24.06.2016

Brand of friends

Superbalist's bestsellers include a label to suit every girl in your crew

Words: Sibu Mabusela | Photography: Nick Gordon | Creative Direction: Gavin Mikey Collins

Mindy Lahiri says that a friend isn't a person – it's a tier. And she's right: the people who surround you, who form your inner circle, are both the people you like best and the ones who defend you and define you. They shield you from the worst of the world. They're your squad. 

Most girls have a circle of friends comprising a bestie from pre-school, that bff from high school, a girl-crush from the club and The Girls from varsity. Well at least I do, and the older I get the more I tend to rely on them as my guides. Spirit guides, soul guides, “What-would-Carey-do-in-this-situation?” type guides. But mostly, I refer to them as my very own fashion guides.

And so using Superbalist's best sellers we selected six brands to create six looks and then matched these to the six types of friends every girl needs in her life. Why? Because good friends and well-dressed friends alike are there to inspire you: when you've selected an excellent friend group, you'll find yourself being better, and when you're surrounded by style you'll soon be dressing the part. You'll notice that the outfits have a military feel, and that's because my friends are obviously the baddest. Also, you should view these brands as a sort of uniform that you can put on like armour and combat the day, or night, in. 

And once you’ve got all of your girl guides down on lock, you can take solace in the fact that they're just a click away whenever you need a little help from your friends. 

Disclaimer: all gal-pals are made up, and are completely fictitious characters, they are definitely not based on my real life friends. In no way whatsoever. Promise. 

The brand: Vero Moda designs are created with thought to the busy lifestyle of the individual woman. From workweek to weekend, this versatile label seeks to provide a balance between trendy garments that are of high quality, at affordable prices. From desk to drinks and something in-between, Vero Moda secures fresh fashion for any occasion.

The look: A jumpsuit makes a serious statement when worn with a gorgeously rugged coat and contrasting accessories. 

The Vero Moda girl: She's known to work as hard during the week as she parties on the weekend. She's that stylish varsity student getting a Master’s in Bio Chemistry, and applies her ability for excellence to her deep love for fashion. She’s like the older sister you never had, but always wanted, a bad bitch who's been shopping online before you even knew what a PayPal account was. Because her closet is always open, you’re likely to hit her house to borrow a dress before heading out to the club. Job interview? The Vero Moda girl’s closet will definitely have a little something for you. Dependable and courageous, she takes risks, is honest (even when we don’t want to hear it) and is trustworthy, too.

While borrowing worked perfectly well when you were in uni together, your best friend's place is no longer just a few doors down from yours, so shop Vero Moda and beat the winter chill in a trench, jumpsuit and chunky heels. Learn from the girl who has it all and invest in the pieces that you'll wear time after time, like a warm winter coat and the best accessories, and before you know it you'll be ready to fight all your own battles when it comes to assembly the right look for every occasion. 

The brand: Only collections focus on the uniqueness of the individual woman. By looking to international trends for inspiration, this established label blends simple designs and mature details into each item of clothing to secure that Only feel. 

The look: When a seriously military-style jacket pairs up with a pretty skirt and accessories it means love, not war. 

The Only girl: She loves to flirt. With boys, with girls, with life. She loves to love and that’s probably why you’ve stayed friends with her this long. She’s the traveller amongst your friends, which means a few years ago you would probably have struggled imitating her style, because that scarf was from India and that leather skirt was from the last time she visited her aunt in New Zealand. Being friends with her can be a problem when you accidently borrow her stunning thigh-high boots (which she bought from a small boutique in the South of France) and then conveniently forget to return them until three weeks and four Facebook posts later. But she's worth it. 

Nowadays being mates with the Only gal is a breeze, because she brings the trends and you do the shopping online. Her style is pretty much like she is, laidback and effortless. She pairs her items well and knows how to work a room, turning heads without even trying. Try your very own Only look with a retro 80s inspired A-line and military jacket combo.

The brand: Vila has established itself as one of the frontrunners in Scandinavian fashion. With retail stores across Scandinavia as well as continental Europe, the brand makes it possible for women to dress amazingly without compromising on style and quality, all while pushing the latest trends at reasonable prices.

The look: The sharpest of trouser-and-shoe combinations pair up with a slouchy outerwear pick – and it's just perfect. 

The Vila girl: You’ve probably never seen her have so much as a bad hair day, let alone wear a shady outfit. This girl knows fashion and could name the top 20 designer labels in her sleep. We wouldn’t blame you if you assumed everything she owned was high-end, because, well, it probably is. She’s elegant and oozes class, strutting her stuff stylishly and clad in nothing but the best. This is the gal-pal who's had imports ever since you can remember, and is the one who chimes, “You mean this old thing? My mom bought it for me in London when I was 16!” The Vila girl is probably raking it in right now as a blogger-slash-influencer, too, and you can’t even hate her for it because she really does always look so damn good.

