Fashion designers are also storytellers, as much as designers, as much as stylists, and I like to have conversations with them all as much as I can.”

“Many feel that fashion is every bit a language as the spoken word.”

"Absolutely. For me, I have a huge respect for fashion designers. Especially now, because they have a new collections so often, the huge amount of imagination is exhausting. The chaos that they’re living is absolutely excruciating because they have to face the critics.

And this is where I feel that what I do with The Haven is to say to the guy ‘Yes, a critic may come to you today and say something difficult about you or about your work, but tomorrow they may not. What we need to remember is we need to have grit.’

Grit is something so undermined, because people can be quite fragile—for a fashion designer, as for any professional, what they do is very close to their heart. But when you put yourself out there, people can criticize you and it can feel like a personal attack.

And I think this is why I say [criticism] is not what I do. My job is to support them.”

“Would you be able to give a little information about The Haven?”

“The Haven is an independent charity that looks after the spiritual and mental well-being of the shapers, storytellers, creatives, and artists in London, and the world, really. What we do is that we offer specific pastoral care that is designed and tailored to the creative mind.

We offer workshops for creatives where they can learn about resilience, where they can learn how to deal with the criticism, how they can be better emotionally to do the work they do. But it’s also for the creatives who want to explore spirituality—we’re also open to that conversation.

The whole aim of the charity is to help the creatives to thrive, to do what they do best, which is to tell their stories, but we want to be part of the narrative. We want to change this idea that creatives tend to be shallow people—they’re not shallow at all. This is completely one of the most unformed opinions someone can have of a creative.

It’s also saying to them, “You’re not on your own.” The world lives and breathes creativity. Everywhere we go, everything we touch has been touched by a creative. So, it’s not to say that creatives are on a pedestal—no one should ever be put on a pedestal. That, in itself, is a dangerous place to be—we’re not built to be idols. We’re human beings.

But we want them to know that, in the chaos of the lives they live, we are there for them, and we will do the best we can to get them to where they want to be, in confidence. All we do at the Haven is absolutely about confidentiality. That’s what we do.

But now we are starting our fundraising campaign because we need to find a home to house our work, and we need to attract supporters to our cause—the work has grown too much. London has nearly one million creatives working in the creative sector. That’s a lot of people just in London."

“It seems you’re on the cutting edge compared to many other Christian institutions.”

“That’s an interesting thing. I think, where I am as a person, is a very fragile place to be. A lot of people that I speak to, when they meet me, tend to assume the Church is breaking new grounds. Yes—the Church is breaking new grounds, and I am very glad that I am in that place.

But it takes me, as a person, a huge amount of self-drive, because I have to be so driven, so focused in what I do. There are so many setbacks that happen on a daily basis with my work and with what I do, but I’m committed to it.

I never really wanted to be famous—it’s not one of the ends of my life. But I read a lot about individuals like Mandela, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X—all these kinds of giants, and lots of women who worked and became pioneers in the field of science and politics.

I’ve always been so transfixed by those figures. Because what those people did—they didn’t set out to become legends. They wanted to change something that they found fundamentally important in their lives.

This is something that I want to do with my life. I want, not to be famous, but if I happen to leave something when I die, I want to have left some sort of life in which what I did mattered—mattered so much that it helped other people to live their lives better. It made a difference.

All I’m looking for is an opportunity to say to people: ‘In a world that is so fractured, we can afford to trust someone from time to time.’ That’s what it takes—an opportunity [for creatives] to trust someone with their life story, to someone who cares. Not someone who just wants to hear a story because they’re going to sell stories, but because someone listened and wants to make a difference.

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