A few weeks back I was invited to an exclusive bloggers event hosted by Smiley London to introduce their Spring Summer 2014 collection.
This was the first time Smiley had held this type of event, and my invitation from Smiley's PR Executive, Victoria Soraf, was eagerly accepted.
If you didn't know already, or have been living on another planet and don't recognise the ubiquitous yellow face, Smiley is a unique lifestyle brand that was born out of the London rave scene. It is immortalised forever as the icon for the global explosion of house music in the 1980s and is the adopted brand of both the digital and DJ generations.
Smiley London pays homage to over two decades of UK dance music and DJ culture and draws influence from the block rocking beats, raves and the unforgettable fashion that continue to keep London at the forefront of street culture.
Smiley London welcomes you back.
Smiley London has a retail outlet in BOXPARK, a pop-up mall in the heart of East London's trendy Shoreditch that is jam-packed with fashion and lifestyle brands, galleries and bars and cafés. So it was on a mild Thursday evening that I scooted from the day job over to the other side of town. For the first time in ages, Spring was faintly but definitely in the air and a heap of Londoners in great clothes adorned the pavements with a beer in hand.
On arrival at Unit 18, I was greeted by Victoria who was super-friendly and made me feel immediately at ease. A range of drinks were on offer that instantly conjured up sunny images of holidays and good times. I opted for a Malibu-Coke mixer with absolutely no persuasion needed; I always was a sucker for coconut rum.
Only a small selection of fashion bloggers were invited to attend the launch and the house music provided by DJ Jorge was uplifting without disabling conversation, so we could be mistaken for feeling we were at a very cool party somewhere Balearic, but without any of the pretension or flakiness that can sometimes come along to events uninvited.
This was all credit to Victoria who was so warm, friendly and sociable that we chatted away easily like old mates - she personifies the brand and what it represents to me - positivity, happiness and a sense of fun.
Smiley has collaborated with global fashion brands over the years on apparel & accessories, including H&M, Topshop, Zara, Urban Outfitters, and Pull & Bear. The collaboration with H&M in 2013 saw a unique capsule collection for women, where the iconic yellow face adorned cardigans, trousers and tops.
In February 2014 at London Fashion Week designer Anya Hindmarch featured scarves and bags with the Smiley face in her charming AW14 Counter Collection and was 'seizing the moment to 'get happy'. This was her first scarf collection and the Smiley face-printed designs were shown off to great effect against simple white dresses as a backdrop.
At the event, I got the chance to view the new Smiley London SS14 collection, which was displayed against corrugated metal walls and clothes rails. Bespoke speaker cabinets were used to showcase a variety of products including accessories and stationery. For SS14, the range features tie dye and animal patterns as well as the very on-trend and exotic Hawaiian and floral prints. The colour palette is summery and bright with neon reds, ocean blues and aqua greens heavily featured. It is playful and perfect for those who are passionate about music, fashion and the digital lifestyle.
It was a great night and I came away with a new sense of appreciation for the brand and its heritage rooted in art music and culture in the UK. Smiley have a presence at the closing parties in Ibiza in September, which makes perfect sense. I wonder, if I ask nicely, if they'll take me with them? I am easily entertained and could pour the Malibu.
Smiley is more than an icon and a brand; it's a spirit and a philosophy that exists to remind people how powerful a smile is.
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