Love the Vila girl’s approach to life? Then we’re pretty sure you’ll love feminine transitional pieces with a focus on simple design and detail. Try Vila's Ry Cape or the Modern knit and layer up right as winter comes storming in. The best thing about a collection of much-loved pieces? The confidence to pair them in unexpected ways – think pattern on pattern, or pretty pastel offsetting military toughness. Polo neck under a wide-necked sweater? Well, why not? 

The brand: Missguided was founded by Nitin Passi in 2008. They describe themselves as “an empowering, bold and forward-thinking online fashion brand”. Influenced by real life in the shape of the catwalk, celebrities, social media and street style, Missguided celebrate what it means to be a girl in a digitally-immersed world. 

The look: A patterned print dress gets an extra edge thanks to layered outerwear and jewellery. 

The Missguided girl: She loves a good night out, and is a sexy, free-spirited party girl who is usually the first one on the dance floor (and maybe even on a table, too!). Think you’re going to tell the Missguided girl you can’t go out tonight because you’re too tired to paint the town red? Think again. She’ll probably hand you that first glass of wine - purely for relaxation purposes, obviously - and then tell you that you deserve a quiet night in. And then before you know it the stereo is blasting, you're Snapchatting your different outfit options and the Uber is downstairs while you’re struggling to slip your other heel on and hopping downstairs. Such is the life of a Missguided gal, and being mates with her is a never-ending joy ride. Don’t know anyone like that? Then chances are she's you!

Inasmuch as the Missguided girl knows how to have fun, she’s pretty good at rolling up her sleeves and getting her hands dirty, too. She works hard and kicks corporate ass with attitude. That’s why her daytime wear looks just as good as what she wears at night. Layering jackets and coats and pairing it with the highest stilettos she owns, this girl knows where she’s going, and if you hang on she'll always take you with her. Learn from this lover of life by having fun with your look – and wear all your favourites at once if you want to. 

The brand: Whether your look is elegant or edgy, and whatever the occasion, staying in style is easy with Glamorous. Just pick the pieces that best express your personality and mix and match them to create on-trend looks that you love – this is fast, affordable fashion at its best.

The look: The season calls for tons of texture, so a standout coat piled on with elegant pieces makes for the ideal combination of comfort and cool. 

The Glamorous girl: Headed to a music festival? She probably has a flower crown stashed in her closet that you could borrow. And there's definitely something whimsical, with plenty of prints and colours, at the very least. We're not sure how she does it, but her wardrobe is always ready for your most demanding self, and if you call her at 3pm screaming, “I have a day party to get to and my housemate has my keys and I'm still dressed from work!!!” she’ll somehow have a elegant and on-trend ensemble waiting for you upon arrival. I have absolutely no idea how she does it, she’s pretty much a magician. Her look? Just as majestic.

This girl's style is obviously flawless. I’m talking Olivia Pope in Scandal or Rachel Zane from Suits kind of flawless — that girl's workwear is fire! With an edge of course. The Glamorous girl is not afraid of prints, patterns, cut-out detail and tassels, all of which she takes on fearlessly.

The brand: Noisy May celebrates denim by producing street-chic garments in on-trend washes and desirable cuts. The brand’s uncompromising stance on affordable fashion is reflected by a range of separates that accentuate and complement its unique and varied denim selection for women.

The look: A textured take on mod style with a military twist means patterns, sharp silhouettes and surprising accessories. 

The Noisy May girl: A lover of all things edgy, the Noisy May gal dabbled in androgyny and looked great doing it. She's the friend with piercings in strange places, a sleeve of tattoos, and has more than likely shaved her head before. She's the one you go to when you need to borrow the latest leather jacket or stand out skinnies. She’s also the friend who has a terabyte worth of music and movies on her hard drive, and is a creative spirit who isn’t ever afraid to express herself. If we could compare this girl to a movie character she’d be a mix of Beatrixx Kiddo from Kill Bill and Tomb Raider's Lara Croft. Just remember that while our Noisy May girl may appear tough on the outside, she’s pretty soft on the inside, so treat her right.

Noisy May is not afraid of change. Today she’s wearing ripped jeans, plain white sneakers and a sweater, and then tomorrow she’s in the same ripped jeans, but with a slim-fitting crop tee and stilettos. With a trusty bomber and boots as her best allies, she's ready to take on any look – and win. 

Hair & Makeup: Roxanne Sayers

Models: Nina Henry @ Boss, Nyamuoch G @ Twenty