Sunday, 4 September 2016

Interview with Jess from Snikt and Bamf



Social media is fantastic and is a platform for learning. I have come across so many people and businesses particularly through Instagram. I came across Snikt and Bamf and I recently had the chance to meet Jess the owner of the company at Guildford Comic Con (post to follow).

Established in 2014 by Jessica Leese, Snikt and Bamf's main aim was to make wearable and fashionable nerdy jewellery for geeky ladies (and sometimes geeky guys) to express their love of comics, movies, books and games in a less obvious way. A subtle hint to others within the same fandom.

Since starting out the brand now has a worldwide customer base and has become many fellow nerds go to accessory shop.

Geek fashion is huge! Geek jewellery can be worn without the need to be wearing geek clothing, it can be a fab nerdy unique addition to give an outfit and edge and show some personality. I have found geek jewellery becoming more and more popular among pinup girls and really works well with the style. Also a lot of pinup chicks are total nerds underneath the red lippy and victory rolls! We pin ups and rockabilly gals love films, tv, comics and more!

I myself love to wear broaches, wear necklaces and stud earrings. I also love homeware and love the odd geeky thing creeping into every room where possible! I’m a massive fan of head wear too!

Jess has a really unique style of jewellery which I instantly recognised when I saw her stand whilst browsing at the comic con. Her collections are great and ever changing, theres something for everyone. If you love bold statement pieces to represent your favourite fandoms then Snikt and Bamf are for you!

Check out my interview with Jess below for the low-down on this wonderful geeky business…

Photo provided by Snikt and Bamf

Photo provided by
Snikt and Bamf
How did Snikt and Bamf come about?

Snikt and Bamf first came about shortly after I finished studying jewellery and silver-smithing at university in Birmingham, After I graduated from my BA I started work in an auction house for a while and it soon became apparent to me that the world of high end jewellery really wasn't my style. I started to think about how I could meld my jewellery skills into something fun and unique, It didn't take me long to decide on going down a geeky route. I wanted to make fun, colourful pieces of jewellery for other nerdy women like myself.

Tell us about the name Snikt and Bamf…

The name Snikt and Bamf came about because I wanted something a little bit obscure and geeky that would give people a sort of Ah Ha moment when they realise where it's from. It was inspired by the X-Men comics as Snikt is the noise Wolverines claws make and Bamf is the noise Nightcrawler makes when he transports himself, and as anyone who knows the comics will know that Wolverine and Nightcrawler are good friends.

Photo provided by
Snikt and Bamf
What are your personal fandoms?

Personally I love DC comics especially Batgirl, Birds of prey, and Cat woman. I’m all about the femme fatales. Other than that I love Star Wars, Doctor who, anything Marvel, and Lord of the rings. I also love a huge amount or cartoons and games but probably too many to list. 

Tell us about your collaboration with Pinup Girl Clothing?

I started to stock Pinup Girl Clothing last year and it's been fantastic as it allows our American customers easier access to our pieces. The collaboration came about just before Suicide Squad came out. They asked me if I could make them some exclusive Harley and Joker pieces for their suicide squad collection. As you can imagine for a small company like myself this was quite a big deal. I sent them a few samples before we decided on the final product which is now available on their website.

Photo provided by
Snikt and Bamf
Who can we see wearing your pieces?

You can see my pieces of a lot of cosplayers, convention goers, as well as a lot of lovely ladies on Instagram including plastic jewellery collector/blogger @kim0006 who has quite alot of Snikt and Bamf jewellery including some custom pieces made especially for her. 

What are your most popular items? 

My most popular item by far has to be the clever girl necklace, followed closely by the Harley Quinn, Cat Woman, and Poison Ivy portrait brooches.

What are your current collections? 

Photo provided by
Snikt and Bamf
I tend to make a new collection every month or so, Right now it's labyrinth inspired collection. As always though in permanent range there is something for almost every fandom.

What collections are in the pipeline? 

The next collection I’m working on is a Pokémon collection, I am also looking forward to doing some dark crystal, never ending story, and harry potter collections.

