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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Depression in fashion industry will hit home ]

Depression in fashion industry will hit home

Global credit crunch? Belt-tightening? There are few signs of them here. Take a walk down Makarios Avenue, past the cafes and restaurants lining the street. There are boutiques packed with handbags boasting a 1000-euro price tags and shoes clocking in at 750 euros.

How can people still afford such luxury items? Who are they aimed at? Is Cyprus immune from the global cash-flow gloom?

“Of course Cyprus is affected but people, and especially women in Cyprus, think it’s incredibly important to own an expensive bag or wear known Italian brands,” says Ambrosia Messiou, an agent for French Connection in Cyprus. “There’s a huge depression, however, in the fashion world all over Europe and top notch stores carrying brands are not doing so well.”

Yet, when we spoke to several stores along swanky Stasicratous Street, the same reply echoed again and again. “We’re doing fine”, they said. “The soaring cost of living isn’t hitting our business in any way.”

One agent, who supplies several Stasicratous boutiques, was less sanguine. “Orders have decreased. Not dramatically, mind you, but the fashion world in Cyprus has been affected though many like to pretend it hasn’t.”

Yet it’s thought that if the dreaded ‘crash’ does finally reach the field of fashion, low-end outlets will suffer more than luxury ones.

“So many shops that do not have the global back up are already closing down,” says an agent. “And more will follow. Ledra Street, for instance, will change dramatically in the next five years. But the ones to survive in the end will be the stores with brand names. They have their standard customers who shop every month. The tiny bunch that can afford to buy these luxury items will still be around in ten or twenty years no matter how high the cost of living gets,” the agent continues.

“The rest, who are not part of the ‘elite’ class but still maintain a high standard of living -- and this is a large portion in Cyprus -- are finding it incredibly difficult to keep up. Twenty-two-year-old girls that are part of the social scene ‘need’ certain brands and are going into huge debt to buy convertible cars and central apartments, let alone bags and clothes.”

So what’s the expert’s advice? They all insist we think before buying. “Women in Cyprus need to budget and stop assuming that an expensive wardrobe will make them special,” the agent says.

How to look good on a budget – Ever since the bank handed me a piece of paper with the word ‘mortgage’ stamped on it my life, and most importantly, wardrobe, has been turned upside down. Here’s how I have learnt to survive and look good even when my finances are a mess.

- Rummage and recycle: Cyprus, disappointingly, isn’t hot on flea markets or second-hand and thrift shops. But I found my grandmother’s wardrobe worked even better.

- In fact, I’ve discovered that revamping old clothes is the way to get an individual, low-budget style. Naturally not everything is going to fit or be perfect, so find a really good seamstress and be creative. A long, black, suede skirt was transformed into a mini and became a winter wardrobe staple for me while my dad’s 30-year old grey cashmere cardigan was worn to death.

- T-shirts and cardigans: You can never, ever go wrong with a t-shirt. They are one of the cheapest items of clothing and look great with jeans and skirts or over or under dresses. T-shirts make up your basic wardrobe and you can purchase them for 10 -20 euros from Zara, Mango, Debenhams and Bershka. Same goes for cardigans for cooler days. G2000 is a great kept secret for standard, clean lines.

- Accessories: Take a black tank top and a pair of jeans. Boring? Not if you add a big belt, gold earrings and a million colourful bracelets from the One Pound shop or a kiosk. Accessories make all the difference.

- Make -up: Even though good skin care is important, make-up can be inexpensive and brings drama to any outfit, giving you instant glamour. You don’t have to be in heels and a dress to put make up on your eyes!

Key investment pieces. Experts say your wardrobe should be made up of 60% investment pieces, 20% basics and 20% fashion/trend items. When searching for an investment piece, make sure you shop around. You’ll know when you’ve found a winner.

- The perfectly-tailored pair of trousers: Everyone has a favourite pair of trousers and they’re usually the most comfortable and flattering but make sure they’re a black, formal pair as opposed to jeans.

- Jeans should be on your list too. They’re such a versatile item of clothing, so it makes sense buying a good, sturdy, flattering pair. I recommend Miss Sixty for small women while Max Mara caters for the older, curvier woman.

- The trench coat/ It’s updated and slightly restyled almost every year but it’s a classic piece every woman should have in her wardrobe. Wear it with jeans or a dress -- it’s instant glamour! Try Benetton for quality at affordable prices.

- A designer bag/ People think spending a month’s wages on a bag is madness and we couldn’t agree more. However, having one fabulous bag that you wear every day is much better than having five cheaper ones. It will last longer, so, on a cost-per-wear basic, it evens out. Just make sure you love it and it goes with everything. And steer clear of counterfeit brands. Remember you need a classic like Chanel or Balenciaga.

- Cashmere/ woolly sweater. I should probably add that any material along the lines of cashmere, merino wools, silks and fine wools is considered a good investment. A cashmere sweater or cardigan in a basic colour will last you forever. Try Benetton for warm woollies, Debenhams and Max and Co for cashmere.

- Anything in black. It’s a fact that black is always ‘in’ and considered a classic, so if you’re buying an expensive, elegant, classic dress, make it a black one. It was during the 1920s that Coco Chanel decided the LBD (Little Black Dress) would be a wardrobe staple for women of every class-- and it still is.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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