. There is also 10% off beauty and cosmetics.

On Thursday 19th November, House of Fraser is holding a ‘Prepare to Party Fragrance event’ on the ground floor. Join them in-store for top tips on looking great this Christmas; during the day Mugler will be holding fragrance workshops and from 5pm, DIOR’s visiting make-up artist will be showing everyone the hottest party looks. To RSVP, email Birmingham@hof.co.uk.

I’ve also heard on the grapevine, there’s a special two-day discount event the following Thursday and Friday.

Brilliantly Birmingham Pop-Up Shop

Opening on 5 December until Christmas Eve, Pavilions will host a special jewellery pop-up shop. The temporary boutique will give you the chance to buy original hand-crafted jewellery, meet local designers and commission bespoke pieces. There will be pieces for men and women, and for all budgets.

Festive Families

Christmas is all about the family and Pallasades is certainly spreading the Christmas Spirit. As well as hosting Birmingham’s biggest grotto, the shopping centre has also teamed up with a number of top local attractions including Sea Life Centre, Cadbury World, Thinktank, Black Country Museum and Dudley Zoo. By spending just £10 at any or a combination of stores at the centre and showing the receipt/s, shoppers can get a special discount book.

Taste Sensations

As well as the aforementioned German treats, retailers are also looking to tantalise your tastebuds. Bullring have a Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree (yes, heaven) and Harvey Nichols has opened their pop-up gift shop in The Mailbox, which includes a range of seasonal treats. Harvey Nics will be holding a Festive Fete on 30 November in the store, where you can enjoy the finest food and wine, create bespoke hampers and get your gift-buying sorted. Tickets are complimentary and limited spaces for the Fancy Nancy session will be offered on a first come first served basis. For more information and to book your tickets contact the Harvey Nichols Foodmarket on 0121 616 6000.

He’s Behind You…

And don’t forget about Selfridges, who will be bringing Panto to the high street. During December there will be some very special panto-related treats, so make sure you’re around to enjoy them.

I have plenty more to tell you about Style Birmingham’s plans for Christmas, but I’ll leave them for another time. For now, go and enjoy some Bratwurst and get shopping!