Friday, 30 August 2013

Five Minutes With: Leading Parenting Blogger @knittymummy

The Nica Team loves nothing more than dabbling in a spot of baking or craft related hobbies in our free time, so, we decided to catch up with the Founder of the leading blog KnittyMummy for some inspiration.

Her blog is full of crafty pass-times and recipes, and as it’s a parenting blog, it’s also perfect for all of you busy Mummies out there wanting to pick up some tips!

1) How did you begin your blogging career?
Blogging has been a great way for me to be creative in an adult world. As a stay at home Mum, I missed the interaction with other grown-ups and especially the challenges that I would get at work.

2) How do you create a successful blog?
I think because I blog about useful and fun things like craft and kids’ birthday parties, people come to my blog to get ideas of things they can do themselves. Certainly my most popular post by far is about how to have an Octonaut themed birthday party. I even provide a downloadable PDF so others can make Peso's medical bags as party bags for their guests!

3) Your blog has a great craft section, what’s been your favourite project?
I try so many different types of crafts. I think that my favourite sewing project would have to be my Frida Kahlo skirt, as I adore the fabric. My favourite from the others would have to be turning an ordinary peddle bin into R2D2 for my son!

4) What’s the best kind of crafty activity as to keep your children entertained?
With baking, anything simple that they can do with as little help as possible is best for keeping their attention. I find that with really young children, the best thing to do is pre-weigh everything into bowls (like they do on Blue Peter!) as they aren't that interested in weighing things. That way they can tip everything into the bowl and mix it without much help. Putting things to decorate cakes into a bowl also helps as it stops them putting an entire bag of jelly tots onto a single cake!

5) Your blog also shares your passion for baking, which has been your most difficult cake to create?
The hardest was certainly my rainbow cake. I was asked by my daughter's school to make a cake for the leader who was retiring, and it was only after agreeing that they told me that they wanted it to feed 50 people! It had over 1kg of icing on it alone - it was HUGE. When I arrived, the other mums were looking at it and wondering why the other staff were giving me such praise for making a huge plain white cake, but the staff knew the secret hidden within. When it was cut, the whole room gasped!

6) If you could only share one recipe with us, which would it be?
The most delicious thing I've made is my Bara brith made with Pu-erh tea. It’s so moist, and you can adapt the recipe as to use any blend of tea.

7) How does being a Mum affect your stylistic choices?
I need to think about being practical when choosing clothing, shoes and bags. I'm often sitting on the floor with the kids, so, I prefer tunic tops with jeans as my day wear, as it means that I can crawl around on the floor and not risk flashing a builders’ bum! When it comes to shoes I like wearing heels, but I do have to run around after the kids, so, no stilettos! – A wedge is best.

8) Do you have a favourite kind of print?
I bought my favourite top whilst I was heavily pregnant with my daughter. I couldn't try it on, so, I had to take the risk it would fit (thank goodness it does). I fell in love with it because it has a Pucci style of print.

9) As a Mum, what do you consider when purchasing a new handbag?
Size is really important, as I need room for all of the toy cars that my son insists on carrying around! I also like to have an across the body satchel type strap, as it won't fall off my shoulder whilst I've got a child holding onto each hand! Plus, it gives easier access to my phone and wallet than a backpack would.

For the full recipes or more crafty inspiration, check out KnittyMummy's blog or keep up with her updates on Facebook.

And remember, if you have a lovely recipe or craft idea, then, share it with us! Tweet us @Nica_Handbags.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Discover 1950’s Style Diners Around London

In recent years, a plethora of 1950’s style diners have popped up left, right and centre across London. Not ones to turn down a generous helping of chilli cheese fries and a strawberry thick shake, we headed in search of the best American diners in London.

The Diner

Scattered across six London locations including the trendy Shoreditch area, The Diner has been serving up burgers, shakes and hot dogs since 2005. A go-to diner which ticks all the boxes, think neon signs, postbox-red seating booths, vintage menus and Elvis Presley rocking the jukebox. We went for a stack of blueberry pancakes washed down with a coke float (remember those?) - delicious!

