Peckham, Brixton, Bermondsey are South London areas with a “trendy” label now firmly stitched into their “must have/live/be seen in” look for Spring-Summer 2013 collars.
However having lived in 2 of those locations and with a friend firmly rooted in the 3rd I can certainly tell you that South East London’s underrated “little sibling” Forest Hill is definitely coming to it’s own and is fast becoming a hot spot for the fashion talents, fashion curious and creative individuals.
The demographics in Forest Hill have certainly changed in the latter of the 10 years that I have lived here and the High St I previously used as a walk through to get to somewhere else is definitely seeing a turnaround from characterless tired shops and takeaways and a town center with more of a hum than a buzz to a place where I/people actually stop into the numerous independent shops and boutiques that have sprung up and hang out in the handful of arty coffee shops and eateries that have sprung up on the area.
This is why I got involved in the first FHFW February 2013 (SEE3 high street regeneration project) because I wanted to see more of this creative change in the area and something done about the many boarded up shops fronts in the High St. Having a personal interest in fashion what better way to get involved then with the then promotion of a new Pop-Up boutique which took up temporary residence in one of those long unused shops. The event brought a week of creative workshops, events and a bit of excitement to the usual quite town center. For me personally it blew the cobwebs of shops, bars and eateries that I had long walked by and created an air of neighborly collaborative achievement.
Who knew that Forest Hill was hiding so many fashion creative individuals in all different fields of expertise from clothes designers (literally on my doorstep is the studio location of a women’s wear designer who creates gorgeous ethical couture pieces), jewelry designers (vintage and new), milliners, up-cyclers, stylists, fashion and textile experts, and a heap of keen fashion interested volunteers.
This is why I’m looking forward to the upcoming Season 2 of FHFW held from the 20th-25th September 2013, which will again be bringing these talents together and showcasing the recent work of local designers and boutiques. This time with the opening event in association with our lovely local museum the Horniman it is definitely one for the diary. Knowing all the hard work time and commitment that is going on behind the scenes and all by a team of talented volunteers, I can’t wait to see the evening unfold which will feature live catwalk shows, a fashion market, makeovers, master classes, talks, demos, music, cocktails, bars and food for visitors over 18.
I will also be booking my space in one of the many interesting workshops to take part in during the week and all for free or the very small cost to cover materials. My top three are Leather Cuff making, fabric design and fashion business talk where I will not only be able to take my own custom made accessory home but also some potential business knowledge, and all on my own doorstep.
This year I am responsible for organising the closing party on the 25th September 2013 to wrap up the week full of events at Forest Hill’s trendy friendly local The Sylvan Post who hosted our opening party for Season 1. They too are getting excited about the event and will even be creating a special FHFW cocktail in honor of the event, which I can’t wait to try especially as they are not revealing what will be in this creative mix.
The driving force behind FHFW is Penelope Else a local woman with a lot of ‘ions. She has a passion for fashion and co-managed the February 2013 FHFW from which she saw the potential in Forest Hill. She set up the Forest Hill Fashion Development Project (website, twitter and all things social media…) with a vision and is now bringing together a team and funding on a mission to transform Forest Hill into a town-wide fashion incubator and destination.
FHFW is an event not to be missed and even some “Peckbrixmondsy” friends will be crossing the borders to join in the fashion frolics. There is a lot happening in Forest Hill at the moment and although FHFW will last for a week, fashion in Forest Hill is definitely here for the long term!
Don’t I love that I get to be a part of it!
For more information about Forest Hill Fashion week, please visit: foresthillfashion.com.