London Fashion Week reminds us of our own fashion creatives in Camden Town. We’re taking a closer look at the dynamic and diverse industry in the area – from startup fashion blogs to ASOS headquarters.
What inspired you to start a fashion blog?
I was first made aware of fashion blogs via Teen Vogue and since I was studying knitwear design, I knew I had a point of view to contribute. I loved having a peek into what girls my age were wearing and it provided an alternative viewpoint to magazines.
Do you feel the fashion industry can be a negative environment for women?
Unfortunately it can be. Fashion should be an empowering force and a way to express yourself, but there’s issues related to the way it’s presented to us. It’s like we’ve been conditioned only to buy from models who look nothing like us. The main issues seem to revolve around racial and size diversity. The fashion industry sets the standard of beauty. Some brands are still alienating women either by the sizes they provide or foundation shades. It’s really sad and can fuel insecurities. Changes are happening slowly and social media has really helped to give different voices a platform. We can represent ourselves now, without waiting for mainstream media to do it for us.
As a blogger, what do you do to make your content accessible to all women?
Although I present a lot of my own personal experiences, it’s important for me to be mindful of different perspectives and viewpoints. I would never want anyone to feel worse about their insecurities because of something I write. If I talk about my own body, I try not to use derogatory language for example. I like to think that I provide a mixture of fashion, travel and lifestyle content and I try to make sure that anyone could take something from it, regardless of skin tone or body type.
In some ways, fashion is incredibly innovative, whilst in others it can considered behind the times. What’s your perspective, and what would you like to see brands do to solve these issues?
It’s strange isn’t it! I think that brands need to be braver, especially the bigger, more established ones. One big example is with casting more diverse models. Nothing will ever change unless brands and casting agencies shake things up and that tends to happen with the smaller, more agile companies. Most of the time it seems like there’s different layers as to why things stay the way they are. For examples the designers make tiny samples, so the models have to be tiny too. Some modelling agencies may have one or two black girls amongst a sea of white faces and think that’s enough. Also, brands may appear to be embracing diversity, but it can unfortunately be tokenistic. I document all of the articles I read on a Pinterest board called ‘Let’s Talk About Race.’ It’s great to see more conversation, but it can be overwhelming to understand at times.
If you could sum up Camden’s street style in one word or sentence, what would it be?
I would say it’s eclectic without seeming alienating, I guess having the ASOS offices nearby helps!
What makes Camden so attractive to young creative types?
It’s got a great musical history and has always been a place where you can express yourself. It’s surreal, I used to come here at the age of 15 with my grungy, super-flared jeans and now I’m working from the Collective with other cool start ups. I think the future of Camden is really exciting.
Any industry role models?
Definitely Sharmadean Reid. I love that she created a whole nail art industry and now provides a network for the next generations of entrepreneurs.
Sharmadean Reid, founder of WAH London
What other cities do you consider to be up and coming in the international fashion scene?
I’ve heard interesting things about Tbilisi, Georgia. Vetements and Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia hails from there and its Soviet history seems to influences the designers. I’m definitely curious.
Will you be attending or have you ever attended London fashion week?
Yes, I’ve been attending since 2009! It’s definitely evolved, at first the industry was a little hostile towards having bloggers there and we used to stand out in the cold as we were banned from the press lounge. Now brands put on their own lounges and try to get us to stop by! I try to see the bigger picture, it’s a great chance to get a variety of content and build your network. One highlight was attending the Mulberry show and going to the seaside-themed afterparty.