Camden gets its own iPhone app

Things have changed a lot since fashion designer Wayne Hemingway started his business on Camden Market

When fashion designer Wayne Hemingway came to to London as a teenager, Camden Town was his first stop.

He wanted to be the centre of the music scene and he knew that at that time it was the place to be (it was 1981 then and Camden Town was grimy and glorious and perfect for experimental youngsters).

His dream was to be in a band and he even formed his very first group in the World’s End pub.

But it was his then side project- selling his and his girlfriend Gerardine’s second hand clothes on Camden Lock Market which- unknown to him- was to bring him success.

“We’d read that there was this new market- we’d both got loads of second hand clothes and Gerardine had always made loads of her own clothes. So we went and bought some 50p laundry bags, filled them with clothes, got the tube down to the market and queued up. We got a stall and took 100-odd quid. The stall rent was only about 8 quid.”

Soon, Hemingway and his now-wife were regulars at the market, laying the foundations for their now global fashion business Red or Dead. It’s a story that goes into the history books of the area- one that is filled up daily with adventures of bright young things and their daring culture.

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Things have changed a little since Hemingway ran his stall. Not to be left behind, Camden Town now has its own iPhone app to guide people around the area. Hemingway is the face of the app, which is in the early stages of development and has limited information on it, although is now downloadable for free. The app is managed by Camden Council and Camden Town Unlimited (a group of Camden Town-based businesses) and has been funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Many argue that high rents in the area have pushed smaller businesses out of the picture in Camden, making it almost impossible to re-create the success story of Hemingway today. “I think if you look at other areas in London, comparatively Camden has managed to retain its culture,” says Hemingway “But we all need our supermarkets sometimes- I think Camden keeps that balance.”

What do you think? Has Camden retained its independence or lost its charm? Let us know below.

To take a look at the app, search for Camden on the iTunes store