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Iago Griffiths is a young professional working in southeast London, but hails originally form Borth-y-gest near Porthmadog. We learn how being a Welshman in London has influenced his style.
What sort of an area is Bermondsey?
Bermondsey’s quite an up and coming area, and close to the city, Canary Wharf and the financial centres. The area was largely destroyed during the Blitz, so there’s not many old building here, most of the housing is council estates built in the post-war era in the fifties. There is a strange mix between the young professional workers and the traditional Cockney community. In the morning there’s a flood of smartly dressed people going to work in the city, then after about ten in the morning the Cockneys re-posses the place. I actually work for Lambeth Council as a Regeneration Officer and deal with inward investment.
You seem like you’re quite a traditional person, and like the feeling of living in a community, although you live in a large city?
I like things that are traditional and familial, and like to mix the old with the new, especially with regard to my style in clothes. This wristband, for example, looks quite modern and like something that could be bought in Diesel, but it’s actually part of my great-uncle’s military livery, and he wore it during the Second World War.
Are the clothes you wear to work and the clothes you wear when socialising very different?
At work, the men are expected to wear suits, and in a way I like that, as I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to wear on any particular day – the only thing I have to decide on is which tie to wear! I also like wearing a suit because it creates some kind of work persona and if I dress professionally I feel more professional. I like to keep my work and social styles very different and I like the fact that in London, there is a different feel to different areas and the styles tend to change with each area. In Hoxton and Shoreditch, for example, the men tend to dress in a style similar to that of Russell Brand, wearing waistcoats and the like.
What’s special about this area of London?
I especially like this area as it’s next to the water. I was brought up in Borth-y-gest and when you’re brought up near the sea, you grow attached to it and if you’re away from it, you long for it. I tend to go to the city centre for clothes shopping, but there’s a really interesting market called Spitalfields nearby where they sell vintage clothes at quite a reasonable price.
Do you think your Welsh roots influence your style?
Maybe it influences the colours I wear. A lot of my clothes are brown or green – and I guess that reflects the countryside and nature and maybe that comes from my Welsh heritage. I also like materials like baize and wool that are quite rustic. In London, you’re so anonymous in the crowd, someone can walk down the street in something outrageous and no one would bat an eye-lid, so that can inspire you to experiment with different colours.
Do you see yourself returning to Wales in the future?
At the moment, I’m very happy with my life in London, but who knows, maybe in ten years’ time I’ll have had enough.
- CWPWRDD DILLAD