Lyall Hakaraia, Magic Making!

Hi Lyall, thanks very much for sitting down with us today.
So, fashion designer, stylist and owner of East London's favourite disco basement, VFD (Vogue Fabrics) – and if you don’t mind us saying, a bit of a champion, and icon of the Queer scene for some years now, tell us about how you got started? 

I worked in the hurdy gurdy of fashion for 20 years and was lucky enough to work with some great celebs including Madonna, Beyonce and Gaga and to have my work featured in incredible magazines shot by the best photographers and their teams. While this is a great life I did always feel that I wanted to have more of a connection with the world around me. Fashion is great and it can be used as a platform to present ideas but it does not connect you with people on a personal level. Opening my own venue almost 10 years ago most definitely did that. VFD evolved out of all weekend parties that happened at my place on a regular basis. I had a basement that we were not using and where all the partying could happen and it would be fantastic not to wake up to a house littered with booze, wigs and Donna Summer on repeat. Necessity and inspiration gave birth to VFD and once we had a couple of parties there were promoters that wanted to use the space and, as they say, the rest is herstory. 

Yes, Many of us remember some great parties at this underground, (literally), queer heart of Dalston, - but VFD really is more than just a basement disco isn’t it?

Marginalised communities such as ours need to find ‘safe’ places that they be themselves without fear of judgement or recrimination of who they are. Venues like VFD offer a community the chance to participate and meet other people like them or dissimilar to themselves. VFD is a place to explore who you are and in the case of the Queer community who you are in terms of your gender and sexuality. VFD has become a home to many different groups and also we have extended our programming to weekly activities and events that are able to include more of the community beyond those who want to party .

This year Hackney council launches Hackney Pride 365 festival to celebrate the borough's historic, diverse and boundary-breaking LGBTQI+ community. You are involved in organising three events at the launch on July 29th.  By day there will be ‘Queer Fashion Flea’ at Hackney Town Hall and ‘Queer Master Class’. And by night you are transforming Hackney Town Hall into ‘A Queer Night Out’ - so what can we expect on the 29th? 

Yes it is great to work with the Hackney council and Jane Young and the Hackney Pride 365 Festival a directive from our gay mayor Philip Glanville . It is great to celebrate the rich diversity of the LGBTQI community in Hackney with its world leading creatives and artists .

Our day long Queer Fest is split into two parts of a daytime Queer Fashion Flea and Queer Master Classes that will have a fete feel to it with a huge variety of stalls and activites from Queer hair cuts , Limited edition designer pieces , Fortune telling to Masterclasses with international recognised artists . 

In the evening, for our ‘Queer Night Out’, we are presenting great performers like Karnage and David Hoyle to legendary and celebrity djays like Jeffery Hinton and then an incredible fashion presentation showing the best of Hackney’s talent . There will also be an auction to support local Hackney LQBTQI charities and we are raising funds via entry to the flea during the day and via the tickets in the evening . As we are saying expect drinking, dancing, crawling and a whole lot of performance. 

Sounds like a lot of fun and a great opportunity to raise money for the LGBTQ+ community.  Finally, we love how you sign off all your emails with ‘Magic Making’ – would you say that is your motto in life?

If we are not making magic to make the world a better place then what the hell are we doing on the planet and with our lives???





Get your tickets for A QUEER NIGHT OUT

Hackney Town Hall, London
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