Inspiration is a two-way thing. Thank you Selfridges!
I’ve been speaking quite a bit over the past two years about photography, grime, youth culture, the early dubstep scene and contemporary music history and always really enjoy sharing my experiences with and passion for those subjects. It’s even better when I get the chance to have conversations with the audience because then it’s a two way thing!
I hadn’t been to London’s oldest and most well known department store in about 20 years or so which is weird, cos I’m a Londoner. I can probably say that I’ve been there twice at most, maybe because of my love-hate relationship with fashion and commerce. That soon turned into a straight-up love relationship when I realised that Selfridges is actually like being at an art gallery, but for fashion and clothing. The way the clothes are presented really gave me an appreciation of the the art and craftsmanship of fashion.
The first floor (The Yellow Drop) with the skate bowl is dedicated to cutting edge street fashion. There’s a vibe that street fashion has that high fashion doesn't have, or perhaps tries to have in some circumstances. It feels much more DIY, much more punk. Think Bowl Cut Garms, Bathing Ape, Brixton’s Baddest, Obey - great brands that have started from and continue to reflect the street, which to me is the everyman, the every-day person…something to celebrate.
So it seems apt that lunchtime talks for the staff are held in the skate-bowl around all of these great young designers. Unsurprisingly, everyone that came to the talk was also really interesting and creative, with their own things going on, like photography, styling, music production, writing or bossing it on Insta (I met one team member with 31k followers, who was like “nah that’s nothing!” - wow!). It was really inspiring and reminded me of how London is this place that holds amazing people.
I’ve had the pleasure and displeasure of working both in retail (hold tight IKEA gang!) and in hospitality (at Cafe Thing) which is a similar field. You’re on your feet for hours and you have no say in who approaches you and essentially brings their energy to you while you’re working. It’s exhausting- mentally, emotionally and physically, so big up everyone that works in retail and hospitality and for retailers that shake things up a bit.
I definitely won’t be leaving it as long to return to Selfridge’s (NB this is NOT an ad!).
Keep your eye on this website for some portraits of Theo who works at the store.