Winchester’s Fashionable Women #1

The first in a series of interviews with fashionable Winchester women who have made it in the fashion world. Buy our W/S magazine to hear their words of wisdom.

Name: Monica Welburn

Job: Student and Blogger

Connection to Winchester: Grew up here

Bio:  Monica grew up in Winchester and then travelled to London to study at The London College of Fashion. Here she set up her popular blog The Elgin Avenue as a side project where she showcases her excellent style, completes great interviews with fashion types and generally endears herself to all who read. Monica is currently in her second year of study and her blog has recently won The Marie Claire Blog Awards. This girls career is a definite one to watch.

After Winchester Fashion Week spoke to you last year things have been very exciting for you. Congratulations on winning Marie Claire’s Blog Award! How did it feel to win the award?

Thank you! It is still quite a ‘pinch myself’ thing to think about. Winning the award was quite extraordinary, there were so many incredible and well-known bloggers also up for the award, I was so happy to have been recognised in the first place! When Helen Russell, online editor of Marie Claire, began to describe the winning blog there were some clues – although I didn’t twig that it could be me until the very last one which mentioned writing about Le Pain Quotidien – I have quite a love affair with their raspberry pastries! I think my jaw must have hit the floor and my hands were shaking for the next 20 minutes – I was trying to Tweet and I simply couldn’t! It was absolutely wonderful and I am still entirely humbled and touched by the support of my friends, family and readers who all voted for T.E.A to get through to the shortlisting stage, it is a really really lovely feeling.

How has your blogging and professional life changed since winning the award and what can we expect next from The Elgin Avenue/Marie Claire?

Well my inbox shot up quite considerably! Professionally I have been really lucky in that I have made connections with brands and people that I really admire.

You’re still a student at London College of Fashion, but how often do you get to come home to Winchester?

Yes, I am now in the second year of my Fashion Journalism and Broadcasting degree at LCF. It is a wonderful University and I am so lucky that they are supportive of all our outside work and commitments, as well as helping us to make contacts within the industry. I like to visit Winchester as often as I can, my boyfriend Oli lives in Alresford which is very close by and he works in Winchester so we are often meeting friends and having dinner in the area. It is such a lovely escape from London.

And when you do make it down here what’s the first place you head to?… after seeing your family and friends of course.

There are so many wonderful places to visit in Winchester! If I am in town it is normally on a precious day off so I like to buy a magazine and settle down for a strong coffee and a read at Cafe Monde, Cafe Nero or the Caracoli bar (quite often I am tempted in to a pastry too!). Then I almost always head over to The Hambledon boutique, which has to be the most beautiful independent store this side of London, and here I potter about perusing the fab collections and natter with my great friends Rob (menswear buyer) and Lindsey (head of PR). After that if Ols is working, him and I might steal some time for a bite to eat or a coffee together, Oli raves about the new Italian wine shop and deli Toscanaccio on Parchment St – I haven’t been yet myself but I think it is about time I tried it! I love to catch up with friends over drinks and/or dinner, The Green Man does THE best cocktails (and they do yummy platters too!). For food you are quite spoilt for choice! For fancier nights I love Le Place  – I tend to have a meal to celebrate my Birthday here, I also like No.5 Bridge Street, The Old Vine and The Chesil Rectory. I also love to have big dinners with a group of friends so Zizzi’s tends to play host to our larger-table needs. I also couldn’t talk about Winchester without mentioning the amazing charity shops – always worth a trawl through! I am so happy to see so many great independent stores and businesses nestled amongst high-street shops, it is a great mix. Next on my list of independents to visit is Boudoir Blush for an underwear haul!

There are some great trends for this Spring/Summer, when the sun finally comes out to play what’s the one trend you’ll definitely be sporting about town?

Spring/Summer is awash with gorgeous trends – I think this might be one of the most attractive seasons we’ve ever had! I have always loved beaded and embellished pieces in vibrant colours so the trend for African prints is one of my favourites! I also love the mad-men silhouette, designers show-cased some incredible versions however it is one of the easiest trends to interpret on the high street. Colour + embellishment + a full skirt = my favourite look!

Winchester Fashion Week’s theme this year is Best Of British, who is your all time favourite British designer and High Street Brand?

Oh gosh this is a tricky one! I think it would be nigh on impossible to chose just one but there are definitely designers who consistently produce collections which make my heart skip a beat! Jonathan Saunders, Burberry, Holly Fulton, Roksanda Illinic, Matthew Williamson, Temperley…there are almost definitely some I have missed even in that list! England is unlike any other country in the World for producing young designer talent. In terms of the high street we have such an international collection of stores at our fingertips now; I really like Monsoon – it may be a bit of a Mum’s favourite but some of their embellishments and colours are designer-like but affordable! I also like Laura Ashley (another Mums’ fave!) and Jigsaw for blouses. Probably in terms of British stores though I prefer independents, although really I will shop anywhere and everywhere.

Hear more from Monica @ http://theelginavenue.blogspot.co.uk/

words Emily Parrett @NormalityAndMe

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