Dinerbility Rating: 8/10. A fail-safe favourite

All Star Lanes 

A visit to All Star Lanes inspired us to dress for the occasion, and so, we decided to channel our inner Sandy from Grease with a rockabilly swing dress, satchel and pin tuck curls. 

When you step into this bowling alley/diner it’s difficult not to be transported back to the fabulous Fifties. From collegiate style baseball jackets to slicked back hairstyles, people really get into the spirit and dress for the occasion, you feel as though you've entered into a time warp!

We made a night of it and sipped Moscow mule cocktails, bowled to our heart’s content before ending the night with a hearty portion of mac and cheese.

Dinerbility Rating: 10/10. Like stepping into a time machine

The Breakfast Club 

This is one of those eateries you simply can’t fail to notice as you strut past its sun-yellow exterior – there are always queues outside, - for one thing! Taking inspiration from the 1980’s cult film, The Breakfast Club offers an extensive breakfast menu that covers all the greats, from Huevos Rancheros to The Full Monty.

Decked out with film projectors, vintage bicycles, 50’s kitchenware and cheery mantras, the six central London locations always manage to bring a smile to tired morning eyes. We recommend the breakfast burrito.

Dinerbility Rating: 9/10 – Making mornings bearable since 2005.

What do you think of these places? Have you found any American diner gems around London or the rest of the UK?

Monday, 26 August 2013

Nica’s Inspiration: Bohemian Aesthetics (Part 2)

For many years throughout the 20th century, I don't feel like that there were actually any radical changes in Bohemian or Boho chic style, and during the 60s and 70s, the term bohemian style was more often used as to describe young people who wanted to detach themselves from the superficial materialistic culture of past generations.

Bohemian lifestyles have been embraced by major fashion houses and the media alike, which means that these days it's become more of a cultural norm. It's no longer prescribed for just one group, but rather for anybody who uses their style as to show off their originality and creativity.

Source: Plebsik

I particularly love the modern take on bohemian style, which injects an element of childhood nostalgia by incorporating cowboy and Indian or oriental features into the mix. It's lack of stylistic rules means that it can often be perceived as quite a messy look by many, - but not me! I love the creative addition of unique hand-crafted or eco-friendly numbers with their large abstract prints. 

Clothing aside, I also adore the modern Bohemian style, which makes a full-on statement with eclectic deco props or jewellery reflecting ethnic-inspired naturalism.

Source: StyleLikeU

Source: Lockerz

It's all about mixing without matching! So, clashing prints and contrasting tones but in faded hues from different eras, and I love this look! It epitomises the free-spirited, nomadic, and effortlessness of Bohemian style!

You can pull together your own Boho chic outfit piece by piece, for instance, pair a floral patterned flaired skirt with a soft organic linen shirt, and accessorize with layered bracelets and necklaces. It doesn't matter how many mad swirls of colour you inject into the mix, as it all adds to the drama of the outfit!

Source: AmandaSanft

 I hope that you enjoy creating your own Bohemian styles with our Nica A/W 13 collection! 

x x x 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Discover Nica's A/W 13 Lookbook

As hazy-lazy days give way to cool September breezes, we've been busy bees at Nica HQ. A new season means a new collection and this autumn is all about androgynous tom boy style meets soft romance, 1960’s inspired doctor’s bags, bohemian vintage, warm tones and classic shapes with modern twists. 

For day and night, work and play, we have Nica handbags and accessories for every eventuality, whether it be the mustard Susie tote for shopping or the tan Marnie camera bag for a statement piece.
Let’s take a look at some of the imagery which inspired the collection and a few of our key pieces:

Plaid trousers, pixie hair cuts, grandpa printed jumpers and two toned brogues, tom boy style is all about merging masculine silhouettes and feminine flair. Eclectic and powerful with colourful embellishment, our Lucia Doctors bag in charcoal is a tom boy inspired modern interpretation of the traditional Doctor's bag. 

This season at Nica we’re heading back in time to the swinging sixties for some psychedelic prints, peace, love and bell-bottomed flares…Ok, maybe not the flares! The sixties were all about bright colours, playful florals and bold prints. Our Marnie crossbody and Susie crossbody in flamboyant shades of mustard yellow capture the essence of this era. 

