My London: Elaine Burke, Designer

33-year-old fashion designer Elaine Burke is the founder of Khama; an accessories brand that works with community groups in Malawi. She is also a design consultant for Selfridges, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Whistles and ASOS. Here she chats to The London Word about London markets, live music and loving the East End…

The East End is my favourite part of London. It is such a vibrant, creative area. My studio is there and I love the markets, especially Roman Road and Columbia Road Flower market on a Sunday.

I love the summer in London. My studio is just beside London Fields with the park and the lido so it is great.

Arriving in London on my own nearly 12 years ago is my most vivid memory; staying in a hostel in Victoria feeling scared and excited!

I think the mix of cultures and the creativity makes London really unique and amazing.

My perfect London day out would probably revolve around food. I love the variety of food London has to offer! I would start with a nice breakfast in the Pavillion in the middle of Victoria Park, then walk down the canal and see what Broadway Market has to offer, and then hop on the train to Hampstead Heath for a walk and then a nice roast dinner in the Holly Bush pub. Then back to the East End to meet with some friends and, if there is time, see some music. There are lots of great venues here and I like lots of different types of music so it is perfect!

I feel most creative in my studio of course! I share a space with lots of other designers and makers so it is a really inspiring place to work.

I love markets but I have never been to Smithfield Market. I heard it is being redeveloped so I should go before this happens.

There are restaurants in East Ham and Upton Park serving incredible South Indian food and seriously cheap.

I know the underground is a quick way of getting around, but I prefer to use the bus or walk if I can!

Learn your trade before you go out on your own and do not be afraid to take risks.

I lived in south London when I first came to London and loved Greenwich Park, the market and the Jazz cafe.

I love to relax in my garden. It is surprisingly peaceful even though it’s in the centre of Hackney.

My grandmother was brought up on a farm and was a keen seamstress. She inspired me to start designing and has some similarities to the women I now work with in Malawi, who work in the fields and then come and make products with me to gain some extra income.

Go to Billingsgate Market. It is well worth the early morning to get some great bargains on some amazing fish and meet some of the characters that have stalls there.

I am currently working on finishing the set up of our new workshop in Malawi and I have some interesting new collaborations with designers in London coming up.

Happiness is… being creative and surrounded by loved ones.’


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