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Clothing designer takes inspiration from her mum and the East End: Vanessa, Londoner #141

Clothing designer takes inspiration from her mum and the East End: Vanessa, Londoner #141


Hackney was a place that, when I was growing up, I couldn’t wait to get out of. I hated it, you know. Erm, 15 I left home, and I went abroad and I travelled the world and I caused carnage, in my way, you know. And I ended up coming back here two years ago and really sorting my life out. And I actually love Hackney now. I set up a fashion label called Nina Baker over two years ago, and I named it after my mum, because I put her through a lot of heartache over the years. This is the E5 kimono, different styles, E9 kimono. So it’s really inspired around my mum and the east end, and I like that little concept to name it after places in Hackney. This is my baby, it’s a one-off piece, and it’s £345, and it’s sequins and lining. And I love that limited edition feel, so that when someone buys this they’re the only person wearing it. But no-one’s bought it yet! [laughing] I do markets – Chatsworth Road market is my main one, Erm Portobello Road, I go sometimes in the summer, and Sunday Upmarket down Brick Lane. I met my lovely friend Mila, who has this shop in Green Lanes called Freak Chic, and I have a rail here. This is Dirty Dorothy, we had to take her arms off because she keeps getting undressed. She’s the star of Freak Chic, she’s really cheap. Yeah, cheap and dirty. There’s that part of me that’s like; Wouldn’t it be great if Nina Baker was on everyone’s lips. And, you know, I had a whole collection going down London Fashion week, I’d be lying if I never thought about that. But, you know, that’s a dream. But dreams do come true because I’m doing this and this was a dream. So now we’re going to go to Leytonstone, to my manufacturer Murat. He’s got a business there called Face Of London. I’ll show you where the magic happens. I can still do the running man! I’ve still got it at 41. I mean, my favourite part is picking the material. I’m like a kid in a candy shop. So this is my pattern that I use. I don’t have all the tools to do it at home, so I come here, cut the material – Say I was gonna make ten pieces, to cut ten pieces it would take me about two hours. And then I’d just hand it over to one of the machinists and they sew it up for me. Well it’s going to be really busy this year, very busy, and I just can’t wait to get started. Sorry.

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