I have always been a big advocate for seeking out fashionable threads from beyond the high street.
There's nothing better than turning up to one of the many shindigs that my sociable company loves to put on, and getting complimented on a dress that clearly no one has ever seen before! My colleagues are always so baffled by the labels or the places I pick them up from too.
No, I don't do much high street! It's hardly a statement when you turn up somewhere in the same outfit as someone else? Oh no, that's not going to be me!
Personally I prefer my style to reflect all the aspects of who I am, inspired by my passions for music and travel, my ethical beliefs and my cultural heritage. Mixing and matching quirky brands, charity shop chic, emerging designers and epic holiday finds can make all of this totally achievable too; whilst not causing my bank manager to weep either!
A big favourite of mine is London based label Elenany. Sarah Elenany, is behind the brand, and draws on her Palestinian and Egyptian heritage to produce contemporary clothing for young people. The designer started the label in 2009 as she felt there was nothing at the time providing stylish attire for young Muslims.
"It was either very religious or very ethnic," she said.
"There was nothing readily available that both expressed my British identity and Muslim identity in equal measure, which is what I think Elenany does."
The clothing line, which includes modestly-cut coats, dresses and jumpers, is designed with universal appeal in mind. While it uses inspiration from Islamic art and culture, the designs are meant to be for anyone to wear.
Sarah explained: "It's essentially British looking clothing which is made relevant to Muslims by incorporating Islamically inspired graphics into the clothing. Having said that, the graphics to everyone else just look like a nice angular repeat pattern."
She added: "It's aimed at independent, confident, expressive people. It's bold, has strong graphics, colours and shapes."
Elenany has already been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, The BBC and The Independent and this month launched its first ever jewellery range.
Sarah decided to produce the collection of lazer-cut earrings and rings after a friend asked her to make a pair of earrings using Elenany graphics. It was then that the designer saw the potential appeal of an accessories range.
She said: "I'm really excited about the new range. I've already had so much great feedback from friends and existing customers who have emailed me to tell me the jewellery range compliments the clothing beautifully."
Currently Sarah is putting together the promo for her Spring/Summer collection out in March, and after seeing my very own eccentric styling and modeling for a friend's fashion label Misticon; she invited me to model the new range. I was delighted, though knew I was going to have no idea how to pose. I found it really difficult the last time just trying to look interesting, and ultimately I wanted to do her clothes justice. It didn't help that I was feeling a little bleary eyed after a night of DJing at my friend's Hoxton club night Whatever Happend to P-Rock?
Sarah chided me for not getting my beauty sleep as we ate lunch before going through the clothes and my own accessories to style the shoot with. Sarah had asked me to bring along anything that was green, blue, black and gold to co-ordinate with the range of jackets, dresses and tops that bore the same colour themes and patterns.
She told me: "I was inspired by a piece of gold and blue Sèvres Porceline, the rest of the designs flowed from there."
Like any girly girl, I brought way too much, but the outgoing designer encouraged me to go for things that reflected my style and taste. I plumped for a bit of leopard print in my hair, bright yellow tights and a pair of Elenany peace sign earrings.
Full of artistic vision and helpful directions for me to try, Sarah coaxed out lots of decent looks, helping me to channel the confidence I needed. Her flair for fashion clearly lended itself well to getting the most out of her models; making the day fun and modeling part completely straight forward. My musical soundtrack of Zebrahead, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and early Green Day also helped me to strike the poses, reflecting who I was, as well as helping me to generally loosen up. Eventually I was just busting into dance or song!
One of the pieces, a tunic yellow dress that had a 60s go-go feel to it, I shimmied for the money shot while for a few of the jumper dresses I couldn't help but burst out into a mini mosh.
There will also be an animated promo video to go alongside the photos which I'm really excited to see, as it will feature a series of shots with alternating models including myself.
If you are feeling like you needing a new key piece for your wardrobe, I urge you to look up Elenany. With vibrant patterns, fusion of cultures and beautifully cut tailoring, labels like this will make you leave the high street behind!
There is just so much more out there, bound to impress your friends at the next party. I say ditch the shops and get on-line!
Follow Sandy Dhaliwal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/onepiecedj