‘Hackney has helped me to be a creative person’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 January 2017

Clarissa Henry

Clarissa Henry


Bloggers, designers and filmmakers: young Hackney locals to look out for in 2017

Hackney has become one of London’s most diverse and popular hotspots. But young people in the area can still be saddled with associations with gang culture and crime.

There are many young people smashing the stereotypes laid upon them and striving for success in creative fields.

21 year old Clarissa Henry was born and bred in Hackney and has established herself as a freelance stylist, consultant and blogger. Her unique sense of style has been featured on various platforms such as The Guardian and Nylon Magazine and led to collaborations with Nike, Urban Outfitters, Liberty and ASOS.

Henry believes that not only did Hackney shape her into becoming the woman she is, but it also had a major impact on her sense of style. “Living in Hackney has inspired my personal style by the many challenges and opportunities it brought growing up,” she says. “I’m very much inspired by how, with very little, young people as well as myself have created their own distinctive image which is real, raw and authentic.”

Henry is studying at London College of Fashion and plans to start up her own brand this year,

Clothing line 1Figures has become familiar to many sartorially conscious locals. At the age of 14, owner Christopher Kutoya started putting money towards setting up a label. Only a few years later, Christopher realised his vision by establishing the brand and hosting his own pop up shop in Hackney in 2016.

“Hackney has definitely played a massive role in my build up as a creative person,” Kutoya says.

“Without Hackney I can definitely say that I may not be in the position I am now in with regards to my creative skills and outlook. Experiences from growing up and seeing my surroundings and identifying patterns and trends allowed me to have a clear visual plan on how to create my merchandise.

“I also always wanted to make clothing that was relatable to my people, inspiring them and helping them become innovating.”

Kutoya hopes to have another pop up shop,

22 year old Serael Asphall first took her leap into the acting industry when she joined Hackney Shed, a teenage theatre group, after securing the lead role in their production of Phyllis Pearsall. She then trained at Identity School of Acting in Dalston, where she won the Clive Dailey Best Actor of the year awards in 2008 and 2009.

Asphall went to Our Lady’s Convent High School, where “I was taught not only core subjects but how to respect myself as a young woman, and to work hard for the career I want.”

Asphall started noticing that she had a passion for screenwriting and began taking classes. She has recently written her first short film “I Love you”, which has been accepted at two film festivals. Her film is out now on YouTube.


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