Whatkarenfound is a documentary blog for one year only of my fashion and lifestyle items I find and buy. I am not a conventional shopper. I find high street and shopping centers/ complexes uninspiring and patronizing! I shop alternatively, Charity Shops, Boot Sales, Markets, Auctions, Antique Centre's, Retro Shops and the good old Jumble sales. This is an experiment to see if what I find inspires my work as a designer and stylist. All content on this blog is created by Karen Savage. Enjoy !

About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Karen Savage is a Feminist in the Fashion Industry. A thinker with a heart, who would like to share her Savage world. For over two decades, Karen Savage’s keen sense of ‘now’ and exuberant sense of humour have lead her on a gloriously winding path, questioning everything ‘fashion’ has to offer. From Designer to Stylist, Trend Forecaster to Creative Director, Blogger and Artist - Karen Savage has been there, done that and turned ‘fashion’ on its head and into something new. Karen is outspoken and charming, a self-proclaimed ‘Council Estate Princess’ via Birkenhead. The Independent crowned her the ‘Queen of Tongue n Chic’. Karen first sprung to public consciousness in the early 90s with her own critically-acclaimed fashion label SAVAGE and her controversial slogan-tees. She explores themes of feminism and sustainability in her work. The UK press just couldn't get enough of this ironic designer and everyone from Just 17, The Times to Radio 4s Women’s Hour has interviewed Karen Savage. Karen Savage is a Senior Lecturer at The London College of Fashion, St. Martin's College of Art and The Hong Kong Design Institute. She also freelances as a Creative Director in Print and Licensing.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 14 August 2010

A book of ones own

Do you ever have something you have been meaning to do and never get around to it? Well this is mine. I have been looking for a little note book to keep names of wonderful inspiring people and things I don’t want to forget. In the real physical world I am awful with names and I never remember people’s names when introduced until I know something about them. It’s as if there name has a secret code that I need to unravel by attaching something real about them and then bingo I am connected and I remember. In this age of information over load if I find or hear about something that interests me, if I don’t scribble it down on a piece of paper it’s gone. Is the concept of note books and paper vintage? I bought this little book from WHsmiths in Waterloo station. The book title on the cover design has to be on my top list of books to read if you are a girl or woman and ever want to do your own thing!

Those Victorians

A book on Victorian jewellery has been on my “to find” list for a while because I would like to know more about it and how it looks. I seem too able to recognise jewellery from 30s to the 70s easier than the earlier Victorian baubles and bits. I knew that mourning jewellery was fashionable because of Queen Victorian’s husband’s death, Albert. Also associate cameos, diamonds and pearls with that time but not sure how the finished pieces looked. So I was pleased to find this book hidden away on a shelf at the back of a book shop in Weighbridge Surrey for £12.

Broaches galore, I wonder if I have some already and didn’t realise my treasures.

Check out the late 60s styling of a Victorian lady look, so dated, and loving the big bold statement rings, great scale.

The main lady Queen Victoria looking sad and miserable wears a dramatic black dress with a hint of lace.

On the same day my fella bought me this other book as a gift about William Morris, what a designer! Discovering his work when I was a student at collage opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about art and design and causes. He was a socialist with a business, interesting, very ahead of his time and would most probably have a thing or two to teach ethical business owners if he was alive today.

Everyone in the Morris family looks so fed up and board in this photo. Surely not, must have been the photography used back in the day when they had to stand like status for awhile to take the picture. My how things have changed with all our instant digital photography and mobile uploads straight to face book. Looking at this photo is making me want to find a dress like the one Jane Morris is wearing in this photo (second lady in from the left); I can but wish to find.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Forgot about this one- how could I the size of it!

I am doing my best to stick with this blog and show you everything I buy for a year, where and why but I forgot about this one. Another rug from a boot sale in Surrey. This one was £3, yes £3 for all that retro rug. I go buying with my fella loads and when we are visiting friends or on our hols, how can we not check out the local vintage and retro booty. It’s never ending fuys galore so that’s how this one slipped the blog net. Retro rug found a home in my work shack at the bottom of the garden, very cosy.

