East London is going to be getting tons of love on the blog this year. Until discovering this trendy area of the city way back in 2009 I ignorantly thought east London wasn’t worth visiting. That changed when a friend introduced me to Brick Lane, Spitalfields market and their surrounding areas and I quickly saw the allure.
After living here nearly seven years I can say this with some confidence, East London may just be the soul of the city. It might not be pretty like West London, or posh like places in the North, or a vast expanse like the South but it is a hot bed of culture. The food, street art, hipster fashion and the Bangladeshi community all combine for an intoxicating mix.
When I was recently invited by Virgin Media to attend an event with the world’s fastest Henna artist Ash Kumar I was equal parts intrigued and puzzled. I didn’t fully appreciate what the event was about and exactly how these two came to work together.
Then I arrived at the Perfume Factory in North West London at the gorgeous studios where Ash runs henna courses. I was welcomed in and straight away got to talking with Ash. For a self-made man who has worked with A list stars and giant brands and currently works for the X Factor he was so humble about the empire he has built from the ground. It was truly inspiring to see that someone can reach the top of their industry and still be so personable.
So why was this amazing henna artist Ask Kumar and Virgin Media working together? Well Virgin approached Ash and asked him to redesign their corporate logo. They are rolling out ultra fast broadband in East London to 100,000 more homes and they took the approach of reaching out to the community through art. Seriously, this is genius.
When Ash offered to give me a henna tattoo I couldn’t contain my excitement. I had henna done once before many years ago for a wedding but that was it. I wanted to also see what unique pattern Ash would create. He incorporated my tattoo on my right wrist and the results were amazing. For the week I kept getting stopped at work and asked about the henna tattoo.
This event was a precursor to a bigger event that took place on the following Saturday. A street party in east London where the van with the newly designed Virgin Media logo would be out for others to add their henna designs. Unfortunately I couldn’t make that event which was such a shame because the pictures of it look amazing and a good crowd of people went.
I have to say Virgin Media got this campaign so right. If you fancy trying out your creative side you can check out Ask Kumar studios here and book yourself on to a course. I was lucky to receive a goodie bag with a gift certificate for a course and henna products. I see more art and East London in my future.
** All opinions are my own and I was not asked to give a favourable review for this event.