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River Island "High Summer" blogger event

Last week I attended a "blogger evening" to have a look at River Island's "High Summer" collection which will be in shops in a couple of months I guess (but who knows, with the warped timings of high street clothes shops where you can only buy a bikini in January and a fur coat in July, it could be out at any time.) The collection is Marrakech themed with lots of bright colours and textured fabrics. Very nice.

I love the leopard and the orange wedges, and the orange shorts.

The evening itself was slightly odd compared to normal blogger events/previews though. Yes there was the normal free booze and nibbles, but there weren't actually that many clothes!? There were only about 6 items of clothing on display, it was mainly accessories. The River Island press studio is admittedly tiny, but they hadn't made the most of the space really. I could have taken pictures of everything and been in and out in about 5 minutes.

I guess the reason there wasn't much to see is that the rest of the clothing was being used for the collection's press images, which were being shot at the same time in the back of the room. When I got there and the River Island PRs explained what was going on, it was quite exciting. A live photoshoot is not something I've ever seen or heard about at a blogger or press event.

Photo editing man doing his thing.

They were being really high-tech too, with monitors set up in the room where you could see the shots that were being taken and edited, and then these were then streamed to various iPads dotted around the room. Very snazzy.

The PRs were also telling us that if we had iPhones we could download an app to get the pictures on those too. problem is, no-one seemed to have an iPhone...

The other problem, and my main gripe, is that although we could see the photoshoot going on in the back of the room, mostly all we could see was this:

Ok, fair enough if the light reflector thingymabob had to be held there, BUT the River Island PRs were being a bit funny about us trying to take pictures of the photoshoot. We weren't allowed to go beyond a certain line, which made it quite difficult to see what was going on, never mind take pictures. One PR was telling us that we couldn't even try and take pictures, and that we were only allowed to take pictures of the monitors and iPads.
This is what annoys me. As a general rule, bloggers like to take pictures. Lots of them. Of anything and everything at the events we go to. Don't make a big deal about how cool this live photoshoot is and how clever you are for doing it at an event if you don't want us to take pictures, or even watch it. The photoshoot at a blogger event was a really interesting and original idea, but they ruined it by being funny about photos and making it difficult for us to watch it. If they really needed to have it going on at the same time, then they should have shut the curtains, and not just given us glimpses and bigged it up.

It's not even as if the looks were "top secret" anyway, as we were told the images would all be available on the pr shots website the next day (they weren't, it took 6 days.) Anyway, here are some of the advertising images I (kind of) saw being shot:

On a bit of a tangent, this is the most bizarre item of clothing I've seen in a while. It's a "kaftini"...

When I saw the look on the model at the event I just thought it was a top tucked into bikini bottoms (which I thought was slightly odd styling), but no, it's an all-in one. And possibly the least practical thing. It's not a proper cover up, as your bum is completely out, you can't really wear it over anything else, and you sure as hell can't swim in it. And it's £49.99 apparently. I'm going to stick my neck out here and predict that this will be an end-of-summer clearance item. Or I could be wrong, would you wear it?

SO. In conclusion, the clothes were very nice, and I'd happily wear the majority of the pieces I saw, but if any PR types are reading, don't do what River Island did if you don't want to bemuse and slightly irritate the bloggers you invite to your preview events. I'm never getting invited back to a River Island event after this post I'm sure, but I like to be as honest as possible. (Superdrug seem to have taken me off their blog partnership list after I gave not-so-great reviews to some Bloom cosmetics a few months ago :p)

I don't want to end on a negative though, and one nice thing that came out of the evening was that I met the lovely Bumpkin Betty (I wasn't sure whether or not to use your real name because I don't know how "internet anonymous" you are!), and we had a nice long chat about various blog-related stuffs. Go read her blog.


  1. lol @ the kaftini. How strange!

  2. Good write up!

    Glad you were honest and if the PR don't invite you back they are wimpy!

    Btw - kaftini, not in a million years.

  3. Ahhh, that looked really good, gah at them not letting you take photos though :(
    Um, i don't think i'll be wearing the kaftini,ta!

  4. Those wedges are insane. They're great, but the gradient is so frickin steep, I could never walk in them!

    But this is the first season I'm actually loving River Island, for years. Thanks for the writeup!

    And haha yes, that kaftini gives Borat's little lime number a run for its money in ridiculousness stakes :) x

  5. Haha! The 'kaftini' is DEFINITELY going to be in the clearance section. What a ridiculous item!

    Sounds like the PRs had kind of come up with a good idea but then when it came to putting into practice, they got a bit confused! What's the point in people being allowed to download all the photos but not actually take any themselves? Madness.

    Yay for honest blogging! xxx

  6. I absolutely adore your honesty. What a shame that they didn't let you take photos- that is definitely the main part of being a blogger? I love the photos though. Also, isn't it funny how apple-centric these kind of events are? I mean I love apple but goes to show when none of you guys had an iphone to download those photos.

    Anyway on to the positives- the Orange hues are gorgeous!

  7. I really love how honest you were about everything! I'm glad that you didn't feel like you should lie about the event just so you can be invited back to another and stay on River Island's good side, hopefully the River Island PR's will see this and realise where they've gone wrong!
    On another note the leopard wedges are cute, but that kaftini is ridiculous!
    Charlotte :) xxx

  8. Good for you. Honesty is always the best policy!



  9. lots of respect to you for this post! lots of pr stuff seems to involve loads of faffing and walking and waiting, i never go to any because by the time i get to london and back, i'm not too bothered to write about the day! doing stuff to provide great content should be that aim rather than giving cupcakes and cocktails, I don't think readers are that interested to hear that!

  10. The collection looks good. All nice and summery.

    Argh, shame about the actual event. I guess River Island's PR could really have had fun with bloggers and a live photoshoot, but shame they were being weird about pictures and stuff. It's true, we bloggers love taking pictures...of everything.

    Actually about Superdrug and Bloom, I said some not so great stuff about the eyeshadow. I haven't heard from them after that either.

  11. That Kaftini is bizarre!

    I'm so glad you were honest about your experience at this event. Most of the time I give glowing reviews of the events I've been to, because, well, they have always been really nice! Maybe I've only gone to events where the PRs *get* what bloggers do, clearly these guys did not!

  12. ... yeh... not a fan of the kaftini. But I imagine a lovely hollyoaks starlet shall be flaunting it in Reveal (99p) next week.

    Was that catty? Pah, not a fan of the kaftini.


  13. Ooh thanks for the link... I got lots of hits coutesy of you so it's very kind! I like the honesty... I wasn't quite as honest as I would have liked to be but as a newbie to the bloggers events I was worried they might hate me forever haha! In my other life I am a PR and in my mind this event didn't quite work but hey ho! Hopefully bump into you again soon! don't be a stranger xxx


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