Wednesday, 20 June 2012


BucketFeet began with a college student, some cool artsy customised trainers, and the power of our old friend Facebook. Aaron Firestein began drawing on canvas trainers in his spare time at Uni back in 2007, and posted pictures of his wearable art online, which immediately gained a lot of positive comments from friends, friends of friends, and even total strangers. So, being out of pocket like me and most other students out there, he decided to start designing and selling the quirky shoes to put a bit of extra money in his pocket on the side. 

Then, in 2008, Aaron jetted off to Buenos Aires to embark on a career in photography, but decided to take his unique wearable art with him. While volunteering with young kids out there in one of the slums, fate worked its magic as it always does, and he crossed paths with another volunteer – Raaja – who quickly became a close friend. He even bought himself a pair of Aaron’s custom trainers; a true friend right there. The pair stayed in touch; meanwhile Aaron’s shoes began to take off big-time in South America. 

Just a few years later, the guys decided that what they truly wanted to do was to create a platform that would connect artists to people around the world. Realising that this was their hearts calling, Aaron and Raaja both quit their day-jobs, and embraced footwear as a way to spread art in a creative way, support various artists, and give back. So in Spring 2011, the goodness that is now BucketFeet was born.

The shoes are great for a bucket-full of reasons: they are very original, comfortable, light, versatile, and affordable too. Artists are hand-selected by the guys to create exciting and innovative designs to decorate the shoes, and they are paid royalties for every pair that you guys & dolls decide to purchase. But the goodness doesn’t stop there – BucketFeet also donates a percentage of its sales to its non-profit partners (including MAGIC, love futbol, and Children Mending Hearts) where kids are supported through various creative programs in art, music and sports – centred on teaching skills and instilling confidence, rather than being based upon handouts. Some might ask why, but Aaron and Raaja always knew that giving back was the right thing to do.

These shoes are simply AMAZING. Having discovered these, my overdraft looks set to take another beating, because I simply MUST have at least one pair of BucketFeet in my life (let’s be honest, I will probably end up buying 3 pairs minimum). Here are a few of my favourites...

The ones I have my little eyes on....
 all images from

BucketFeet is such a simple, yet awesome idea for incorporating a life passion into a business model, that has the added bonus of contributing to society in an extremely positive way, and changing the lives of young people around the world. I love that our generation seem to be much more socially orientated when it comes to the world of business. We are choosing to use our good fortune and spread it around in places that really could do with it far more than any of us could, and receive a little less profit in exchange for this good deed.

I have officially finished university now (*choking back the tears... no I’m simply not ready to be an adult just yet and am still about 12 years old in my head*) but this week I have enrolled in a extra one week crash-business course, where I am learning the basics of how to go about starting a business, and whether I’m suited to this career. And the more I think about it, and the more I plan and develop it, I really do see The Girl With The White Balloon being a great addition to the fashion world. I really want to make it happen, and continue to build on my label (and this blog) and design & produce fashion that people enjoy, but that also has a really positive effect on someone somewhere else in the world. And the more that I continue to give this deep thought, the more I get scared. Scared, because the world is full of people and their broken dreams. All the things they dreamed of doing, but never did. I’m scared that I’ll end up being one of those people.

Isn’t it strange how the majority of us spend our lives endlessly planning for someday? The people we’re going to be, and what we’re going to do. Lists upon lists of things we hope to accomplish and achieve within our lifetimes: get out there and see the world, write books, quit our jobs and pursue our true passion, get in touch with an estranged friend, start a family... and before you know it, life has slowly been ticking away, and you wake up and realise that someday is today.

And then someday is yesterday.

And this is your life.

So don’t waste a single moment. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? 

You should go do them.     

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

CrOp by David Peck

CROP, which stands for creative opportunities, is a feminine & fun-spirited clothing line with a conscious, recently launched by American designer David Peck. But I bet you didn’t know that he actually earned a degree in classical cello before moving to Paris to study fashion design. Who would’ve guessed it? 

David’s designs are favourites among young stars including Taylor Swift and Lauren Conrad, due to the combination of design aesthetic (the refined elegance of Parisian style with American practicality) and commitment to the environment – all his collections are proudly manufactured in the U.S.

