Just off Hackney Road in East London lives Charlie May. All long wavy brown locks and big doe eyes, Charlie is anxiously preparing for her first post-graduate collection which will be presented during London Fashion Week in September.
When I visited her last week I was overwhelmed by the intricacies of her little studio. Boxes of designer shoes lay scattered around the living room (all picked up for fractions of the original cost at secret sample sales), potted herbs were lined up on the balcony, music pumped out from a laptop and, all the while, Charlie moved seamlessly around the slight chaos in a pair of killer Vivienne Westwood trousers creating beautiful garments. I was acting as her mannequin for the day, as hers is being held up in production for two months, and it was incredible to watch her stare solidly at the fabric that draped around my arms and legs before shoving in pins and taking the pieces back for readjustments.
Charlie is a total talent and a rare gem. She’s unbelievably motivated and intoxicating to be around. I was already excited about her upcoming collection but after I got to peek at the sketches and try on the prototypes for a few pieces I am even more enthralled by what’s to come… it’s all reworked biker jackets, unexpected layering, and tie fastenings. Think the drama of Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackerman with a youthful wearable twist. Take note, this girl’s the one to watch.
Please note: all sketchbook images and inspiration are from Charlie’s graduate collection.