Do you have any personal favourites? 

My Favourite piece is the Clever Girl necklace or the Dark Phoenix necklace as they were some of the first pieces I made.

Do you take commissions?

I do indeed! I love making commission pieces for people; it’s nice to have a new challenge or perhaps a look into a fandom that i hadn't been into before. I've found a lot of new shows and books thanks to commissions.

Photo of Jess from Snikt and Bamf
Do you make cosplay props/pieces? 

I Cosplay myself, so if I can use my laser cutter to make cosplay props I do it. I often make props for friends such as transparent gambit style cards or replicas of jewellery or accessories that certain game characters wear.

I understand you are a keen cosplayer, can you tell us about your cosplay history?

I've always loved dressing up ever since I was little, when I discovered that there was a whole group of people who do this on a regular basis my mind was blown. I often dress up for the bigger shows while on my stall, sometimes we're too busy for me to wander about in them but it's still fun.

Do you have any costume tips or tricks to share?

My main tip is to stay hydrated its easy when I’m on the stall for me to get a drink, but I have a lot of cosplayer friends who I see walking around all day in massive costumes and not drinking or eating. It's at that point I have to play convention mom and make them sit down and have a drink. Other than that go out and have fun, the cosplay community is full of amazing people I have made so many good friends through cosplay.

Photo provided by Snikt and Bamf
What events can people find out at throughout the year?

All of my events are listed on my website but the main 3 of 2016 are MCM London at the end of October, MCM Birmingham at the end of November, and the Clothes Show at the start of December

What are your favourite events to attend?

My favourite events are the comic conventions i do especially MCM London, it has such a great atmosphere, everyone is so happy to be there.

What can expect from you in the future?

You can expect loads more geekery from us, including jewellery, homeware, and maybe even some large scale decorative pieces for your walls.


Photo provided by Snikt and Bamf
 
I would like to thank Jess for her time with this interview. Make sure you check out her work here and look out for her at the events she is attending for the rest of this year.

xoxo

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Interview with Burlesque Beauty & Published Pinup Miss Sugar Rush

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography 
Back again after a very busy period! There really is never a good time for your car to break down is there? Especially with a baby! So from things very non glam let’s bring a bit of glamour back! There’s no place better for some glam and sparkle than the wonderful world of burlesque. We’ve so many costumier interviews lately we’ve been missing our burly 101’s so here is a 101 just for you! Miss Sugar Rush is a burlesque performer and published pinup model. I have had the pleasure of having this lovely lady perform at one of my own burlesque shows. Her classical performance style, infectious smile and high energy drew me to her and I just had to have her in my line up.  Her sassy style, pinup look and gorgeous smile have caught the eye of many brands and photographers alike and not only a burlesque artiste but Sugar Rush is a well-known and published pinup model who is well sought after and very experienced.

Take a read below of my interview with this wonderful lady and learn all about another burlesque beauty!



Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
How did you get into the burlesque industry? 

I've always been fascinated by the art of burlesque, one day I finally had the courage to take a burlesque  course at Burlesque Baby in London (http://www.burlesquebaby.com) – for fun, curiosity and to learn this beautiful art, after the first class I was hooked!! In this course I met so many wonderful and supportive people from and I instantly felt a sense of community, sisterhood so I knew I was in the right place. 
After my graduation, at the Garage in Islington/London I was buzzing for three days, that was it!! I was completely addicted and I couldn't wait to be on stage again.


How did the name Miss Sugar Rush come about? 
During the burlesque course at Burlesque Baby, there is a module where you learn about your stage persona, your style and your performer name. At that point I was in the process of developing my character and style so my teacher Divine Miss Em asked us to bring a mood board with all the things we would like to express on stage and how we wanted to be perceived as performers. Well, I'm a Libra - creative, indecisive, dramatic - and I was so excited that I made not one but three mood boards!! The first mood board was very dark, Gothic, noir. The second was very sweet, kawaii with pastel , candy colours and the words 'sugar rush' on it. The third mood board was very high fashion, high couture with designs and catwalk inspired images. I also had a list with name choices written down for my burlesque persona.
After looking at my mood boards (I was so scared) Divine Miss Em, looked at me and said, ‘well…I get you!!’ After giving me a major advice on my style and stage persona, she also said, ‘I really like your name’. I was like what??? (Sugar Rush was just a word featured on my mood board, I actually had a list of names in my bag) but she thought was brilliant, so there you go, I can say my name was given to me by Divine Miss Em.
You have performed in a huge amount of places. Do you still get nervous about going on stage? 

