Bellfield

London Lifestyle Blogger

Bellfield. Fashion-forward, young and effortlessly cool. First established in the 70s, this British brand has developed its ranges with an ethos of quality and design in mind. I recently had chance to visit their über cool studio in the heart of Shoreditch and find out a little bit more about what Bellfield is all about.

When I set foot into their underground showroom, the first thought that came to mind was how much the collection had a Scandi-vibe. It seemed that my thoughts were spot on and that for their Spring-Summer and Autumn-Winter collections for 2016 they have chosen to have a redesign and give their pieces a more Scandinavian feeling. I loved the warm earthy tones mixed with the more lighter pastel shades, which keep the collection unique yet accessible to a range of different tastes.

They pride themselves on the high quality material they work with for each and every piece created, and yet still manage to keep the garments at an achievable price. I really support brands that scream quality, but don’t break the bank, and what Bellfield does so well is mixing timeless piece which take you through the seasons, with more ‘on trend’ designs that keep you à la mode. I spent my morning chatting with Jay, a key member of the Bellfield team, who took me through the history of the brand to where it is today. Getting a sneak-peak of their range that will drop next season, I’m definitely going to get my hands on some of their designs and give my wardrobe a fresh boost.

In addition to my morning at the Bellfield studio, I had the chance to select a couple of pieces from their latest range to add to my personal collection. Since we are moving into spring-time I opted for an over-sized kimono style jacket, their Sultan coat, which is easy to throw over a top and jeans, or a slim summer dress. I then paired this with a cotton black & white shirt, with a sweet pussy-bow style tie to give it a more romantic edge. I love how easy it is to wear both pieces for a variety of occasions, daytime, evening-wear. These are the pieces that last and those that I plan to add more of to my spring-summer wardrobe very soon.

Thank you to Bellfield for showing me around and introducing me to a great new brand!

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I was also lucky enough to be interviewed by the brand on their blog. Have a read below to find out what we had a chat about!

So you’re currently based in London, but have you always been here? Did you grow up in London or is it just somewhere you have ended up?

I’m half-English, half-Greek and grew-up in Dubai, so had quite an international upbringing. After finishing school, I came to London to attend University at Royal Holloway. Following my degree I moved to Milan to study Fashion Photography and now I’m based here in London as a freelance Fashion & Lifestyle Photographer/Blogger.

It’s fair to say that London has a pretty competitive blogging community. What do you make of the London blogging scene and where do you see it going over the next few years?

Being a blogger in London is all about being unique. It’s difficult to stand out from the crowd in such a competitive city, so I can see people starting to create or find their niche and move forward with it. There is space for everyone in the market, but the more clear your aesthetic is, the more people will notice you and get a clear understanding of your blog style/feeling. I have seen the blogging community in London explode and continue to grow, but everyone says 2016 is all about video – so I’m guessing everyone had better get filming! That’s definitely something I would like to explore as a photographer.

You have only been working full time on your photography and blog since last summer. How have you found it so far and where can you see it going in the future?

It’s been brilliant so far. I can’t believe how many inspiring people I’ve met and been able to work with, as well as the variety of projects I’ve undertaken. Deciding to go full-time really gave me the opportunity to work on my photography and blog quality, and have enough time to give it the direction I wanted, which was tough when I was working full-time. I love the fact that every week is different, and you never know what is around the corner. The downside that all freelancers face, however, is keeping myself motivated. You can have dry periods where you just have to keep going and remember that something new will come along very soon! I’m hoping for more fashion and travel collaborations in the future.

We came across you after stumbling upon your (quite stunning) Instagram. On there you describe yourself as a “Photographer | Lifestyle + Travel Blogger”. Do you see yourself more as a photographer or a blogger and which did you get into first?

Thank you for the kind words. First and foremost, I am a photographer, and my blog is a product of my work. The first blog I ever wrote, which really sparked my passion for photography and blogging, was when I spent a few months in Athens taking a Greek language course after university. I documented the months I spent there through a travel blog and realised how much I enjoyed creating stories out of my images. I now use my photography to offer other bloggers and brands image content, as well as to populate my Lifestyle/Travel blog, Aurora-Stories.com.

