My London: Vahan Hovhannisyan – co-founder of Look Mate London

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Look Mate began life as two lists made by Vahan and his brother Vahagn in a London coffee shop. One was a list of people they wanted to work with, the other was a list of things they felt passionately about. In an unconventional twist on the normal business idea, they started by looking at products that would marry the two lists together and settled on what we now know as the distinctive Look Mate socks.

The aim behind Look Mate has always been to work with aspiring creatives to bring a product that cuts above the rest in delivering a high quality everyday item. The designs used are by anyone from furniture designers to visual artists. They are then produced by a father-daughter team in Vahan’s hometown in Armenia, incorporating quality into the company’s DNA from day one. Lastly, the socks are tested time and time again until perfection is reached.

We caught up with Vahan for the latest in our ‘My London’ series.


Favourite neighbourhood:

Brixton is where I spend most of my social life. It has a number of cool spots. The Brixton Village, where the old and new collides, has many nooks and crannies and family-run small restaurants. Pop Brixton is perfect for trendy hipster street food and drinks. The recent addition, The Department Store, a development by architects Squire and Partners, has revived a local Brixton landmark to create a series of collaborative workspaces supported by an evolving hub of creative, retail and community use.


Favourite place for brunch:

Japan Centre on Panton Street. It is a combination of a food hall and a Japanese supermarket where you can enjoy fresh sashimi, restock for sake and instant noodles directly from Japan. It is kind of a cheap ticket to Tokyo in London.


Best coffee in London:

I am writing this from Monmouth Street, so it has got to be Monmouth Coffee in Covent Garden. Another local favourite currently is 2 Love at Clapham Junction. Try their single origin filter coffee from Indonesia. The taste is unique due to too heavy rains in Indonesia last year. Oh, and do not forget to add a slice of Guinness cake to go with your coffee.


Favourite gallery or museum:

I love Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. It is small to navigate, yet it has many big names in art. The gallery champions innovative contemporary art and unseen young artists too. When there, grub lunch at The Gallery Mess Café; they offer delicious daily specials drawn from fresh seasonal ingredients.


Tell us a secret:

Hey Siri, tell me a secret.

Siri – “One night, I paid £20 to see Prince. But I partied like it was £19.99.”


Favourite place to shop:

The Conran Shop in Chelsea. This iconic concept store always champions new emerging brands. It is a great place to buy gifts for family and friends.


Favourite place to find inspiration:

My friend Nick Rawcliffe’s studio. He is an industrial designer and a creator of things that have a reason to exist, like his Hive Chair and Chess Set. I go there for inspiration and to bounce ideas off Nick.


Best London destination for a date:

Upstairs at The Department Store. When architects design a private rooftop bar for themselves, you know it is going to be brilliant.


Favourite park:

Richmond Park;, it is the same size as Central Park in New York. Perfect for a run or cycle around. I like the park even when the weather is murky. The park becomes very moody.


Favourite food market:

Food markets are where one can test and smell London Town and get into conversations with locals. Current favourite is the Southbank Centre Food Market.


Your sanctuary in the city:

Draycott Hotel just around the corner from Sloane Square. More specifically, their Drawing Room overlooking quiet and peaceful private garden.


What inspires you?

People around me, long runs along the River Thames and London Town itself. Also, the designers we collaborate with here at Look Mate London; many of them have become good friends of mine.


This season I’m loving.

Socks and sandals. Check out our latest collaboration with New York-based creatives PLAYLAB.INC. Such a clever twist on the good old-age relationship between socks and sandals.


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