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Flannels: Youth-Phoria
Courtesy of Flannels

The youth leaders building a newgen fashion hub on Oxford Street

Anita Chhiba, Raphaelle Moore, and Leah Abbott detail their plans as part of FLANNELSX’s new creative council

It’s all well and good showcasing a beautifully designed collection in a beautifully designed space but if that’s not adding value to people’s lives then what is the point? Fashion is about so much more than clothing and it’s now more important than ever to offer people something beyond commerce. It’s why so many brands have started to behave like mini cultural institutions – be that Heaven or htown – servicing their communities with gigs and workshops and cross-genre collaborations. The idea is that people should be able to walk into a shop and feel enriched without having to part with their cash. 

That’s the thinking behind FLANNELS’ latest Youth-Phoria project, which aims to transform the retailer’s Oxford Street flagship into a multi-purpose venue for pop-up shops, art exhibitions, and concerts. The initiative will be overseen by a council of new and established creatives – among them artist Slawn, stylist Leah Abbott, Diet Paratha’s Anita Chhiba, magazine editor Elgar Johnson, Fashion East’s Raphaelle Moore, and hair stylist Issac Poleon – all of whom have been given free rein to use the space for their own passion projects. “We not only capture the ‘now’ of the cultural conversation but also, crucially, the ‘next’,” says FLANNELS’ Beckie Stanion.

Below, the Creative Council detail their plans for the space and the importance of having somewhere to evolve their own practices. 


I remember not feeling confident in myself or my identity when I was younger. It was a really tricky time. Into my adulthood, I’ve been able to reclaim a lot of that through the work I do and I feel really grateful for that so I’m honoured to be included in this. 

We're so lucky to be able to jump right into our first event this week! FLANNELSX is hosting a very special edition of Diet Paratha & Friends, with Vogue India’s Megha Kapoor. It’s part of a speaker series where I host guests who’ve experienced some of the biggest achievements in music, media, fashion, and culture within the South Asian diaspora. That’s what’s happening this Friday 24 March. Megha has such an incredible story and has helped Diet Paratha so much through real collaboration – like when she let me curate the February issue of Vogue India in 2022. It’s a really meaningful one for me, and I’m excited to be hosting it in such a powerful piece of real estate because Diet Paratha has played a huge part in helping the community to feel seen. 

It’s helped reconnect a lot of our people with their own culture. Brown people have been overlooked and underrepresented for such a long time, which is mad considering there are well over one billion of us. In the UK alone, South Asian people are the second largest ethnic demographic. Nothing like Diet Paratha has really existed before for us: a place that South Asian people can take opportunities – from our mentoring programme and projects, which we cast for – feel inspired, and exist without a stereotype attached. Diet Paratha is a movement and is so much more than an Instagram page for so many people. Nothing on Diet Paratha panders to the white gaze.

Now, through a collective effort, it seems South Asians are really starting to own our rightful place in culture. So many of us have emerged with our own stories to tell. And because we've been overlooked for so many years, these stories are fresh and unseen to the masses. It’s a really exciting time. I can't say much more about what’s next up… but you can expect to see lots more from FLANNELS and Diet Paratha this summer!”


I feel so honoured to be among incredible creatives on the council. The work I do at Fashion East with Lulu has always been about helping other people get to where they want to be. I’m so grateful to do what I do – so many of the designers I’ve been lucky enough to mentor are shaping the future of fashion, and influencing the next generation. I’m constantly coming up with creative ideas for Fashion East, which I always find comes quite naturally. But it’s a lot harder for myself. Being given this opportunity to generate an idea and bring it to life on a big stage meant I really wanted to take my time with it. I’ve been coming back to: ‘What have I always wanted to do?’ and ‘What’s important to me…?’ 

I’m looking at curating a community-based project that will bring my personal and work life together. My own youth was shaped by MTV, The Simpsons, Soccer AM, Golden Eye, My Wife & Kids, and endless Chelsea matches – all soundtracked to Enya, which is the Irish in me. I now want to shine a light on some of the people I love in my community: giving special people their moment. There’s much more to follow that – I’ll be working closely with the FLANNELS team on a lot of creative concepts – and I’m excited about all of it.


“My work is grounded in the relationship between music and fashion and FLANNELS has always connected the dots between exciting artists and culture with their in-store events and campaigns – which have often featured my own clients. I feel like being a part of the Creative Council is a natural next step in our relationship and a fitting development in our contributions to youth culture. They show a real interest in nurturing new ideas and talent and so I hope I can contribute positively to this!

Thinking back to my own childhood and the effects on my work today, I always attribute it to my love of music videos. I would sit and watch videos on MTVBase or The Box on loop and as an older teen, I’d return to these channels on YouTube at friends’ houses. That definitely sparked my interest in fashion and music. Beyoncé's “Crazy in Love” stands out massively as a soundtrack for me, I remember just feeling obsessed with her purple Versace dress, or the three dance battle looks she has in the “Lose My Breath” video... I’m still hunting for her yellow cropped jacket from that!!   

As part of the Creative Council, I plan to shine a real spotlight on current designers and talent. I want to show all the variety and fun there’s to be had in luxury fashion, in rentals, in stores, in campaigns – the list is endless! I want to make sure we keep shopping environments grounded in what’s current and fresh with young people. We can really support each other and create a hub for next-gen creativity. A lot of projects will be arising but I'm particularly excited about being able to create my own space in the store, having a say in brands we work with, and generally bringing a bit of ‘me’ into the mix!”