Category Archives: independent fashion

Something for The Weekend: BIB Fashion Show @ Folk House

BIB fashion show flyer

This Friday the Bristol Folk House will play host to a fantastic fashion show showcasing Bristol’s best independent boutiques  all in the name of charity. Bristol Independent Boutique’s A/W12 Charity Fashion Show promises an evening of local and original talent and a host of indie labels.

Labour Behind the Label are the organisation that will benefit from the profits – you can read an interview with the Bristol-based charity from the Ship-Shape archives here – and boutiques and labels taking part include Cox & Baloney, Fix Up Look Sharp and 71 & Queens.

Entry to the event costs £8 and there are still a few tickets left, so check out the BIB Fashion Show Facebook page for more info or purchase your ticket here. There are also a number of tickets available from the boutiques taking part, including Portobella on Cheltenham Road and Shop on Gloucester Road.

BIB A/W12 Charity Fashion Show, Bristol Folk House, Park Street, BS1 5JG



Filed under catwalk show, independent fashion, Something for The Weekend

Something for the weekend… Top Deck

Top Deck closing down party

Saying goodbye isn’t easy, and as more national retailers go under it is hardly surprising that independent shops are closing left, right and centre too. Sadly  vintage emporium Top Deck (situated above Start The Bus on Bladwin Street) is one such shop.

Founded in 2010, the store sold and retro clothing, hosted several art exhibitions and was a little slice of awesomeness in the centre of town before it’s permanent closure was announced last month.

The good news is that Top Deck are going out with a bang this Friday (that’s tomorrow folks) with a massive closing down party. Running from 5pm till late the party promises live music, free booze and 50% off all clothing. You can also bring your own booze and listen to the likes of TOWNS and Pardon My French on the decks. So kickstart that Friday feeling by bagging a bargain and biding farewell to a fab independent boutique.

For more info check out their Facebook event.


Filed under independent fashion, shop closure, shopping, Start The Bus, vintage

An Evening With… Charlie Boots

Charlie Boots at 204 Gloucester Road

Last night, before a girly meal at Zero Degrees, nom!, I had the pleasure of taking a trip up Gloucester Road to Charlie Boots. Shamefully this was my first visit to the ethical clothing and jewellery boutique since it opened four months ago, but I can gurantee it won’t be my last.

As regular readers know, while I struggle to resist a fast fashion bargain, I believe as consumers we must make ethical fashion choices where we can and it is up to us to acknowledge where our wardrobe must-haves come from and how they are produced. Charlie Boots (a clothing brand as well as a boutique and workshop space) ticks both of these boxes as it is focussed on using sustainable, vintage and fair trade fabrics and processes to produce limited edtion clothes and accessories. As well as this Charlie Boots, run by the lovely Ruth, stocks pieces by local and national artists, jewellery designers, photographers and  creatives.

Last night was a ‘open house’ at Charlie Boots – an opportunity to meet Ruth and the rest of the artists and designers stocked at Charlie Boots, as well as a chance to raise funds for The Moggery, a local cat rehoming centre based in Bishopston.

As well as chatting to Ruth I fell in love with some ceramic milk jugs by Joanna Rose and some gorgeous vintage and reworked necklaces by  Kirsty Kirkpatrick, see photos below, while S and I marvelled at the intricate, handmade vinyl clocks and earrings by Kristina.

Just doors down from the vintage emporium Billie Jean, Charlie Boots is part of a fantastic cluster of creative studios, shops and galleries that make this end of Gloucester Road well worth a visit. As one of the longest roads of independent retailers in the South West, Gloucester Road makes the perfect home for Charlie Boots and an essential destination for Bristol fashionistas.

I know I’ll be back for one of those milk jugs and perhaps a necklace too, or maybe an upcylced leather clutch bag… the wish-list is endless!

Jewellery at Charlie Boots

Selection of jewellery gems at Charlie Boots

Once I Was... leather clutch bag

Once I Was... leather clutch bag

Joanna Rose Ceramics

Beautiful tableware from Joanna Rose Ceramics

Gorgeous reworked jewellery at Charlie Boots

Gorgeous reworked jewellery

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Filed under environment, ethical fashion, Fairtrade, handmade, independent fashion, jewellery, vintage

Fix Up Look Sharp: The Freakin’ Fashion Fair is in town

fashion fair yeah
These graphics kind of say everything that needs to be said but let me just add that The Freakin’ Fashion Fair Yeah is going to be a fantastic event for a fantastic cause. The Malawi Education Project has already benefited from a previous Fash Pack event back in December and although the event is free, all donations will go towards this charity.

Independent fashion gets a well deserved shout out and if whether you’re interested in supporting local designers, charity projects or just fancy buying a new outfit – head down to Hamilton House this Saturday.

Doors are open from 11am till 6pm so get down there with old clothes you want to swap or breathe new life into, chill out with a cuppa and get your freak on. For more information from the Facebook page click here.

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Filed under Bristol Fash Pack, independent fashion

>Stokes Croft Fashion Show

>Bristol’s best-dressed flocked to Metropolis tonight to see the first ever Stokes Croft Fashion Show. The bar was stocked, the models were preened and entertainment was in full swing as revelers celebrated the best of local and independent fashion design, including the likes of Dutty Girl, Avalaan and Spunky.

The Cheltenham Road venue was the perfect setting for this intimate show, where supporters included local press, models, designers and entrepreneurs including George Ferguson of the Tobacco Factory. As the girls and I squeezed along the front row into our seats, we cooed over the cute orange goody bags while waiting for the show to start.