Each CROP collection stems from a collaboration with other creative professionals who value giving back; the ultimate aim being to develop a strong network of artists who generate even greater opportunities together.

David is also strongly committed to giving back to charitable causes, and has therefore decided to dedicate 10% of profits from each of his collections to the cause that is affiliated with his seasonal inspiration. Further goodness is that the collections are also made from a combination of certified organic, fair trade, and natural fabrics. So you can look great and FEEL great too.   

When I had a look at his s/s 2012 collection online, it felt like Christmas had come early. All of his designs are so beautiful, yet extremely wearable, and incorporate a strong use of colour and print. These clothes are made to be SEEN, and are fit for the playful girl who likes to have fun when it comes to fashion, doesn’t take herself too seriously, but also has a heart when it comes respecting our environment and our world. If that sounds like you, then CROP is a definite love match. 

I think the fact that there are designers out there like David – creating fashion with a conscience – restores my faith in the fashion industry, and makes me feel proud to be in it. If only the rest of the world knew just how important a simple choice like the clothes on their back actually is. I refuse to be the sort of designer who sells out, and contributes to the mass market as it stands today. This might put lots of money in their pockets, but it can’t be putting any happiness in their hearts; knowing that they are a part of a hideous greed-fuelled machine, where everything including the lives of our fellow men & women come second to profit margins. I believe that true happiness is being able to wake up and just know that this is what you wanted, and not what somebody else wanted. And what I want, more than anything, is to change things; and to have what I do create a positive domino effect on people’s lives. 


Saturday, 2 June 2012

NTU Graduate Fashion Exhibition

Last Friday (25th May) saw the highly anticipated Nottingham Trent University 50/50 fashion show take place, as well as the fashion exhibition open to the public.

This year we did what no year before us had ever done: half of us showed collections on the runway, while half of us chose to produce a fashion exhibition (usually the runway steals the show, but not this time! thus the name 50/50) - making it the biggest and BEST fashion show in NTU's history.

My work was displayed in the exhibition (because I wanted to do a whole lot more than just make clothes e.g. this blog), and will be up on display until 5th June in the NTU Newton building - so if you haven't checked it out already make sure you do, because there is so much talent crammed into that smallish space.

Here are a few photos in the run-up to setting up for the show (unfortunately there are no balloons in my exhibition space because apparently if a kid accidentally let one go, it would set off the fire alarms in the ceiling... what can I say other than the powers of Newton are severely down with fun)...

Mini wish-balloon cards that I designed and ordered on - just adding some white thread so I can tie them to my balloons
Lots and lots of white hope filled wish-balloons
Make a wish, and believe in it with all your heart. Now set it free...

My postcard sized business cards - courtesy of again
Moo let you print double sided for no extra charge, so the front of all my cards have this on them, while the backs are a mixed bag of photos and words
My exhibition space in Newton!
Shani Marion Jayawardena is The Girl with The White Balloon
donation box for people to pop money in and take one of my printed canvas bags + donate any spare pennies kicking around
this is probably my favourite bag design: Dear Justin: I'm already sexy, so I'm bringing charity back.

To see my work on display just seems a world away from where I was 3 years ago on my art foundation. I feel I've grown so much, and have made something that I'm extremely proud of, and that I strongly believe in. I've been able to take something often superficially perceived like fashion, and channel it into something positive; something that might just change someones life for the better. And there simply aren't words to describe how happy and content that makes me feel. That's all I hope for in my time here.

Yesterday I stumbled upon some wise words of wisdom, that were just what I needed to hear (isn't it strange how the right things find you at the right time like that?), and I thought I'd share them with all of you too:


Nice isn't it?

Never forget that we make a living by what we get; 
but we make a life by what we give...

p.s if you are a lady named Contessa who saw my exhibition the other day, and enquired about buying one of my dresses - I tried to email you, but it's not sending for some reason (think the email may have been jotted down wrong!) so just message me/email me on here! Sorry!

+ Hayden? guy from Rock City - If you're reading this: in the words of Kelly Clarkson - I do not hook up, I go slow. So if you want me I don't come cheap. Keep your hand in my hand, And you heart on your sleeve... Don't feel bad about this. I think you're nice. So... call me maybe?