• Retail Website Performances Black Friday and Cyber Monday

    January 14th, 2015

    shopping cart

    What we can learn from it for 2015.

    • Black Friday and Cyber Monday, made famous in the US, has suddenly become a big thing in the UK
    • Websites were unable to cope with the increase in traffic highlighting the need for server space and tech support
    • Promises were made and broken on delivery times
    • Make sure your offers are genuine and honest with no hidden charges
    • Use the lack of brand loyalty to capture new market data
    • Learn from the mistakes of the big brands

    The last few days have seen the bigger retailers reporting their Christmas revenues. What seems to be a big surprise to retailers with an online presence, big and small, is how Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two events normally associated with America, have had such a massive impact on their bottom line and how unprepared they were for it in 2014. This article aims to prepare you better for 2015 and in retail we know, it’s never too early, especially when forecasting sales, identifying the key marketing events for the year and allocating that budget.

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  • Faux Fur Feels Fabulous

    January 14th, 2015

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    • Fur is one of the oldest known forms of clothing.
    • ‘Fake’ or ‘Faux’ fur was originally developed to make ‘fur’ more accessible in fashion and not because of animal cruelty.
    • Faux fur production began in 1929 using Alpaca wool.
    • Faux fur is a textile fabricated to replicate real animal fur.
    • The production of more variety in colour, feel and type was furthered via polymer technology in the 1950s.
    • Faux fur, classed as a ‘pile’ fabric, is normally produced using polyester or acrylic and applied to a woven backing.

    The History of Fur as Fashion

    Faux fur production started as far back as the 1920s and research shows that people used Alpaca wool to try and create a realistic feel. As an Alpaca is a real animal I’m not sure that counts as ‘faux’ but I gather it’s all in the process and obviously they didn’t have to kill the Alpaca for its coat, much like a sheep it could be shorn which is why shearling is generally considered more acceptable.

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  • How to Dress Your Windows for Christmas

    December 4th, 2014

    Christmas Window Dressing

    You only have to walk down a major high street at Christmas to get the whole festive buzz and it’s not from the strings of lights or the twenty foot Christmas trees, it’s about the shops and their festive window displays.

    • Creating an impact and planning your Christmas window dressing
    • The importance of light, themes and colours
    • Checking out what your competitors are doing
    • The art of keeping it simple

    It’s no surprise that people queue to witness the unveiling of the Christmas window displays in some of the large department stores and it’s no coincidence that they command so much attention because the stores will have invested thousands into perfecting the design. Themes will most likely have been decided on the previous year and designers will have existed in a year-long Christmas wonderland in a quest to get the window ‘story’ just right.

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  • Fringe Festival

    August 6th, 2014



    The Festival season is well and truly underway. Glasto has gone but we’re not sure it was the same with Kate Moss MIA with hubbie Jamie Hince, who shunned the festival for the first time in donkey’s to spend some quality time together in Ibiza.

    Despite the Brit icons absence there was no lack of festival fashion inspiration that is easy for us mere mortals to carry off, regardless of shape, size and practicality – for the festivals still on the horizon.

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  • Spring/Summer’14 Trend Report

    January 21st, 2014

    Christmas is over and with the Fashion Weeks approaching fast, thoughts turn to the season at hand- Spring/Summer, and what the key commercial trends will be this S/S’14.

    We’ve selected our top three trends of the season and noted the important styles, colours and designer information in our Spring/Summer 2014 trend report.


    Modern Femme

    Feminine looks are often popular for spring, with designers favouring ladylike skirts and dresses over the androgynous tailoring that frequently takes precedence over the Autumn/Winter shows.

    This season, femininity took on a modern twist with directional shapes and styles meeting the usual romanticism and pretty colours we often expect from the S/S 14 shows.

    The look was executed perfectly by Burberry Prorsum, featuring lots of delicate lace, pastel hues and ladylike mid-length hems; all the while adding new dimensions with transparent plastic outerwear and lavish jewel embellishments.

