Recently the streets of Manchester have seemed a little more dreary now the rain has made it's appearance, and I've found myself running a little low on inspiration. So on the 14th of September I packed up my dreams and headed down to the shining lights of London town to seek my fortune... for the weekend anyway...
Every year the UK's capital city becomes home to the London Design Festival, a huge event spread over ten days and 300 venues! Obviously, as the owner of my own design company (and editor of this awesome design website!) I figured I really needed to pop down and see what all the fuss was about! I scooted on down with my fiancée Ann on Friday evening and booked into my room (executive suite standard - or at least on business trips anyway, lol), before heading out for a look-see.
I'd like to say that we took in a show, or whiled away the evening in some fancy bar somewhere, but to be honest we were both pretty bushed from work and we knew it was going to be a pretty hectic weekend, so after a quick meal and a wander round we headed back. On the way home though we did happen to come across a familiar face from the last business trip we took together (that time in Boston) in the form of a Johnny Cupcakes shop!
I first came across Johnny Cupcakes a few years ago when I was in Boston launching one of my books at the Comic Con. Ann loved the fact that it was Cupcake themed (as she owns her own cupcake business, My Fair Cupcake), and I was in awe of how clever the branding was. Now just to set you straight here, Johnny Cupcakes sells t-shirts, not cupcakes. The shops however are set out like a bakery with the t-shirts on display in ovens and in chiller cabinets. It's sounds odd I know, but it's totally awesome - plus the t-shirts are pretty cool too! Not long after seeing Johnny Cupcakes in Boston I was listening to Jeff Finley's Threads Not Dead on audio book where he holds Johnny Cupcakes up as the guy who did it right in the indie apparel industry, and I kicked myself for not grabbing a t-shirt when I had the chance! Now here I was again and the shop was shut! To be fair though, it was about 10:30 at night.
Day One - The Old Truman Brewery
I figured I'd try and split my time in London between big high brow design events and the smaller indie scenes. Day one was indie day so we headed down to the Old Truman Brewery in East London's arts and media quarter where the world famous Renegade Craft Fair was being held.
I'll be honest and tell you that the Renegade Fair was more Ann's idea than mine (handmade indie crafts was to my mind definitely more the realm of a fair trade cupcake lady than a stone cold designer), but as I wandered around I was actually amazed with how much awesome stuff there was to see that was relevant to me.