My London - Gavin Douglas
Two years ago, British fashion designer Gavin Douglas sat down with SO to chat about Kingston and Caribbean Fashion Week, where he showcased several of his fabulous collections. We catch up with him, this time in the UK, where the Brummie (someone from Birmingham) shares his ha'penny on London.
What are your earliest memories of London?
Going with my mum on organised coach trips from Birmingham, where we lived, to shop in London.
What do you miss when you are not in London?
The choice and availability of fabrics there.
Where do you get your fabrics from in London?
Berwick Street. It is good for one-off and couture pieces.
What would you do if you were mayor of London for a day during the Olympics?
I would be watching Usain Bolt race!
What's your take on the Royal Family?
They bring in a lot of tourists, which in turn adds lots of financial value to the country.
How would you describe The Queen's style?
She gets a lot of her things made for her by couture designers.
And what about the future Queen, Kate?
She is very on-trend. She wears fashion that is accessible, from high-street shops, and this makes young women buy what she wears. She dresses appropriately, and chooses couture dresses for special occasions.
What's your greatest achievement?
Being able to have a career that I enjoy.
What are the necessary components for being a successful designer in London?
Determination, perseverance, dedication and talent. Personality and charm also help a great deal. You must have something unique to offer and you have to stand out in terms of your designs.
Do you think London is turning toward edgy or conservative fashion?
London always has innovative designers, but people are becoming aware that money has to be made, so of course you must be different, but also realistic in terms of wearability.
In fashion shows, spectators often comment:
"Who would actually wear that?"
Why do designers always have these types of pieces?
These 'show' or 'press' pieces are there to generate press, and push the limits of fashion. Designers know they won't be used on the high street, but they will end up in the press, magazines, and even in music videos.
What are you proudest of about Britain?
The freedom Britain offers in terms of education and opportunities.
Which Brit is currently writing the best music?
I have just discovered a new artiste from Liverpool, Cleo Sol, who plays R & B and soul music. Also, I like Tinie Tempah, who plays a mixture of rap.
Who is your favourite British author?
What was your most recent splurge?
Silk fabrics and Swarovski crystals in Berwick Street for an artiste at Sumfest in Jamaica, but I can't say whom.
Who is your favourite London designer?
I generally like fashion that has been designed in the past. Those from the '40s and '50s, as I like the silhouette, nipped waist, and A-line skirts, as well as the hand finishes.
Where did you have your most memorable meal in London?
Cape Town Fish Market on Argyll Street.
What gives you the most pleasure in life?
Share your favourite spots in Britain.
My house in Birmingham; The Victoria & Albert Museum in London; bike riding anywhere, even in London.
Share the coolest London spots to visit during the Olympics.
'One of a kind' vintage clothes shops in Notting Hill; Brick Lane for the different varieties of food and fashion.
What is your advice to a visitor to London during the Olympics?
There are going to be a lot of people, so be prepared to queue. Also, take in the culture and the museums.
What's your go-to mode of transport in London?
My car! I am not a fan of public transport.
But surely sitting in London traffic is a nightmare?
I prefer to be sitting in my car than squished up with everyone on the tube or a bus!