Style Curious


Desiree Mejer of curiously British Fake London

One day during the early noughties, I saw a couple walking towards me, gesticulating wildly. I realised they were late for an event, and they were having a bit of an argument in the street. The event was one of Desiree Mejer’s fashion shows for Fake London, held at Bayswater's Porchester Hall - and the couple were Jamie and Jools Oliver. Desiree gained quite a following from the Notting Hill celebrity set, both men and women alike, and went on to achieve global recognition for her quirky homespun take on British style.

After a few years away from the fashion scene, Desiree has now returned to present a timeless collection of the Fake designs she made famous all those years ago: probably the original inspiration behind the flag bearing clothing and home accessories that have become so popular today. As one of the first to stock Fake London’s heritage style designs in the mid 1990s, I wanted ShopCurious to lead the way with an initial offering of perennially wearable pieces from Fake’s newly relaunched label. Some are already in stock, with more available shortly, including the bag and cardie shown below.

Desiree’s background is in art, but she started dealing in second hand and vintage clothing from an early age. She began simply by experimenting - customising and re-selling pieces through up-market shops. But when the likes of Browns and Barneys started placing significant orders, Desiree decided to pursue a fashion design career in a more formal way.

Being an epecially curious individual, Desiree was keen to learn about sourcing fabrics and how garments are made. She likes to learn from everyone and was one of the original upcyclers, “we always started desiging from the found piece and transformed it into something else,” she explains. “We started making cahsmere jumpers, which featured Union Jacks in a multitude of colours and we developed them in a complicated and artistic way, with appliques and patchworks. We used a lot of heritage fabrics like Harris tweeds and wools to create new pieces that had a different cultural meaning. The whole process is artisanal and very slow, but the results have always been stunning.”

The inspiration for Desiree’s work is Britishness – British manners, British behaviour and the very essence of the British lifestyle. Although her own heritage is Spanish, which perhaps explains her curious fascination with all things British, Desiree has lived and worked in the UK for many years. As well as London, she loves Andalucia, where her parents and boyfiend are from.

Unsurprisingly, Desiree describes her ideal customer as someone witty and intelligent, with a strong personality and artistic leanings. At our virtual dining table, she'd like to be placed next to Brian Eno, “I’ve alwyas had a big crush on him!” she divulges.

In future, Desiree would like to develop her creative skills even further: “I’d like to divesify and explore different disciplines and techinques. Since singing is out of the question, I’d love to spend more time developing my furniture/object collection”, she says. However, her dream collection would be made up of archive re-issues of her original designs, made up in a new way – which is pretty much what she’s doing now...

She adds, “The world of Fake has been weird and wonderful – nothing was ever planned, and we followed the path that was most fun. People came to us because they wanted to be part of it and enjoy the vibe.”

I hope you enjoy Fake London’s quirky, retro-progressive British style too. And I urge you to invest in the original, as opposed to the many fake Fakes out there.