From the look of your Instagram, the style of your photography is quite unique. Is this something you consciously set out to achieve or does it just come naturally?

It has taken a while to really find my personal style as a photographer. Instagram, as most other creative/bloggers will probably agree, is like a public portfolio of your work. It’s important that your style comes across through a good curation of images you choose to share. I really work to communicate my style of photography (bright, light, sharp, colourful) as well as the range of lifestyle images I am able to capture. It looks easier than it is to create a stream-lined Instagram feed that people are interested in following – sometimes you have the most amazing pictures you want to share with your followers, but you know it just isn’t the right style for your feed!

You have some stunning shots of buildings, landmarks and architecture in your portfolio. What is it about photographing these that you particularly like?

I grew up in Dubai, an amazing modern metropolis in the desert, surrounded by the most incredible contemporary architecture around. As much as I love the city and consider it my home, I have a real love affair with the architecture of Europe. I think sometimes we are passionate about things outside of what we are used to, so growing up in a modern city, I crave history and culture. I can never get enough of the idyllic white houses we have in London, the magnificent monuments and romantic architecture, and this clearly comes across in my work.

As a London based brand we love to go out and find new and quirky places to shoot. Where are your favourite places to shoot in London and how do you scout out new locations?

I have a number of different places I like to shoot, from the colourful streets of Notting Hill and Chalk Farm, to the grungy streets of Soho. I like to plan my shoots based on what vibe my clients want for their photographs and what feeling they are aiming for with a particular outfit – do they want contrast, sophistication, grunge etc. One of my all time favourite locations has to be St Paul’s, I just love the beautiful columns and monochrome floor, it reminds me of the churches in Italy I adore so much. In terms of finding new locations, I either stumble upon them during other shoots, or if the sun is shining on the weekend, I grab my camera and head out discovering the streets. If you want to find a new spot in the city, pick a tube stop and get walking, you’ll be amazed at what you can find!!

You’ve been running Aurora Stories since August 2012. How have you found blogging and have you noticed any changes in the blogosphere over the past few years?

In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed huge changes in the quality of content people are sharing. It seems that now the serious bloggers do not forfeit the standard of their imagery, whatever their blog focuses on. The better your content, the better projects you’ll get involved in. I’ve also seen a great increase in the number of brands who are opening up to work with bloggers. They are seeing the influence and impact that bloggers can have on a brand and products with their loyal followings. From makeup to travel, the blogging world has blossomed into a serious industry and those involved have developed and grown with it.

As expected, you have a pretty long (and interesting) list of blogs on Aurora Stories. Is there any particular story or post that you enjoyed working on and why?

This year I was very excited that I had chance to put together my first hotel feature for Aurora Stories, The Hoxton Hotel.  That was a real marker for me personally, as travel is a huge part of where I want to take Aurora-Stories.com. It was a challenge for me to try and capture the atmosphere of the hotel and write a piece that both informed and engaged, encouraging people to book to stay there. From a fashion side, one of my biggest projects to date was shooting a beauty piece with my dear friend and fellow blogger, Nathan Rollinson from The Rollinson London. We shot the beauty story in collaboration with the Four Seasons Hotel and Tom Ford, which was a huge achievement. The chance to shoot for such prestigious brands and with such successful bloggers really makes me understand that people like my work and gives me the push to keep working harder and harder to achieve my dreams!

What can we expect from Aurora Stories in the future?

As I mentioned earlier, I really want to push the travel and lifestyle angle of Aurora Stories. I would love to be able to feature interesting hotels and lifestyle brands on my site to inspire my readers to discover new places when they travel. I would also love to take my fashion photography work a step further and dream of shooting content for some of the big fashion houses in the months to come. If there is any advice I can give people who want to take a chance and work for themselves, remember to be patient (which I find so difficult!!) and keep working hard and pushing yourself, in time things will pay off and opportunities will present themselves when you least expect!

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