Aug 2015

Carnival: my Jamaican guy

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Above: Golden brown Grace in your face

Click any picture to view as slideshow:

The Notting Hill Carnival is a time to celebrate the exuberance of London’s West Indian and Caribbean community and their enduring influence on city life. Whether it’s music or fashion, inspiration from the Caribbean and beyond to Brazil, all offer a fashion focus for our windows. London’s street culture has catapulted the city into the world’s consciousness, with an array of tribal and rebel youth styles.

Notting Hill is always a good place to watch a parade of urban style along with the more flamboyant and imaginative costumes designed by the marching bands and dancers. The current Oxfam Dalston window features the alpha fashion Carnival stars from Brazilian dancers to a Grace Jones-inspired mannequin in Issey Miyake-style gold pleated dress. Grace Jones remains a true fashion icon whose My Jamaican Guy and Pull Up To The Bumper are personal carnival faves. We also see a preppy jazz fan in street wear, and a fez-wearing fashionista in gold and black – Spike Lee and Pierre & Gilles are the influences for our two males. (Goods pictured here will be on sale from Saturday 29 August.)

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Above: Westbourne Park goes Afrocentric

Previously these windows have saluted the punky reggae attitude of Ari Up and the Slits, an iconic all-girl punk band where each member had her own personal style. The band’s individual no-nonsense attitude of taking no prisoners inspired a generations of musicians. I loved them live, and their mish-mash cultural references. The window featured these dread-locked mannequins with Afrocentric style and accessories.

Bob Marley, reggae, London, Carnival, Notting HillThe Slits mixed reggae with punk on their ’79 debut album The Cut, produced by Dennis Bovell. Bob Marley acknowledged the affinity of punk as rebel music by releasing the song Punky Reggae Party in 1977. The influence of Carnival black culture on white British youth and the growing underground music scene remains strong. Now however trends do flow in the other direction with two-step, grime and home-grown British artists booming out of the Notting Hill sound systems. Rudimental, Disclosure, Clean Bandit and Dizzie Rascal have achieved great success, with dance music more diverse than ever at this major European street festival.

Full Notting Hill Carnival programme, 30-31 August 2015


Keeping it fresh in an age of vintage

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Today’s tweet by Hoxton Radio showing Oxfam windows

Today Hoxton Radio’s weekly fashion spot invited me on-air to talk about local trends. Here’s an extract from what I was saying about Oxfam Dalston being so special:

“So much has changed in East London. Once an area starts becoming gentrified and new stores come in, everybody has to up their game. You’re competing with places like Westfield, why do people want to shop in local shops instead of going to big malls?

Hoxton Radio, logo, fashion“Small independent shops, especially charities, have to up their game. You always need to be bringing in new customers, and that’s the whole idea behind windows. People who’d never cross the path of Oxfam actually come in now because of the windows, once you’ve broken that stigma around charity shops.

“And some of stuff we get in – for example, I’ve had an Alexander McQueen in the window, and a Vivienne Westwood – with the demographic changing, more richer people coming, so your donations change. In Dalston, you can get vintage donations going back really far. There’s a huge amount of vintage shops in the area – I’ve counted seven in Brick Lane . . . and in the current climate, if you want to keep new people coming into your shop while you’re evolving, you must keep it fresh.”


Listen again to Andy on today’s Hoxton Fashion,
starting at about 24 mins in:

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Hoxton Radio’s fashion team today: presenters Antonia O’Brien and Sarah Mulindwa, guest Harriet from Blue Tit Salon, Andy Polaris (second right) and presenter David @thepreshaah

Drawing attention

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Salvador Dalston

Creating windows that attract attention visually is important. This window installed with Steve was a collection of some of the more quirky donations that month. Below: the window being photographed by art legends Gilbert & George.

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Gilbert & George at Oxfam Dalston


A recent trio of windows celebrating Siouxsie. Iconic artist whose style influenced a generation, and who continues to dazzle in performance.

Out of Africa

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In the shade…
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Prints for all occasions

Seasonal looks for different tastes, conservative or bold statements. Reflecting the multiracial city that is London through clothing and fashion styling.

Fresh fruit and flowers

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Hawaiian seascape adds irony

A pre-Carnival colour explosion. Hungry for summer to continue through August. This display combines vintage Hawaiian shirt and designer D & G.

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Golden splash of sunflowers

Chinatown femme fatale

Channelling Faye Dunaway in classic film noir Chinatown for a window celebrating Chinese New Year, prompted entirely by a donation to the shop of the elegant wallpaper you see in the background which chiefly contrasts gold with black

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From home furnishings to wardrobe, black and gold provides a thread

Blue is the warmest colour

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Berber blue echoes of Marrakesh and Essaouira on the Atlantic coast

The swirl of colour that invades the senses when visiting the souks of Morocco inspired this outfit. Betty Blue indeed.

Think pink!

The flower of my secret. Pink bombards the window for this Moroccan themed display. Headgear is mixture of sculpted homeware.

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Cascade of pink

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