Issue 19 Home Grown
THE SELVEDGE OFFICE IN HIGHGATE, one of London’s villages, is a stone’s throw from the statue of Dick Whittington’s cat on Highgate Hill. Whittington came to London in search of streets paved with gold. Of course he was disappointed but went on to establish himself as a successful Mercer, dealing in velvet, silk and damask. Having grown up in rural Yorkshire the fact that London’s streets were paved at all was good enough for me. I arrived 20 years ago and consider myself firmly rooted; I have formed an attachment to the city that rivals the zeal of any born and bred Londoner. Yet I think London is something we should all be proud of-its reputation as a hub of creativity is built on the talents of those drawn by its bright lights from every part of this country and beyond. For centuries London has welcomed and thrived on the creative people who contribute to its diversity. In the 17th century it was an influx of Huguenot silk weavers that helped established the East End’s textile history. The past can be traced on foot through Fashion street, Tender ground and Fleu de Lys street – now home to an abundance of contemporary makers. Some make their contribution on a temporary basis, joining events such as the London Design Festival pg36 which provide a platform for makers to be seen by the international media before returning to their homes in the country. A short visit to the city is more than enough for those, like Primmy Chorley, who prefer life on a more intimate scale. Primmy’s self-sufficient life in Wales offers a stark contrast to the anonymity that can be both a pleasure and penalty of city life. Yet in both town and country, the role of textiles and fashion in establishing an identity is clear. Evidence of this lies in something as simple as Scottish Estate Tweeds and in the more complex sartorial codes of London’s Fashion Week. What one you choose to wear depends on time, place and personal preference. London’s creativity is all around, from the upholstery on the Underground to the artists’ studios in the East End. Enjoy!
Polly Leonard, Founder