Supra men and women’s wear

Kelvin Lim, co-owner of Supra, 71 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise NW10 (020 8968 6868) is loving…

Canada Goose’s
Chateau parka

‘Every customer who tries the parkas from the Arctic Down collection in the store all have the same reaction: “Ooooh, it’s so lovely and warm!” If it’s good enough for the research scientists in the South Pole, these beauts from those Canucks are good enough for me in the wilderness of Queens Park.’ Price £550

Gelderburn bug

Birmingham’s Brady brothers established the company in 1887 and has been making fishing bags since the 1930s, so they know a few things about fishing bags. I love the history behind the company, the quality, and to this day the bags are still made in the West Midlands. It’s not just fishes and tackle that fits in the bag, a Macbook Pro fits inside nicely as well.’ Price £209


Cally boots in bitter chocolate

‘The Folk guys have done it again: Kensal Rise’s Cathal and his crew came out with the Cally boot last season, but this season’s bitter chocolate in mix of suede and leather with the white sole and the usual detailing, really hits the winter mark for me.’ Price £165


The perfect, quirky Valentine’s gift

Roses*, chocolates, teddy bears… blah, blah, blah… meh!

Top off your Valentine’s gifts this year with a unique and more importantly, locally purchased, fierce and feisty ‘LOVER & FIGHTER’ badge!

Embrace your inner John Lennon and your Emmeline Pankhurst with pride! Show off that loving feeling and fight for your beliefs… Oh, and then get embraced by your no-doubt-most-delighted Valentine!

‘At a time when we all need to share the love and stand up for what we believe in, – save the library! – the double message of the LOVERs and FIGHTERs badges are perfect for Valentines or any time,’ says Julie Stockley.

Hurry up and in time for 14 February, get your hands on one (or both!) of these fine treasures for £12 each at Kensal Rise’s own Supra… Or email Julie Stockley the supersmart designer behind these sharp pins – – and get her PayPal details. Tell her Park Life sent you!

Supra (we heart you Kelvin!) is at 71 Chamberlayne Road, London NW10 3ND (020 8968 6868)

*Unless they’re from Scarlett & Violet, obvs.

You’ve got to admit your little local blog has done you proud with this gift suggestion, right?

Caryn Franklin – fashion hero and gardener

Caryn and her daughter at Kensal Rise's favourite Diner

If you don’t know who fashion guru and TV personality Caryn Franklin is, you clearly lived on a desert island in the 80s. And you wore an old sack. Presenter of telly classic, The Clothes Show, she’s now behind style advice service How to Look Good. Most importantly she’s a local – and a very loyal one too…

What do you love about this neighbourhood?
Nice mix of arty and family vibe.

Favourite haunts in Kensal Rise?
Lali, Supra, Smiths, The Island, the Lexi Cinema.

Where do you shop for clothes or gifts?
Smiths at Eulabee on College Road is first port of call as there is always something there for girls, women and boys. They are working on finding a few more things for men – but let’s be honest, they are hard to shop for anyway. Give me a scented candle, a novelty tin or a cushion cover and I’m well pleased.

Any super-stylish locals you admire for their sartorial prowess?
I see an elderly Caribbean man down Wrottesley Road from time to time and he is rocking a mix of elegant and sartorial senior citizen one day and skirt and interesting headwear the next. He is my kind of sextagenarian.

Abel & Cole box

Fantasy dinner party with local ingredients?
I’d go to the fab fishmongers on Walm Lane, Willesden Fisheries – I love roast snapper with homemade salsa. I would also get the wheat-free pasta and other treats from Revital also in Willesden. We get a brown box of organic veg from Abel & Cole which I love to cook with. But I would top it up with stuff from L’Angolo’s – he always has just-ripe avocados and brilliant cheeses as well as ice-cream made by a local business called Disotto’s.

Delicious Disotto ice-cream from L'Angolo

Perfect weekend in your locale?
I’m fan of Kensal Rise library in Bathurst Gardens so I’d start with an extended trip there to read The Guardian on a Saturday and to choose a DVD to rent. Then a saunter in Smiths to look at their sample rail – I’ve found Sportmax, McQueen and Ossie Clark before now – followed by a hot choc in Gracelands or The Island and a little shopping in Angolo’s Deli. Finally, a trip to the Lexi Cinema where if you book early you can have the box for the same price as the stalls. Get a glass of wine from the bar and sit and sup to heart’s content… then a stroll home.

Any juicy local gossip?
There is a middle-aged man who thinks it’s hilarious to empty the kitchen compost into the green bin first thing in the morning before anyone else is on the street and he does it in tiny briefs and nothing else at about 6am. I’ve tried to encourage my husband to put on a robe but he is one of life’s risk takers.

V&A's pretty gardening tools (the range is also available from Rise gift shop, Kilburn Lane)

Any pet peeves?
Yes – and let me say it loud: STOP CONCRETING OVER YOUR FRONT GARDENS AND GET OUT THERE AND PLANT SOMETHING NICE TO ENCOURAGE WILDLIFE AND TACKLE FLOODING. I have had a rant about this one before, so I will try not to go on about it. But a nice bit of privet, or even something more artistic if you have a yearning for roses and clematis would camouflage bins and make walking down the street a joy.

