Shop Local: Hackney entrepreneur switches events management for fashion

Bootsy Wilson

Bootsy Wilson set up BTSYLondon. - Credit: Bootsy Wilson

At the beginning of 2020, a Hackney entrepreneur had no idea she would reinvent herself and finish the year designing and creating face masks.

Before the pandemic upturned her life, DJ Bootsy Wilson had just jointly established an event company after a career curating and managing events in the music industry.

However, the first lockdown forced her to reevaluate the fledgling business.

“Everything that we had in the bag - 25,000 to 50,000 capacity events - it all went down the pan with no insight into when it would ever come back,” she told the Gazette.

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Bootsy dropped out of fashion school earlier in life, but "always wanted to do something in fashion”, and when she realised her friends were unable to find hand sanitiser or face masks at the outset of the pandemic, she “started sewing just to keep sane".


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“I had a sewing machine, and I was always doing little bits, but I never had any time because, you know, I had to pay the rent and I had another job,” she said.

“It has been really eye opening and cathartic because I’m suddenly doing something that I love that I would have never got the chance to do, which is use my machine and use my creativity.”

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Naming the new business BTSYLondon, her reusable masks start at £12-16 and use integrated high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter backings. They are designed to fit behind the head, not the ears, and can be securely carried around the neck when not in use.

BTSYLondon face masks

A selection of BTSYLondon's facemasks. - Credit: Bootsy Wilson

She was inspired by her grandmother, who taught her how to sew but passed away earlier this year with dementia. Making masks “was a way of connecting with the woman that cared for me," Bootsy said.

“It has been incredibly difficult and heart wrenching but also I’m completely grateful for the time to be able to think about what it is that I really want.”

In the future, Bootsy intends to move into fashion and her immediate priority is creating outerwear such as quilted jackets and a collection of bleached denim apparel.

“Making that leap from masks to fashion is a strange one,” she said. “But, you know, what else can I do?”

For more information on BTSYLondon visit https://bootsyldn.myshopify.com/

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