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
I don't get nervous, I get super excited, enthusiastic and extremely grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love, so yes, I feel that ton of butterflies in my stomach and I absolutely love it. Having said that, I'm my worse critic, so even after giving my very best on stage I never think it was enough, I always find room for improvement and I constantly keep pushing myself.
Who is your favourite burlesque performer to watch? 
I'm obsessed with the American burlesque performers, currently I really admire the work of Miss Mosh, Ginger Valentine, Roxy D'Lite and of course Dita Von Teese
What is your favourite prop to use? 
Instinctively I'm always drawn to props with a flow such as wings, fans, silk fans, ribbons because it creates a dramatic visual impact on stage
What did you do to earn a living before you started burlesque? 
My background is in the fashion industry, I'm a fashion stylist and image consultant by trade.
What do you like to do with your time off from being Miss Sugar Rush? 
I love art, so you will often find me in theaters, expositions, fashion events, I also love travelling and shopping.
You are on stage and being photographed a lot of the time. Looking after yourself must play a big part in your life. What are you favourite beauty products and why? 

I think we have to be really careful to what we put on our skin, I have very sensitive skin, so I prefer keep everything as simple and natural as possible. My personal favorite product at the moment is coconut oil, is great to remove make up even waterproof mascara and it's a great mosturiser.  I love drinking coconut water as well; it's refreshing and super hydrating.

Do you have a set beauty routine?

I wouldn't say I have a beauty routine, but I always make sure I remove my make up before going to bed, I apply a hair mask and face mask every time I can and I drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Who is your beauty idol? 

I love the timeless beauty of the Hollywood silver screen goddesses such as Veronika Lake, Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner ... I adore Bettie Page, Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe.

On that note how to you keep yourself in shape for your performances? 

I love dancing since I was a child. I do Ballet, Pilates and Yoga as often as I can.



Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
What is your diet like? 

I'm a pescatarian, I don't eat meat but I eat some kinds of fish, apart from that I really don't follow any diets or have any restrictive diet, I love chocolate and I'm crazy about ice cream, it's all about the Sugar Rush! 

What are your must have pieces of make up? 

I love the foundation Double Wear by Estee Lauder, lip stick by Mac Ruby Woo or Unicorn blood by Jeffree Starr, and I love wearing fake eyelashes on stage

Do you style your own hair yourself? 

Yes I do, well, I love having my hair done by a professional hair stylist, but normally I style my own hair and I must confess I'm not very good at it, but I'm practicing and trying new techniques. I love doing my own make up though.

Do you have any hair tips to share to get your glamorous look? 

The best tip to achieve a flawless vintage look I learned from a very experienced hair stylist is to not wash your hair on the day, because vintage styles are easier to achieve when your hair is a bit dirty... sounds gross but it's true, the natural oils will help giving the look a smooth finish. I would recommend a deeply conditioning treatment every two weeks if possible because after all that hair spray and back combing your hair will definitely benefit from some tlc.

Everyone no matter what shape or size wants to feel confident and happy about themselves. What advice would you have to feel glamorous and boost your own confidence?  

I feel that when you accept yourself the way you are with your traits and faults that's very powerful, you realise that you are unique and there is no one else in the world like you, that's when you start to love yourself. It's hard to be confident all the time, I don't think anyone is, we all have our down moments, especially with all the negativity and pressure to look a certain way going on, all this body shaming and the toxic side of the social media, but we have to bounce back quickly because life is short and we are all too fabulous to be down.
Every opportunity I have I promote self-love, confidence, I'm all for supporting other women, I'm all for the sisterhood, I think we have to lift each other up.

