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
Have a greener Christmas!
Thursday 20th – Sunday 23rd November
side effects +Bargehouse+Street%E2%80%A8+South+Bank, malady +%E2%80%A8London, this +SE1+9PH&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=44.60973,74.794922&ie=UTF8&z=16″target=”_blank”>Bargehouse, ?Oxo Tower Wharf?, Bargehouse Street? South Bank, ?London, SE1 9PH
11am – 7pm
?Entry £1: Kids go free!
Not feeling particularly Christmassy just yet? A visit to the Bargehouse this weekend may change all that…With three floors boasting over forty stalls, the Ethical Christmas Emporium will include the likes of Divine Chocolate, RSPB, Shared Earth, Zaytoun, The World Music Network, Malika, Jump 4 Timbuktu, Earthscan Publishing, Pants to Poverty, Planet Silver Chilli, Manumit and The Hemp Trading Company. The event will bring together the very best in Fairtrade, ethical, sustainable and environmental gift ideas around!
Enjoying this magical time of year can be wonderfully eco-friendly; Shopping here not only provides an escape from the busy high streets, but the secure knowledge that every stall is working under a Fairtrade ethos, making sure producers around the world all have something to celebrate this Christmas.
The atmosphere is lovely, and everyone seems to be smiling as the event opens on the Thursday. Discounts are available as many stalls have cut their prices specially for this event.
Shopping is not the only thing on the agenda at this event, a local Youth Club Choir from Ghana will be entertaining the crowds via live satellite link-up. Kids entry is free and while there they can enjoy lots of specially created activities- Green Santa will be there too to spread some ethical Christmas joy! Grown ups will also be able to delight in food tasting, films, informative talks, music and much more…
The Ethical Christmas Emporium is being hosted by Hand Up Media , the ethical publishing & media company which promotes Fair Trade and ethical lifestyle issues in a positive, stylish and empowering way to consumers across the UK and beyond.
Monday 24th November
The Oxo Tower Wharf
Anything that makes the art world seem a little more accessible is always nice, cure
and an open-submission painting competition is one such an opportunity. The Marmite Prize for Painting is a biannual exhibition at Studio 1.1
in East London. Perhaps you’ve entered yourself, or you’d like to get a glance at some of the entries before the winners are selected. The exhibition opens today and runs until the end of the week.
Tuesday 25th November
There will be dancing, there will be porcelain deer skulls, and there will be bird houses, a hundred of them in fact. The Wapping Project, a Hydraulic Power Station turned multi-purpose exhibition space that now hosts an exploration on the social and cultural phenomenon of the British Season. Turning the Season will run until the 28th of February, and it’s free.
Wednesday 26th November
You know how there’s always a kid in a film who’s Lego creations far out-strip the usual tower blocks of most children, well James Johnson-Perkins was certainly one such child, “I spent my whole life building imaginary universes with children’s building blocks”. At EXHIBIT until the 28th of December, he presents his solo show, 50 Robots. Come and see what one man can do with 2,800 construction blocks. Free.
Thursday 27th November
Starting today, a group show put together by Stella Dore begins in their new gallery space at 42 Rivington Street, featuring the artists on their roster. It’s between 6 and 9 pm, and it’s called ‘Make-Over”.
Friday 28th November
The Guardian has named him “Britain’s greatest cultural asset”, and after some 12 years of “painting on the doll”, amongst many other things, there’s no end to the volume work to show for this artist/author/poet/film-maker/singer and guitarist, phew! If you haven’t guessed, we’re talking about Billy Childish. Heroes of the British Art Resistance runs until the 23rd of December at the Aquarium L-13.
Saturday 29th November
The You Me Bum Bum Train – like nothing you’ve experienced!
If you try to describe this to someone (which you shouldn’t, don’t give anything away), you will sound like you are drawing from memory a nonsensical and fantastical dream, not something remotely tangible that could have actually happened in a 25 minute journey through a Shorditch warehouse. Reality is turned upside down as you are wheeled (as the sole participant) through fifteen distinct interactive scenarios, where over 70 artists act out micro-performances, leaving you to get as involved as you much as feel compelled to. “Designed to mentally and visually astound”, check, “leaving you overwhelmed and exhilarated” check, and check, and finishing the ride “in a totally different emotional state from the one you were in when you embarked on the journey”, most definitely true. It’s fifteen pound price is money well spent, and it runs every Saturday until the 20th of December. Go!
Sunday 30th November
Behind the Shutters – muTATE Britain
The Shutters were lifted this Thursday to the three story disused warehouse that is the largest non-corporate exhibition space in London. With Mutoid Waste taking the ground floor, I got my first whiff of nostalgia for muddy fields (Trash City at Glastonbury), a sentiment of bubbling creativity that runs through the entire event. It’s a multi-media circus, lots of interactive art, and it’s set to change every week through it’s lifespan. This weekend the theme is “Deface Value”, featuring the likes of Tracy Emin and David Cameron alike (yup, the Conservative leader). It opens Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 1.30 and 10 pm.
Categories ,Art, ,Billy Childish, ,exhibition, ,James Johnson-Perkins, ,Listings, ,muTATE, ,Stella Dore, ,The Guardian, ,The Marmite Prize, ,The Wapping Project, ,You Me Bum Bum Train