Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’d like to be interviewed, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alexandra works as a Buyers Admin Assistant for Topshop. She also writes a blog, Alex Does Fashion. She is 23 and lives in South London.
LLO: Tell us a bit about your blog, Alex Does Fashion.
AR: I love fashion, have always worked in fashion and have always wanted to write a blog. And then when my previous job took me to a remote area of Coventry for 6 months, I had not much else to do in the evenings! That’s when I started writing it; it helped me escape and now it’s my baby. Alex Does Fashion is about fashion, art and life from my perspective – because it’s my blog! Plus, I get a bit fed up of all the millions of narcissistic fashion blogs consisting only of thousands pictures of the blogger in outfits, or countless street style photos. Alex Does Fashion is all about what inspires and interests me, and hopefully inspires and interests others.
LLO: As a born and bred Londoner, talk us through some of the best and worst fashion trends that have hit the city in your lifetime.
AR: Oh goodness. So many. The one that first sprang to mine was definitely when flat winkle pickers came back as the “pointy shoe” in 2003. When I was 15 I had a white pair with a horrendous silver clasp – not a good look. I also once wore them with black tights…enough said.
LLO: Where is your place to show up in the capital on a Saturday night after buying the perfect new outfit?
AR: I’d say at the moment I’m definitely more of a bar girl than a club girl, and as a South Londoner, of course I absolutely love going out in Clapham. Tapas and sangria outside on the deck at Carmen Bar de Tapas, happy hour cocktails at Rinky Dinks, more cocktails at the gorgeous art deco Loft bar and dancing in Aqqum. And then of course a good ol’ night time cheeseburger and chips in McDonalds at 4am!
LLO: Where can we find London’s best vintage or retro offerings?
AR: There’s no doubt about it – Brick Lane is still number 1 for vintage in my opinion. There are countless stores to choose from, but my favourite are Hunky Dory vintage which has fantastically elaborate pieces – and the guys who work there are so friendly and lovely, and I love the Boy London store, housing what’s left of the amazing 80s line, with the fantastically eccentric owner as well as the crazy £1-5 bed sale in the basement (literally a 3ft mound of clothes on a bed). And of course, you can’t forget the humungous Beyond Retro.
Away from East London, one of my favourites is Retromania in Pimlico. It’s almost a costume store and they carry fantastic designer collections. For my birthday, my friends bought me an amazing huge black and white furry angora cardigan from there; and they have a fantastic rail outside which changes every week, where I picked up a great hounds tooth men’s jacket for £1! Perfect for guilt free shopping.
LLO: Which London-based living fashion icon do you most admire and why?
AR: I don’t really have a fashion icon – I can admire and be inspired by everything and anyone, especially normal people with normal lives.
LLO: After living in NYC for a bit, how does fashion in London compare to the styles in the Big Apple?
AR: Like London style, fashion in New York you couldn’t even begin to encapsulate in one sentence. There are so many neighbourhoods, and so many different types of people. Although one thing I did notice that there are a lot more vintage stores and small boutiques scattered about, and many New Yorkers do look to London as the most directional fashion city. One thing about New Yorkers though, is that everyone looks a lot more put together. Everything in New York inspires me – from the people, the bars, the buildings and the New Yorkers’ incessant style. I truly and absolutely heart New York.
LLO: Favourite London-based designers?
AR: I love Mark Fast, Issa, Marios Schwab, David Koma, Holly Fulton – and of course, Vivienne Westwood.
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