Friday, 2 January 2015

A new way to keep warm........

........... but we got very cold taking the photographs to tell you all about it!

Here at Anna Macneil, we have been busy making a new winter warmer.  And having made it we went off for a fashion shoot to photograph it.

"Heather" is the latest style to be added to our range of Harris Tweed products.  It is a hooded scarf, lined with cosy polar fleece and embroidered with our signature Celtic knotwork designs.   I made a few and took them to a craft fair at the beginning of December - and sold out!  As we had models and a photographer booked for the following weekend, that meant we had to make some more rather quickly!

We headed off to the hills armed the new hooded scarves and with lots of our cosy Hebridean Hoods, buttoned wraps and a large selection of hats.  The models are Aimee Brown, Phoebe Lynch and Vicky James. Our photographer is Gareth Ceri Bryant (Ceri Images).  The first place we stopped, the heavens opened and the rain came in icy horizontal sheets - but looking west we could see it looked brighter over in the direction of Loch Ness.  It was dry and sunny when we got there, but the wind was howling up the Great Glen and it was barely possible to stand, never mind get people to stand still for photographs.  We continued up the hill towards Loch Ashie and found a more sheltered spot.

The following photographs show how the day progressed.  We are very gratefuly to Aimee, Phoebe, Vicky and Gareth for being such good sports braving the cold.  The girls loved huddling up in our cosy Hebridean Hoods, and trying on various hats to team with the buttoned wraps. 
Aimee, Vicky and Phoebe wearing buttoned wraps
 From left to right - Aimee wearing a Catriona hat, Vicky wearing an Anna hat and Phoebe wearing a Maggie hat - all of them wearing buttoned wraps.

This was just a "warm-up" with Gareth checking light levels - the weather was changeable that day!
 Each of the models chose the things they wanted to wear - really anything that would keep them warm!
Gareth seeing to all the details - the kind of things I always miss when I am the photographer!

This is one of Gareth's pictures - I have used it on the front cover of the new trade catalogue and as a header for our calendar

The light was poor (what do we expect mid December?) so extra flash was needed - Mary holding up the light

Vicky, Phoebe and Aimee getting ready for some group shots

Gareth giving some instructions about where he wanted the models to stand

There are real people behind these hoods! They had the hoods fully forward to keep out the wind

Our new "Heather" hood - worn in four different ways - by this time we were all freezing, the sleat was coming horizontal and the light was failing, so we didn't really get any good shots.

Mary lit up a smoke bomb to give a misty look to some of the photographs
And this is one of Gareth's images that shows just how effective the smoke bomb was!
After two hours in freezing conditions we had all had enough and headed back to my house in Inverness for some well deserved home-made soup and warm bread.  Once the girls had fully
Mairi Hats being worn by Vicky and Phoebe
thawed out, we set up the spare bedroom as a makeshift photographic studio and Gareth spent  some time with Vicky and Phoebe doing some head shots of various hats.  Aimee had had to go home, but she kindly gave us a little more of her time the next day and I took some more photographs in her back garden.  Here you can see the new hooded scarf worn in various ways.

The calendar is one that goes to our regular wholesale customers, but if you want a copy, you can buy one for £4.00 including postage and packing.  It is a long banner year planner style - single sheet and comes in a postal tube.

Now that the Christmas rush is over, I have been taking time to update the website - wherever possible, using some of the lovely photographs that we got from that freezing cold, but very successful day.     I have also been working on our new wholesale catalogue which went onto the website this afternoon.  I just had one photograph I needed to complete it, so Len and I went out for a drive this afternoon up Glen Affric.  It was every bit as cold today as it was 3 weeks ago with an icy wind added in.  But I got what I wanted - a photograph of all ten styles of hat that we make hanging on a natural "hat stand" - i.e. some dead branches, with a good Highland landscape in the background.  I have used this picture to illustrate the general information page about our hats.

Len was with me - good to have a driver, because it meant I could watch the scenery and look for likely branches!  I was very glad of my own "Morag" hat and just wished I had thought to bring a wrap as well.
When we got home, I put the hats photo in place and Len put the wholesale catalogue live on the website.  (please note this is a password protected catalogue and only available to bona fide trade customers).  The retail version will have to wait a little while, but as there are no price increases, the 2014 catalogues will serve the purpose for now.

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