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Islington Council and fashion co-op launch ethical fashion store in ‘grass-roots economic revival’

PUBLISHED: 17:49 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:12 29 September 2020

Outside the FC Designer Collective store (from left) Boaz Otudeko, Sarah Hill, Cllr Asima Shaikh, Fashion-Enter CEO Jenny Holloway and Tricia Blake. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald Photography

Outside the FC Designer Collective store (from left) Boaz Otudeko, Sarah Hill, Cllr Asima Shaikh, Fashion-Enter CEO Jenny Holloway and Tricia Blake. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald Photography

Em Fitzgerald Photography

A high street outlet for local designers to sell their work has been launched by Islington Council, in a project it has dubbed a “grass-roots economic revival”.

FC Designer Collective technician Leyla Mehmet. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald PhotographyFC Designer Collective technician Leyla Mehmet. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald Photography

Fashion - Enter has been given a premises in Fonthill Road rent-free in return for running the FC Designer Collective shop to platform the work of nine designer-makers.

The not-for-profit business will also provide mentoring and training in tailoring and needlework to help kick-start careers in the garment industry.

The social enterprise runs a fashion studio service from its three north London unit, which sees it produce up to 15,000 garments a week for the likes of ASOS, Tesco F&F, Coast and Brora.

The council’s business chief, Cllr Asima Shaikh, said: “It really is a testament to what can be achieved with a shared vision for Islington’s economic recovery to build back better in the post-Covid world, creating a fairer, stronger economy that works for everyone.”

Majida Sayam. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald PhotographyMajida Sayam. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald Photography

Mary Obaseki, who makes animal and bird masks for her brand Another Earthling, is one of the lucky nine to sell her wares in the shop.

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“I live on the Andover Estate and love shopping on Fonthill Road,” she said. “Walking past and seeing my work there is such a great feeling.

“As a one-woman small business, you take on every aspect and have to learn as you go. That can be overwhelming and quite isolating, so it is a massive blessing to be included in this project.”

Designer-maker Mary Obaseki of Another Earthling at FC Designer Collective. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald PhotographyDesigner-maker Mary Obaseki of Another Earthling at FC Designer Collective. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald Photography

Rachel Kenyon from Stoke Newington-based lingerie brand Buttress and Snatch added: “We custom-make our pieces individually to each order, with a zero-waste system, and send them out all over the world, but the physical shop will allow a new and responsive way to work that is full of potential.

“I am a passionate believer that this kind of small-scale, personal and local approach to clothes making is key for the sustainable fashion that we need for the future.”

Fashion Enter has provided material to help the community make face masks to distribute locally.

Other fashion businesses in the Fonthill Road area will benefit from an alterations service offered in store.

Designer-maker Tricia Blake of Diva Choice at FC Designer Collective. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald PhotographyDesigner-maker Tricia Blake of Diva Choice at FC Designer Collective. Picture: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald Photography

The shop and workspaces have been co-funded by Islington Council and the City Hall’s Good Growth Fund.


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