Affordable street couture made by design volunteers
The new FARA Workshop in Islington is the first shop where young design volunteers create new clothes from donated materials in-site.
FARA Workshop is part of the FARA charity, which has 50 shops around London, and helps children and young people in Romania. The Islington shop is now launching its collection online, few months after its opening.
Everything they sell is created by young designers, who volunteer their time to be in the store sewing the fabrics that once belonged to someone else.
Anna Crowley, the creative director says “we have five designers, some specialised in patterns and cutting, so we have a diverse team, which is great.”
The concept is original and is grabbing people’s attention.
Anna says that the public’s reaction is “amazing. Everyone is surprised when they come in and see what we do.”
“What we are doing is street couture – we create affordable fashion but you are also getting something that no one will have,” Anna says.
According to the shop’s director, there is always something for anyone. Every piece is unique and made in the shop, and the money goes to charity.
“We are a charity shop but a very fashionable one,” Anna proudly says.
The group of designers makes around 120 pieces of clothing every week. Each piece takes between 2 and 8 hours to be made.
Grace Clarke is the main designer, and is in charge of creating FARA Workshop a recognised brand.
“I spend time choosing fabrics that our makers are going to use. Sometimes I give some guidance to them but most of the time they are free to do whatever they want,” Grace explains.
The shop also sells bags, wallets, small gifts and paintings.
Menswear is an area that the FARA designers are expanding, due to request from male costumers. They say to Anna that they often feel disappointed that the fashion industry still has a wider range of options for women than for men.
FARA Workshop is putting together sewing workshops for the public, in an initiative to involve the community with their project and educate people about the importance of sustainable fashion.
If fashion design is something that interests you, FARA will also be offering internships and apprenticeships opportunities during the summer.
28-32 Pentonville Road