How can you make creative friends in London?

2 Mins read

Building a community is made easier with a middleman and a great location at the heart of Brick Lane. 

Pushing through the typical weekend crowds in Brick Lane, I arrive at 93 Feet East.

The venue itself bears a resemblance to a lot of the other trendy hotspots around East London – a courtyard lined with fairy lights and foliage, multiple bars both outside and inside the main hall, where heavily adorned sellers are setting up stalls for nose jewellery, tooth gems, and hand-made crochet tops.

Behind the booth is DJ and producer MANGIE, who steps out and greets me with a smile and a personalized lanyard. Aside from being the ‘drum-n-bass queen’, MANGIE is also the organizer of today’s event, which I had decided to sign up to be a host for on a whim. 

A promotional flyer for a ‘creative networking event’ had caught my attention earlier that week. After a brief scroll through the page and a quick nod at the eccentric line-up which included prolific DJ collectives such as Singularity and Sexy Lady Massive, I messaged the organisers with an almost child-like curiosity.

What was creative networking? How did it differ from the uptight, black-tie events that the corporate world consider networking? And what was my role here?

“We want to be able to speak to everyone, but there’s always so much to do,” MANGIE explains to me. “So, we want you to be the link between us and the community.” 

Have lanyard, will network [Marsho Dzhanchuraeva]

MANGIE founded ZzegZzag in 2021 as a non-profit collective for creativity, activism, and energy, aiming to bridge the gap between creatives in London to make way for collaboration on profitable and charitable projects.

As a DJ herself, MANGIE had brought together her own network for the meet-ups as a starting point, before expanding her horizons to other eager creatives.

ZzegZzag’s previous events have included art workshops, fashion shows for independent designers and music sets. “The aim is to make the London creative scene less intimidating and more accessible for young people who are just starting up,” reads a post on the ZzegZzag Instagram page.  

After the quick briefing, I head out on the field to interview creatives who are already making themselves comfortable on the outdoor tables as the event begins.

Each one has sheets of paper and sketching pens laid out. Groups begin mingling as the soundcheck ends, and the first act is introduced on stage inside. 

Conversations flow around me with eager tones, as artists introduce themselves to musicians, and videographers discuss collaborations with fashion designers. My friend Ethan, a musician who decided to tag along, submerges himself in the crowd, signalling to find people who could potentially help with the creative direction for his upcoming EP. 

“I have never been anywhere like this before,” Lauren, a photographer by trade, tells me. “It’s tricky getting to know other creatives in London. A lot of the time, you’re wondering if people actually want to get to know you or just take advantage of you. But I guess, through collaborating on projects, you find a way to meet people you get along with who can also help you with your career. And vice versa.”

While ZzegZzag is still in its beginning stages of being a promoter for creative meet-ups, they have plenty of incentives cooking up to bring to London’s creative scene.

A mini-documentary showcasing up-and-coming creatives is the most recent thing in the works. Following the success of their last event, the next event should be coming soon.


Featured image by Marsho Dzhanchuraeva

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