Words: Luke Christian [insta] @deafidentity

Illustration: Kate Semple [insta] @katesemple

Luke Christian is the founder of new Leeds brand DEAF IDENTITY. Being deaf himself, and coming from a family where the deaf gene is prominent, he explains the frustrations that became his inspirations: 


I found growing up that I was told how to be, how to behave, how deaf I actually am; I never knew where I belonged or how to fit in, and I always felt that my deafness was up for debate: “You don’t look deaf.” “Well you wear hearing aids so you’re deaf.” “If you can’t sign then you’re not really deaf.” “You’re not that deaf because your speech is good.” I wanted to create a brand that eliminated the stigmas surrounding deafness and to show that deafness is a spectrum. There is no right or wrong way of being deaf! So I decided to mix my love of fashion whilst raising deaf awareness by creating quality sustainable organic clothing that allow customers to personalise the goods in British Sign Language!


With his eye for fine fashion, we asked Luke to divulge his shopping tips for a luxury and leisurely Christmas. Here’s what he had to say…


When it comes to Christmas shopping, I always find myself panic buying at the last minute for family and friends, and I always swear to myself that this will be the last time I ever buy late. Do I learn? Nope. I am lucky, however, that the majority of presents that I gift can be found within Leeds, as we have such a wide selection of stores.


With Leeds city centre ever expanding, there are now a lot more luxury products to choose from, which is great for those who want to treat themselves or a loved one, but not so great for the bank balance! I have a few favourites for different categories of products…


For clothing, Harvey Nichols has many top brands to choose from, such as Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and more – I always find buying inspiration here; Space NK is the place I find all things skin-related, whether that’s makeup, haircare, fragrance or beauty; and nearby Victoria Gate is filled with high-end shops, including Jeffery West, & Other Stories, The White Company, Anthropologie and John Lewis – I’ll often find a hidden gem in one of these stores which offer plenty of unique gifts! 


I find having a list is really useful when it comes to a successful shopping trip – there’s something slightly satisfying in seeing a list that gets smaller and smaller as you work your way through it! But as each Christmas passes, I am noticing more and more people opting for ‘an experience’ as their gift rather than material goods. I too favour ‘experiences’, as I think these can make us feel good and allow us to cherish the memories! With increasing focus on mental health, I think it’s incredibly important to tap into what makes us feel good, and perhaps this could be through going away for a weekend, having a luxury spa treatment, or just allowing yourself to spend this time of year in the way you most enjoy. 


Whilst some of us may choose to cosy up during the cold winter months, I enjoy going for walks in one of Leeds’ many parks! Being able to get out and about, all wrapped up, seeing the different coloured leaves on the trees and our breaths in the freezing weather; we are lucky here to have Temple Newsam, Roundhay Park, Golden Acre and of course the surrounding Yorkshire countryside just outside of Leeds to explore!