Shoreditch, Dalston and Hoxton have for some time now been metaphorically speaking on the map as some of the key coordinates for navigating one’s way around the creative melting pot that is the East End. With the concentration of artists and designers greater here than in any other corner of London, Mawi is among a fraternity of visionaries that simultaneously establish themselves within the areas surrounding institutes, draw upon the rich diversity found here for inspiration, and settle in vacant studio spaces to become part of an ever-growing community both in size and creative clout. Over the past ten years in particular, the East End of London has seen an influx of creative types seduced by the areas comparatively reasonable rent meaning that ample space and like-minded neighbours became the rite of passage for any fledgling designer finding their feet here. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly the financially forgiving draw of the area is now a thing of the past as designers battle it out (at a price) for their own little nook among those who were fortunate enough to get here first. However, they do keep coming, and this means that instead of simply stagnating, the areas of Shoreditch, Dalston and Hoxton follow a life cycle that finds some moving or expanding their ateliers whilst others begin to lay their roots here in the hope of great things.
Like the migrant workers who came to inhabit London’s East End from the 17th Century onwards for whom we owe much of the area’s diversity to; today, wanderers of a distinctly different nature roam the streets and occupy the abundance of shops, bars and entertainment spaces that these districts have to offer. Travelling from the length and breadth of the country as well as all four corners of the globe, this new breed of optimistic settler comes in search of higher education and/or the creative career of their dreams. Home to numerous campuses for The University of Arts London’s colleges, institutions have tapped into where the buzz is right now and are in turn helping to shape and secure the area’s future also. Recognising those who on their own individual paths have helped to enrich the area within which they more often than not both work and dwell, institutes such as The London College of Fashion for example is now looking to those who embody the creative ethic – which one could argue must be in the air in this particular London borough – for inspiration and guidance on academic pursuits that keep the College’s facilities up to speed with the fast pace that makes fashion quite literally fashion.
Now figuratively bursting at the seams with those who create, it is important and no wonder that the East End of London is also home to those who make the wheels on the creative bus go round. With dozens of haberdashers and specialists in trimmings, pattern cutters and photographic studios, there is certainly no shortage of material to keep London’s innovators in motion. With everything one needs right on the doorstep or a mere bus ride away, these areas of East London have taken on quite the village feel for those within the creative industries. Neighbourhood watch comes in the form of the latest exhibitions, screenings, sample sales and events, whilst a sense of keeping up with the Jones’ creates healthy competition among those within the same field. However, despite its proximity, the waves made by this small niche community can no longer be felt within the perimeters of London alone. Instead, what is going on here is having an impact nationwide and internationally alike.
Here at Mawi we are proud to be a part of this community; how it has come to embody creativity in and outside of London, what it stands for, and the exciting prospect of it’s future and our own. Forever regaling friends with his extensive knowledge of the creatives based within the Hackney area, Tim has long been on a quest for a definitive source to discover more designers and artists that have come to settle in our surroundings, as well as to confirm or discount those names of which he simply couldn’t place. For the individuals who operate out of this area a sense of being a part of this scene comes from the knowing that you share a postcode with those that have been on the top of their game for some time as well as those who are only beginning to embark upon their creative journey having been tipped as the next big thing. However, when The British Fashion Council descended upon Shoreditch for an annual party last year, it became clear that those who once found themselves teetering on the periphery of this nexus were rather keen to get in.
Therefore, in a long overdue acknowledgment to these areas and the hefty concentration of designers and artists that call it home, Tim has finally commissioned his own geographic interpretation courtesy of artwork extraordinaire Shu-Yun Chang to quite literally put us and our fellow Hoxton, Shoreditch and Dalston dwellers on the map. This is a way to discover interesting and exciting people who are new to the area and those that you are more familiar with as we do also (quite literally). A stylist from Harpers who was visiting us here at the studio got a sneak peek at the proof only to ask ”Where’s McQueen?”. It would appear that in the sheer excitement of pinpointing the emerging talent breaking out of East London, we overlooked the daddy of design controversy himself, Alexander McQueen. Tut tut.
So there you have it, an interactive tool that is designed to inform as well as inspire…if this doesn’t get you visiting East London in your droves then we don’t know what will. And, if you reckon that you are pretty familiar with the area and the people who inhabit it, then feel free to submit to us designers or artists that you feel are worthy of a little red bubble all of their own on our map. You can download the map to your own desktop and find out more about those featured simply by clicking on their name to be redirected to their own site. We’ve been searching high and low for a map of this nature for a long time, and you know what they say… if you want a job doing well, do it yourself. So, allow us to provide you with a point of fashion, art, and design reference that reaches out from behind our very own humble studio doors towards Upper Street, Kingsland Road, Old Street and beyond.
For the interactive version of this map simply click on the image below. And, to download this map to your own computer click on it and save.