Monthly Archives

April 2016

Fashion, Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Aaron Hales – Luxury Accessories Designer

April 5, 2016

Today’s interview is with Aaron Hales a luxury accessories designer. A born Londoner (rare breed these days) Aaron shares with us his favorite parts of South West London.

Meet Aaron Hales

Aaron Hales

Hi Aaron, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Battersea, South-West London and have always lived in the city. I started life as a classical musician but quickly realised I also had interests and talents elsewhere, which led me down a very diverse path and I have had the pleasure of working on several great projects over the years. My passion for the finer things in life exploded in 2014 when I launched Aaron Hales an accessories label focusing on British craftsmanship, storytelling and my own view of the world. I launched with four designs which, to my surprise, completely sold out. A year and a half later, the brand is growing at a phenomenal rate and we have enjoyed successful seasons at Paris Fashion Week and have nurtured a loyal, passionate customer base. 

Why London?

London has always been my home and even though I enjoy escaping, a part of me will always belong here. I grew up in Battersea, lived in Wimbledon for many years and then moved to Hampstead. I sometimes find the energy in London far too claustrophobic and intense which is why I suppose I have always enjoyed living in areas that I can retreat to, with plenty of green space and a strong sense of community. I did, however, grow up very close to Clapham Junction station so I find a strange comfort in the hustle and bustle and can never bear to be away from it for too long.

Where are your favourite places to go in London ?

I was very proud when the decision was made to make some of our galleries and landmarks free to the public and I am always happy to lose myself in them. I regularly make a pilgrimage to The Wallace Collection as well as to the V&A and Tate to visit my favourite works and I think it is an incredible gift to have such masterpieces on our doorstep.

As someone working fashion where do you go to shop? 

I think working in fashion changes your shopping behaviour forever. I am very aware of the cost of materials and the issues around fast fashion, so I am a lot more focused on timeless, investment pieces. You can always find me in DAKS at the start of Autumn and I think COS has a wonderful Spring knitwear collection.

What is your preferred mode of transport to get around the city?

Weather permitting, I prefer to walk. I will jump on the tube for longer distances and time efficiency but we live in a beautiful city and I try to see as much of it as I can!

Are there any restaurants that you can recommend to our readers and why?

For breakfast, The Atrium at the Landmark Hotel is a wonderful place. Brasserie Max at the Covent Garden Hotel has great food and a fun interior, perfect for dinner with friends. If I’m in Mayfair, I always like coffee and cake at Petrocchi Sede Unica, a great little Independent Italian restaurant on Albermarle Street. It has been around forever, but the Gay Hussar is one of the few places left that conjures up old Soho for me, and the cheese pancakes are to die for.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

I’m annoyed about the number of tower blocks that are being built and I am annoyed that we haven’t been as strict on design consistency as most other European cities would be. We have a beautiful city and I would hate to see a London where natural daylight is a luxury.

As a business owner in London, what advice could you give to others look to start their own business in the city?

Network, be frugal and don’t forget about the rest of the world. London is an amazing place to launch, test and grow a business idea. There are lots of affluent people living here and it is easy to meet those people at events and even through friends, so always push yourself out there and carry business cards with you wherever you go. London is also an expensive city, with cost of living one of the highest in the world, so don’t forget to be frugal and put your money into the area that will truly help you grow. As wonderful as London is, it is not the only city in the world and I think it is really important to understand that. There are lots of potential customers around the UK and just across the pond – they could be your ticket to serious growth.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

There is a place called Falcon Park, very close to where I grew up. It is a stretch of wild green, hidden by buildings and railway arches and it is empty most of the year. I always found it very peaceful and remember sunbathing there with friends in the Summer.
 Falcon Park

Finally, If you had to leave London where would you go?

I fell in love with Marrakech the first time I visited and nearly moved there. I think it is a wonderful place, with an intense magic I haven’t experienced elsewhere. I could definitely see myself living there.

Thanks so much Aaron, you’ve really given us some great places to check out. 

Aaron’s beautiful scarves and accessories are available to buy from
Meet a londoner

Meet A Londoner: Vanessa Agyemang, International Model and Designer – Copper Dust London

April 1, 2016

VAnessa Agyemang

Today’s interview is with Vanessa Agyemang, international model and designer of Copper Dust London. Vanessa’s luxury home decor brand is fast becoming known for its bespoke handmade lampshades and unique fusion of eclectic British and African culture. As a fellow British African I was keen to get her perspective of living in the city. In this interview she shares with us her love of Greenwich and favourite things to do in London.

Hi Vanessa – Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I don’t think a lot of people know, I have degree in Interior Architecture & Design. Outside of being an award winning model I founded luxury home décor brand Copper Dust specialising in handmade limited edition lampshades and illustration. I’ve been lucky enough to combine both my passions. My designs have been featured in The World of Interiors, Elle Décor and House and Garden. Alongside this  I’ve had the opportunity to work with brands such as Nars, Samsung and ASOS. 

Vanessa agyemang - copperdust

Why London?

London is a multicultural city infused with daily inspiration from art, music, theatre and so much more. I live in Greenwich, which means I’m surrounded by parks and Maritime history. I was drawn to Greenwich for it’s quaint boutique shops and Greenwich market. I’ve lived in here for over 10 years and my favourite feature is the freedom to walk across the heath to clear my thoughts and reset.

Where are your favourite places to go in London?

Definitely Shoreditch for its edgy street style,  King’s Cross St Pancras as I love to people watch and see how they interact with the environment. The British Museum is a must because, it always has changing exhibitions, which are always inspiring. 

As an international model – can you share your favourite places to shop?

Nothing can beat a good vintage store, I love to mix that up with African prints from Dalston or prints I’ve sourced from Ghana.

What is your preferred mode of transport to get around the city?

German Gymnasium is a new discovery, with such an unusual name, the fact that it’s a restaurant can throw you. An old gym that has been converted to expose the original beams, with marble columns is an absolute gem.  Tom’s Kitchen set in the beautiful area of Wapping, at the first glance it looks like the french Rivera, the cuisine is British traditional,  I cannot wait to visit place in the summer.  Searcy’s Champagne Bar, the longest Champagne bar in the world. Once again beautiful architecture, with exceptional lighting and the Food is simply divine.

Is there anything that annoys you about the city?

The commute, especially on the London Underground, packed on the trains like sardines can make travelling around the city incredibly uncomfortable.

As a business owner can you give any advice to others wishing to do the same?

Research, research research, there is a lot of support available for start ups is a matter of putting your brand and product out there and networking with the right people.
Vanessa Agyemang

Your work is so unique and beautiful, where does your inspiration come from?

I draw inspiration from my environments, the people and the work and I surround myself with. My work is influenced by my cross culture between Ghana and the UK. I love bold prints, contrasted by block colours. My illustrations are intense and express depth and emotion. I use mixed media depending on the product, each item is handmade with love, and a limited edition. Copper Dust products are made for the design conscious home to add a timeless feature to your living space.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

There is a pedestrian tunnel that starts in Greenwich and goes under the river Thames and you come out in East London, a great stroll and a secret discovery.

Are there any other cities you would live in?

I’ve always known I would like to expand my business internationally, and since the first time I visited Barcelona I fell in love. The food, lifestyle and abundance of things to to do makes it my number one spot.

Thanks Vanessa – i’m mentally making notes to check out German Gymnasium – it sounds amazing!