You know those rainy afternoons when you sit indoors, dosage information pills flicking through the pages of any number of trashy magazines and getting suddenly, order inexplicably excited at the idea of fashion? Or, try more accurately, at the idea of brilliant style. It’s enough to make you want to plunge head first into the glossy pages and never return. That’s the effect it has on me, anyway. I trace my fingers around the outline of a beautiful silk bolero, sigh wistfully over the idea of a chunky knotted belt and a chiffon dress. ‘If only,’ I think ‘if only I could own all of these things, perhaps then my life would be complete’ (did I mention that I also have a mild tendency towards hyperbolic exaggeration?)
In the cold light of day, of course, I would not be more complete with these things, what I would actually be is more like everybody else. It is so rare that I find something that isn’t run-of-the-mill, that when I do I feel it my duty to shout about it from the rooftops. Only I heard rooftops were dangerous, so I decided to use Amelia’s blog instead.
Projects Design Wear is a perfect little gem nestled in the heart of Nottingham city centre among the style-seekers and just left of the cool kids. For years this little boutique has been charming all and it’s not just because of the effervescent mixture of clothing. Walking into Projects is like being folded into an enormous bear-hug by a large and much-loved Uncle. Their staff are friendly, remember who you are and are always on hand to personal-shop for you until one of you drops.
Settled in amongst the dark wood furnishings and lashings of vibrant paint is a sartorial feast for men and women alike. The first floor houses menswear. If you like bright colours and bold statements, ask for House of Gods and !Solid t-shirts. If casual with a twist is more your style, then you’ll be happy to pore over the offerings from Raygun. And an absolute must is their selection of denim. Now, I’m not a man, but I know some, and I have been shopping with a few. I know how maddening guys find it searching for individual jeans. Made out of proper denim, and in proper denim washes, Projects’ selection is perfect for boys who don’t want a tag on their arse, but still want their togs durable and fashionable. What more could you ask?
Well, you could ask for another floor, laden with women’s clothing so pretty you could cry. Lovely changing rooms with real curtains (none of this fabric-not-quite-meeting-cubicle tosh) are waited on by lovely ladies. Stock ranges from cute cardigans to chic evening wear and takes in everything in between as well. There are printed t-shirts and slouchy knits from Numph and high-end gloss from Naughty (check out the black sheen dress). There are these things sitting happily alongside the sort of effortlessly elegant dresses that you always see on other people and can never actually find for yourself. I found them, and I am bequeathing them to you.
Not only this, but there is (be still my beating heart) a glorious range of jewellery. Not just any jewellery mind, but pieces from none other than her majesty; Vivienne Westwood. A rare find indeed among the usual gaggle of costume pieces, and a fine way to top an otherwise genius little store. Ladies must also be sure to check out the selection of men’s scarves downstairs. I have several, and I love them all, equally.
Projects is not only a clothes shop, it is also a platform for new talent, happily selling for local designers, like Bantum (the I Love Notts t-shirts continue to fly of the shelves). It is this commitment to innovation and this willingness to give a leg-up to emerging new talent that has planted the shop firmly in the hard hearts of all of us Midlanders. I offer wild applause to Projects for its unique take on fashion and for delivering what we all secretly want: simple, affordable, wonderful clothes that not everybody else will have. And when recession looms, it’s ever-more important to invest in the interesting, independent places.
Images courtesy of Projects Design Wear
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