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Footwear May, 28 2014

Reebok Classic Subcultures: An Interview With East London’s Upcoming Creatives

Last week’s insight into Reebok Classic Subcultures turned the camera lens on East London’s Upcoming Creatives, a group of nascent young girls pushing the new wave of creativity in everything from filmmaking to fashion casting.

With an attitude and personal style that’s equal parts grace and grit, these born-and-bred Londoners wear the heart of their city on their sleeve and that shows in their work. We sat down with four of them for a little chat about their inspirations, motivations and about how London moves them.

 

In what ways has London, above other cities, helped you get to where you are?

Charlotte: I wouldn’t know any different as I was born and bred here. It may be grey, rainy and miserable but I think in a way the misery is part of the creativity. Also no one is as funny as a Londoner.

Dora: Although it’s tough, there are a lot of opportunities here and you can always find clients in the sheer mass that London is.

Mollie: London, for me, is the best city in the world. It’s gritty, eclectic and real. Kids in London grow up fast; you’re exposed to a lot at a young age and the people I meet, the parties I go to, the music I hear – all of it contributes to my ideas and tastes for things.

Django: Like any city that’s your home, you build up a tight community and there’s always interesting places to explore and people to meet.

Do you think your youth has helped you working in this industry. If so, how?

Charlotte: I don’t really think about that at all. The fetishization of youth isn’t healthy and the less you think about it the better. We’re all just getting on with what we’re doing, regardless of our age!

Dora: It’s helped as I started working when I was young so built up a lot of experience.

Mollie: Yes and no. When I first left school at 15, I got a job in advertising and I got told to lie and tell people I was in my mid-twenties so they would trust me and my suggestions. On the other hand, people now praise me for being ‘only’ in my early twenties and doing what I’m doing. The lines are blurry.

Django: I don’t think being young has necessarily helped with working in the industry. I reckon the older you are the greater abundance of knowledge you’ve collected but being young has its perks.

How do you see London’s creative scene evolving?

Mollie: Thats a big question! In the area where I live and have grown up, Hackney, it’s simultaneously evolved and devolved at the same time. It’s become more widely known for its “young creative” crowd but, for me, as the gentrification happened and the tech-agency-cool-wealthy-designer demographic moved in, something about it died and some of that charm got lost.

Django: Things are always evolving creatively, nothing really lasts more than 10 minutes. London is fast-paced so you have to have high energy and a lot of motivation to contribute “creatively.”

How would you describe the culture that you are a part of?

Mollie: I don’t think it was ever as conscious as that. We’ve all grown up in a particular generation in a particular place and work in the arts—it’s seemed to have cemented us into this kind of “East London creative culture” without us even realising!

Django: V multicultural. Multicolorful.

Do you feel there’s an exclusivity to London’s creative network?

Charlotte: Yes and no. Clearly there is, and growing up in London helps massively, but there’s also a lot of inclusivity. A lot of the most successful Londoners I know were brought up elsewhere.

Dora: Sadly yes, which makes it competitive. However, it shouldn’t be.

Mollie: Not at all! I think, in general, London is an intimidating place and you really have to earn your place here, but I think that’s the part of what makes it genuine. I love collaborating with people outside my comfort zone – in fact, I crave it!

What other cultural offerings of London inspire you?

Charlotte: We have the best museums and art galleries ever. I love Tate Britain and the ICA. And the Barbican.

Mollie: Where to start?! I find my best “cultural offerings” in the most unexpected places: when I’m walking down a residential backstreet in Bethnal Green, late at night on the bus or sitting on a park bench talking to a bunch of local kids.

Django: I’m like a stray cat: I like to wander around, but I’m bored of the neighborhood at the moment. For a while my favorite place has been down at the Docklands.

What are your musical influences?

Charlotte: Britney Spears.

Mollie: Everything from noughties grime, to nineties club classics, to 1940′s T-Bone blues, to Opera House garage. Right now I’m listening to Arae, Julia Holter and my Ashanti tribute Spotify playlist (lol).

Django: This sounds like the easy way out, but I do like most music – except bongos or a harp.

Can you explain your personal style?

Charlotte: I try to look glamorous and then end up wearing everything with trainers.
My uniform is a little kilt, cropped fluffy jumper and some trainers.

Mollie: Fun, chill. Lots of patent leather, camo and white sneakers.

Django: I love black. “I’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker color.”

 Are there any London brands or designers that you particularly admire?

Charlotte: LOADS! Ryan Lo – me and Bertie (cofounder of Mushpit) styled his show last season and it was amazing. Marques Almeida, Ashley Williams, Tessa Edwards, Claire Barrow. The list goes on.

Mollie: Right now, my boyfriend’s brand SOON. We just made a zine for the Spring Summer collection and it’s amazing.

Django: My mum’s doing silk scarfs and they’re pretty rad. Look up Shangri-la Parlour.

What other cities do you find major sources of inspiration?

Charlotte: New York for its pace, LA for its weather and Paris for the romance.

Dora: New York, Paris

Mollie: I go to New York a lot, which I love. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas wandering around neighborhoods in Harlem and Brooklyn. I also just came back from filming for a month in Johannesburg, which was one of the most heartbreakingly amazing and inspiring places I’ve ever been.

Django: I’ve got a Kiwi passport, so I’ve spent some time over there and I like their style. Its quite flow-y and simple, but strong. I also love South Asian clothes. One time I went to a funeral in Bali and wore this really cool black lace shirt that buttoned up with a panel attachment at the front.

For you, what are the ultimate virtues of being young and creative in London?

Charlotte: Freedom to do what you want.

Django: You’re never short of engaging projects, and fun.

What is your relationship with Reebok?

Charlotte: I’m into Reebok Classics and have been since I was about 12.

Mollie: I still have my Reebok Ice from when I was in secondary school. Every kid wanted those; I wore them like they were made of gold! Reebok holds a sentimental place in my heart – it reminds me of the kids I grew up with, of a particular time in music, trying to get in to clubs under age with my guy mates wearing pink Ralph shirts, 501s and Reebok Classics. That was the look in Hackney/Islington back in the day. I still feel that nostalgia when I wear them now.

What type of cultures do you associate Reebok with?

Mollie: Geezers, football, garage, sweet mates. All those things I love and are so typically UK.

 

Take a look at the crew above and stay tuned for more installments in Reebok Classic Subcultures.

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