ITV This Morning style expert Kat Farmer showcases her Nine Fashion Tribes at Victoria Leeds shopping centre
You are in a style rut and you definitely, finally, want to break out? So maybe turning to a style icon can help. But who? Carrie Bradshaw, of Sex and the City/And Just Like That fame, must be at the top of the list for many. Florence Welch, perhaps, or Gwen Stefani?
Beyonce? Joan Collins? Grace Kelly, Marilyn? OK, we might not be able to match their style icon status, but perhaps choosing one or two might help us find our own fashion identity - our tribe - not least by focusing our mind on the colours, fabrics and silhouettes that we could and should be choosing for ourselves.
Kat Farmer, a fashion stylist known for BBC1’s You Are What You Wear and ITV’s This Morning, is on a mission to inspire people to shake up their look and find the style that works best for them. The creator of influential Instagram and Facebook accounts Does My Bum Look 40, earlier this month she came to Yorkshire to host three days of catwalks at Victoria Leeds as part of the first Leeds Fashion Weekender.
Kat lived in Leeds for eight years, first for her degree, then staying for a job. She left in 1998, 25 years ago, but does come back to the city, which is, she says, an improved version of the wonderful place it always was.
“There is so much incredible heritage” she said, “but now we have an incredible range of shops that work for every budget, every shape, every style and every taste.
“I remember when I was here and there was the very first Harvey Nichols outside London and we were all so excited.”
Her book Get Changed is a practical guide to building the ultimate new wardrobe, from sorting out your current wardrobe to finding what works for your body type and your lifestyle, how to shop successfully, and picking out key wardrobe pieces that will work together.
The catwalk, staged in front of John Lewis in Victoria Gate, was set against a backdrop depicting the names and drawings of a representation of each of the nine fashion tribes that she has identified. Various style icons fall into these tribes to help visualise the look. At the live shows, models stepped out wearing AW23 outfits from various Victoria Leeds brands, with each look fitting into one of the signature style tribes.
Victoria Leeds is the portmanteau name given to the shopping areas that includes the Victoria Quarter and King Edward Street; Victoria Gate, the contemporary mall opened in 2016; and Sidney Street, which connects the two. It is home to Harvey Nichols, John Lewis & Partners, Boodles, Whistles, All Saints, Anthropologie, Cos, & Other Stories, Reiss, Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith and many more.
Jo Coburn, Victoria Leeds’ senior general manager, said: “We’re big Kat Farmer fans - she really shows people how to dress for themselves, rather than for fleeting trends.”
Kat said: “It’s helping people understand that everybody has the right to look in a mirror and love the person they see looking back and it is not necessarily as difficult as some people immediately think.”
So, in case you missed the catwalks, I went for you. Here is a brief rundown of Kat Farmer’s nine signature fashion tribes:
Classic Chic: Kat says: “Basically, it’s an elevated version of the girl next door. Think Holly Willoughby, think Michelle Obama. These are beautiful dresses. It’s elegant, it’s well cut, but you do have a bit of print, of pattern and you do love a little bit of detail”
Minimalist Elegance: “Much more pared-back. We have Audrey Hepburn, we have Victoria Beckham. We are thinking sleek, beautifully cut, elevated pieces. Neutrals are definitely the way forward for you.”
London Cool: Kat says: “I’m sorry about this; it can also be Leeds Cool, without a shadow of a doubt. This is a little bit more of an urban look, a little bit edgier, so you love leather, you love leopard print, think Kate Moss, think Chrissie Hynde, a little bit more of a rock chick aspect.”
Laid Back LA: “Ridiculously easy to wear, very, very stylish, with beautiful linens. You love neutral colours, easy-to-wear fabrics and outfits that you can dress up or dress down, whatever the weather, whatever the style.”
Boho: “Not to be confused with Seventies Magic, Boho is all about the accessories, it’s about how to wear the hat, paisley, lace … it's a little bit extra that’s very cool and easy to wear, and very easy to mix in with the other styles.”
Androgynous Flair: “If you are a fan of tailored and you love that more masculine vibe but you want to add that little bit of feminine touch, it’s very easy to do - masculine style suit, you may want to introduce a little bit of silk, a little bit of lace here and there, go for a pair of heels.”
Seventies Magic: “We are thinking all things disco, flower power. We have sequins, we have lurex, beautiful big prints - Donna Summer, wide trousers, flares, boots.”
Parisian Chic: “Very elevated, very chic, simple little blazer, boucle jacket … Breton stripe is a must. Very easy to wear and adapt.”
Eclectic Vintage: Kat says: “Probably the most difficult style to master, easy to get wrong. It’s about adding those things that you think might not necessarily work together and you put them all on, like Iris Apfel, and it works.”
So, which am I? I would like to aspire to a little bit of all of them, although I do find Laid Back LA and Parisian Chic the hardest to achieve, if I’m honest. But when I grow up, I am definitely aiming for Eclectic Vintage, even if I do it very badly indeed.
Get Changed: Finding the New You through Fashion, by Kat Farmer, is published by Octopus. See Instagram and Facebook @doesmybumlook40