Pattern on Pattern

No such thing as too much pattern for me! Found this jersey white paisley print dress for £1.99 in Oxfam in Birkenhead. Then an Antoni and Alison printed jacket for £8 in TK Max in Staines. The graphic prints and black and white were made to clash with each other.

Garden rugs

Now here’s an idea, I came across when I was styling and photographing these finds in my garden. I found these rugs at a boot sale in Rye for £3 each. They look like they could be 30s rugs, love the floral design,colours and came up a treat when I washed them. So imagine if we had rugs in the garden made out of water resistant material, bringing the inside out. Put them in my bedroom for now and the idea has gone in sketch book, oh to design the world!

Maxis from TK max

Me and Maxi dresses work, I have a few Vintage ones that I have had for about 20 yrs but I fancied a new one for a family wedding and as I have mentioned before when your style thing is in the shops, go buy. I love vintage because of the uniquness and you never usually see anyone in the same item. TK Max works as good as a charity shop to keep my own look as it requires rummage. Rummage equals one off bargains, job done. So to my delight I found both these dresses on the same day in TK max in Croydon after visiting a good friend and in need of some cheering up with retail therapy, maxis a go-go.

The floral maxi is an everyday summer floater; I have worn it a few times with little pastel vest under giving a bit of sporty layering.

The multicoloured maxi looked great at the family wedding teamed with a dip dyed pink wrap and big purple flower in my hair although didn’t need the wrap as it was one of the hottest days of the year

Pleased with the art direction and photography in these photos as the dresses look like someone wearing them but no one is there, spooky.

Flower Woman Power

As you may have noticed I am just a bit mad for pattern and if I had to pick one type of pattern, floral is the one, top of the pile. Why? When I think of floral on women it inspires me to think of floaty pre-Raphaelite women, Liberty prints, Summer of Love, Janice Joplin and a bit of Charlotte Bronte for some up tight good measure in all this freeness. Here is my washing line full of my floral fuys all waiting to be worn for a camping trip, fingers crossed it rains so I can try out the Kagool!

Floral shirt (very similar look to a Liberty print shirt for a fraction of the price) from TK Max in Croydon £9.99

Floral Kagool from Primark in Hackney £6. I had one of these I used for camping when I was about 13 and thought it was genius a rain Mac in a pack, clever.

Tom Girl Checks

Two style icons who do checks really well for me are Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in her gingham check dress storming the yellow brick road and Marylyn Monroe in Misfits doing a sexy jeans and western shirt look. So when I found this blue check dress in a charity shop in Surrey for £4 I got very inspired to play with these looks this summer.

The dress is by Monsoon so I its either late 80s or early 90s and because of this could also do a bit of a Bananarama tom girl look. I bought this and was due to go out that night to the country for a 40 th birthday and as a strict rule I don’t wear charity shop clothes without a good wash. Being so desperate to wear it I washed and ironed it dry in 2 hours.

The check shirt is from TKMax in Croydon £12.99 a good little number to wear with denim and looks just fine with the navy cuffed army style trousers I bought from Debenhams in Croydon, £15 in the sale. Do I ever buy anything not on the cheap the answer is no not in these times love!

Can’t beat a good check for a bit of pattern

Nurse, Nurse!

When I was a snip of a young lady I had my fortune told she asked me if I was a nurse. At the time I was full on designing with a design ego and scoffed at such nonsense. Well she could have been a bit right as my latest fuy is a light blue chambray nurse’s dress, found and bought in Brighton from an army surplus stall for a fiver. I tried before I bought and the guy selling told me it was the same pattern as the uniform dresses used in World War 2. That didn’t help really but I did have a visual of the women in my head that I had seen before that got me interested. It’s very flattering and utilitarian with lots light buttons and more gathers at the waist and on sleeve head that I would have imagined and pockets galore. This dress could easily be a new denim trend teamed with a great belt and boots, carry on nurse denim into next A/W 10 season.