If you were MP what would you change?
Oh dear I’m going to have to go on about it some more, but I’ll make it short… I’d outlaw concreting over any garden area front or back I’d and make grants available to get what paving is out there removed. I’d create schemes for those who want to learn how to garden and fund basic courses for them. I’d provide allowances for cheap hardy plants and supply a list of enthusiastic gardeners to plant and maintain the shrubs and trees. Basically I’d cover the whole town in green and there would be a love of nature and appreciation of the power it has to sustain us all. I don’t think this would have been an election winner but sometimes it’s the small details that lead to bigger things.

Any local charities you support and why?
I’m a co-founder of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk. Neither are local but since both are to do with women, their health and self esteem, I feel women and girls in Kensal Green will benefit just the same.

And finally…

Plant roses! Park Life loves Hampstead Garden Centre:

What are your three top tips to someone who’s just moved here?
1. Rip up your concrete front garden and plant roses.
2. Hang out in said front garden, tending to your wonderful blooms and say hello to everyone who walks past your house.
3. Get chatting with them and make friends.

Thanks for chatting to us, Caryn!

Local Folk we love

The style-savvy chaps among you may already know Folk, most likely for its edgy knitwear and subtly directional menswear – especially as it’s available from Supra on Chamberlayne Road.

We pinned down founder, Glaswegian by way of Queen’s Park and now Kensal Rise, Cathal McAteer (below right) who set up Folk in 2001. His sister and fellow K-Rizer, Maggie McAteer runs the showroom Macandi.

What’s Folk and Shofolk all about?
Folk’s about making clean, honest understated garments with a meticulous eye for colour, fabric selection and design detail. We create simple everyday clothing with subtle, innovative and sometimes playful detailing.

Shofolk is designed by the same team and has the same ethos combining distinctive shapes with natural leathers to create functional yet stylish footwear. Production is limited to keep quality levels high with a nice byproduct being that their owners are unlikely to bump into someone wearing the same pair. Inspirations can’t be nailed down to specifics, ideas come from all over but mainly from what we see and hear each day in London. Shapes, colours and textures play a big part in what we do.’

A recent development was a  store in Shoreditch, East London.
‘The Butcher, Matt (owner of Butcher of Distinction – the space where the new store is based) was a tad jaded with life as a retailer and his other projects were taking up his time. So we said if he ever wants to get shot [of the shop] we’d be happy to discuss it with him. That happened and it moved quite quickly after that. We got the shop and it’s a big old space, we’re really happy to be there.’

Next on Folk’s agenda is the opening of a ladies multi-brand store, also on Lamb’s Conduit Street, opening in August.
‘The street suits our DNA,’ said Cathal McAteer, said in an interview with the Telegraph magazine. In Cathal’s words, the streets are very unLondon, and sound more like this neighbourhood: ‘You say hello to everyone on it.’
The new shop will give them the chance to showcase the ladies footwear in full and to start developing ideas for a Folk ladies clothing collection.

Where’s it all made?
‘All over, due to the high design content in our clothes we are a bit of a headache for some suppliers. This has led us to search high and low for the right fabric mills and the right factories to make our designs to the required standards. We make alpaca knits in Peru, shirts in Portugal, jackets in Hong Kong, accessories in England, merino knitwear in Uruguay, wherever we have to go to find the best people that are experts in what they do and understand our vision.

Shofolk is made in a small family-owned factory in the heart of shoe-making country in North Portugal; it has 60 years experience in handcrafting shoes, and by combining this skill with leathers imported from Italy, our designs are brought to life.’

Folk is a casual menswear brand born in 2001 in London, Shofolk, the sister (and brother) footwear collection for men and women, followed in 2004. Cathal cut his fashion teeth at Glasgow boutique Ichi Ni San, eventually becoming involved in the merchandising side of the business. Originally only sold in Japan, Folk opened a shop on Lamb’s Conduit Street in 2007.

I’ve created a monster

Thanks to Donna Wilson‘s Make Your Own Monster Kits at Supra (£15), you too can play Dr Frankenstein – but with slightly more child-friendly results.

While fighting the urges to get Folk cardigans and some toddler-sized Converse at Supra on Chamberlayne Road, we stumbled across these packs, which are perfect as rainy-day projects or gifts for kids aged 3+. Donna, whose cushions at Supra are another temptation, has cunningly converted offcuts from her hip homewares into these ingredients for a fun mini monster…

Photos: the split-personality fish we made from our kit.

Each cool arts-and-crafts kit contains one pre-stitched unique  monster shape, stuffing, felt and material strips, and easy-to-follow four-step instructions (without a word in Swedish – phew) on how to magic your one-of-a-kind cuddly creature. How you interpret these bits and bobs is up to you – just have some PVA glue or a needle and thread at the ready.

And hey, if you really want the feel-good 2010 angle, there’s not only the promise of some creative itch-scratching but some potential ace parent/child bonding time. Beats ready-made toys any day.

Supra 71 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London NW10 (; follow Supra at Twitter/supralondon)

Browse Donna Wilson’s creations at