Sweaty Betty blog: Tamara
Empowering Women Through Fitness
Then the following day I was off to the British Fashion Awards at the Savoy where the highlights were Stella McCartney winning 2 awards (hooray for british women designing sportswear!), Ronnie Wood's coolest green suit, Victoria Pendleton looking fantastic and Nicholas Kirkwood winning accessory designer of the year (I happened to be wearing his shoes as you can see above!)
We have just had our amazing strategy day for Spring Summer 14 in our Wimbledon yoga studio with all the product and marketing team. Cycled there along the tow path. Talked customer for the whole morning then thought about the fitness trends, competitors (a lot more since the Olympics 2012) and what she will be doing in 2014. Did boot camp on the common for am hour. Cycled home. Swim training for 1 hour, 7x400m, each split getting faster. Exhausted.
Out with the designers tomorrow to check out what everyone is doing and start to gather our thoughts for SS14 in light of strategy day today. Meeting with Selfridges as well to discuss concept designs for our new space.
Yesterday the Sweaty Betty designers introduced the AW11 collection to all 25 boutique managers and customer care. It is not often within the fashion industry that a retail team can get up close and personal with the designers of the product they represent. Uniquely, twice a year, the two teams come together to share their knowledge, passion and the innovations for the season ahead. Tamara, Sweaty Betty founder, introduced the creative inspiration with cine film and 60s mood boards, and in what is feeling like Sweaty Betty’s strongest collection yet, the designers presented each Autumn / Winter piece. They spoke of finding the perfect balance between the beauty of the 60s and the technical sophistication that ensures all product is fit for purpose be it yoga, triathlon, cycling or running.
Any tri novices out there (I'm thinking of you Audrey, about to do the Shock Absorber Triathlon at Dorney Lake on Saturday), here are my 4 top tips for the day before/actual day which I found really helpful when I did my first one and was terrified!
1. Set out all your kit (which should be in a bag or box) the night before and run through each transition so that you know you have everything prepared, haven’t forgotten anything and can do it without panicking during the race.
2. Walk the course in the transition area before the start of the race. Especially somewhere like Dorney Lake there are thousands of bikes all racked up in lots of rows. It is a good idea to walk to swim start, then from swim exit to where your bike is racked, then to bike exit. Finally to bike entrance and then to run exit.
3. If you are doing laps, make sure to wear a watch or lap counter in case you forget how many laps
you have done (it is up to you to count them).
4. There are lots of cameras everywhere so make sure to smile even if you feel like dying!
Had a great director's away day and evening at Shoreditch House. Such a great place, especially if you are there all day as the building is so big and has roof gardens, swimming pool, sunbathing deck, huge lounge areas. All very conducive to having a great day out. Our brilliant motivational non-exec reminded us of the complexity of retail - working across 3 seasons but how consistency is absolutely key. Our wise and spiritual "shrink" had us telling fairy tales and exploring our values through metaphor. A fluoro pedicure, quite a few mojitos and champagne later and a dream team (!) felt more connected, more excited and more energised than ever before.
Press day for our autumn winter 11 collection last week. I was really pleased with how it all came together, taking direct inspiration from the cinefilm of my dad skiing in the royal naval ski team in St Moritz in the 1960s. We had his ski jumper (navy blue knitted with red/white stripes on the arms with a gold embroidered crown complete with antique sequins) on show plus a 60's red all in one ski suit. Cinefilm played in the background. Groups of mannequins displayed our collections to best effect. Huge artworks of our catwalk shoot adorned the walls and a big pop art inspired graphic with our logo hung on the back wall. The press were particularly enthralled with our gift bag which included a chanel eye kohl pencil and illustrations (done by our genius graphic designer Ruth) on how to achieve the perfect 60s eye.
I have spent the last 2 weeks doing jury service. It was not top of my list of things to do at the time, what with trying to juggle childcare/work etc, but it is your duty as a citizen to do it (legally you can’t get out of it) and actually it turned out to be fascinating. It was a landmark case, one of "domestic slavery" and no one had been convicted of the charge before... and we sent the defendant down. I felt proud to have done my bit as a citizen, keeping society in order and seeing how effectively the jury system can work.
Tell you what though; it made me appreciate my job very much. It was fairly tortuous sitting in a court room all day, no windows, not moving from your chair, except for the odd break, concentrating on the minutiae of the case. Being there Monday to Friday, (I value my part time week more highly than anything else!!) and doing what the judge tells you to do (not used to that either!).
Frame Studio in Shoreditch
Fab studio in the east end that I went to last week. It is the antithesis of a normal gym ... No corporate stuffiness... No Big biceped blokes in small vests hauling on huge weights... Just very good loud music, girls sitting around reading mags, waiting for their class to be called, classes which are named things like: ass and abs, vibe, quickie arms - no nonsense, powerful, strong - and then there are their 80's aerobics or Britney dance classes... Legwarmers, leotards and lipstick actively encouraged.
Absolutely loved it. I did a yin and yang yoga class which was great if a teeny bit disappointingly normal (no leg warmers, groovy outfits here... Appropriately serious and very calming).
Year 3 Homework
Just had a delightful time at my daughter's school, telling them about how we design sportswear. They are currently studying the Greeks and the Olympics and their proactive sporty teacher asked me to come in. The nicest thing about an audience of 8 yr olds is their unbridled enthusiasm, their desire to constantly ask questions and how interactive the whole experience is. I think the bit they liked the most was when I showed them some of our product which had more "unusual" properties e.g. I poured water onto one of our ski jackets and the water drops just bobbled off, without sinking in, or when I showed them a tight made from a tree (bamboo) or a swimsuit that is stretchy but has no lycra in it, so it won't go see through and out of shape because chlorine destroys Lycra, or a vest that is made on a machine that normally makes tights, so that we can achieve a seamless garment without seams that may irritate.
Their teacher is asking them to design an item of sportswear for a kid’s range of Sweaty Betty for their homework! Do you think we should do a range for kids?!
Hear Tamara’s thoughts on our SS11 collection filmed from our Press Day in Soho, London. Our themes took us from the beauty and austerity of the great British seaside in the summertime, to Atonement, Cowes week, Pineapple Dance Studios and Blenheim Palace Triathlons – all British inspired and British designed.
My spinning trainer quoted this today...
"the difference between try and triumph is oomph"
Just returning from our SS11 shoot at quirky 1930's hotel burgh island in devon. Blessed with sunshine, a model who could run, beautiful scenery and great hotel rooms and food, "it didn't really feel like work" (the model's words not mine). Add some espresso martinis and late night skinny dipping in the mermaid tidal pool and it was almost verging on holiday-like.
Product highlights for me are a shiny silver blouson swim top and cool grey fisherman pants from "futuristic nautical" beach range, the almost gossamer-fine seamless vests and tops in charcoal and neon orange from "all sport- run", and the tri wetsuit. Loads more fantastic developments for next summer of course...too many to list here.
Off next week to shoot yoga and workout in a ruin.
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