As I was about to embark on my university journey, many warned “You will spend the next four years trying to avoid those you met in the first week.” Fortunately, they were utterly wrong. Not only am I in regular contact with those I met and lived with in those early days, I also met one of my best (and gay) friends, mutual friends refer to us as ‘the couple’. Hubby’s name is Tom Fraser.
Tom and I bond over many things: food, dance, exercise and beauty. Throughout uni Tom was kind enough to do my makeup for fancy dress and special occasions. The first time I was really aware of his talent was when we were studying in China where he painted me in to a corpse’s bride for Halloween, a role I have reprised thanks to Tom a number of times. As a member of the University of Sheffield Lacrosse Society, every week I took part in their fancy dress socials and most week’s Tom turned my costume from the funny to the fantastical. With strokes here and there I metamorphosed from leopard, to princess and lady bird.
Amazingly, Tom’s skill is entirely self nurtured through YouTube videos and personal experiments. His canvases span his own face, mine and many of our friends and his online portfolio encompasses drag, Halloween masks, stage makeup, conventional beauty, fashion shoots and more. You can marvel at his wonderful art on Instagram at https://instagram.com/makinghimup/
Post uni, the albatross around the neck of my generation is debt, thanks to student loans, astronomical mortgages (if we managed to get one) as well as a love to consume and experience life. Whilst I slowly build my housing fund I keep my eye out for ways to replenish my fun funds. One such method I use is selling old clothes from my collection and any one else who drops them in my hands. Depending on the brand and condition of the garments I use a multitude of reselling sights.
Hardly Ever Worn It is great for high end designer labels in damn near mint condition, that’s where pieces like my Anne Fontaine shirts have found new loving homes. I am selling two on there right now. There is also the option of easing your fashion conscience by donating the money you receive from each sale to a charity of your choice. Currently I am selling two of my mum’s unwanted Anne Fontaine shirts and a Marlene Birger skirt.
eBay has been useful for selling old kids clothes, mis-chosen gifts and accessories such as jewellery, scarves and hats. Today I listed a listed some ill-chosen pieces mum ordered from online catalogues including a Boden dress and shirts.
For the more high street and fast fashion pieces I am now going to try Depop. Depop is normally a platform for small boutiques, fashion start ups and those making an entrepreneurial sideline to their daily lives. Not only are the Depop sellers offering unusual items, they are masters in merchandising. This is my cue to play with my stylist skills to attract buyers but knew I was going to need Tom’s crafty hand to make the difference.
The very day I was leaving for Antarctica, I hauled my bag of sellable goods on the London Overground to Tom’s flat, just north-west of London’s centre. In advance of our shoot, I had sent him some photos for inspiration. For the two sequin dresses, we could not resist the much referenced looks from the golden age of Hollywood and The Great Gatsby, hence the pearls and siren red lips. For poses, we played with the ideas of roaring parties and sultry temptresses from the era.
When it came to the bondage-influencedTopShop dress, I was looking for a modern and edgy look, using metallic streaks of make up and more angular and close up poses for image strength.
It was an unexpectedly sunny, yet breezy, day in early March for our photos, perfect for the floaty skirted dress. Standing on the fire exit stairs, the wind tussled the material and my locks.
To say thank you for Tom’s time and work I paid him in the only way I knew, food. With our work done, we relished fresh tucker from the Kew Gardens Sunday market.
All the dresses featured in above are now available on my StyleSansFrontieres Depop page.