Tumi Monika, a shop assistant at Best Look in Fonthill Parade
Street where chic meets cheap is to get all dressed up
Parade of fashion shops will put up welcome sign as part of profile-raising makeover
FINSBURY Park’s Fonthill Road fashion centre – frequented by television personality Vanessa Feltz, former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond and X Factor finalist Alexandra Burke – is to have a makeover.
A campaign is being launched to put the parade of clothes shops on the map nationwide.
Ideas include a large sign at the Seven Sisters Road entrance, a lick of paint to spruce up the area and space and support for the work of young fashion designers based in the road’s shops.
A public toilet is being installed and there is a new website to promote the area.
Despina Johnson, chief executive of FinFuture, an independent community-led organisation, is promoting the scheme and seeking ideas from traders and customers.
“This is a unique shopping centre – there’s nothing like it anywhere else in London,” she said. “You can find a wonderful variety of clothes. They are good quality and cheap.”
Despina takes her 12-year daughter to Fonthill Road to buy accessories and dresses. “We bought her Holy Communion dress there”, she said.
But there are problems in the road. Parking is a constant complaint. Although there are adequate car parks nearby, customers pay £1 for just 15 minutes if they use a parking meter.
And the recession is beginning to hit shops, although, as Ms Johnson says, “girls will always find money for clothes”.
Selim Gozubuyuk, who has two fashion shops in the road, said: “I’ve been here 15 years. Everyone complains about business but we’re hanging in there. People come here because they know they can get something special.
“I’d like to see hanging baskets and a good clean-up of the litter.”
Another trader, David French, wanted better security and a different approach by parking wardens. “They don’t give you any time to get back to your car,” he said. “It’s worse than Golders Green.”
Anthony Smith, of the London Hat Company, based in the Fashion Centre, said business had never been better. “We have a special niche, and women always like to wear hats,” he said. “But we’re also doing great trade in ‘fascinators’, the colourful headbands that clip on the hair and are currently all the rage.”
Mona, at Morrison’s men’s shop, specialises in party wear and weddings. “The weak pound means we get a lot of foreign visitors,” she said. “All the more reason for promotion. People need to know who we are and where we are.”
Shopper Edith Gyekeye, who is about to get married, was looking at the dresses at Derya in the Fashion Centre. She said: “Fonthill Road is a great place to come. There are so many shops catering for so many tastes.”