It’s that time of year again. When the days are at their shortest and the end of the year approaches, I like to share a list of the people who have had positive impact on my life in the previous 12 months and, in my opinion, deserve an award for their greatness. These are some of the fabulous folk who have shaped my year and brought me both joy and inspiration, so I want to thank them for all they have done and also put them on your radar too. So, without further ado (just like at a real awards ceremony), let me introduce you to my Super Humans of 2018!
Andrew Kenny – I began this year with a class at The London Embroidery Studio and its managing director deserves the first place on this year’s Super Humans list. I met Andy while he was running the embroidery pathway of the BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles course at London College of Fashion, and this year his team (along with LCF students and graduates) produced the astonishing tapestry that was animated for the BBC’s World Cup trailer, History Will Be Made.
Sophia Brown – I met Sophia earlier this year when I went to her studio for a circle skirt making workshop, and whilst there I also caught a glimpse of some of her amazing bespoke commissions (she makes wedding gowns and burlesque costumes). As well as being a skilled seamstress, this multi-talented woman is a burlesque performer and model, plus she’s excellent company over sewing and afternoon tea.
Chiara Cristoni – Working at a large creative university, I get to meet lots of very interesting people on a daily basis. Many of my colleagues have an interesting side hustle or two and current team mate Chiara is no exception, although her hobby is a little more unusual than most. Chiara is a tower runner, spending her evenings training and weekends running up tall buildings, and is bloody good at it too as she’s currently the UK women’s number three (despite some nagging injuries). A constant source of inspiration, she never shames me for my lack of gym membership but has made me realise that I can actually walk up to the 6th floor without dying!
Emma Parker – This amazing woman founded Playful Promises in 2004 and her undies empire now includes Peek & Beau, Whistle & Wolf, and Bettie Page Lingerie. With a wider size offering than many much bigger brands, diverse models and campaigns, plus a social media manager who really knows how to respond to inappropriate commenters (the underarm hair drama was especially memorable!), Playful Promises can do no wrong in my eyes. I look forward to seeing what Emma has got planned for 2019, as I just know it’s going to be something brilliant that the team behind Victoria’s Secret would hate.
Stephanie Yeboah – I try to keep these lists to people I’ve met in real life, but sometimes there’s a person who’s had a big influence on my year from afar who simply has to be included. Steph is one of those people who helps you see the world in new ways and understand yourself better, all from her wonderful blog Nerd About Town and her social media posts. She opens up in ways that many other bloggers rarely do, and uses her blog to educate, challenge and explore topics that many shy away from. I was going to link to specific posts, but there are too many good ones so, please, just go and read!
Aaron Gillies – After a rather shitty start to the year (we’ve all had those, right?), the man known to the internet as TechnicallyRon has knocked it out of the park in the latter part of 2018. He released a refreshingly honest book about living with anxiety, got an ace new job, nailed public speaking, won awards, and created a mental health campaign to tackle male depression and suicide. He also found time to meet me for beers and so I can now confirm he is just as awesome in real life as he is on the internet.
Ronke Fashola – The brains behind ethical retro brand Love ur Look, Ronke also teaches fashion business and organises an annual pin-up pop-up shop at the Old Truman Brewery, which is a joyful coming together of women who run their own businesses. This pop-up and the sense of community that she’s built around her brand are wonderful things, because it’s where like-minded people come together and have fun. Ronke told me that she’s going to have a bit more time to dedicate to Love ur Look in 2019, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s been planning to fill it.
Tempest Rose – Although I was already aware of the delectable Tempest and her House of Burlesque, 2018 will be forever etched into my brain as the year when I saw burlesque and feminism collide in spectacular fashion at the HOB Revue. To anyone who’s ever been affected by the images they see every day and ended up feeling that they weren’t good enough as they are, and to anyone who thinks that women can’t be sexual and intelligent, Tempest Rose reminds us that we are fabulous human beings who just need to believe in ourselves and say “fuck that shit.”
Stevie Bryant – Another wonderful colleague with an amazing super-power, Stevie is one of those fabulous people who gets people talking. It may seem like a small thing, but without the Stevies of this world, how would we ever make new friends or discover the fun in life? Every office needs someone that organised, that efficient, and that good with people… who can bring sparkle to a project and sparkle to your day. Stevie may have had to return to her native Australia, but six months of working with her made me realise that I had made a friend for life.
The Apple Tree team – Every year I save one spot on my list for a group of people, and for 2018 that goes to the wonderful owners and staff of The Apple Tree pub in Clerkenwell. They’re a friendly bunch and the place is so welcoming that it feels like having a ‘local’ in the middle of a city. Their website sums it up best: “We offer a safe home to those living alternative lifestyles and the LGBTQ+ communities and everyone is welcome under our branches: all races, genders, sexualities, ages and dogs!”