A Taste for Essex

So close to Tottenham… Yet so unknown…  and such a beautiful countryside to visit…

On the the way to Writtle we discovered:

And further down to the coast: Mersea island


Save the Waste Campaign

Since we saw a whole sewing factory in Essex close down in 2006 with noone to save the machines from the waste dump after serving a two generation family business, we seriously questioned what could be done to link up and be able to save resources in the shrinking fashion industry.

This idea was tested in the summer of 2008 with a YouthinAction fashion programme which offered a Camden stall experience to young graduates from the Conel Textile Btec programme. YiA main participant now just graduated from university and is looking for work in menswear design.

Mapping out available resources in Tottenham and Woodgreen led us to an empty shop soon filled with endless donations of fabrics, buttons, old sewing machines… more than we can stock or utilise… heaps of clothes to alter or remodel… more than we can handle… and a growing number of students with ideas and wishes to step into business.

Last night in a dream, the Queen asked how the project was going… It might be a sign more can be done.

One young men from our group has access to his mothers’s printing machines (T-shirts and textiles) cuttently stored, but nowhere to set up. With the Chenel clothes design department closing down, we need to preserve and develop hands-on ground outreach programme where marginalised and hard-to-reach families can interact and learn.

Our workshop space is used for sewing, pattern cutting and designing. Would a space be available for printing in Haringey?

We are also looking for partners to campain with us to Save the Waste…

Tennis on the Farm

 At Broadwater Farm kids play tennis on walls of existing buildings… 4000 residents will soon enjoy the Rec improvements which unfortunately do not include sports facitilities such as tennis or athletics running track… despite a 4million budget and myriads of kids wondering about for something constructive to do with peers, without necessarily involving a coach, parents or a big team like football to practice…

 The Rec is a vast open space adjacent to the blocks… Several mails were sent to ask about the sports development for kids, young adults and other residents, but the final response was: “We can’t make everyone happy!” Pity to neglect such an important source of human change and social interaction.

Stitch on the Beach…

Sea shells...    Hello!

Thank you for such a great inspirational trip to Walton-on-the-Naze which was the perfect way to spend time with the Children Centre team, parents and children and discover the Essex coast for the first time.

We took inspiring pictures and felt we should tell our Beach story further, combining it with a special design asignment for a friend from the Bruce Grove Youth Centre where we run the Friday Fashion afternoon summer workshops.

The brief was: a capsule collection of interchangeable summer beach pieces to upcycle a Kente oversized trousers suit for the annual Rototom Reggae Festival taking place in Spain by the beach on August the 16th.

You can view how we channelled the positive energy in our first online shop:


Capsule Beach Kente Collection

SEW Sustainable and Duplicated for 2012-2013

SEW pilot (Sew for Education and Work) was funded by SFA until March 2012 to teach local residents from Broadwater Farm Estate, Tottenham, North London, how to use a computer and a sewing machine for the first time in their lives.

Young mums joined the programme in February accompanied by their toddlers who received tender care in the beautiful creche of the Broadwater Farm Children’s Centre while they avidly learnt how to become Fashion designers.

The Centre offered them a chance to pursue their newly found passion until August 1st. The students visited a factory where they collected free fabrics and started making dresses, tops, skirts inbetween sewing lessons, sometimes transforming an existing dress into a skirt, or designing a shirt.

We are happy to announce that the SEW programme is due to continue and duplicate.

The Children’s Centre will offer 24 more weeks of classes until March 2013, and the nearby Bruce Grove Primary school will start the basic classes in September.

In the meantime some students have started doing alterations for local residents through the Creative Studio4, set up on the Estate in 2009 by a groups of young women searching a way back into education.

SEW for Education and Work is working well for our community where sewing skills have proved to be a great source of confidence, pride and sense of belonging to a thriving productive self-sufficient community.


Thank you all involved for helping us: come and visit in September or leave a comment below…

SEW members have plans to showcase creations online to help fund more classes and develop more ideas such as bringing isolated cultural groups together by organising events where world fashions will be exhibited and later designed to measure.

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