Second up in our London Fashion Week series: the young creatives shaping London’s cultural landscape. From flowers to photography, manicures to make-up, they are determined to have fun with fashion, and re-interpret it in as many ways as possible.
Jamie Stoker discovered photography by accident when he borrowed his grandfather’s film SLR, despite having no idea how to use it. “Miraculously, a few frames came out exposed correctly.” He’s come a long way since then. A fast-rising star in fashion photography, he has made a name for himself with his behind-the-scene shots that capture the backstage bustle of a fashion show. For him, being secreted away behind the glamour of the runway allows him to capture the chaos and the creativity that animates a show, and also “the quieter human moments that are easier to miss”.
You probably heard Izzy Bizu’s voice before you heard her name. Discovered at an open mic night when she was just 18, she has just released an album, A Moment of Madness, which was inspired by Amy Winehouse, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday. The husky-voiced songstress has chimed chords with the fashion industry–she has already worked with Burberry, H&M and Chloé. But, despite her success, Bizu doesn’t bother to look too far ahead. “I’ll just see what happens day by day.”
Flora Starkey started out working in fashion, and then moved onto flowers, a transition that has served her well. Now she handcrafts opulent, abundant bouquets for clients that include Alexander McQueen, Nick Knight and Vogue. What does she love about London? “The history, the diversity. It has a great heritage of influential artists and designers who go onto inspire future generations.”
Helen Downie is better known by her Instagram handle, @unskilledworker, a name that is, presumably, ironic. A self-taught painter, she was initiated into the ranks of the fashion elite by Nick Knight who, discovering her work, asked her to cover Men’s Fashion Week in Milan. Alessandro Michele then followed suit. She painted his first womenswear show for Gucci. “Michele creates clothes with such stories, I can’t help but paint them!” What drew her to the world of fashion in the first place? “I’ve always liked the idea of self-invention. I find it fascinating, the way people use their appearance to cover up or project their personality. My paintings are about the way that people wear their clothes.”
Working out of a box-park in Shoreditch, Imarni’s speciality is nail art. She is certainly not a French-polish kind of girl. “We do beautiful nail art that is also cutting-edge design.” She has acquired a cult following of clients, including V magazine and Vogue Italia, as well as FKA Twigs, Pixie Geldof and Lily Allen. Her mantra? Judging by her penchant for crystals and embellishment, it must be that more is, well, more.
Founder of iconic hair salon Bleach, Alex Brownsell has dyed her hair every colour of the rainbow. Thanks to her, so have her clients–in her time, she has transformed the locks of many a model. What inspires her? “Renaissance harlots; medieval tapestries; period dramas.” And why is British fashion the best? “It’s fine to look like a clown.”
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