So what's Next?

16 January 2011

close up vip pass

winnie and jen
Jen and Winnie smile for the camera

next mock shop

I must admit I had been neglecting my visits to Next recently, so was very intrigued when I was invited to their Blogger Event at their Leicester base.  I'm always excited to meet fellow bloggers, but usually this tends to take place in London (or even Birmingham) so it was a bit like a fish-out-of-water Sex and the City 2 type situation, with a bus load of bloggers in a very far-flung setting.  Despite the change of scenery, we managed to transfer our online conversations to real life and it was nice to see many a familiar face on the bus (and even those that weren't, I may have still gurned at so I apologise) and feel a sense of belonging.

bloggers at next

breakfast buffet

next spring summer 11

next trend presentation

After a quick breakfast nibble, we were given a lowdown on how Next had interpreted the seasons trends, tailoring what was seen on the catwalks and street to fit their customer.  We were shown a few pieces and allowed to give feedback and suggestions to the range so it will be interesting to see if any of it is taken on board.  I championed sheer maxi skirts, red lace dresses and Basso and Brooke style prints (so basically everything from my SS11 trend post) and will be stalking my local store in earnest.

paintbox colours

close up notes
My crazy handwriting, a £10 in the post if you understand a word I've written*

next spring summer fabrications

next collared white summer dress

next locker room trend

paintbox trend inspiration


Even without our feedback, it was great to see the direction Next is heading in for SS11 with some really nicely embellished pieces, fun prints and sheer shirts in a variety of colours.  I wasn't the only one who let out a yelp of delight at the sheer, white collared dress you can see in one of the pictures above.  Even from a distance I could tell it was the perfect versatile dress for summer and that some collective website stalking would take place over the blogosphere.  All very exciting.  Afterwards it was time for the style challenge and the chance to put my SS11 trend interpretations into practice.

next bandeau tops

next striped jumper with black maxi skirt

next sandals with grey tights

next white blazer outfit challenge copy
Everything I'm wearing here is Next, apart from the jewellery and tights.  Random fact: The shoes were two sizes too small and the skirt two sizes too big!  And as Tyra might say, I've lost my neck!

Somehow my ramblings were edited into a video, I think I'm using my telephone voice and have never said 'love' so much in my life...

At Next HQ they have a 'mock shop', which could also serve as some sort of time travel device as it shows some of the product that will be in store come February.  We were given a key item to style up and were let loose in a Supermarket Sweep (sans Dale Winton) kind of way, with an array of sizes, colours and pieces to put together in a set amount of time.  I was given a white linen blazer to style up, which admittedly wouldn't have been my first choice and I did delay myself slightly by chatting to some of the lovely people at Next and Jam, before realising that heck, I had a photoshoot to do and a video to film.  How do these celebrities do it?! It took quite a bit of time to get the anti-fit look I wanted (you can see in one of Winnie's photos that I had armfuls of stuff) but I had a very vague Junya Watanabe reference in mind I wanted to achieve (I didn't even attempt to pronounce this in the video).  As bloggers we're used to styling ourselves, but it is very rare that we have to do it in front of each other (sometimes squeezed into the same changing room) with unfamiliar clothing, but in the end I appreciated this part of the challenge and the chance to try something different. I somehow ended up wearing tights and sandals, which I swore I'd never do and surprisingly I quite liked the outcome.  Result!

bright flowers

blogger round table

winners next style challenge

style challenge winners

It was quite interesting to have a competitive element throughout the day, as it's not often that us bloggers are pitted against one another, normally co-existing in our own spaces in the web.   However, it really was the taking part that counted as I got to speak to so many interesting people, eat some tasty food and learn a lot more about the design process of a shop that isn't always on my radar.  A few  other high-street shops could do with taking a leaf out of their book, with regards to their efforts  and understanding of blogs and social media. Five deserving winners were chosen from the styling challenge and will have their looks shot on models for the Next Bloggers Lookbook, so look out for them!

topshop jacket shrug and cos silk shirt

jewellery and leopard nails close up

Jacket, shrug, tights, watch necklace, ring - Topshop
Silk Shirt - Cos via Mary's Living and Giving
Leather shorts - c/o Very
Shoes - Nine West
Bag, gold necklace - Brooklyn Flea
Fairisle socks, Cross Ring - Forever 21
Photos - c/o Jazmine, who got told off by security for taking these!

It was certainly a relief to get back into my own clothes again, though it's very likely the sheer skirt will be purchased next month and teamed with existing items in my wardrobe.

 vintage bag
I loved Emily's vintage bag and somehow got a picture of it on a moving coach.  It was also nice to see Elisabeth, Kit, Carrie, Lucy, Jill and Shini and meet Sarah, Sophie and Becca at the event among a few others I need to track down.  I hope they all upload their videos!

So seeing all of the fabulous bloggers made me realise how happy this part of my life makes me (blogging is now my main hobby on my CV, woop) as it was like meeting up with a huge group of old friends and like-minded people.  I just wished it could've gone on for longer (though Winnie and I did end up chatting in Leicester station for two hours afterwards, which could've easily gone on longer if I didn't have vital food shopping to do)!  What are your thoughts on Next as a brand?

*I jest, sorry! Thanks to Next and Jenny at Jam!