You are not only a burlesque performer but a successful model too! Can you share some of your fabulous modeling experiences with us?


Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
I think modeling is a great way to express yourself, I absolutely love modelling and I'm always open to new ideas, for me a great shoot is when the creativity flows and when there is good communication  between the photographer and the model. I have quite a few histories/experiences because sometimes it's not as glamorous as it seems but I'm very grateful for all of them.

Where can we see your published work? 


At the moment you can see me in the current issue of Tease and Cake Magazine with photos by Terry Medonza - Retrophoto Studio

How do you prepare for a shoot? 


Normally there is a brief discussion with the photographer/client about how the shoot will be, location/time/date/mood board. If it's a product shoot  I'm also a  stylist so I know how important is to be prepared and ready for anything so I always have some essentials in my bag such as a sewing kit, tape, hair and make-up products,  food/water (seems basic but it comes handy in location shoots), an extra pair of heels (or two).

What advice can you give for the upcoming pinup models out there?


I would advise to invest in a good and professional portfolio and to use social media wisely.

What is your favourite perfume? 

I might sound like a walking cliché but I love sweet scents and vanilla based perfumes, I wear several perfumes (not at the same time) according to my mood. At the moment I love Marc Jacobs Decadence because it's fresh and sexy for summer and Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

What is your approach to fashion? 

I've always loved fashion it's definitely a form of art and expression. Nowadays I don't really follow  fashion  but I have a creative approach towards the trends. I always try to express myself and my mood through fashion and I love mixing high street/vintage and creating or customising pieces of clothing and accessories.

Where are you favourite places to shop, both for burlesque goodies and for yourself? 

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography

I shop everywhere really, I love the high street, small shops, vintage shops... eBay & Etsy are great to find unique pieces.


What are your biggest inspirations and why?
My inspiration comes from life itself, my day to day life, books/articles I read, music, people, friends, quotes, images.
What advice would you give to a girl (or guy) reading this interested in getting into this industry? 
Be creative, be true to yourself, work hard and be nice.
What else is coming up for you? 
Oh there are quite a few things coming up and I'm extremely excited:
I'm working on new burlesque acts with costumes by the very talented Laura Nixon from Nixon Point Costumes, so expect 'eleganza and extravaganza', I'm currently filming I’m part of the cast of the film Mephisto's House of III Repute part of Films Confiscated from a French Brothel by the Director Salem Kapisaski and this will be my second experience on set with professional actors, stay tuned!!
My new website will be launched very soon designed and developed by the wonderful Nadia Silverstone. 
I'm super proud to announce I'll be again involved in the Miss Pinup UK this year, after the amazing experience I had last year as a contestant (Semi finalist of the Miss Pinup UK 2015), I'll return as a mentor of the Miss Pinup International contestants. Miss Pinup UK 2016 is happening on the 23rd/24th September at the London Tattoo Convention.

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
I would like to thank Miss Sugar Rush for her time with this interview. Check out her website for more info! Stay tuned for more interviews coming soon!

xoxo

Interview with Laura Nixon for Nixon Point Costumes


Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
For the next installment in my burlesque/cabaret costume series I would like to introduce you to Laura Nixon the woman behind NIXON POINT COSTUMES. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have already heard of her, not only is Laura well known on the circuit for her costume work but she is also a top Marilyn Monroe impersonator too. Laura has performed for top clients, parties, cabaret shows and more. Being a performer and working on stage as none other than Marilyn Monroe, the style icon to the world,  Laura knows all about transformation and the importance of great costume and style. A woman of many talents Laura’s costume work can be seen worn by many performers and she comes extremely highly recommended. This is why I want to showcase to you top recommended stage costume designers and creators that you can trust and learn about them and their work in more detail to give you the opportunity to be inspired.

NIXON POINT COSTUMES is a one stop shop for all your costume and stage wear needs from dresses, coats, cloaks, nipple tassels and headdresses. Everything is custom made to order and the prices are unbeatable. NIXON POINT is the fastest, cheapest and the best! 

