*Header Image: Collectif*
Ooh ok another season, another London Edge review. This is exciting! It feels different from my last venture there though, but I guess it’s ’cause this time our whole experience was different. I knew we were going to have a good one from the minute I received my after party invite and VIP pass. This year I can say for sure I was treated like press (that’s an understatement) compared to last year where, in all honesty, I felt more like your average visitor. Maybe is was because me and Kinga had talked online prior to me attending. Or maybe it was because we actually came with a photographer this time. Who knows?! All I know is that is was freaking amazing, and I want to go back – like right now!
Last year’s one was a shambles, because I was a shambles! I’d just finished my GCSEs, literally having a breakdown about my D in art, and contemplating what the actual hell I was going to do in terms of college. This year, I felt myself. I was a goddess. A goddess who needed that year out to reflect and find who Charis truly is. And I found her! She’s the Fashion & Beauty Editor/Fashion & Creative Director/Marketing & Social Media Manager of this really awesome magazine- Ragged CULT – have you heard of them?…XD She’s also the Founder/Owner and Director of her own clothing brands, she’s a master-stylist prowling Instagram for new inspo, she’s an avid Haute, Cyber & Ghetto Goth lover; she’s just a 17yr old girl chasing her dreams after 17yrs. And this heavily contributed towards why our LE experience was better than last’s. I was in a better place mentally, ready to take on the world of work, socialise and network with some thirsty designers ready to burst into the fashion industry.
Kinga Kurek (*far left*)
We were advised by Emma (the press officer) to take a meander around the top floor where all the small designers were…thank you Emma! We were away from the buzz, we were away from the big brands and catwalk shows. It was intimate, it was nice. We got to converse with the individual designers discovering their motives behind why they do what they do. Our first encounter was with festival brand- Dazzle & Jolt. They sell boxy tees and catsuits in the loudest, most playful, enthralling prints. Jess – the brains behind the brand- is genuinely so kind and warm greeting you will the biggest smile. Whilst I may not be the biggest fan of colour and wild designs, I can see there’s definitely a market out there for it, synonymous with many club scenes. Perched quietly next to her was cosmetic glitter label – Eco Glitter Fun. With their vegan, eco and biodegradable ethos along with their affordable price tags, why would you not want to purchase from them? Perfect for festival season and seasonal occasions, I highly recommend you purchase from them. Morgana Sin is another amazing brand, and a sweet bunch of individuals. Despite Founder- Cynthia having had a rough childhood, you can note many influences in her designs, from Day of The Dead and her Hispanic background to classic rock culture.
The running joke of the spikes on her wallets is what got us vibing with 1985Ldn. She custom makes purses, wallets and card holders. What I like about her designs is that whilst essentially being quite minimalistic, you’ve got that added touch of chain detailing and lettering, which jazzes it up. Rainbow Tyger‘s – another brand you should note – makes skaterwear inspired tees in fun prints and satirical slogans. She legit handed us over free products….I must be living my best life. By the way, these are both black-owned businesses which is great; always nice to see a few brown faces amongst the designers.
I got talking to the owner of this really cool alternative streetwear brand- Find The Light who happens to also know the owners of streetwear brand- Unknown…what a small world. FTL sells edgy clout streetwear pieces (not too clout though.) Formerly known as Heba, she’s changed the name and the whole direction of the brand. Their past collections featured its fair share of blue camo and rose motifs, however with the rebranding they will now be producing staple cycling shorts and oversized hoodies in acid colourways. She told me I was the dream face of her brand….I was quaking. I’d given up on my modelling aspirations back when puberty hit in. I was no longer the long limbed skinny minnie of my childhood, I have curves in all the wrong places (according to the agencies that turned me down.) So to hear her and the Rainbow Tyger lady say this – I must have been tripping or in some alt-reality where everything seems brighter and lighter. Sorry completely irrelevant, but can I just say how genuinely lovely, kind and freaking awesome Toxic Tears and her bf are! After spending 2 years religiously watching her YT vids, I finally got to meet her in person. And despite being “painfully shy“, she is so down-to-earth – yeah it was a golden moment.
(*Right to Left*) Toxic Tears with The Real Munro
Generally in terms of the influencers, apart from one or two who were super friendly, they were mostly very, hmm what’s the word? – ….cliquey. And I get that when you don’t know someone you’re not likely to talk to them. But I think that in this industry and especially in the alternative sector of it – you should! The alt-community is still quite small compared to mainstream ones, so the best way to get yourself out there is to socialise with like-minded people. They can be quite unwelcoming actually; being ostracised is a worse feeling than someone actually being up in your face. The after-party was like that as well, everyone just stayed in their groups and more or less stayed away from us. Which kind of took me back to January at a Grime event….yeah it’s not great; it’s pretty shitty actually. People assume that the alt-community is naturally more accepting and inclusive because it’s alternative…nope! The thing that kinda pisses me off about the whole London Edge influencer set-up is that they all know each other prior to attending. And they always use the same influencers year after year. It’s fine to have a few of the same influencers on rotation, but LE, maybe you should try and find some new ones. Because I know for damn sure there are A LOT of alt bloggers and social media figures out there, and even if they’re not based in London, they’d be willing to travel down. Plus another thing that I’m going to nit-pick at is despite giving them feedback on this last season, they still have no influencers of colour! There’s @thehotcocoa and Yasmin Benoit to start with. They’re both POCs, that’s two already! But it’s not just an ethnicity thing…where are all the male bloggers? There are so many males equivalents to the females ones, they should be included as well.
Last year we missed the catwalk shows, but there was no chance I was missing it this year. And I’m glad I didn’t. The styling team and art directors behind it did a phenomenal job. Each outfit suited the model’s personality, and I don’t think there was a single one I disliked. I always feel hypnotised by catwalks shows in itself – I astral project into this alt-universe where it’s just me and the designers’ collections. My pupils dilate and my mind transfers into the mind of the Creative Director’s. Hey, I told you I had a passion for fashion! The bass of the music, the sassiness from the models – it was amazing! And the inclusivity amongst the selection of models as well. The largest model was about a UK 10/12, which for this industry, is an achievement! My only real complaint is the fact that none of the models were actually alternative. C’mon – it is an alternative trade show after all. From what the show presented to me, velvet -as always – is a popular trend for AW18. There was also a lot of fur trimming and Buffalo style boots. The whole streetwear trend is penetrating the alt-scene as well; many of the brands have opted for the more casual style. The length of dresses have been cropped, probably an ode to the societal acceptance of female sexuality…finally. Meanwhile, vintage brands are keeping everything classic, switching things up with darker deeper shades being their current preference.
LE is completely different from London Fashion Week…but I still like it. It’s only over the course of 2 days unlike LFW, and it’s just a whole different vibe. You’re not waiting in a queue for half an hour just to be seated at the back, because you have the ‘wrong‘ coloured sticker on your invite. You’re not having to be amongst pretentious people and possessive snobs. You’re not being forced to bare your teeth or pout constantly because you know a camera’s flashing in your face. And you’re certainly not having the same PR agency that credited your tickets in the 1st place tell you to “go stand back in line” whilst they greet Jaime Winstone! And don’t get me wrong – I LOVE LFW. I love dressing up, being extra and bougie, having influencers do a double take, seeing the designers’ collections. But LE is just so chill and calm, you go around of your own accord – you’re not really on a time bomb. And whilst many do dress up, you don’t have to; there’s not that pressure. And what’s why I love London Edge.