My name is Helen, I am a local womenswear designer and I have recently launched my first collection. I have designed a range of clothes that are aimed at being flattering and comfortable but also stylish, with colours and high quality fabrics specifically combined to achieve this. All of the manufacturing for which has been done in London.
How long have you lived here?
I’ve lived in SE London for over 30 years and in Forest Hill for the past 15 years.
What brought you here?
Before moving here I was a fashion student in Manchester. My ambition was to pursue a career in costume making/design implementing my fashion training, which brought me to London. I worked in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre, National Theatre and Sadlers Wells amongst others. When I first arrived in London I visited friends in South East London and never looked back.
What one thing would you change?
More clothes shops!
Do you know your neighbours?
Yes, I feel lucky to have friendly neighbours who even feed our cat when we’re away.
What’s your favourite place for a night out?
Sfizio restaurant behind Forest Hill station is an inviting venue which stands out from other places in the area, having a unique combination of a good menu and cosy atmosphere.
What is your favourite place to eat?
It has to be The Dartmouth Arms, they have the most interesting vegetarian options on their menu.
Coffee or tea? Where?
When going for business meetings I like to grab a coffee at Canvas and Cream, also they do a great halloumi breakfast. I’d definitely recommend it.
What’s your favourite place to go for a drink?
The All in One is more than just a pub it has a community feel about it and hosts a lot of events. I went for a work Christmas dinner there once, we hired a private room, the food was excellent and we danced until the early hours.
Where’s your favourite place to walk?
The Horniman Gardens has a fantastic view of the London skyline and is a pleasure to walk around in all seasons. It is beautifully maintained and the planting is stunning.
If money was no object…
I would open my own clothes shop, preferably on Dartmouth Road where it is a little more pedestrian friendly and there are a few interesting and unique shops.
My perfect holiday…
Would have to have the sea, sun, a beach and plenty of sangria.
My secret ambition…
To design clothes for Tess Daly on Strictly Come Dancing!