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The Women of Belfast Road

Editorial 19.03.18

Photography Richard Round Turner Styling Toni Caroline Words Simone Konu

In the rise of the digital age we are told we are more connected than ever, but often we can feel abstracted from those who live closest to us; our neighbours.  So can we really do away with a good old fashioned community?  The residents living on London’s Belfast Road are proving that community is not dead, and that making personal connections with those who live nearby is still vital, for friendships, a sense of family, and much more.  We catch up with stylist Toni Caroline, and the wonderful women of Belfast Road, to discuss the importance of the modern community.

Toni wears t-shirt by Alexa Chung, dungarees by M.i.h Jeans shoes by Converse. Eliot wears his own clothes and trainers + hat from Beyond Retro

Toni Caroline, Stylist

“A community is an area or collection of people who give you a feeling of safety, happiness and calm. It is a place where you feel welcome, wanted and at home, and Belfast Road feels like home.”

 

Scarlett wears her own Kimono.

Sophie wears blouse by Orla Kiely

Dijana wears a vintage t-shirt from Beyond Retro, skirt by Steven Tai, boots by Dr Martens 

Dijana Krnjajic, Yoga Teacher

“Belfast Road is a bit of a hidden gem with still affordable warehouses. It’s not a lot of unicorn and glitter business going on here. We’re just some people living our lives in what happens to be old warehouses. We’re a community where everyones included. We share what can be shared, keeping conversations open and just really care for each other. We’re pretty low key and are trying to keep it that way. Belfast Road for me, is my home, with a creative twist.”

 

Francesca wears dress by Orla Kiely and her own Dr Martens. She knitted her socks herself.

Dijana wears jacket by Levis, jewellery models own

Francesca Kletz

‘I run a weaving and textile craft studio in Hackney called The London Loom where I teach workshops with my business partner on different looms and all sorts of textile and needle crafts, we’ve also just written a book about weaving called Weave This which we’re very excited about! I used to be a teacher and my background is in creative writing.

Community is really important to me, I come from a big Jewish family and that has instilled in me the importance of supporting and being supported by the people around you. I used to live in Tel Aviv in Israel where you constantly feel as if you’re part of a big family-like community and it totally changed the way I now live in London, I’m all about big dinners and feeding anyone who comes to visit, food is family to me and I think all big gatherings should revolve solely around food, food, food. I thrive off being around people who are open and love to eat. I live in a warehouse on Belfast Road with 9 flatmates and have been there for over 2 years, it was the perfect reintroduction for me back into the UK after living abroad, feeling like I could still have a big community around me.’

Ella wears her own t-shirt, ear cuff by Linda Tucker

Ella Patricia Cook

“For love I’m a Writer – mostly for screen and stage. For money I’m a production coordinator/assistant for tv and film. Until I started moving around more frequently I never understood why people didn’t know their neighbours. Growing up in the inner city of Sydney I lived on the same street from the ages two to twenty, so neighbours were babysitters, babysat, friends and adopted-aunties/uncles. I’ve always found that the more you connect with the people in your area the greater opportunity it has to grow, nurture others and stand up for itself. But to me community is not just where you live; it is the tribes you find yourself in be it through work, a passion or a place. The different communities I was surrounded by all shaped who I am today, but the ones I choose to be part of now are how I express myself.”

Izzy Hunter wears a dress by Steven Tai

Serena wears jumpsuit by MiH Jeans, shoes models own.

Natalia wears sweater by Mannwear

“My name is Natalia Álvarez, I work as a linguist and I’m also doing an MSc, part- time. I’ve been a resident of this street for 6 years and I would not move anywhere else. I’m Chilean and I don’t have any family in the UK, so having a supportive community, kind neighbours who know you and are willing to help when needed is incredibly important to me. Also, it’s such a fun community, we have a summer party every year and there’s always something going on. The combination between the safety that the sense of community provides and the diversity and participative nature of the people who live it make it a great place to live.”

Jeanne and Penelope wears clothing by Preen Line.

Jeanne Buchi, Film & photographic post production + Penelope Buchi Romero, Creative wild child

“Having moved to London from Switzerland I have lived here now for 7 years. My life in this community has evolved from being a student, a young creative and now as a parent. It does mean a lot to me. Being a single mother is tough and even more when you are alone in a big city. This amazing community gives me so much support, love and help. It truly makes my Journey as a parent and creative a far more happy and positive experience than I could’ve ever excepted. Belfast road is a little piece of paradise in this bustling dog eat dog city. I am happy that my daughter can grow up in this environment. Let’s hope it will survive the gentrification.”

Penelope wears blouse by Preen Line, and her own tutu and tights.

Dyra wears blouse by Orla Kiely and jumper from Beyond Retro.

Dyra Trikka, Resourcing Manager

“A neighbourhood or a place where you come together with others and things feel pleasantly familiar.”

Harriet wears denim dress by Mih Jeans, and earrings by JEX Studio.

Harriet Murray, Freelance artist and curator.

“For me, ‘community’ is more like a verb – constructive, happy communities require participation and action, it’s not a static thing. The people included either geographically or emotionally need to feel a positive part of something bigger than themselves – I feel the essence of the word describes the way we humans arrange ourselves like atoms in a compound, we just feel more comfortable connected to each other rather than floating around solo.

Kiko, (the cat who lives at 27 Belfast Road), is very bright. She can open doors, see your thoughts and is very kind. She is also very interested in art and introduces herself to all exhibiting artists in the gallery – so much so that we called our 10th anniversary exhibition ‘Kiko presents’. When we hung the show she sat in the centre of the gallery and would meow when we moved the work around – it was uncanny as if she was in control. At the opening she welcomed every visitor to her show.”

Dress by Orla Kiely

Scarlett wears dress by Steven Tai, shoes by Toga Pulla

Scarlett Yang, artist and design student.

“Community to me is an abstraction that generates warmth through subtle contacts between individuals.”

Victoria

Victoria and Sophie

Sophie wears stylist’s own roll neck and vintage tutu from Beyond Retro

Victoria Webb, Senior Policy Advisor and Mum

‘Community is an extension of kindness I am teaching my children by example. I want them to know that by working together as a community we can make a place that is welcoming for all.’

Fiona

Fiona Nichols, Campaigner

“I work on the oceans campaigns for Greenpeace, and community to me is not necessarily anything to do with proximity – and London has taught me that. Community is also being able to sunbathe topless midsummer and your neighbours not being perves about it!”

Simone wears jacket by Levis

Leeza Sullivan (left), Personal Trainer

‘Community means feeling like you belong to a group or a local area. That provides support, motivation and friendship within the group. People you can count on and feel safe with. My local community look out for each other. Get involved in fundraising and help each other out.’

Simone Sylvester (right), Fashion Stylist and Vintage Trader

‘Community to me means safety. If you’re in a community, you know that people are looking out for each other and care about each other’s well-being, which is pretty rare in London outside of your own social circle!’

Hillie wears jumper by Steven Tai, jeans by Mih Jeans, trainer by Converse

Hillie Hitmonchan, Social Media Creative

‘There is a Maori proverb from New Zealand that sums up what community means to me: He aha te mea nui o te ao.  What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.’

Photography Richard Round Turner Styling Toni Caroline Words Simone Konu Hair Shunsuke Meguro Make up Poppy Micklem Make up Assistant Helena Du Cross With Special thanks to Campbell Works Studio, Eliot Nathan, Emily Haynes and the residents of Belfast Road.
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