Our arbiter of style on reinventing life in the capital, shirtless dads and the dignity of Angie Bowie
CAPITAL CHANGES I live in a house, a very big house in the city. Well, fairly big. Big enough. And I love it tenderly. I didn’t inherit it: I worked hard for it. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my stars for that house. Because we all work hard, don’t we? But we don’t all own houses. Or even boxy, mildew-ridden flats. There is only one reason I own a house and it is this: I was born at the right time. Beyond my qualifications, my work ethic, my salary and my ability to save a deposit by forgoing Prada shoes, my age is the defining reason that I own a home.
Despite the government’s best efforts, owning a property remains a pipe dream for most young Londoners, no matter how hard they work, or how gilded their qualifications. When the very people who should be forging London’s future struggle to afford to live here, you begin to wonder just who exactly this city is for.
What are we leaving for those behind us? The property ladder has been recast in solid gold, with pavé diamond insets. You can’t get on this golden ladder: a wealthy investor pulled it up behind him, right after he purchased a £5m Knightsbridge penthouse off-plan.
Thankfully, Londoners are resourceful. New ways of living have sprung up — in shared, open-plan spaces that turn into social hubs after hours (‘I don’t go clubbing any more — no need to, when we can shift our furniture back and dance in our own front room,’ says one twenty-something friend). New ways of working have sprung up: basically, parking yourself anywhere that has Wi-Fi. And new ways of promoting your work have evolved, thanks to social media. When I first moved to London, one of my favourite stores was a space called Hyper Hyper, on Kensington High Street, which sold clothes by young designers. They wouldn’t be able to afford the rent now, which is why the city’s pop-up shop and restaurant culture is so important. Thank God for the passion, determination and resourcefulness of the people who still flock here, keen to make a contribution to the most exciting city in the world.
I want to live in a diverse London, not a socially cleansed one where those who can’t afford to eat at Sexy Fish are shipped out into the netherworld, torn from their communities by
Making their way Twenty-somethings
One and only Louis Tomlinson and son Freddie