Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Fiona Marston, 34, Creative Director, Parka London

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‘I would love to own a place back in New Zealand one day for a calmer slice of life’


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What makes you unhappy? Not being able to pop along to my mum and sister for a cup of tea and a catch up. That’s really hard.
‘What makes me unhappy? Not being able to pop along to my mum and sister for a cup of tea and a catch up’. Photo by Sarah Fox

Fiona Marston was born in New Zealand and sold everything to move to London when she was 27. She worked in wholesale fashion, cutting her teeth as a trims assistant, and after four promotions in eight months, became a production manager for a high street outerwear supplier in London. She was then asked to head up Kentish Town-based outerwear brand Parka London and has been there since the company’s launch last October.

Where would you like to live?
I work in Kentish Town and I would love to live here but it’s just too expensive. I’ve just had an offer accepted on a flat in Forest Hill. I would love to own a place back in NZ one day for a calmer slice of life.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
The tui, a native bird to New Zealand, has a really beautiful song which makes me feel peaceful. But I like the city noise of Kentish Town.

What is your greatest life achievement?
Coming here. Packing all my belongings back home, selling everything else – and tracking down my one friend in the UK. I came with an open return for a year because I discovered I had British ancestors, so got a passport. I’ve never left.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Think big.

What is your earliest K-Town memory?
Thai lunch at the Pineapple. In my first week, I went and fell in love with all the cute little houses on Leverton Street; now it’s a regular thing we all do. Someone shouts “Thai Friday!” Then it’s a sprint down at 12.30 to beat the lunchtime rush.

What makes you unhappy?
Not being able to pop along to my mum and sister for a cup of tea and a catch up. That’s really hard.

What is your most unappealing habit?
I rearrange my flat once a week. I’m always moving furniture and pictures and ornaments. Or moaning about our lack of dishwasher.

What is your guilty pleasure?
The porchetta pizza at Pizza East. It’s amazing. It has crackling on it: evil but the best thing.

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Chicken Shop
Where do you hang out?
Chicken Shop during the week, but on the weekend, I go to The Ozone café on Leonard Street: it’s Kiwi-owned and it’s all about baked eggs.

What’s been your best experience here?
I’ve been lucky enough to go to a couple of the Hunger Magazine launches at Rankin’s studio on Grafton Road. Really good DJs and atmosphere.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My tooth (points to an immaculate incisor).

What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
“Give me your money” – but actually they didn’t say that, they just grabbed it. Manor House, it was.

Tell us a secret.
I have 40 nail polishes: every time I pass Superdrug I get another one. Last week I had a different colour on each nail.

What has your career taught you?
Whatever energy you put in, you get back. Especially with fashion. It’s so creative on the one hand and so calculated and time-pressured on the other; important then to find a balance.

What is your favourite dish and why?
I really miss the gourmet kebab shop in Auckland: chargrilled lamb, Tzatsiki, mango, avocado, pinenuts and hallumi in a wrap.

What did you do today?
At the moment we are fitting development samples and committing on sales cloth for autumn/winter ‘14. It’s difficult to work so far in advance but also exciting to see the brand progressing, which makes it all worth it when I work six days a week and until 9pm at night.

Describe yourself as an animal
I’m a Leo, so a roaring fiery horse.

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