If you are in Camden this week make sure to visit the Branded Heritage pop-up shop. A cavern of emerging UK designers, carefully curated by Donna Llewellyn of CMG Global; a woman on a mission to bring manufacturing back to the UK.
We are delighted to announce that proceeds from the pop-up shop will go to FAD and funding free places for disadvantaged teenagers in Fashion Futures workshops.
Branded Heritage stocks emerging designers including Judy Wu, Only Child, Chalk and TDW Clothing – all of which manufacture their garments and jewellery in the UK. As well as buying some covetable pieces straight off the rail, you can also pick up a pair of bespoke, customised trainers by illustrators Gemma Hutchinson and Adrian Boal, who have taken up permanent residence in the window of the shop owned by Camden Collective.
The FAD team dropped in on opening day to catch up with Donna and her team, and to learn more about the aims behind Branded Heritage.
Donna it’s lovely to meet you. Thanks for supporting FAD. Can you start by telling us about your background – how did you get involved in fashion?
I left the UK straight after uni. I studied psychology and worked for the probation service, which I really didn’t enjoy. Instead I decided I had to follow my heart and creativity. So I left the UK to go to the US to gain experience in the fashion industry there. I only meant to be in the states for two weeks, but I ended up staying for 9 years.
So how did the idea for a pop-up shop come about?
My background in New York was mainly in fashion week events, marketing, tradeshows and sales. What touched me was working with designers who were just starting out. It felt rewarding to be working with people who didn’t have a platform for their talents already, so I decided to create a pop-up series in New York.
During fashion week I wanted to do something brave, so I took fashion week to Long Island. We took over a former mall where a lot of shop tenants had moved out as a result there wasn’t much footfall. We put on a catwalk show and the buzz we created generated new interest. It was so successful that I was asked to do it again for other malls.
But my home has always been London and my family have been trying to convince me to come back here and do something like this for ages. So I came back, started visited tradeshows such as Pure to source UK talent and manufacturing, and opened Branded Heritage.
Why did you decide to support FAD with your pop-up shop?
I’m originally from North London. I grew up next to the big clothing factories. I used to walk in and ask for fabric to make dresses and they were always giving me off-cuts. It really inspired me at such a young age to see all this industry across the road from my house.
I wanted to find the perfect charity supporting young people in fashion. Maybe if I had known about FAD, I could have benefited from that support. I think if young people are made more aware of their choices early on it can make a real difference. FAD gives young people the opportunity to learn, to be guided and mentored. I feel like we have to invest in tomorrow’s future for the sake of the industry.
As well as the pop-up shop you are making a documentary – Branded Heritage – to be shown at the London Fashion Film festival next month. Tell us more about that?
I want to make the public more aware of the value of manufacturing, and of what is going on under their noses. You can be living in East London and would never know that in a factory over the road they are making ASOS dresses for example. I want to raise awareness and campaign to bring manufacturing back home to the UK. There is something so special about the Made in Britain brand. The idea that manufacturing creates jobs, that young kids can actually have access to apprenticeships and gain employment is really important.
Watch the Branded Heritage documentary at the London Fashion Film Festival on September 15th.
FAD would like to say a massive thank you to Donna and her team for their support! Branded Heritage is open until Sunday 24th August at Camden Collective, 26 Camden High Street, so make sure to pay a visit.