(Source: Neat Stuff

Watercolour print, tulip print, dotted print…We’re going into print overdrive as our Nica play collection explodes with three Nica Kim designed prints in a variety of colour palettes and styles. Hot pink make-up cases, terre verte purses and navy satchels, our play collection is all about floral bags that have a strong focus on everyday wear and all products are finished with a playful branded bicycle motif.

What do you think of our A/W collection

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Owl Inspiring: Discover our Nocturnal Design Influences

Why is the owl the bird of choice within the fashion world, and who could actually pinpoint this trend’s origins? There’s been a long standing obsession with the owl, ever since ancient times whereby it was considered a bird of mystery and magic, - a wizard’s compulsory companion if you will!

We guess that it has to be these mystical connotations that’s helped lead to its recent popularity, which has seen the owl dominate everything from statement rings to the prints upon our tea dresses.

So, let’s take a look at how this beautiful creature has been influencing the world of popular culture over the years.

High Fashion Owls

(Source: People Magazine ZA

It’s dominated the most sought after of catwalks and its A-Lister attendees during Fashion Weeks, such as Burberry’s, whereby it was even one their key trends for A/W 12.

Owls in Music

(Source: PitchFork

British electronic dance music duo Basement Jazz opted for a military styled owl upon the cover of their fifth album Scars.

Owls in Art
(Source: Tate

Throughout the decades, it’s been the focal point of many a painting displayed in the world’s leading art galleries such as the Head of a White Owl by the late Artist Joseph Mallord William.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the owl is also inspiring Nica's designs too, from the clasp embellishment of the Marnie Camera Bag (below) right down to the entire shape of the Marnie Mini Crossbody.

Now that you've seen how we've been inspired by the owl trend, why not show us how you're wearing this look? And tag your photos with @Nica_Handbags on Twitter.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Blogged: Find Out How Hello Ella XO is Styling the Alicia Satchel

We were super excited to discover that our beautifully crafted Alicia satchel was set to appear in Joss Stone’s new music video for The Love We Had! And isn’t it just the perfect piece for her? It manages to effortlessly complement her boho infused style. 

The Alicia satchel is most definitely a classic piece that’s versatile enough as to fit into an array of different wardrobes for a multitude of different events, and the extra stylish Blogger behind Hello Ella xo has proven our point exactly! 

She recently scooped Company magazine’s award for the Best Personal Style Blog, and she’s just demonstrated how the Alicia satchel can be incorporated into her vintage inspired style over on her blog Hello Ella xo. Here's a glimpse of exactly how she's been styling up the satchel. 

Above, the satchel increases the vintage feel, as it's teamed with a dainty floral print skirt, frilly blouse, nude mid-heels and an oversized cardigan. 

She particularly loved how the satchel contains an abundance of useful separate compartments and said, 'it's going to be perfect for days out when I have a lot of (unnecessary beauty bits) things'. 

So, why not head over to her blog and read her full review

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Discover Nica's Design Inspirations: Boho Chic Part One

Despite the fact that we see the same kinds of trends reoccurring throughout the decades, the resurfacing Bohemian trend never fails to captivate me. The term Bohemian fashion is now more frequently referred to as “boho” or “boho chic”, and it is largely influenced by the hippie movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Source: Favim 

The Bohemian fashion style originated as an American subculture in the late 1960s alongside anti-establishment and anti-fashion movements. It dominated mainstream fashion throughout most of the 1970s with its romantic accents like floral patterns and lace. These subcultures have influenced decades of fashion, art, music, and reflected the moods in different eras whilst transforming over time.

Source: 60s Fashion

Having said that, the history of Bohemian fashion can be traced right back throughout history, and has often been the exotic alternative to the mainstream fashions. Artistic Bohemian culture incorporates elements of Gypsy culture and diverse ethnic clothing styles, which are generally associated with artists, writers, and other intellectuals.

Jane Morris (William Morris’ wife), The Blue Dress - Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1865)

As aesthetics evolved during the late 19th century with movements such as Art Nouveau, a new kind of Bohemian lifestyle developed, which opposed the rigid social restrictions of the Victorian era. It embraced a style based upon the past, which combined elements from historical costumes and oriental designs that promoted a natural and free lifestyle. 

