My Finsbury Park: John Arpaci

John Arpaci is the owner of Love Fashions on Fonthill Road

Image of John Arpaci

Fonthill Road is packed with fashion boutiques, one of them being Love Fashions at 117–119. We spoke to John of Love Fashions, who is carrying on his family’s tradition of working in the clothing industry.

“I come from a Turkish Kurdish family, and we’ve run the shop for twenty years. My father arrived in this country, and the next day he was working in a garment factory on Ridley Road in Hackney. When we first arrived on Fonthill Road it was mostly Indian and Greek families. Now it’s mainly Turkish. Next – who knows!

I’d encourage people to come to Fonthill to have a stroll, meet the friendly shopkeepers and check out the vibrant garments. What I like about our street is that we are all small businesses. We’ve united to form a traders’ association – which I am chair of – to keep the identity of the street strong and to look to the future together.

At Love Fashions we specialise in colourful tailored outfits for women. Mostly suits, as well as shirts. We are a shop, but our main business is wholesale. We have lots of African customers who come to buy clothes for professionals such as lawyers and office workers.

When we first came to the street we were surrounded by garment manufacturers. Times have changed in the business and now most of the stock is imported. And we have adapted too in terms of how we source clothes and who we sell to.

There’s plenty for local customers. We have a unique collection of tailored funky shirts with paisley, floral and Mexican skull motifs, from a manufacturer who also supplies to high fashion stores. They are great quality, 100% cotton and retail for around £30.

There are shops on Milan’s famous shopping street Corso Como which incorporate music and bars, and they are an inspiration. The next stage for us is to build a website and move more business online. But in the future, maybe together we will make Fonthill Road the next Corso Como!”