*Property of LondonEdge Ltd*
Walking into Islington’s Business Design Centre, I didn’t know what to think. I thought I’d be a fish out of water in a crowd that’s meant to be full of fish out of the water. Face it, how many black girls have you seen who’s equally into both alternative and mainstream culture. Contrary to my worries the previous night, I was fine. I did get the occasional curious stare but nothing out of the ordinary, haha. Ok, so let me run through how London Edge is set up. Each seller has their own individual booth for their displays, selling at wholesale prices. As press, our agenda was to walk around, chat with the sellers and shamelessly self-promote.
In order to retrieve your LE ticket, you had to, in essence, print it out yourself. Something I didn’t understand is how me as the fashion editor can have “Press” printed on mine, but the actual founder of the magazine didn’t……. :3 Upon confronting those on hand at the front desk, there was a real sense of hostility coming off them as they begrudgingly printed out a new ticket that actually had “Press” on it. We’re not being divas– this was our job. We were there for work, and our work is press work. This was going to be a long one….
The rest of the event is pretty much a blur to me now, but the first booth we encountered was periodic headwear brand The Original Atelier. Their pieces are so intricately made and have a gothic baroque feel to them. Lumbering through the bottom floor of the BDC, we came across many other vendors such as ravewear label Maskadelic, post punk backpack brand Chok and the very hungover designer of Fictional Character. Oh, we also had a brief exchange with the brains behind kooky jewellery brand- No Basic Bombshell. I’ve always been drawn to their earrings to be honest. With their quirky enthralling designs, I can say for sure they are right up my alley.
I think out of all of the people we came across, I was most grateful to cross paths with vintage accessories designer Bow & Crossbones. She must had been the first black vintage business owner I’ve ever encountered. Originally creating those mid 00s skull emo hair clips, she told us about her journey into what we all know to be Bow & Crossbones. I was half listening, but in all honesty, I was just so glad to be amongst someone else of colour! With her getting side-tracked by some influencers, we found ourselves yet again amongst another black vintage designer- Love Ur Look Ldn. Only this time, this one creates 40s-50s reproduction clothing. With her passion for promoting her ethical and sustainable ethos within retro fashion, I felt like I truly could relate to her. Generally, I was pretty satisfied to be in the company of these 2 amazing black female creatives; if I hadn’t gone to LE SS18, I wouldn’t had known about them. Also just to briefly mention, we spoke with Victory Parade designer who was such a darling, even if I say so myself. Despite selling 50’s dresses, she recalled to us her wildest memories from the 80s and 90s, making me feel waves of nostalgia as if I had been around back then myself.
What I didn’t appreciate on the contrary, was the Underground Shoes representative acting like we were going to go running off with the shoes. This hand in hand with House of Foxy’s stall assistant having a frosty and aloof manner towards us, just put me off my whole purpose of being there. Bet they didn’t treat the so-called bloggers so negatively. And this is my problem with the alternative scene. They’re selective about who’s allowed in and who’s not. And we’re clearly not. Over my past few years of being involved in alt culture, I’ve only started to notice the gradual rise in inclusion of plus size women. So when are women of colour going to be accepted? A few are….just not enough. Race card race card, but you don’t understand unless you’ve personally been in this situation.
Overall, I surprisingly did enjoy going around and seeing what’s out there within the alternative community. But c’mon, London Edge- you need to add more diversity in terms of your influencers. It would actually be refreshing to see some POC amongst them as well as male faces as well. You could also do with using influencers who aren’t just your average goth or vintage chick; there are so many other sub-genres within alt culture. I provide you a list of punk, grunge, indie, kawaii/harajuku skater influencers blatantly out there on social media. There should had been more alternative streetwear brands trading as well. There’s a plethora of alternative streetwear brands more or less doing something different from mainstream ones. It would target more young people which is essential for them to be able to have the opportunity to experience the retail industry 1st hand as well as it opening their minds to non-mainstream culture. Not hating, just helping you in the long run.
Words by My Superiority Complex