At the start of the year I took part in a Jack The Ripper Walking Tour where myself and some fellow bloggers followed in the footsteps of the mysterious murderer in the Spitalfield area.
This is a place that I thoughtlessly walk around all the time but after this experience I look at the streets in a different light, they are no longer just a way of connecting A and B but were the set for so many stories and filled with mystery. Inspired by this revelation I have started to make a conscience effort to learn more about my local area.
I have lived around Bow East London for just over 4 years now and though there have been many developments in the Olympic Fringe area (wedged between the countless new high rises and older council estate)s there is still a lot of history to be found.
I like to remind myself of the importance of the old East end charm, not only by popping to the local market or boozer like in Eastenders, but by visiting seemingly small landmarks like the Bow Church, where I shot this outfit.
It is rumoured that to be a true Cockney you need to be born within the sound of the Bow Bells and that they are housed in this church right in the heart of Bow. However, as I was informed by a proper East end cabbie, the saying actually refers to St Mary-le-Bow which is within The City of London. Though not the origins of what makes a true Cockney, the church is still significant to the local area, standing in the same spot for over 700 years and holding many events to bring the local community together.
Just round the corner from this spot is Bow Quarter; not only my dream place to live with its stunning red brick exterior and multitude of cats to cuddle, but is also hugely significant in the woman’s rights movement.
Now luxury flats, this old matchstick factory made workers graft under such appalling conditions that in 1888 the ladies went on strike, leading to the creation of the first British trade union for women.
This move inspired many women, including Sylvia Pankhurst (daughter of Emmeline who created Women’s Social and Political Union) who went on to form the East London Federation of Suffragettes, based on Bow Road.
I mention woman’s rights as this week was International Woman’s Day which, though I believe we should celebrate the women in our lives everyday, gives a further opportunity to look how far gender equality has come and how far it still has to go.
All this talk of roots tenuously relates back to my outfit. As a teenager I went through many experimental ways of dressing, not wanting to stand out from the crowd too much but not feeling at ease with being a clone.
Learning from my may fashion faux pas I realised that the most comfortable I felt was when wearing black then accenting with statement make-up, jewellery, other layers or accessories usually consisting of leather, leopard, winged liner and a red lip. These are my fashion foundations that I feel have worked for me over the past 10 years and I do not see them changing any time soon.
Not shopping for items that are ‘in’ a particular season leads me to finding some major bargains, such as: this dress from H&M (which I bought in winter for £5), boots from the Aldo outlet in Camden (reduced from £180 to £20), and slightly more recently, my new favourite Zara jacket (reduced from £90 – £30).
There are so many other tales and places that I have begun to learn about but will hopefully share them with you guys at a later date if you are interested? How has your style developed overtime?
** Photographs by Pablo de la Peña of Shed