Chatting with Jane McFarland, Fashion Features Director of booming online retailer matchesfashion.com (it is predicted to hit £425m in sales by 2019), in her home in Peckham, you get an overwhelming sense of wanderlust. She's filled her two-bedroom flat with bright bursts of blue, the exact shade you see on seaside doors and tiles in vibrant holiday towns like Essaouira, Positano and Havana.
But it's Africa, and the continent's wealth of visuals and craftwork, that she connects with most. This is clear from the books on her shelf, the handmade artisanal crockery in her kitchen, the vinyl collection in her living room and the handmade slippers in her closet – all sourced during her many trips to visit her family in South Africa. 'I have size 10 feet so shopping for shoes is… tricky,' Jane explains. 'One of my favourite brands is Brother Vellies, who make traditional footwear with African communities.'
Jane's collection of vinyl spans the same region. 'My knowledge of modern bands is embarrassingly bad, as I mostly listen to music from the Seventies and Eighties, singers like Letta Mbulu and a young Tuareg musician named Bombino. I tend to do long drives when on holidays so am always hunting for good "car music". One of my all-time favourite songs is by Neil Young.'
The clothes hanging in her closet, meanwhile, are as classic and pared back as her taste in accessories, books and music is eclectic. Cue a navy Loewe puzzle bag, Hiller Bartley workman jeans and a pair of Saint Laurent menswear boots. 'I'm a trouser obsessive,' she admits. I try not to pay too much attention to must-haves because I think you can get swept up along the way. Just invest and seek out pieces you really love.'
Pelican & Parrots is my favourite vintage shop in Dalston. Chuko, the wondrously bonkers owner, has a gimlet eye for vintage Moschino and eclectic interiors. He forced me into buying this candy pink Eighties Versace blazer with gold lion-embossed buttons. It reminds me to stop wearing black all the time. (pelicansandparrots.com)
Thanks to my larger-than-life shoe size, I've basically worn men's shoes all my life – Converse, adidas Gazelles, Dr Martens etc – so I was thrilled to discover Australian shoe brand, Senso. Not only do they design some styles up to size 9, they made these leopard-print boots especially for me (after persistently stalking them). A 2cm heel is probably the highest I can legitimately wear.
I love picking up accessories and trinkets when travelling, and on a recent work trip in Los Angeles I discovered fine jewellery brand Gabriela Artigas which was founded by two sisters, Gabriela and Teresita. I love the Mitre pendant - it's the right balance of architecture and minimalism. Now I'm saving for her Infinite Staple Ring. (gabrielaartigas.com/mitre-pendant/)
I love these uncino earrings by an old Italian family jeweller, Paola Grande. Dainty pieces don't really suit me and my hair is usually messy and scraped back, so a graphic pair of earrings is a lazy way to look slightly more pulled together. (artemest.com/artisans/paola-grande)
My sister and her family live in South Africa where they run a charity, Sports Academy George. I've visited a few times, and have a real affinity for the country's rich heritage and beautiful landscapes. Local artisans have managed to preserve their craft and I always visit the Wonki Ware workshop to pick up ceramics and pottery for dinner parties I never end up hosting. (www.wonkiware.co.za/)