An aspiring stylist, Molly Donovan is a student at the London College of Fashion and also a shopgirl at SICK, one of our favorite vintage stores. Born in New Jersey but raised in France, Molly's fluent in French and has a totally unique take on fashion on the other side of the Atlantic.
What do you like about living in London?
I love London because it's different from any other city I've visited. I remember going there when I was about nine, this was about three months after my family moved to France, and just the fact that people spoke English was amazing to me. From that age I knew I would someday end up living here. It's one of the most laid back cities I've been to, while also being super clean and organized. You can walk for 20 minutes and end up in a neighborhood completely different to the one you left. Nothing is the same.
What are you studying, and how did you choose this major?
I am studying Fashion Management at London College of Fashion. I think I chose this major for its broad aspect. We cover so many different areas of the fashion industry, from styling and journalism to business management, which I think is helpful no matter which part of the industry you want to go into. While I may not love analyzing company accounts, I feel like somewhere along the road it will come in handy.
What do you think is the biggest difference between how people dress in the U.K. and how they dress in the U.S.?
I think American fashion, even when trying to look a bit grungy and stuff, still looks very preppy and considered. Whereas in London I think fashion is much more daring and people are really willing to take 'risks' with what they wear. Like you'll see people all dressed in black on one street corner, and then on the next someone dressed almost as if they were a clown or something. And whenever I go back to America I feel like I need to tone down my style so as not to look too crazy.
Five favorite designers:
Alexander Wang: He just combines that bad-ass look with powerful feminism in such a great way. I think in this day and age, women should be able to look tough and sexy at the same time, and to be able to do it if they want to, not because a man is telling them to dress that way.
Miu Miu: This is a newfound favorite designer of mine. I thought their Spring/Summer 10 collection kicked ass. The daisy prints and platform Mary Janes were so reminiscent of the '90s, which is right up my alley.
Givenchy: You can never be wearing too much leather.
Gabriella Marina Gonzalez: A recent Central St Martins graduate and a friend of mine. Her clothes are amazing and really empower women. It's a new and current twist on the punk look from the '70s. The shoes alone are incredible.
Meadham Kirchhoff: I love these guys because they've made the menswear for women look interesting again. Playing with hemlines and tailoring, they make a recycled look look interesting again. They use a lot of fun fabrics and colors as well to further accentuate each garment.
Five favorite places in London:
SICK (Shoreditch): Obviously, I work here. But even if I didn't, I would still come here and just hang out. That's what it's set up for. It's a boutique and we sell bikes and weird things, but downstairs there's a bed and couches, and it's just so fun.
London Fields (Hackney) in the Summer: It's a really dingy park but in the summertime, you can always find your friends here just hanging out or sunbathing (we Londoners take advantage of whatever sun we can get).
Battersea Car Boot Sale: A great flea market in a parking lot in West London. It's a little bit of a trek from East London, but it's worth it. You can always find something there, even if it's just a pair of weirdly amazing socks.
Catch (22 Kingsland Rd, Shoreditch) on a Thursday: Probably the best place to go out. The weekends make everything crowded, so Thursday is the perfect day to go for a drink or something.
The Macbeth (70 Hoxton St, Shoreditch): There are always really good new bands playing here no matter what night of the week. And it has a pool table!
When you're not at school, you work at SICK, a vintage store. Tell us more about it.
SICK has always been my favorite shop in London from the first week I moved here. It happened to be just up the road from me, and was always a stop I made on a Sunday when walking through the market. I saw in July that they had put a Staff Wanted sign on the door and although I was already employed, I couldn't help but apply. I ended up talking to Steph the owner for about three hours on that day and we really hit it off. I think he especially liked me because I am fluent in French, which comes in handy on our many buying trips to France and Belgium, seeing as he speaks no French. That's my favorite part about the job. I love going to these old, crummy depots in France off a highway and digging through racks and racks of stuff and finding amazing pieces to bring back to London. My favorite thing to look for is shoes...I can't come back without at least 20 pairs. And then it's always cool when you see people out in London wearing the stuff you picked out.
What do you want to do after you graduate?
I really love the idea of being a stylist, but I think in the current economy that will have to be a freelance project...no one's got any money! I would really love to be a trend forecaster. The idea of going out to different cities and picking up on all of the cultural trends and applying it to fashion is really fascinating to me. It's like deciphering a code or something.
What kind of styling have you done?
What I've done so far has mainly been for my school projects, or friends' school projects. Nothing really has ever been published. But I have some upcoming projects for this year that I am pretty excited about. I plan to contribute to this online magazine Platform with my boyfriend. He is a photographer so hopefully this year we can work together on some projects.
People whose style you admire:
- Any of the girls in The Craft
- Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice
- Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love combined into one
amazingly dressed person
Favorite places to shop for vintage:
- The little markets/depots in France and Belgium I go to with the boss.
- Retrospect in Philadelphia
Five favorite pieces of clothing you own:
- This pair of black leather trousers my friend just gave me.
- A black button down sleeveless lace shirt that's great for summer.
- A pair of high-waisted acid-wash cut-off shorts.
- This grey and black mesh paneled sweater I made.
- Not clothing, but this crazy chain maille bracelet that attaches down to my middle finger. My favorite eBay purchase in a long time.