The co-founder and executive creative director of The Church of London charts a chronology of his inspirations

My father

“For a long time, I didn’t know that my dad was the boss of his company. This was probably due to the fact that he’d come home from work, walk through the door with a broad smile on his face, handing out hugs and firm back slaps to the family. Then we’d sit down for dinner and he’d ask how everyone’s day had been. 

“There was, and never has been, an outward-facing show of the weight of business upon his shoulders. I’m still not quite sure how he does it, but it’s something that I’m forever trying to imitate, nonetheless. 

“He once told me: ‘Son, if you can maintain the respect of staff and clients, praise and thank people, react efficiently, never lie and work harder than anyone else in the room, you should do okay.’” 

School

“School was a really important time. The local comprehensive school I went to wasn’t all that polished: there were kids from the local estates, kids from other parts of the globe and kids from big houses. It gave me an early lesson in the fact that we don’t operate alone in our domains. 

“When you’re in a situation where you’re surrounded by hundreds of people, I always like this idea of picking out the best bits, the bits that resonate with you, then adding those to your way of thinking and doing.

“I learnt that taking inspiration from one artist, from one mountain top, from one magazine or one city just didn’t present something that was well-rounded. Absorb as much inspiration as you can, filter it, then roll with it.”

Adrenalin magazine

“Mickey Gibbons and Michael Fordham (creative director and editor, respectively) were the guys who were responsible for the breathtaking display of awesomeness in the pages of Adrenalin magazine.

“I was lucky enough to get an internship there after leaving university, which turned into a job and I’ve forever looked to these guys for inspiration. Both in how they did what they did back then, as well as the way they do their thing today. Adrenalin was a huge inspiration for both me personally, for our Huck magazine (right) and for TCOLondon as a whole – I guess it still is.”

The birth of Little While Lies

“I remember being the first person to see issue one of [hip film magazine published by TCOLondon] Little White Lies. It had been dropped off in the doorway to [TCOLondon’s MD] Daniel Miller’s flat. The stack of boxes were getting a little wet in the evening drizzle. 

“I was on the phone to Dan as I peeled back the gaffer tape on the top box. ‘How is it? How is it?’ he asked. ‘It’s a little floppy, I must say, what gsm did we go for?’ was my response. Needless to say my first words were not appreciated.” 

The future

“It’s 2055, and TCOLondon’s 50-year anniversary party is well underway. Phil Collins and Jay-Z are headlining, albeit in the form of 3D holograms. Dan’s ordered the digital food on his iBuffet and our Shoreditch office isn’t in Shoreditch because we synced in with LA through our iTransport and we’re by the beach. 

“What we’ll look like, where we’ll be sitting and what the body of work we’ll be outputting looks like is exciting. It’s as exciting and inspiring today as it was flicking the floppy pages of a magazine outside Dan’s front door.”