Outside a pub in Brighton checking out my new fuy

Full length of the dress , great shape

Love the button sleeve detail

Thursday, 12 August 2010

8os hair combs and long Victorian gray hair

When I found these hair combs I had two memories the first my great grandmother and how she use to wear these in the plainer colours and how she keep her long old gray locks all tied up neat with one or two of these combs. The neatness of her hair and cunningness with her combs said Victorian properness all over it. The second memory, my early teenage years in the 80s, wearing the combs to school, neon flashes trying desperately to lift my navy school uniform. I feel they are due a come back, especially in these colours and the tribal abstract print on the comb would look right on any East London fashion lovely. I found and bought for 20 pence each at a boot sale in Surrey so I splashed out and bought five for a pound.

Real exotic suburban bond girl top

This top was found at a boot sale in Surrey for a £1 the older lady I bought it from made it herself and she couldn’t remember what size it was. I absolutely get a kick out of buying vintage things from the actual people that made them. This top reminds me of exotic bond girls making cocktails and photos of my grandmother’s suburban cocktail parties in the 70s. I am going to wear it with my clogs (walking the dog in clogs post)and Charlie’s Angles Jeans (in my tk-maxing post) another suburban cocktail darling?

Walking the dog in clogs

Seasonal fashion can be cruel or kind depending on your personal style and body shape. A look can be in for a season that totally suits your fashion thing and then out the next. So I have learnt to stock up when my era 40s, 50s or 70s is in the normal shops. Then the rest of the time I rummage for it charity and vintage. The return of the clog was one of these moments for me this summer. Clogs’ are so right for a 40s or 70s look. They give height and balance my legs as lets put it this way I couldn’t ever join the Jeggins gang as leggings don’t do anything for my legs. I bought these clogs from Kurt Geiger in Bond Street on sale for £59, love them they look great with floral dresses, big leather belts and Charlie’s Angels style jeans. sadly I still make mistakes as I bought these red Indian style sandals on the same day from Kurt Geiger for £29 ( sale ) and hardly worn them. Strap round the ankles not that great or easy to walk in as my feet slide around in them. The heart ring was a lunch fuy £2 from Primark in Hackney, that has to have the trendiest customers I have ever seen in a Prirmani.

Fuying ahead for next season with me Frank Usher

This totally 70s Hippy Moroccan Folk dress is a stunning winter warmer, got one of my fashion feelings about this one. Add pattern and cosy in the gloomy months to come. It’s a Frank Usher and I found it in a vintage shop in Rye for £8 . The only shame about this is that the Moths have had a nibble but I think I can do a bit of mending and it will pass for a bit of vintage wear and tear, you pay extra for that you know!

All these patterns for a pound!

Vintage dress patterns transport me right back to being 12 and learning to sew with my grandmother at weekends. She had a stash of patterns she kept in her incredibly organised sewing box and I would update them by adding bits on and off. We would watch old movies and be inspired by the beautiful clothes worn by the glamorous actresses of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Then quickly nip to the market and buy a piece of fabric for 50p and get going with the sewing.

I found all these patterns for a pound in a junk shop in the very hip Hastings Old Town.
Great mix of all era patterns in this bag , my favs the Vogue Paris pattern , very “Mad Men” A/W 2010 ,the His and Hers hippy tops , so cool and the oh I used to wear one like that 80s top and shorts combo

Tapestry – it’s a lady thing

Doing this blog and reflecting on my fuys I am realising I have got a thing for tapestry. I already knew I was drawn to colour, print and pattern but didn’t expect to be fuying so much tapestry and needlework. This tapestry picture was found and bought for £4 at a boot sale in Surrey. How cute is the little Deer in the foreground and can’t go wrong with a bit of vintage retro still life as the subject, very chic!