Lucky for me I have been able to interview Laura and here is what she had to say…

Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes

Pictures provided by
Nixon Point Costumes
What is your background in garment construction and/or design and/or ornamentation? How long have you been costuming for?

I learnt to sew when I was about 11-12. I’ve always made my own stage costumes. I have no training. I have learnt through years and years of trial and error. 

How did you become involved in burlesque/stage costuming?

A very dear friend of mine Violet Blaze asked me to make her a dress. I did and other people saw it, wanted one and it just grew and grew. I always wear my own costumes. So Im a walking advert for Nixon Point. 

What are some of the challenges of burlesque/stage costuming?

The biggest challenge is dealing with people who don’t know what they want or find it difficult to communicate what they want. Or People who send me a photo of a couture £50,000 dress and say "I want this". when they have a budget of £50. Those occasions can be very challenging. lol.
making costumes is the easy bit.  
Describe some of your favourite projects?

Anything that pushes my abilities. I like a challenge.
I love big shapes and bold colours.
Joe Black's Galaxy dress. Alfie Ordinary's rainbow suit. 
Which performers can we see wearing some of your work?


Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
Too many to name all of them. These are a few:
Violet blaze,
Joe Black,
Lydia L'Scabies Mills
Brazen bijoux,
Athena beauvoir

Nina LaBelle,
Crystal King,
Dixie Dread,
Alfie Ordinary
Dawn Gracie

I make between 2 and 6 costumes a week so there are literally hundreds of performers I’ve made things for. I sometime forget what I’ve made and am only reminded of it when I see it on stage. 
Who would you love to make a costume for?

The Cast of Absolutely Fabulous (the second film. lol)
I’m lucky enough to make costumes for many people I like and admire
Have you always had a design in your head that you would like to fulfil?

Pictures provided by
Nixon Point Costumes

Yes, its soon to be my wedding dress. I get married in October

What aspect of costume making do you enjoy the most?

Sounds cheesy, but I love all of it. I love everything about my work. 

If a new performer was looking to get a costume commissioned/constructed, what should they consider?

They need to be 100% on what they want the costume to look like and do. Have a realistic budget and try to draw pictures of it so the maker fully understands.

What difference would a new performer find from off the rack to commissioned pieces?

It will fit properly, look amazing and do it job properly. Costumes are clothes with a job to do. A high end costume will do its job perfectly and be extremely easy to perform with. 

All costumiers tend to have a style of costume/way of making or presenting their work. Can you describe what you think makes an obvious Laura Nixon piece?


Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
I have a few little trademarks. All my dresses have a Nixon Point Sleeve (when possible).
I make other people’s designs so my work is very varied. My main focus is dresses and coats. I adore fur and velvet and I like people to look as tall as possible. 

Those that know my work will know it from 10 miles away. I’m very proud of that. 

Do you do courses at all from pastie making, general repairs, how to embellish/crystal, etc or do you save you skills for your own work?

I don’t do courses. I haven’t the time. I do pass on skills whenever possible though

What would you consider important performer must have items?

A robust suitcase. A sense of style and proper dancing shoes. If you’re focused on how much your feet hurt you’re not fully focused on what you are doing, and that is a crime. 

How long on average does it take to make a costume?

Pictures provided by
Nixon Point Costumes

Between 1 and 3 weeks

What are you most asked for/popular items?

Dresses that come off in one go. 

How should a performer care for their costumes?

OK, first of all everything and I mean EVERYTHING needs to be kept in separate cloth bags (shoe bags or pillow cases). This stops snagging and damage whilst in transport.
Dresses should always be hung up whenever possible.
Make up, wigs and costumes should be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. You wouldn’t believe the state some performers let themselves get into. 
What are your long term plans for Nixon Point costumes?

Within the next year I will be expanding my studio and taking on an assistant. The work load is unending and at times overwhelming. I won’t be able to continue alone for long. At the rate things are going I will be in this line of work for the rest of my life. I’m very happy about that. 

Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
I would like to thank Laura for her time with this interview. Be sure to check out her work on her Facebook page.
Stay tuned for more coming soon!

xoxo