70s Bohemian Fashion
Source: SighsWhispers

In more recent years, fashion has been accentuated by elements of Bohemian style. Various Designers have interpreted it in their own ways and it's become more of a mainstream trend. It's spirit is still alive, though! As it still promotes creativity and individualism, and it's also a major design ethos for Nica Handbags!

Source, left: 60s Fashion 
Source, right: LittleGoonerBigWorld

I really do admire the Bohemian lifestyle, as it’s just so fun and expressive, and that's probably why it's become my latest design inspiration. I hope that you enjoy it too, and make like a true Bohemian girl by having fun with different and unconventional perspectives towards life! 


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Satchel Crush: How-To Style Yours

With American diner style restaurants and thrift boutiques popping up all over the UK, not to mention Instagram - social media’s hottest trend, vintage revival is everywhere at the moment. And what better way to champion the vintage trend than with a satchel?

Since its humble beginnings as a schoolboy’s textbook holder, the satchel has grown to become a worldwide trend and staple piece in the bag collections of celebrities and fashionistas alike.

At Nica, we are also quite fond of satchels and have created our very own vintage-inspired collection combining pretty prints, intricate detailing and covetable colours. Let’s take a peek at the current collection and how to style the trend: 

The Classic

Introducing our best-selling Alicia satchel in classic tan, beautifully finished with cut out detailing, a floral printed interior and a simple twist lock. This boho bag was even featured in Joss Stone’s new music video, The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind), and you can read more about our Joss Stone collaboration here

Style in the day with a printed tea dress, cut out detail flats and a flower hair accessory. The Alicia also comes in bone white, midnight black and turquoise, which one will you choose?

The Agyness

This year’s Great Gatsby film topped the style charts, with main character Daisy donning mauve Charleston dresses, silver accented jewels and embellished hair pieces. Channel vintage glamour with this Agyness mink pink satchel featuring elegant bow detailing and a branded rose gold charm.

Embrace the 1920’s look and style your satchel with a tassled flapper dress, sequinned finger gloves and the prettiest shoes you can find.

The Print

With a spotted bird print design and bicycle motif, the printed satchel is a playful twist on the classic style and perfect for modern girls who want to embrace the trend without looking like they've stumbled into a time warp. Style this day wear accessory with skinny jeans, brogues and a chunky cable knit jumper.

We hope that this selection of satchel bags has given you some style inspiration – click here to view our full collection. 

Look how well our Alicia satchel fits in with Joss Stone's boho infused style. How would you wear yours? 

Nica Team
x x 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Discover What Happened When Nica Went Behind the Scenes on Joss Stone's New Video

We were thrilled to discover that international Singer/Songwriter Joss Stone is a massive fan of our handbags, and all the more so when we found out that our beautiful Alicia satchel was set for a starring role in her much anticipated new music video for ‘The Love We Had’.

We were invited down for an exclusive behind the scenes glimpse of how the video was made, and even managed to catch up with Joss before the filming began, who flattered us by saying  "I love the Nica bags, they're wonderful - I wear them  for everyday use."

Joss has a much coveted Boho infused style that some of our handbags fit alongside perfectly, so, it’s no wonder that she loves to wear our designs so much. We were even more excited when she told us; "My Mum's got one, my best friend's got one, and we just love them!".


Her amazing new song and video depict the story of a breakup, and it's definitely a number that you can't get out of your head after hearing it! Plus, you can spot Nica's Alicia satchel several times throughout! Why not watch our special  behind the scenes video of the filming of 'The Love We Had', and see how many times you can find it for yourself? Plus, that comes with the added bonus of an exclusive interview about the song with Joss Stone!

Here's one of our favourite snaps from her new video... Okay, maybe we were a bit biased because we spotted our Alicia satchel in bone hanging in the background! 

And of course, we couldn't end our exciting behind the scenes news without catching up with brand Founder Nica Kim as to see what she thought about her coolest new fan, who told us; "Joss' individuality, passion for creativity and unique sense of style make her the perfect example of a Nica girl, so, I am thrilled that Joss has chosen to feature the Alicia satchel in her long-awaited comeback video."

