We can all agree clothing has always been something that has an impact on two key things – how you look, and how you feel. But how often do we think about that second element? The fashion and trend scene in London is fast-paced and can be a chore to keep up with, especially as trends come with that limitation of ‘not everyone can pull it off’. What if a brand can remove that limitation and include anyone who just seeks a particular feeling from what they’re wearing? A level of comfort and happiness. A good friend of Y&Y is creating just that. As part of New Amsterdam Vodka’s #ItsYourTown campaign, we sat down with London local Raymond Mfon to hear about Happy Chap Clothing, his love for the city and how it’s impacted his brand and his lifestyle.
What is Happy Chap Clothing? It seems like it’s more than just a clothing brand.
Happy Chap is brand that promotes all that’s good and amiable in the world, with a simple message that connotes love, friendship and happiness, encouraging people to think and act more positively. I wanted to create more than just a “clothing brand”. I’d like to think of Happy Chap as a “lifestyle brand”. I’ve always been a big lover of the idea creating a culture and way of living through a brand.
How did Happy Chap come about, and what was your inspiration behind it?
It started off as a reflection of myself. Some people used to call me Happy Chap when I was younger. I was always smiling and laughing so the name stuck with me. When I finally started the brand it was something I wanted everyone to relate to and I think there is no better relation than happiness. There should be no restriction or limit to who can be happy. Age, race, gender, ethnicity are all irrelevant and that’s the beauty of the brand it’s for anyone and everyone.
It’s nice to see a new brand from London that isn’t all about following fashion trends, but trying to stand for something more. How challenging is that?
Thank you, I wouldn’t say I’m trying to stand out or trying to be different. Neither am I trying to impress people. I’m just doing what’s in my heart, what truly makes me happy and I pour that into the brand. I feel like some young people do the opposite. They feel pressured to follow others and end up forgetting where and why they started in the first place.
London is your home, and it’s a busy city buzzing with creatives and inspiration in every direction. Has London had an influence on the brand or the direction you’ve taken it?
Absolutely, I’ve lived in London all my life. The last few years I’ve been based around Soho. I really do love that area, there’s always something happening. It has a unique vibe. What I do love the most is in amongst all the hustle and bustle people still find time to connect and interact. This effort to embrace human interaction definitely keeps me going and inspires my work behind Happy Chap.
What does London mean to you, and what makes it your town?
London is so diverse, you can see a bit of everyone in it. For example, I am quite a chilled guy and London provides so many places to just wind down. Like I said, this is my home, and not only do I let the city inspire everything I do, but I feel despite the speed of the city, the opportunities to chill is what makes it a city for me.
Where are your go-to hang out spots for nightlife in London?
I usually prefer the bars or the pubs – smaller intimate venues, where you can socialise and meet people without shouting in their face. I’m from the South-East of London, so I like areas such as Greenwich, New Cross and Peckham. There’s really nice bars and pubs with good crowds that make it a welcoming night out. I’m also all about the gatherings and house parties with friends. Nothing beats a night of good vibes with people you love. I tend to stay away from the crowded West-End clubs.
And do you head to those places because of the venue or because you know you’ll see some familiar faces there?
Well I’m always looking to meet new people in new locations but there’s always that one place that kind of feels like home. For me, that’s a local bar or pub, or a house gathering. It’s nice to be out having a good time with mates, that’s when I tend to discuss ideas with them too on the brand.
It seems like Ray and Happy Chap is all about evoking happiness in people. Positivity between people is something we need more of in London. Do you agree?
100%, not just in London but all over the world. I know sometimes it can be hard to stay positive. Everyday we wake up to negativity in the media and we shouldn’t disregard that. However, I believe we should make more of a conscious effort to focus on the good. There are so many reasons to be happy and stay positive. We live in a beautiful world and London is a great city, but sometimes we all need reminding of that. That’s what the brand aims to do, remind people that there’s always something to smile about.
What does the future hold for Happy Chap and Raymond Mfon?
I’ve always said that Happy Chap is more than just a clothing brand; it’s all about the message behind it. So my biggest hope for the future is for the brand to become a tool that I can use to spread the ethos and show people that it’s cool to be happy.
Using your love for your town to fuel your passions and dreams – #ItsYourTown.
“#ItsYourTown is a mini series from New Amsterdam Vodka capturing real-world commentary from some of the UK’s most buzzing party towns – London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. Gather your tribe and share your town on your terms at #ItsYourTown.”