Monday, 17 September 2012

London Fashion Week!!!

OH HELLO stunningly draped dresses and stylish My Fair Lady hats made in an environmentally- and socially-sound way!

THANK YOU, Livia Firth, Lucy Siegle and others for making an ethical fashion statement with The Green Cut just in time for London Fashion Week.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Women at the Top

Hilary Devey's Women at the Top is particularly enlightening given the recent EU discussions and consequential debates about mandatory quotas for women on boards

Europe's listed companies will be forced to reserve at least 40% of their non-executive director board seats for women by 2020 or face fines and other sanctions under a proposal being drafted by the European Commission. Some businesses do not agree that it will help matters as each business is different and often they prefer to exercise their own diversity policies in recruitment, believing there are other ways to achieve diversity. The second episode looks at this quota system as exercised in Norway.

I loved the first episode of Women at the Top (you have 5 days left to watch)!  One key thing stuck out for me: it was proved that gender-mixed teams are more productive. This was shown in a couple of businesses' financial figures, but also in an exercise where three groups of people were asked to build a paper tower under a time limit with limited resources.

The first, all-male, group were all competing to be team leader and to come up with the chosen idea. It was a bit tense and serious. Their tower was not structurally sound and collapsed.

The all-female team were all trying to take account of one another's ideas (or at least attempting to show that they were), yet there was a few moments where a quieter team member (with a great idea) had to weigh up her aims for this task: did she want to speak over the lady who's idea was being accepted and risk being rejected by the group, or go along with the other lady’s idea and remain accepted as 'one of the team'? The result of the chosen idea was a tower that was too short.

The group comprising 50% men and 50% women had an entirely different atmosphere about them from the off- they were smiling (almost flirtatious at times), relaxed and all felt comfortable to put forward their ideas, justifying them whilst listening to others, without the pressure of trying to ensure their own idea shone through nor trying to be seen as a leader. The gender-diverse team held a clear win with a tall and sturdy tower.

Obviously this was one experiment with a small selection of people; however, with the backing of financial statistics, the benefits of mixed gender teams are obvious. I also thought this experiment represented an interesting insight into how same-gender and mixed-gender groups operate from a business psychology perspective.

In another exercise, groups of male and female students in blue and red t-shirts provided a striking visual representation of the number of women and men at each hierarchical level in UK business. I probably do not need to add that it was really quite shocking how few women reach senior level and particularly executive board level after graduating, despite having the same qualifications as their male counterparts.

Even though this topic is not new, it is being brought to light in the mass media thanks to this programme. I think this is possibly the first time that the opportunities and challenges of women in business has caught the attention of those outside the realm of governance or HR in this way. If it helps people (male and female) at all levels of business become more aware of the situation, then we are beginning to create a culture of change, with or without official quotas.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Classic Zara trench coat

In the spirit of giving clothes a second life I am selling my trench coat on ebay! The auction will finish at 10am  on Sat 15th Sept 2012. If you live/work in London and I can deliver in person then there is no postage fee.

Do please take a peak and a bid if you fancy x

Friday, 14 September 2012

Gatsby Gothica

At a recent autumn wedding, I went for what I am terming "Gatsby Gothica" style.

My cape is made from gorgeous dark cockerel feathers which were sourced as a by-product of the food industry (i.e. they would have gone to waste otherwise).

The (Great) Gatsby part is from the tassel dress and necklace as well as feather head band. The 'dark romance', gothic style comes from the dark shoes, bag (with a skull on the clasp) and of course, cape. Oh- and attitude.

I am proud that I have combined two current trends to create a new one: Gatsby Gothica!