My Oxford: Carl Anglim
Carl founded Oxford Fashion Week in 2009, and since then it has featured world-class designers including Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson and Valentin Yudashkin. Since then, Oxford Fashion Week has been spun to a series of international fashion events taking place in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Houston and London.
Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Oxford?
My relationship with Oxford began long before I first stepped foot in the city. From afar the city was a physical manifestation of an idea, a culture, a mindset and a way of seeing the world. For me that mindset was a want to explore, to understand and to contribute as much as I can to life. In 2004 I arrived in this city and have been a part of it now for 11 years, which is far longer than I could have anticipated. In those years I have been an Oxford law student, a marketer, a runway show director, a charity trustee, an actor, a journalist, an exhibition curator and a theatre producer. This small city is brimming with inspiration and opportunities available to those willing to reach out and take them. Today I am the Director of Oxford Fashion Studio and the Vice Chairman of Oxfordshire Youth. My work now takes me around the world to Paris, Los Angeles, London, Houston and New York but Oxford is, and will remain, both a place I can call home and a place I can take with me wherever in the world I may be.
What to you are the most iconic aspects of Oxford?
The views and vistas that unravel as you arrive into Oxford from Headington Hill are simply extraordinary. Magdalen Bridge with the soaring college tower at the end herald arrival into the centre with the beautiful botanic gardens to your left. As you sweep around to the high street the Radcliffe Camera swings into view echoed by Queen’s College dome in the foreground and flanked by the towers of All Souls. Then the spires of the University Church fill the view before handing over to Lincoln College tower and finally Carfax tower. Whether it’s punts and pints, bikes and bells or gargoyles and gowns, life in Oxford is so rich in layer upon layer of original culture that you cannot help but be enveloped in its icons.
What are your favourite haunts around the city? Where do you eat and drink?
Oxford’s dramatic spaces are my favourite haunts, including the Natural History Museum, the Sheldonian Theatre, Keble College Chapel and the Divinity Schools. The publicly accessible parts of the new Weston Library are a great addition to Oxford too. For lunch take a picnic from Olive’s on the high street and head to Exeter College Gardens or to Christ Church Meadow. For dinner it’s Pierre Victoire for intimacy or the Ashmolean Dining Rooms. When it comes to pubs the Old Bookbinders hits the spot every time. The Jericho Tavern, The Bear and the White Horse on Broad Street are all great pubs too. In the East the Kazbar, Joe Perks & Co and Big Society are my picks. Raoul’s for cocktails is hard to beat but the view of Oxford from The Varsity Club rooftop is second to none.
What about Oxford has inspired you or helped your creative process?
Oxford itself is a testament to the importance of design and the impact it can have on our lives. I have walked through Queen’s Lane to be hit by music from a rehearsal in a nearby room that then became the inspiration for a show we would later produce at the Sheldonian Theatre, which came into view beneath the Bridge of Sighs at the end of that short walk. Whatever it is you want to do you can find someone in Oxford to do it with you. Oxford is unique in feeling like a small city that is fully connected to the global consciousness. There’s a sense in Oxford that anything is possible and that what you do here can go anywhere.
What’s the worst or least attractive thing about Oxford?
Resistance to change hurts Oxford, stifles opportunities and limits access to opportunities. High commercial rents mean fewer creative enterprises, which means a diminished quality of city for everyone.
Do you have an area, street or village in Oxfordshire that is special to you?
The entire city of Oxford is special to me, although my first experience of Oxford though was through Merton College and so Merton Street does hold a special sense of accomplishment for me.