Cocoon Home is a Tottenham based textile company founded by local Angela Constantinou. Angela learned how to make tailored clothes from her mother, going on to study interior design, before starting the company. Now she works with her hand picked British artists from a variety of disciplines to create beautiful bespoke textiles for use in the home. Rachel Ho caught up with Angela to find out more, and also found out about her love of eating out in Tottenham!
Photo supplied: Angela Constantinou, founder of Cocoon Home
Where did you grow up and what did your parents do?
I grew up up the road in Enfield, so not far from Tottenham at all. My dad was a chef and mum, before she had children and came to the UK (both my parents are Greek Cypriot) was a very high end dressmaker.
Describe your relationship to Tottenham.
Conflicted. I love Tottenham and I've been here for almost ten years, so I've seen a lot of change. And as I grew up not far away, I've known Seven Sisters even longer (my sister used to work in a hairdresser on West Green Road in the 90s). I moved here because I needed a live-work unit. It wasn't a conscious decision to move to Tottenham.
When I moved in all those years ago, most (white) people were snobby about Tottenham, thinking it was some lawless zone. I grew up on a council estate so don't have views like that on places and know they are unfounded.
The changes that are happening in Tottenham do make me feel conflicted. It's great to see new places pop up, the High Cross, Cafe Lemon, Craving Coffee, but I hope a balance is retain so the existing community isn't priced out. There are so many great places to eat (The Latin Quarter, Big Bowl, Carribean Spice and Bon Pecado being top of my list) that are also brilliant value for money and show the brilliant cultural diversity of Tottenham.
Photo supplied: Cocoon Home textiles - "Bobo Harvest" by India Rose Bird
What is Cocoon Home and why did you start it?
Cocoon Home was seeded around eight years ago. I work with British artists - one of which is local illustrator Megan Hindley aka Stedhead Art - to produce textiles for interiors. I finally launched in September 2017 after years and years of savings. There is also a strong ethos of fairness and transparency within the company. We make it clear who the designers and and what they have designed and they, as well as receiving a royalty on every metre of fabric sold of their design, have had an advance on this. I am hoping to bring out wallpapers in the New Year.
Photo supplied: Cocoon Home textiles - "High Life" by Megan Hindley aka Stedhead Art
You have some beautiful designs available, how do you choose the artists?
Gut instinct and trawling Instagram and the web! Megan was recommended to me by a friend of a friend and Cally Conway (linocut artist) I found when researching 'best lino cut artists in the world'. Instagram is also a great resource. If I can't stop thinking about their artwork, then I invite them to work with me and hope they say yes.
Photo supplied: Cocoon Home textiles "Vanessa" by Nancy Straughan
As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?
I can't really pinpoint anything from a female perspective on how Tottenham has changed. I've never felt it a problem being female in Tottenham, but can only speak for myself. I've always tried to integrate with the community, chatting with local shop owners, shopping mainly in these places rather than supermarkets (The Brazilian Shop on Seven Sisters road has a great butcher at the back, BTW).
There are a lot of great community initiatives - lots going on at The Hub in Lordship Park, Downhills Park Cafe is trying really hard to integrate all the community together, Craving Coffee works a lot of Tottenham artists and food businesses so they reach a wider audience etc.
Personally, I want Tottenham to keep a balance of the wonderful cafes and restaurants that have been here for years and the more artisan places that have popped up. I love the diversity and want it to stay that way.
Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?
It's probably eating out. The empanadas in the Latin Quarter are amazing, they know me too well in Big Bowl, and there are a huge amount of other brilliant places to eat up in Bruce Grove. A friend of mine is also a real plane geek, and we spent quite a few evenings in the summer sitting with a pint and a scotch egg at the back of the High Cross pub plane spotting!
Find out more about Angela and Cocoon Home:
Photo supplied: Cocoon Home textiles - "King Peryton" by Cally Conway