What’s the favourite piece of art you own?
Alongside a massive sunny yellow Kate Boxer lion print that welcomes you into our sitting room, I finally managed to get my hands on two of my old school friend Pia Pack’s original ‘Table Talks’ after years of pestering her to release the last few she had! I love how she maps human connections and colourfully captures our vivid movements and interactions. My friend Martha Freud also created some adorable ceramic tiles with my son and his teeny handprints, which we had framed and will always treasure.
How did you become one of the UK’s first professional bloggers?
I started The London Chatter as a jobbing actress and stylist when my sister, who was living in NYC where blogs were already ‘a thing,’ suggested I start my own to share my fashion and cultural recommendations. When British brands realised the increasing benefit of targeting our trusted and invested audiences for more authentic advertising, there was a small and dedicated group of British bloggers propelled to the forefront - and happily, I was one of them! Instagram soon followed, and the explosion of ‘influencer culture…’ It’s been completely fascinating watching it all evolve from the very start.
You’ve collaborated with some huge British brands. Do any stand out in particular?
Mulberry was the first brand that invited me to a London Fashion Week show, and over the years, I worked my way from standing-room access, tip-toeing over people’s heads, to being on the FROW at their last show and more recently supporting their Green Manifesto by fronting several sustainable campaigns for them. I was also the first digital creative LK Bennett worked with back in 2013, and I’ve loved remaining part of their family ever since, raising awareness of their journey towards becoming a certified B Corp this year and being the face of their LK Borrowed rental launch.
Having grown up in Kenya, you are also a fervent supporter of wildlife and environmental projects there. Can you tell us a bit more about your ‘Buy to Give’ collaborations?
I grew up with parents inspiring me through multiple philanthropic projects in Kenya, a country we have all been so privileged to spend our lives. For instance, my father brought Operation Smile (a medical charity which repairs cleft conditions in children) to East Africa, and my mother helped to start and run Nyumbani (an orphanage and outreach programme for children with HIV), so I feel its always been a part of my DNA to give back as and where possible. When I reached a certain position of ‘influence’ in my career, I decided to work (without fee) on some ‘Buy to Give’ collaborations where I co-designed products with small British brands, boosting their PR in exchange for them donating 100% of the profits raised to conservation projects close to my heart - I raised over £70,000 for Local Ocean Conservation and For Rangers in this way.
Where are you based in London, and how would you describe your style in terms of interiors/design/art?
West is best, and my New York loft-style flat is close to the Golborne Road off Portobello - my favourite neighbourhood. I love its exposed brickwork and dark black floorboards, which are juxtaposed with my more colourful art and velvet sofas!
Do you have any favourite Kenyan artists?
Massive thanks to Kelly for chatting with us! You can follow @thelondonchatter on Instagram here.