As Fashion Week has drawn to a close, let’s take a look back on the interesting space held during London Fashion Week SS17.
During London Fashion Week, Topshop had a new show venue: the Old Spitalfields Market. Topshop decided to embrace the market style and curated a pop-up market space in collaboration with leading short-term space facilitators ‘Appear Here’.
Although the new show venue was Old Spitalfields Market, there was something quite different to the usual market atmosphere. It was much more vibrant, more sophisticated and perhaps more refined than the usual rustic style that Old Spitalfields Market offers the public. The stalls were not just open to those attending London Fashion Week, but on both Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September, they were open to the public.
From organic cupcakes, cute and sophisticated stationary, to trend-led flowers and luxury leather bags, they had it all.
I was curious as to how and why and what so many independent stores were doing here. I’ve been to the Old Spitalfields Market many a time, but this was nothing like what I had seen before. The hustle bustle of the market alongside the catwalk, what a peculiar feeling. The atmosphere was full of Fashion Week, but at the same time had a market type feel. The place was packed and not just with Fashion editors, models and other influences, but also flooded with tourists and locals of the area.
I then stumbled across, Chalk - an unusual and captivating beautiful jewellery line started by architect Malaika Carr, which is far from the usual jewellery you own. The pieces are not only daring and make a statement, but they are also quite delicate. How bizarre I thought? I love finding out about the inspiration behind the work that has been curated, and after talking with Malaika, I realised not only did the pieces themselves have a story, but even the materials which she used have a story behind them.
What I really enjoyed about these stalls were the fact that the owners of the actual stores were there, selling their products and engaging with the public. I managed to satisfy my curiosity about the whole event by asking Malaika a few questions:
Q1. How did you manage to collaborate with Topshop? Did they scout you, or did you apply to be a part of it?
A1. Yes, they did scout me. I was contacted by the marketing team.
Q2. How were the responses from the general public, and those who attended LFW?
A2. We had a great response over the two days and made many sales. The clientele thought Chalk jewels were original and unusual.
Q3. You mentioned that you were ‘testing’ out some pieces (if I remember correctly), how did that go?
A3. Yes, I was testing out more luxurious pieces. It was interesting to see what the Chalk customers thought of them. The overall response was that the new pieces looked like they belong to a totally different brand. They attracted a different customer too. So from this I have decided to create a new brand which will solely focus luxury items.
Q4. What is your inspiration behind your favourite pieces?
A4. All my inspiration comes from places that I have visited, architectural forms and cultural patterns. My favourite pieces Aziza (inspired from Moroccan Tiles) and Lagos (inspired from scarf called Lagos created by Sarah and Sorrentino).
Q5. What did you hope to gain from the Topshop collaboration?
A5. I gained an insight into who my target market is (I cannot see this through website sales) a new customer base, new Instagram followers (which is integral to online sales now) and a new brand! I have named it Arco Studios and currently in the process of putting the website together. I hope it will be launched in November. Fingers crossed!
Malaika’s answers were so insightful to the process of the event and what she was hoping to gain out of it. Being an independent store that mainly sells online, it can often be hard to find out what consumers offline find interesting about your brand or are willing to purchase. There are so many different stores that offer such interesting things, but they often get overshadowed by more well-known brands and are thus left unknown. So it’s great that Topshop took some of these amazing independent stores and took them to light! It’s wonderful how this space allowed so many different types of independent stores, to showcase themselves and to be known to not only the public, but fashion people alike.
For a full list of market stalls please refer to here.
*Top Shop show venue at the Old Spitalfields Market hosted shows and presentations of Fashion East, Faustine Steinmetz, House of Holland, Molly Goddard, Topshop Unique. The official show venue of the British Fashion Council is the Brewer Street Carpark.
Written by Tamara Beharry
Photo by Tamara Beharry