    Key colours seen across many shows included soft lilac, sky blue, powder pink and ivory; given a fresh twist with fabric and shape, like metallic sheens, sheer layers and structured shapes. Expect shirt dresses to be huge!

    Florals made a spectacular come back, with designers such as Thakoon and Dolce and Gabbana using them to great effect in their collections. Florals are often central to the spring collections, and this year is no exception, though more interesting concepts like embellishment, oversized graphics and texture stepped into the limelight.

    On the other side of the Modern Femme spectrum, simple bright white made waves. Crisp white in traditionally feminine fabrics like lace and broderie gives classic pretty dressing a modern spin, best seen at Simone Rocha.

    The Modern Femme aesthetic had a distinctly 50s spin so try high waist styles and accessorising a simple outfit with cat eye sunglasses or a boxy handbag.


    S/S'14 Trends Modern Femme Spring Summer Floral

    From left: Burberry Prorsum, John Rocha, Christian Dior



    Free Spirit

    Free Spirit captures the seventies bohemian aesthetic. We think this trend will be a particularly big hit on the high street this season if the store collection previews are anything to go by.

    We predict plenty of fringing, crochet and natural materials like cotton and straw across clothing and accessories.

    The idea of the ‘free spirit’ took on many guises during the S/S’14 shows. The influence of the 1970s was overtly present in many collections, with Jenny Packhams seventies belle being a shining example; though other looks found focus such as the urban cowgirl as seen at Donna Karan, or folklore which mixes cultural and tribal elements like the styles seen at Valentino.

    The beauty of the free spirit trend is that nothing need strike a perfect balance. The overall aesthetic charts the well-travelled bohemian, taking inspiration from a mix of cultures and religions. A mishmash of prints and styles are inexplicably effective together, with the more layers the better. Contemplate a maxi length skirt with an embroidered peasant blouse, layered with a crochet cardigan and accessorised with a fringed suede bag and colourful headscarf; it shouldn’t work but it does.

    Key bases colours in this look are tan, black and dark denim with bold clashing primaries welcomed for embellishment, embroidery and homespun accessories. Key prints include gypsy-like baroque and scarf prints, as well as animal- zebra and snake were well documented.

    The trend lends itself well to the upcoming music festivals of the summer. Inspiration is taken from 70s Woodstock with denim, crochet and tassels being the big hitters for the festival crowd.


    S/S'14 Trend Free Spirit 70s Spring Summer

    From left: Roberto Cavalli, Anna Sui, Valentino




    Puncturing the free-spirited nature girl with its sharp lines and bold pattern is the graphic trend. Graphics are huge for the Spring/Summer season and featured on everything from pretty floor length dresses, to sports-inspired tracksuits.

    A palette of primary colours was the preference for many designers, with nautical colours navy, red and white given particular prominence. The colour blue had an overwhelming presence throughout this trend, in all shades. These bold colours were enhanced by even bolder prints with oversized spots, thick banded stripes and large simple checks adorning the season’s shapes.

    More intricate graphics were also spotted in numerous collections. A featured print at Chloe was a delicate blue repeat pattern, while Holly Fulton also opted for blue with an interesting art deco print.

    As well as an abundance of harsh lines and boxy prints, an artier element of graphic emerged this S/S’14. At Chanel, a bright and varied mosaic print was used to inject colour into garments, while Céline used a huge brush stroke print across their bold and boxy shapes.

    Don’t be afraid to team clashing graphics together for a full on look. The easiest way to incorporate the trend is the simple polka dot, seen at Dolce and Gabbana and Burberry Prorsum.


    SS 14 trend Graphic Lines Stripes Spots artistic

    From left: Chloe, Alexander Mcqueen, Dolce and Gabbana


    (all above images credited to style.com)



    At Continenal, we carefully develop our ranges in line with the biggest predicted trends of the season and always keep our ear to the ground for the next big thing!

    You’ll find on-trend styles across all our collections, including beachwear, swimwear and garments.


    S/S'14 trends: Modern Femme, Free Spirit and Grpahic



    +Katie Fox