Fashion designer Charles Jeffrey on why he loves this inspirational London area


have lived in my two-bedroom flat in a converted maternity hospital for nearly four years. It is right in the middle of London Fields and Hackney so I have everything on my doorstep including Broadway Market, Victoria Park and great verdant areas that make you feel like you are no longer in the city.

I have always liked living in east London and being near greenery is so important to me. Being Scottish means I have an urge to be surrounded by nature. I am used to having hills in my back garden.

Best eating and drinking

Bella Vita in Broadway Market is great for people-watching on the weekend, especially if you get a table outside. The food is charmingly simple and fresh. It is always a good place to bring all your friends or family together for a birthday or special occasion. I go to Anatolia on Mare Street for the perfect chicken shish. It is ideal if I can’t be bothered to cook in the week and fancy some grilled chicken and a nice healthy salad.

Local favourite: Broadway Market is great for people-watching on the weekend. Pictured here is The Dove Pub

/ Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

Where I work out

Around the pagoda in Victoria Park. I always feel like a superhero when I finish a long run in the park. There is something so enigmatic about the colours, it is super calming. I was so inspired by it previously that it played into my SS20 collection.

For a culture fix

In a weird, lateral way, just walking around the local area is the best way to get a culture fix. Especially on a Saturday or Sunday when you overhear conversations, see how people are dressed, how they put things together and even what dogs are trending.

Run about: the Chinese Pagoda in Victoria Park

/ Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

Getting into my 30s and having a bit more disposable income, it has been fascinating to see how people, including myself, who have been in the neighbourhood over the years, have evolved their style. As a designer it informs me of how people are buying things and impacts my collections. I spend all my pocket money in Donlon Books in Broadway Market. I am trying to model my studio after the store. I love everyone that works there, too. You can always find something rare and interesting that sparks your creativity.

To commune with nature

Brenthouse Road has a very avid fox situation. Every night, between around 11pm and 1am, there is a big conversation between all the foxes. There are two I have identified and like to watch. They always get into fights and can be quite ruthless but it is amazing to observe. I feel like a bit like David Attenborough from my bedroom.

Grocery shopping

I adore Grains & Green on Mare Street. It is an organic store with such an amazing selection of CBD drinks, vitamins and Vego chocolate bars. The staff are all so friendly, too. It is one of my favourite places within the neighbourhood.

Neighbourhood watch: organic store Grains & Green on Mare Street

/ Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

Getting around

I got myself a VanMoof bike recently and it has changed my life. It is so fast and I can leave it anywhere because of its handy alarm system. Also, I like to walk and listen to music. This is where I get most of my ideas.

Dream street

My favourite street is Navarino Road. I often manifest buying a house there. It is right next to London Fields and the houses are just so beautiful. I see so many people stopping and staring around the road, dreaming of living on the street. You often see them gazing about and it makes me chuckle.

Something you only see in Hackney Central

There is a really fantastic community of characters who live near me. There is a cool Gothic family, a family of smokers who all have the same topknot and scrunchy combo, and the cutest home for the elderly. I love people-watching and imagining how they converse.

What’s the catch?

My place is not the biggest; it would be nice to have more space to play with. I adore my flatmate but we do live on top of each other at times. However, we have such a good relationship that I barely notice it. At work we have two large studios so it balances itself out.

In three words

Characteristic. Vast. Abundant.



Hackney Central has several primary schools nearby rated outstanding by Ofsted including St Paul’s with St Michael’s, Berger Primary School and Queensbridge Primary School.

For secondary education, The Bridge Academy and ​​The Urswick School are deemed Good.

What it costs

Buying in Hackney Central

Average flat price: £504,370

Average house price: 1,215,350

Renting in Hackney Central

Average flat rent, pcm: £2,110

Average house rent, pcm: £3,640

Source: Hamptons & Land Registry

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