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I have been meaning to write a series of short essays on traditional dresses & patterns from different cultural backgrounds the world over so as to share & learn about the rich culture we have in every corner of the world. It is also meant to serve as a reminder just how far we at CoutAllure have to yet to go.

15th of August being the Korean day of independence, I thought it would be fitting to start with this fascinating nation that recently jumped to the limelight with the ‘Gangnam Style’ song.

Korean history isn’t a very peaceful one, every neighbour (& some not so) tried either conquering it or enforcing their will upon this nation almost the size of present day United Kingdom. What is interesting is that while China didn’t want any intrusion from outsiders for thousands of years, Koreans absorbed a bit of the outsiders every time they came knocking. And it shows. Upon first impression, the Korean national dress looks a lot like the Japanese Kimono.

It’s called ‘Hanbok’ & it literally means ‘Korean clothing’. My very first thought upon seeing it was that the ‘Hanbok’ looks like a love child of a Japanese Kimono & an Arabic Jabba.

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What’s also striking is the volume of fabric that goes into making a ‘Hanbok’. Looking at the beautiful illustrations, I think a lady’s ‘Hanbok’ probably consumed around or more than 10 meters of fabric, very much like the Victorian times, the price of modesty was quite high. The top of the ‘Hanbok’ is a jacket called ‘Jeogori’ underneath which is the long skirt called ‘Chima’ (trousers for men). While the Arabs had the ‘Age of Saracens’, Europeans had the ‘Age of Renaissance’ , for Koreans, it was the ‘Choson Period’, a period of around 200 years in which a lot of the modern day cultural traditions were groomed & refined. The modern ‘Hanbok’ owes a lot of its style to this era. I’ve read at quite a few places that the traditional ‘Hanbok’ was plain with bright stripes, borders are embellishments instead of detailed embroidery & other embellishments. Specific colours were available to specific classes. The royals had access to ‘royal colours’ while the commoner could wear white or dull colours.

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I really love the ‘Hanbok’, from its spiritual triangle shape to the cultural details, it looks comfortable, stylish & modest. I couldn’t help but notice that Korean is the second culture where men had to put up with as much attention their dress code as the ladies, fascinating.

I am looking forward to another post on the current fashion in Korea & the embellishment styles that are embedded into this beautiful culture. More new soon!

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The Inspiration behind CoutAllure - Part 2

Continuing on from the last post about the inspiration behind CoutAllure, which you can find here.

About two & a half year into my routine job, I was pretty bored & I particularly dreaded the same route buses & walks to get at the same time into office.

Relief came in the form of… redundancy (it didn’t feel like it at the moment though).

Dawn breaks

I still didn’t think very seriously about my idea behind CoutAllure. I secured a contract & was happy with the change of scenery, different bus routes & walks. However, after a few weeks, I did start thinking seriously about the whatifs. Started window shopping & finding any excuse to speak to the shop assistants on Oxford St. to get an idea of figures behind the high street brands / labels, understandably, I didn’t get much out of them.

So at the end of the day, my argument in favour of CoutAllure was this:

"Who needs statistics & validation, my idea is awesome. Let’s do it!"

I moved & started in earnest on the project. Many many months later & a few versions after, we have something we can be proud of. An application on the web, which gives you complete freedom to express your imagination. The possibilities are limitless, virtually infinite & something we are very proud of.

Of course, there are restrictions, e.g. you have a limited range of templates (we call a particular cut a template, e.g. a peter pan collar is a template, as is a winged collar template). However when you start mixing & matching these templates (a template for blouse body combined with a template for collar & so on), the possibilities truly go out of scale, to the point where your imagination is given the freedom it’s accustomed to & that’s just the beginning.

I hope the above gives a glimpse of my motivation, my hope & dreams.

I also hope that I can be forgiven for keeping the secret sauce to myself until another blog post when I share why CoutAllure is truly about giving you the opportunities unlike anywhere else out there.

CoutAllure is about you. About me. About everyone.

The inspiration behind CoutAllure - part 1

I’ve been an avid PC Gamer since I was 11. And even though I went on to become an accountant, I always wanted to do something on my own, create something unique, different, inspiring, not just for myself but for others as well, or maybe it should be: not just for others but myself as well.

Being a PC Gamer, for the longest time I would make notes on what my computer games would be like, taking simile from other games naturally.

Fast forward a few years & I was working as an accountant. While working in the fashion industry, I was blown away by the intricacies of fashion development & retail business.

Day Dreaming the future, present & past

Always a day dreamer, I started dreaming about what it would be like to have my own label, a brand that would be totally me, my tastes & connected to me. The thing with dreams is that they are never constant & they never finish & you always wake up in the middle of one. And so my next day dream was bigger, it was louder too & … why not, more amazing! I thought, what if everyone who had an idea could create their own label, a brand & manufacture their fashion designs under that label.

It wouldn’t be true if I said (with my manly voice) I started working on it immediately as this was the most amazing idea since the Earl of Sandwich came up with the idea of sandwiches. No. As with most dreams, I ignored it, I thought about it while day dreaming but for the most part, it was ignored as just a fantasy.

Now another thing you should know is that internet doesn’t like big, lengthy articles so this story is to be continued. I hope you will check in a day or two to read about the inspiration behind CoutAllure & why I think its so magical, unrealistic & fantastic, just like a dream.

Yet we at CoutAllure are going to make it happen, for & with you.

Its time…

We are so nearing launch (beta launch), it’s freaking unbelievable.

After so many months of hard work, we are ready to rock the universe & introduce the world to what we believe to be a new twist in fashion.

A world of fashion where you can scream your style & while people may or may not listen, at least you can be you! & that is worth everything.

I & we at Coutallure have one goal, to create the tools to let people disrupt the organised, ritualistic & elitist world of fashion.

Up & coming season? I want my season now, whenever I want.

Trends? Let me decide my own trends.

Age? My age & fashion follow me instead of me being left behind even if I am past that youth age of recklessness, independence & free.

Stay tuned on www.Coutallure.com

Food for thought…

This is a little something I want to dedicate to three uniquely talented ladies, hope someone can forward this on to them:

There I sat dreaming of the fashion world,

from which I was so mercilessly hurled,

Wanting to set things aright,

yet everything this season looks so bright,

Elle’s Emma Sells wants to sell you blouses,

shes not the first is one of my grouses,

Miu Miu, Marc Jacob, Warehouse & Jaegar,

Moschino, Zara, Oasis & Ted Baker,

Venessa Coyle has the fashion editor position,

and here I’m thinking, is that a transition?

She has the look, definitely the style,

a large number of blazers to cover a mile,

& look at Susie, content living in her bubble,

I guess, everything worked out inspite of the trouble?

So ladies, spare a pebble of attention,

give this rebel a chance at ascension,

I promise, you’ll find food for thought,

at the very least, if not outright bought! 

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
Ray Douglas Bradbury
A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education.
Smiley Blanton