Last night, Zakee Shariff’s new collection for Roxy Heart opened in a pop-up shop within Beyond the Valley in Carnaby. I went down to the launch to meet her.
Head into Newburgh Quarter, behind London’s famous Carnaby Street, and you’ll be welcomed by colourful hieroglyphics on the pavement.
The bright triangles – are they arrowheads? Native American Tepees? Children’s potato prints? – invite you to follow them, through the door of fabulous design boutique Beyond the Valley, and into a room covered floor-to-ceiling in the same triangle print. This is “Fly Like An Eagle”: the Roxy Heart by Zakee Shariff Pop Up Shop.
Surrounded by her gorgeous designs (bright autumn / winter tea dresses, heavy knits and striking t-shirts vie for position alongside statement jewellery and relaxing limited edition artworks), I took a few moments to talk to London-born Zakee about the city she calls home.
Where do you live in London?
Kilburn. I was born and raised in Hammersmith, and I’ve lived in Holloway, but right now I live in Kilburn. I like it; there’s a nice community feel there. Kilburn is its own little world: there’s a lovely park, nice places to eat and drink. It’s great.
What’s great about Newburgh Quarter?
Again, I think it’s that great community feeling. I’ve always loved this street, since I was little. It’s still got such a fantastic range of independent stores; Carnaby’s lost that independent spirit a bit now, but in Newburgh, it’s still there. The shops here are really trying to do something different.
Let us in on a London shopping secret…
My new London shopping secret is Merchant Archive in Queen’s Park. It’s a beautiful second-hand clothes shop. I’d walked past it loads on my way to yoga, and hadn’t gone in. Then, when I did, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been there sooner! It’s full of beautiful things. And run by a former dental nurse!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Lots of places: street culture; music; travel; spirituality. In London, I like to escape to Hampstead Heath for some quiet – I love it to death! I’m also a reggae lover, so whichever clubs are playing reggae music…
Are you involved in London Fashion Week?
I’m not actually taking part this year. But I’ll be going along. As an artist, it’s amazing to see all the new designers. There’s a beautiful glasses designer, Prism; I’m really looking forward to seeing their new collection. They’re really different. At the moment, they’re only available in places like Browns and Dover Street Market…
What is it about London’s Design Scene that gets you excited?
I don’t know exactly. It’s always been the same, the London way; very strong. I love the attitude and strength. It’s not so glamorous now, and I like that. London’s my home, and I love it.
[Roxy Heart by Zakee Shariff is at Beyond the Valley, 2 Newburgh, London, W1 until 26 September]