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  1. hmm, until the last couple of weeks I thought Next was unambitious. It wasn't on my high street radar at all because it seemed a bit middle of the road, so I'm glad to see this. Their new stock looks a lot more interesting than what I imagined they'd sell and their blogger's day out worked because after this post I'll definitely pop into a branch in spring! You guys styled it all so nicely it's inspired me to have a look around!

  2. After seeing so many posts about this I will definitely be having a look in Next, and loved your outfit for the day - especially your shirt & the colour of your cardigan! :)

  3. oh, i wish i'd been invited, this looks amazing! also, i lol'd at "eating ridiculous amounts" being in profile interests :D xx

  4. Hi! I always love to see the inspiration behind a fashion collection. Thanks for sharing! xx

  5. I work in next and i never see clothes that I would buy as a customer but that shirt dress does look perfect for soooo many outfits, staff discount will definitely come in handy when that gets into the shop!!! Looks great that they're so tuned into blogging and online media i wouldn't have thought that next's average customer would read blogs so its good they're trying to extend their demographic. Very inspiring and love your topshop jacket :)

  6. this looks so lovely! you guys go on the loveliest things!
    i absolutely adore your shoes. do you have any other pictures of them? they look wonderful!

  7. the nine west ones, haha. i can't wait then :)

  8. Looks like you had such a fun day!! I think you did a great job styling the blazer and your little video made me laugh. I love all the jewellery your wearing your non-next outfit, the collection of thin necklaces and chunky rings look fab!!!! Love the Next sheer shirt dress, I think were definitely going to see lots of it in the blogging world =)

    Hannah xx

  9. Sounds like such a great day, love the outfit that you styled. I'm really starting to love Next, I always thought of it as somewhere only my Mum shopped (though she has good taste) but I've found some gems in there lately.

  10. Love this you always get to do really cool things! Its really nice to see the drawings and swatches of their collection!

    I am actually In LOVE With the white sleeveless shirt dress or is it a tunic? And I never really thought next was my cup of tea!

    Love the way you manage to make the blazer look really cool with the midi skirt, tights and shoes!!

  11. lovely :D
    you did an amazing job with the outfit challenge, you looked super cute in the photo!
    :D the event seems very nice, lucky you! it must have been really funny!

  12. that looks like so much fun. Really well organised:) I've never heard of next before.. I have to immidiately check their website now:p

  13. Love your photos! The ones that Jazmine took of you are amazing, they're so good and totally worth getting told off by a security guard for! I do love that Topshop coat of yours. I could easily spend hours and hours just chit chatting with you Kristabel! So much fun that day, can't wait to see what Next do for their next blogger events...they've really set the bar high this time!

  14. Oh wow, this looks like a lot of fun! I really adore your style challenge. You look so gorgeous!


  15. Okay I'm looking at Next in a different light now. I normally just walk straight past it, but I'll be sure to stop by. Thanks for feeding my mood board fix as well I love seeing them.

    Your hair also looks nice btw.

  16. I was eyeing on that sheer pleated skirt on the rail, whizz around the shop came back to find it was gone HUMPH!

    Nice and simple styling, those shoes are gorgeous!

  17. You look so cute!! Love that sheer skirt too! It's gorgeous! And those shoes!!! Love that you wore them with grey socks!!

  18. Hi!!!
    I´m from Brazil! I love your blog!!! So cool!!! Lovely picts!!! Your look is so cute!
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  19. Such an amazing event !!! Lovely pics indeed :)

    Mon Mode Blog

  20. ah was such a great event! loved it x

  21. Such a great post, I love how you styled the blazer, this skirt is so lovely!
    I agree, it's a pity we didn't get to talk properly, but I'm quite shy in big groups hehe next time hopefully!

    xx Iris

  22. I think this colour will be all over the place during spring season.. kind of the 'colour' of every season since 2010 and coming seasons:)

  23. It seems so interesting!:) And your pics are great.

  24. Ugh, I'm just so inredibly jealous, I can hardly muster a word about the actual post! It seems like it was an awesome day, how great must it have been to meet in person all those other bloggers!
    I have to say, Next isn't usually my style but I can definitely see some things I'll like about where they seem to be heading for this upcoming collection. I love the colours and textures!

  25. O_O are those leopard print nails i spy? love it! i wish more brands would get a clue and do more events like this! jealous big time.


  26. what a great day !

  27. ahh this looks like such a fun day and you come over as bubbling with personality. you seem really lovely! i've started to follow your blog now (because it's MINT) :)


  28. Looks like a fun fun fun day :) :)

    I loveeee NEXT, bought a lovely dress recently that I cant stop wearing

    Char x

  29. wow, never considered next as a shopping destination before...those platforms are rad tho!

  30. I agree. I think more mass market retailers should have blogger meet-ups/press previews. It's really nice to see the inspiration boards of a retailer, especially when you know they are getting their trends and inspiration from various designer's runways

  31. Its really interesting to see the high st interpretation for the spring summer trends...x

  32. I really like the outfit you came up with & you were really good in front of the camera...if that was me I'd have been a nervous wreck! I've bought a few bits from Next (as I have a ridiculous credit limit on my account!), but it has only been basics...sometimes I find it difficult with the catalogue styling to imagine myself in particular pieces, but perhaps thats just me! Looks like you had a lovely day! :)

  33. The red cardi look with the leather jacket and grey leggings is much more down my street! Me likey x