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  • Writer's pictureNikki Spencer

Meet the HSDY Partygoer: Karen Arthur

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Fashion Designer and 'Wear Your Happy' advocate.

On the HSDY blog we love to share partygoer’s stories & we’re delighted to introduce you to designer Karen Arthur. Karen has recently been featured everywhere from Good Housekeeping to Soho Radio, talking about mental health and the positive power of fashion.

Needless to say she has some fabulous outfits!

Photo by: Lima Charlie @lewishamledger

What’s Your HSDY story?

I actually came across Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet on Twitter. I follow @thepaulferguson as we both volunteer at the Forest Hill community library. He tweeted about HSDY and I thought it looked such fun. I came to Stanley Halls in May with fellow Forest Hill folk, Maya and Helen, who I met through their wonderful Featured in 15 talks We had a ball and you’re not getting rid of me now!

When you are not dancing at HSDY what else do you do?

Well, for three decades I was a teacher, but in 2015, after my daughters left home, the stress got the better of me and I had a breakdown. There is still a lot of stigma around mental health and I am trying to change that by sharing my story.

I have always loved sewing and fashion and one thing that really helped during my recovery was that I chose clothes based on what I wanted to feel rather than how I actually felt. I came up with the phrase “Wear Your Happy” and I have written a Ebook and am running a Wear Your Happy event on Saturday June 15th in Crystal Palace. When you are in your 40s and 50s you can easily get into a clothes rut and the night will include a style clinic

I now make bespoke handmade clothes and teach sewing too. So many people have a sewing machine at home that they haven’t used for years and I help them rekindle their love of making things.

Since launching my new career as a fashion designer things have happened that I could never have predicted. The editor of over 40s magazine, Goldie lives near me, and last summer she invited me take part in a local fashion shoot and they ended up putting me on the front cover! To have 56-year-old black women with undyed locs on the front of a glossy magazine was quite something. My mum said it was better than Vogue!

I try to say yes to more things now, as you never know where it will lead. I have talked at numerous events and on the radio, about how fashion and craft can aid mental health and combat loneliness. I still have tough days at times, but over 50 rocks! I was recently interviewed by local stylist Dominique (@irrelevant_styling) for her Meet the Wardrobe YouTube series and had such fun doing it.

I love spending time in Forest Hill as it has so many great independent shops and cafes. I have a soft spot for the haberdashery at Stag and Bow and am a big fan of St David Coffee House.

Favourite HSDY venue?

I’ve only been to Stanley Halls so far, but my fave fantasy HSDY venue would be somewhere overlooking a beach in the Caribbean. Balmy nights, cocktails, swaying palm trees and the sound of the waves accompanying the fabulous music. Can you imagine!?!

Favourite HSDY track?

Cheryl Lynn’s Encore is a fave that will have me running in to the middle of the dance floor as soon as I hear the opening beat - and Evelyn “Champagne” King’s Shame is a banger!

So that's it from Karen, isn't she fabulous?

If you'd like to feature as our next HSDY party-goer then get in touch, we'd love to hear your story, just email:

See you on the dancefloor!


263 views2 comments


Mark Millin
Mark Millin
Nov 12, 2023

Wow the outfit is really cool in the photo it looks really cool. It is very motivating to make and create such things crab silhouette because no one has canceled such beauty. It will add an exquisite charm to your photos


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