At 8.30pm sharp burlesque mistress Ophelia Bitz, below, took to the stage to host the show, looking stunning in an emerald green Gilly Woo corset and mandatory clipboard, introducing each label and singing some show tunes to kick the evening off.

Before the model graced the catwalk, PRSC chairman Chris Chalky took to the stage to thank the crowd for attending and supporting local designers, commenting on the recent arrival of Primark and the necessity of encouraging creativity and regeneration through ethical fashion choices.

Next up was the beautiful burlesque artiste Lily Belle, who literally gave audiences a sneak peak of her interval performance with a traditional fan dance (pictures of which are at the bottom of this post).

First to grace the catwalk were Avalaan, a collaborative label with a shop on Gloucester Road, inspired by art, music, sport and design. Skiwear and and the skater look were both key themes, with men in graphic print tees and illustrated hoodies, while the women wore beanies, sweatshirts and brightly coloured t-shirts layered over leggings and ski pants.

Ben’s Sister used models styled in simple blue shirts and black tights to show off their range of leather bags, including a rather tasty oversized gold union jack clutch. The designs were simple but elegant and a peak at their website confirms that these gorgeous well-made bags can be customised and made to order, hurrah!

Madidas Harrisa, aka Maddie Harris, is a local designer who specialises in recycled fashions and reclaimed fabrics. Her outfits used flashes of gold, blue and pink lycra to hug the models’ bodies, taking the form of leggings, dresses, tops and skirts. Floral prints oddly complimented monocrhome strips while gold and animal prints gave the streetwear an on trend 80’s look. Big hair and Nike hi-tops accesorised the look perfectly.

Dutty Girl bourght the first half of the show to a close with a diverse mix of men and womenswear from the range of labels stocked in their Dutty Shop across the road. The artistic and musical influences were clear in their urban streetwear, dresses and men’s knitwear, with blakc, purple and gold featuring heavily in the colour schemes.

Lily Belle was welcomed back on stage during the interval in what started out as a 1950’s outfit to perform a saucy salsa with a giant lime wedge and oversized salt shaker that dusted her with glitter. Soon she was down to her sparkly tangerine underwear and the girls and I agreed how brave the buxom Lily was to strut her stuff on stage, nipple tassels et al!

After a tantalising performance the audience were refreshed and ready to see the second half of the show, kicked off by South-Blessed, a label specialising in logo tees and hoodies. Next up were the independent t-shirt company, SP:UK (Spunky) who are based in London and Bristol. The label has been praised for it’s originality in inviting illustrators to send in their best t-shirt designs for production. Tonight their section consisted of new and old designs alike, including ‘Crows’ and my favourite, the ‘Yes No’ design by The Boy Fitz Hammond. Menswear and womenswear made appearances to the sound of Dizzy Rascal, with the crowd cheering the models as they danced down the catwalk.

Gilly Woo finished the night with a stunning collection of coresets, dainty dresses and evening wear. The diversity of this label was wide, with dresses inspired by the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Prints and colours were bold while the shilhouetes themselves ranged from figure hugging bodices to A-line skirts. The girls and I fell in love with a spectacularly decadent strapless dress covered in gold sequins, though we were disappointed that we didn’t have any occasions to wear it to!

Despite an early exit, it is a school night after all, I am assured that DJ’s played on into the night and many drinks were consumed. The show itself was a missive hit for me and I hope the designers and models enjoyed the event as much as we did. With such an emphasis on ethical practices and recycled fabrics, the event was a refreshing event after a week of slightly more commercial fashion shows: I can’t imagine Cabot Circus allowing burlesque performers to grace the stage!

As Chris Chalky said in his speech “the future does belong to you”. We need to support our local labels and events such as this so that Bristol retains it’s cultural value and doesn’t become yet another faceless city. The links on this post all contain contact details and locations for these fashion designers so pay them a visit next time you’re out shopping, and purchase a part of Bristol’s Cultural Quarter.

Lily Belle performs a burlesque favourite; the fan dance

Avalaan model sporting Buggs Bunny inspired headwear

Gorgeous red and white hoodie from Avalaan

Close-up shot of green men’s hoodie, Avalaan

Love the bright body-con in this Madidas Harrisa outfit!

Lily Belle gives a zesty half-time performance, above and below…

Dutty Girl models in reworked and vintage inspired outfits – love the Adidas dress

More from Dutty: illustrated sweater, menswear but I think it would be cute on girls too

Spunky tee is modelled with attitude

Beautiful Gilly Woo corset, which reminds me of Wedgwood pottery of all things!

Super sparkles as gold Gilly Woo dresses finish the show


Filed under Avalaan, Ben's Sister, burlesque, catwalk show, Dutty Girl, Gilly Woo, independent fashion, Madidas Harrisa, prsc, Stokes Croft

>Stokes Croft Fashion Show

Fashion fever hits Stokes Croft as the lovely people at Gilly Woo, Metropolis and the PRSC have come together to showcase the best of Bristol’s independent fashion labels and outlets in a night of fashion, cabaret, performance art and music.

If you like to keep it local and want to see what Bristol’s independent labels have to offer then come along and check this event out. The night takes place this Sunday (4th October) at Metropolis on Cheltenham Road (formally Jesters) and tickets are £12 + a 50p booking fee, available from

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Filed under catwalk show, independent fashion, Stokes Croft