tastemakers

The British Fashion Buyer Who Avoids Trends and Loves Birkenstocks

Natalie Kingham. Photo: JASON JEAN/Courtesy of Matches Fashion

Online shopping is fun, but online window shopping is even better. One of my favorite places to browse while dreaming of the life I’d live if I were clad exclusively in Vivienne Westwood is Matches Fashion. The British e-tailer has a perfectly calibrated mix of up-and-coming designers and name-brand labels — due in large part to Natalie Kingham, the fashion and buying director. Kingham has been the designer of her own label, so she knows a thing or two about sartorial details. Recently she oversaw Matches’s young talent hub, The Innovators. Below are some of her favorite things.

How do you thank someone for a gift?
A handwritten card — personal is always best.

What would you never wear?
Anything too tight. I am drawn more toward oversize shapes — I love using beautiful tailoring in shirting and suiting to give shape to your figure, rather than tighter fabrics.

What’s your dream vacation?
I would love to explore Japan. With my role, I’m lucky enough to travel to beautiful fashion cities, but in my personal time I love to visit different cultural destinations.

What’s a good book on your coffee table right now?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It was a gift and I must start reading it

What is your favorite piece of furniture in your apartment/office?
A black and white beaded African armchair — I love statement pieces to style interiors at home.

Last show you binge-watched?
My Brilliant Friend I simply love it and can’t wait for season two.

Secret to hosting a good party?
To be relaxed and enjoy the moment. During Fashion Weeks especially, it can be easy to be lost in a busy schedule of shows and appointments, so I really try to focus just on the night and enjoy the time with our guests. A good co-host always helps as well. We often work closely with our designers on events and having them on board makes it so much more fun.

What is a trend that you like right now?
I am not a fan of trends. I think we are moving more away from trends to a sense of longevity in our dressing and buying to suit our lifestyles and sense of style.

One you don’t understand?
Even if I’m not a big fan of a trend, I feel I can still understand what the designer is trying to say to their customer, so in a way I understand them all!

What’s another decade you’d like to live in and why?
I am very happy in this decade. Culturally and socially I think we live in such a dynamic and interesting time.

What’s one piece of clothing you can’t part with?
Right now, my Vetements camouflage coat.

What’s your favorite…

Museum/gallery? 
The Guggenheim in Venice.

Shoes?
Birkenstocks.

Flower?
Hydrangea.

Pajamas?
Richard Quinn.

Candle?
Cire Trudon Ernesto.

Scent?
Fredrick Malle, Portrait of a Lady.

Suitcase?
Crash and Rimowa.

Socks?
FALKE.

T-shirt?
Hanes.

Shop the Story

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed
Richard Quinn Watercolor-print Pajamas

Available in sizes UK 6–UK 12.

Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady

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The Fashion Buyer Who Avoids Trends and Loves Birkenstocks