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A moment with Maggie Davis

Posted in Interviews, People
by Isabelle O'Carroll on 19 January, 2017

Londoner, editor and mother, Maggie Davis tells us how she stays sustainable in the capital – and why her kids made her reassess her priorities.


How did you get to Time Out?
– While studying a BA in Fashion Promotion at University of the Arts, London, I started working in the fashion cupboard at the Observer, a place of hard slog and hard play. I may have slept on a bed of coats under a clothes rail once or twice. I worked (and partied) my way through Vogue and ES Magazine before arriving at Time Out as shopping editor in 2004, which with London as its muse and a team of brilliant people, became my spiritual home until 2014.

Were you into fashion as a kid?
– Yeah, well you could call it fashion! I grew up in south London in the 80s just before the yuppies moved in. There was no shortage of fashion icons in popular culture at the time: Princess Di, Madonna, Bonnie Tyler, Cyndi Lauper. Chaka Khan. I loved a bit of a tartan and a bit of a backcombed fringe and later got into trainers and hiphop before becoming a full-on day-glo, white glove-wearing raver by the early 90s. My mum didn’t have much money so as a child all my clothes were homemade, hand-me-downs or Ladybird from Woolworths. Later I progressed to Chelsea Girl and What She Wants.

What is important to you in terms of ethics and living a low-impact lifestyle?
– Recycling, not overbuying food or clothes or stuff generally, trying not to add to London’s air pollution problems by not driving too much. Thinking about where food comes from and lately I’ve tried to have a lot more vegan nights which the kids love.

Tell me about the cycle path near where you live. 
– Transport for London granted Enfield Council £30million or so to install segregated cycle lanes around the borough. To me being able to get around my local area safely and healthily without resorting to car or bus seemed like a liberating idea. Sadly, it was met with complete disdain by some people in the borough who think roads should be dominated by cars not people. I joined local group called Better Streets for Enfield to start campaigning for streets that work for everyone, not just drivers. Luckily, a public consultation proved just enough people did want the lanes and after much debate they are currently being built. I’m looking forward to getting around the high streets safely.

Do you cycle lots with your children?
– My girls, Evelyn, seven, and Lola, five, adore their bikes. We take them out as much as we can. At the moment that is limited to pavements and parks but as London becomes more cycle safe, we plan to take the city by bike! I’m looking forward to getting a bike and baby seat for the wee boy, William who turned ten months, very soon.

Are there any ethical/sustainable brands you love?
– I love Frugi, a cute Cornish-based organic kids brand, Veja, a French trainer brand who put human rights and the environment first and Sahel design, who produce beautiful bags and accessories working with craftspeople in Burkina Faso.

Is it easy to be sustainable in London?
– I think with a bit of effort you can do well. For me that’s about active travel – walking, scooting, cycling and using public transport, shopping locally, buying from independents and saying no to plastic bags. There’s no shortage of great second hand shops in London, like along my local high street in Palmers Green – I’m always finding gems, particularly when it comes to homeware. They are great for kids clothes and fancy dress too. The Red Cross bookshop here is one of the best around, especially for children’s books.

What do you wear most days?
– My daily mum uniform is simple and comfortable: a pair of cropped trousers, a Breton top or cashmere knit and my trusty Converse. I don’t go anywhere without a Petit Bateau rainmac or Tiba and Marl leopard print baby changing rucksack. I’ve really tried to cut down on buying crap. I avoid the high street apart from & Other Stories, and just buy a handful of new, slightly more expensive labels each year that will hopefully last.

What lessons have you learnt working in fashion?
– Wear what you feel 100 percent comfortable in. I my early twenties I felt the need to wear heels with everything. I would end up on country walks or on the tube in Gucci pencil heels and look completely ridiculous. I soon learnt just wear what feels totally right to you and within the context and you will always look good. Wake up, check the weather and wear what calls you from the clothes hangers.

Who do you admire, in fashion or other?
– The list is long. I admire the US Vogue fashion writer Sarah Mower. As well as being an excellent writer with an great eye, she’s a lovely woman and really champions new designers like no-one else. I also like Stella McCartney for staying true to herself and her vision. As a result her label has grown from strength to strength. Likewise Victoria Beckham; from Spice Girl to serious contender on the international fashion scene, through hardwork and determination. I also massively admire the late Jo Cox, for going into politics for all the right reasons and fighting for good causes. I will always feel sad she’s not here. Kate Moss, just because, you know, Kate Moss. Also a shout out to all the witty mum bloggers (Selfish Mother, Mother of Daughters and Mother Pukka) out there who are depicting the real, crazy, fun, non-airbrushed side of motherhood. Too much phoney perfection can be so soul destroying.

What motivates you?
– Creativity, love, my children obviously. They really made me focus on what matters. Giving them a safe, happy and creative upbringing where I can hopefully help nurture their talents, well that’s everything.

Do you have any lifestyle, beauty or fashion tips that make your life easier/more wonderful?
– Going to bed at 8pm is tedious but it makes you feel like you can save the world the next day. My best beauty tip is remember that products don’t really actually make you that more beautiful. Learn to love your face, celebrate the fact you do not look like Kim Kardashian. Stick to the magic five things you can’t live without. For me that’s: Lancome Definicils mascara, Lara Mercier tinted moisturiser, Lipstick Queen true red lipstick, an ancient rose-hued Chanel blusher and amazing organic moisturiser made by my best friend Jude.

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