Chloe Kelling, a successful model and singer-songwriter, now has a new venture
I arrive for my interview with Chloe Kelling and I’m asked to wait in the garden. I hardly have time to start looking round at the carefully tended flowerbeds when Chloe appears. Every bit as tall and striking as I’d expected, Chloe emerges from the house wearing an oversized man’s jacket, a delicately patterned top and jeans. Chloe is known for her slightly quirky sense of fashion and, of course, she looks great as she makes her way towards me through the flowerbeds.
‘Let’s talk in my office,’ she says, leading the way not back to the house, but instead to an ancient caravan parked up next to it. As we climb inside the compact little van, the smell of fresh baking greets us. A tiny table is piled high with cupcakes, each iced in a different colour. Chloe’s been busy, and there’s a real sense of playing tea parties in a secret den! But what else should I have expected from a woman with such a varied and interesting career?
Chloe originally trained as a make-up artist, having left her home in the country at nineteen to try and make her name as a model in London, and soon got work in adverts and the fashion business. ‘I went to Japan to work for a short period, but felt very homesick at first,’ she recalls. ‘It was very demanding work and, though I met loads of nice people, it was too much to take in at nineteen. If I’d stayed longer, I might have settled in better.’
Alongside the modelling, Chloe was also beginning to make contacts in the music business. ‘I’d been the typical kid, singing with a hairbrush in front of the mirror, dreaming of being a star one day,’ she laughs. She joined a girl band which ‘broke up before we got anywhere’, before becoming the lead singer with the band Whoosh, which features on a best-selling clubbing album. Unusually though, Chloe also sings with two other bands, one based in Sweden and another in London, and each of these has a distinct style.
It was her work with Whoosh that originally led to Chloe’s link with Sweden. She was offered a song-writing job there with a team that was responsible for songs for some major stars, but gradually became more involved in writing music for her own band.
Although she now divides her time between London and Sweden, her first stay there turned out to be much longer than she’d bargained for. ‘The rooms are very tall over there and so people have these rather high beds that you climb up to,’ she explains. ‘I fell as I climbed up the ladder and cracked three ribs. Although the people at the hospital were very kind, I was stuck there for a while, which was very frustrating. Sneezing and laughing were so painful at first, let alone singing!’
It was while recovering from her injuries that Chloe hit upon the idea of staging what she calls vintage fairs. ‘It was snowing in Sweden and I wanted something nice to look forward to.’ Chloe had always loved vintage clothes, particularly from the 1950s, and decided to stage an event for others who shared her passion. The first fair was held in her home village and featured stalls selling all sorts of clothes and crafts dating back to the 1950s. It was a huge hit, with 300 people turning up.
‘When I had the idea of the first fair, it was only meant to be a one-off, but we had so many compliments, I decided to go ahead with more,’ says Chloe. ‘There’s something for all ages and people find old things have more character than stuff you buy in modern shops. It also fits perfectly with the idea of recycling.’ Looking round Chloe’s caravan, I can see what she means.