Friday, 9 August 2013

Discover Nica’s Inspiration: Time Travel to the 1960s Part Two

I adore most retro fashion scenes but the fun and quirkiness of the 1960s never fails to inspire me whilst I'm designing my handbags. I particularly loved the Mod movement with its innovative aesthetics, colourful fabrics, and bold geometric designs. 

Barracano silk hooded cape by Emilio Pucci, 1965
Source: Emilio Pucci

(Right) Mary Quant Stockings, c. 1960s / (Left) André Courrèges,  Vogue 1969. 
Source: Vogue Archive

“It was a marvellous time. In the ‘60s you were knocked in the eyeballs.
Everybody, everything was new.”

Diana Vreeland – Editor in Chief of US Vogue 1963 – 1971

I really love the swirls of classic and geometric patterns that prevailed within textiles during the 60s. A legendary exhibition called The Responsive Eye, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1965, greatly triggered the merging of geometric patterns and fashion textiles in the form of Op Art.

Catalogue cover of the Responsive Eye, Op Art Exhibition in MOMA 1965
Source: Cool Hunting  

In particular, dazzling black-and-white paintings by Bridget Louis Riley, a London-based English Painter, whose painting (Current, 1964) was reproduced on the cover of the exhibition’s catalogue, prompted an ‘op art’ fashion craze in the 1960's! Her work greatly influenced the designers of this era, including Pierre Cardin, John Bates, and Mary Quant. 

(Left) Movement in Squares, by Bridget Riley 1961  (Right) Artist Bridget Riley (c. 1960s)
Source: 2 Modern Blog

Mary Quant dress in 1964 

I actually prefer the op-art fashion trend of the late 1960s, as it was more abstract and less constructed than the early 1960s. 

Op- art fashion inspired textile, photo by André Carrara, 1967
Source: Vogue Italy 

Fashion-trends constantly come back around, and I've already noticed Sixties' inspired playful cuts, silhouettes, and geometric shapes within the 2013 fashion trends but with a modern twist. 

 Model in Kaleidoscope Polka Dot Dress for Dayton, c. 1960s Erwin Blumenfild

           Marc Jacobs SS13 Campaign Ruby Jean Wilson
        by Juergen Teller  Marc Jacobs

I feel like Op Art's typical geometric form is definitely getting a new lease of life within modern designs. 
Are you ready to enjoy Nica's take on this? 


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Festival Fashion History: How to Inspire Your Next Outfit

Nobody can deny that there’s an integral link between fashion and music, and over the years as musical tastes have changed, fashion trends have also followed suit. So, as you can imagine, the music festivals that we flock to each summer have also changed over the years.

For instance, nothing screams Hippie culture more than Woodstock 1969! The feel was relaxed and liberated, and the fashion choices similarly so.

But if we flash forward to the Eighties and look at the fashion choices at the iconic Live Aid concert, the stark contrast is evident. A more androgynous vibe prevailed amongst the women, with artists like Madonna performing in masculine inspired power jackets. Just look at that trend setting print upon her jeans too! 

Despite the often muddy locations, choosing your festival outfit isn't all about being practical either, it’s a chance to be as creative, or rather, as eccentric as you fancy. 

The general fashion feel of a festival may be different from one decade to the next, but elements from the different eras still appear at today's festivals. Who hasn't bought a Hippie style fringed handbag for a festival, right? 

Actress Sienna Miller's festival style is a prime example of this, as she's often seen channelling that Boho chic vibe, - just as she did at Glastonbury earlier this year. 

Source: Metro

Festival season is in full swing, and we still have V Festival and Bestival to look forward to in the forthcoming weeks, which means that we've still got outfits to plan! Looking back through festival fashion history is definitely inspiring, but if all else fails, we know that we can always opt for that faithful Boho look! 

And nothing completes a Boho inspired outfit better than a fitting handbag, so if you're looking for the perfect piece, then, why not be inspired by Nica's latest Marnie collection?

The owl themed Camera bag or Acrossbody would make the perfect companion to take along to your next festival. 

The Nica Team