My Neighbourhood | Rob and Paul Forkan on South London

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Rob and Paul Forkan, founders of Gandys and the Orphans for Orphans foundation, on the best of their neighbourhood in and around South London…

Home is… 
This is a hard question as, from a young age, our parents took us out of school to travel around the world with our six siblings. We sold everything we had to travel halfway across the world to explore and volunteer together. Our parents removed us out of our structured school system in England and enrolled us in what they believed was the best form of education; the university of life. This experience influences the design of our Gandys clothing collections as we incorporate map print designs, Aztec stitching and design for ever-lasting belongings that will accompany you on your travels. We currently live together in Southfield, close to our offices and design studio, but before this we spent the last three years in Brixton, where we started the Gandys journey in 2012 in our bedroom. Before the adventure began our last family home was in Croydon, which will always hold a special place in our hearts. I think for both of us home will always be where we are together, rather than particular locations in the world.

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Work is… 
Our parents instilled in us a keen interest in travelling and adventure and this awakened a desire to create something unique in honour of them. We founded Gandys in 2012 to support our Orphans for Orphans foundation by donating 10% of our profits to help underprivileged children that are affected by the Tsunami. Our office and design studio is based in Southfield with our stores located in Spitalfields Market (flagship store) and Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and we work between the three locations to ensure that we are involved with all aspects of the business. As well as funding our Orphans for Orphans foundation, we host talks with companies to share our story, as well as attend charity events to support others.

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Favourite place for a special meal…
A personal favourite would have to be Brixton Village, due to the multi-cultural selection available in one place. We love tapas style food as it’s great to share your dining experience with friends in a relaxed environment. Our favourite pub is The Hope & Anchor between Brixton and Clapham, which has an insane outside area which features wooden huts which are labelled as individual countries with accompanying themes.

Favourite place for some retail therapy…
We love Spitalfields Market on the Thursday, as that’s the day of the antique market, and I like to collect vintage globes, maps etc. which help to inspire our collection each season. This was one of the main reasons that we wanted to place our first flagship store within Spitalfields Market, because it brings in such a diverse crowd and is a great tourist attraction.

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Favourite spot when we’re feeling energetic…  
Every Tuesday night we, together with some members of our team play football in Wandsworth which, as you can imagine, can get rather competitive between siblings! We have also started an office volleyball team this summer to play against different companies in Wimbledon Park as a great team bonding activity. I also think it’s key for our team to socialise outside of work and we’re lucky to have such a strong team involved with the Gandys journey.

Favourite local discovery… 
Well, recently a beach has opened up close to our office! Neverland London’s ‘urban beach’ in Fulham brings the tropics to South London – it’s the perfect place to grab a deckchair, beach ball and it’s BYOB with a selection of the best street food London has to offer. It’s a great new social hub right on our doorstep.

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Favourite place to soak up some culture… 
When we first started we collaborated with The V&A and Oasis, which was an incredible experience to work with such an iconic museum, as well as a high-street giant. When launching our clothing collection, we took inspiration from our travels across the world but also within our London home. On a visit to Kew Gardens, Paul saw an amazing palm tree which sparked the print within the men’s palm print shirt and t-shirt within our SS17 collection. Also Portobello Market is a massive influence on us, which is why we are currently looking at opening our second London store within the twisty, vibrant streets in west London. The market is home to quirky antique and vintage clothing stores and market traders who have been there for years and seen it all.

Favourite spot for a family day out…
We love playing the cool uncles to our young nephews and nieces, and taking them to our favourite football ground at QPR in White City, as it brings back memories of our father taking us as young boys. The atmosphere within the ground is always energetic and is a place of true sportsmanship for us both. This is one of the reasons that all of our ‘Orphans for Orphans’ children’s schools are painted white and blue, to represent his favourite football team.

 

Main image: Lee Thompson

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