This is the second instalment in our Meet the Locals Q&A series – introducing you to some of the faces behind Forest Hill Fashion Week
Layia Johnson, FHFW Model
Q: What are the three words that you’d use to capture the creative spirit of South East London?
Eclectic, vibrant, and welcoming.
Q: How heavily influenced/inspired are you by the community you live in?
Being born and raised in Forest Hill, I find it very inspiring to know that the area is very welcoming to different cultures and embracing 21st century life and fashion. Born a 90’s baby it was often very difficult to buy clothes in my local area, whereas now I can walk down the road and buy an outfit that is in style and locally sourced.
Q: What’s your best piece of style advice?
I believe that you should always wear clothes to suit your body shape which will then flatter the best part of your figure and boost your confidence.
Q: Who or what would be your dream designer, craftsperson or fashion label to open up a boutique store on one of our local high streets?
Gerda Truubon. She designs dresses that are sophisticated and elegant and she tailors to suit your body.
Q: South East London is full of hidden gems in terms of shops, craftspeople, cafes, restaurants and independent fashion labels. Do you have a secret favourite you’d like to share?
I LOVE Food, if I could eat food all day I would! I like going to Canvas and Cream as they are a restaurant and gallery. My top picks from their brunch menu are their pancakes with bacon and maple syrup or their classic full English so yummy and affordable.
Q: What will you be doing during FHFW?
I’ll proudly be strutting down the runway this year with such honour, as this is where my career took off.
Since doing Forest Hill Fashion Week last year I have done catwalk shows for London Fashion Week & Paris Fashion Week. I’ve also been a finalist in the National Miss Jamaica UK Beauty Pageant which lead me onto being elected by the award-winning Positive Runway Global Catwalk to be a global ambassador for the fight against HIV & Aids as well as one of their signature red ribbon models.
I’ve also created a modelling platform called Positive Pageants which encourages past and present beauty queens and models to give back to charities and volunteer. Back in May 2014 we had several models and beauty queens give up their time to raise money and run 5K for Cancer Race for Life.
Q: What’s your hidden talent skill?
I can sing.
Q: What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe and why?
My black table knit cardigan which has gold studs on the shoulders. I love it because it’s comfortable, versatile and it was also a bargain too.
Image by Stefan Ferreira