Having studied journalism at the London College of Fashion before stints at ElleGirl and The Daily Telegraph, the British fashion writer Jessica Bumpus eventually wound up spending seven years as the fashion features editor at Vogue.co.uk.
When she's not training for marathons (casual!) or hunting for the best coffee in the city, Bumpus is contributing to Sweet—delivering a bi-weekly Letter from London, in which you'll find need-to-know fashion and style intel from the most innovative and exciting fashion capital out there.
This week, she's giving us an exclusive look at the brightest up-and-coming talent from London Men's Fashion Week. But first, learn more about Bumpus, British style, and where to get the best burger in Stoke Newington.
Hi Jessica! Where do you live in London? What's your neighborhood like?
I live in Islington, which is in North London. It's the ideal spot because it's close to the center of town without being too close, and I can easily get to Dalston and Hackney in East London. Islington feels like its own little village; there are also loads of great places to eat and drink—I've lived here for 11 years and I still haven't managed to work my way around all of them.
What are your must-visit spots around the city?
St Paul's Cathedral is one, it's just as stunning inside as it is outside, and the views from the top are incredible. Food-wise, I love Stokey Bears in Stoke Newington for a great burger; The Nordic Bakery in Golden Square for delicious cinnamon buns; and the Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick for a drink by the canal. I also love The Gilbert Scott bar at King's Cross, which is very old-school glamorous.
I'm also a bit of a marathon runner, having run two full marathons in 2014, a half last year, and another in 2013. On the weekends you'll catch me pavement-pounding along the canal down to Victoria Park. And I'm always in search of really good coffee shops—I'm a coffee snob.
"In London, there's an anything goes mentality."
How did you get into fashion journalism? Was it something you were always interested in?
The first thing I ever wanted to be was an author. But I've also always loved fashion, so when I found out you could combine the two, and the job of a fashion journalist even existed, I was sold and picked all my school subjects accordingly.
What do you think makes British style special?
In London, there's an anything goes mentality. It's a pretty eclectic city and people embrace that. They also tend to look to retro style movements for inspiration—there have been plenty of those in British fashion. Personally, the decade I love is the millennium! I know I might stand alone on that one, but you can see it coming right back around. My fashion heart belongs to the '70s, though.
Who are some designers you admire?
I'm a big fan of Marques'Almeida. The designers really get that fashion is about an attitude, and theirs is effortless and cool. Thomas Tait is another favorite, and Danielle Romeril is also doing great work.
What have been some of the most memorable points of your career to date?
I've been lucky enough to interview [designer and creative director of Chanel and Fendi] Karl Lagerfeld on several occasions, which was obviously incredible—he has so much knowledge. Going backstage during show season is always exciting, especially in Paris. Last year I lucked out and saw Derek Zoolander and Hansel make their return during the Valentino runway show!
Finally, what do you do when you find yourself stuck with writer's block? Any advice?
Step away from the screen! Let your mind wander—it's called a "block" for a reason.