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EDITOR NOTES This magazine is a combination of photography, illustration and a series of texts to document our recent interest in Birmingham. It takes inflence from fashion and art. All of the entries have been written from personal experience, which we hope will be of interest. It references The Jewellry Quarter, Gas Hall and the Custard Factory. We hope you enjoy!





Located in the original factory of the jewellery manufacturing firm of Smith & Pepper, the museum takes you through the story of jewellery and metal. It shows you the history of its development and demonstrates the different techniques of how the jewellery was made (which equipment did what!). When the firm of Smith & Pepper closed, everything was left in place, little changed from 1913 to when the council took hold of the factory and refurbished it. Being Birmingham’s historic and

Vibrant Gem, The Jewellerry Quarter is home to over 800 businesses and 100 specialist retailers. Including 50 contemporary design makers, its said to still be UK’s centre for Jewellery. “Within the Quarter there is not only great Jewellery shops but also great art galleries, restaurants and bars to visit!”



Touring around the museum, we watched a demonstration of jewellery making techniques, done by the tour guide at one of the original jewellers benches. The bench included everything from a working bunsen burner to different tools and a leather pouch that collected any cut pieces and dust that could be filtered down

in the cellar into more gold. Over eighty years Smith and Pepper produced Jewellery from this workshop, they even lived above the factory. Quite surreal seeing everything left in place! Having no other relatives to pass the factory down to and recession hitting, they decided to abandon the factory and just leave

everything how it was. The office still had hundreds of unopened parcels and even books with outstanding orders and dates of various purchases. They literally stopped everything they were doing and left it all. For the council to then 10 years later find and refurbish into a working museum.

Location: Jewellery Quarter Museum Photograper: Jo Powell


These cut out stamps were imprinted onto bracelets and bangles at the Jewellery Quarter Factory and often used as a token to a wife or girlfriend when the men were off at war.

“May the lord watch between me and thee. When we are absent one from the other.�


All this jewellery was sourced from natural materials. For example Beetles wings

“Necklace became increasingly popular during the 1930s and pearls were especially sought after.�


The Custard Factory is home to a range of creative minds: from artists and designers, to dancers and vintage piece collectors, as well as cafés and nightclubs; and is truly a lively and exciting environment of which to be a part. But it has not always been this way. Established approximately100 years ago by Sir Alfred Bird – the innovator of powdered custard, The Custard Factory was just that: the place where Bird's Custard Powder was manufactured. It was not until 1992, when the project was given an £800,000 city grant award, that redevelopment of the factory was instigated.

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he key is in the name, a beautiful cluttered shop full of pricey vintage ornaments and bold statement furniture. It was difficult to know where to start looking and photographing, as well as the constant threat of breaking something that I a student can definitely not afford. I found myself constantly discovering something more fascinating and creatively inspiring than the last. An amazing store full of

century design objects for the home, mostly 60’s and 70’s, it was a sophisticated jumble sale. Matthew Green the owner of the store for 8 years started off in life as a stockbroker for 10 years then went onto architecture and finally making his mark with this successful vintage furniture store ‘FRAGILE DESIGN’. The store has been featured in an array of magazines including VOGUE’S secret hand book, the independent,

ELLE magazine and the telegraph and more. As the only store of its kind in Birmingham Matt will do business with fascinating clients from all over the world to sell and by. The very seat that I was sitting on through this interview was previously owned by Tony Curtis himself ( a 1960’s and 70’s Hollywood film star most famous for his role in some like it hot staring Marilyn Monroe ) – the chair was priced at £3,500.



URBAN VILLAGE Urban village On entering into this visual stimulating Vintage Store, in the centre of what seemed like a poorer, more harsh area of Birmingham, I was pleasantly surprised and inspired by the artistic creativity that went into the merchandising and layout of the store. Every inch with which my fascinated eyes would make

contact, was filled with hooks and pins attaching to the walls and ceiling, an incredible variety of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s accessories. The sales assistant behind the desk blended perfectly into the 60’s vintage ambiance, having a friendly, laid back attitude (as well as a 70’s inspired home) and boasting his Beatles haircut quite .He

was more than happy to answer some of my questions about his experiences working here at the Custard Factory. A comanager of the store for only the last 4 months, he had however been working in vintage stores for the last 10 years, and was a font of knowledge in explaining the ins and outs of how to unearth the best pieces

from vast warehouses, rag merchants, car boots and one-off second hand pieces. This Factory has now become one of my favourite places to visit, not only for the clothing, but also for the sheer excitement and inspiration, and the beautiful vibes of the environment itself.



Location: Urban Village Photographer: Nina Mizrany

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Instantly after entering the

exhibition room, you could feel a certain eeriness. Im sure the artists meant to be present. The 5 dresses were elevated within the maze as if lost. I’ve never quite seen a space used in such a way. I was amazed not only by the skill level but the attention to detail within each separate piece. Even the pieces done by individual artists worked in harmony with each other. The embroidery was hung so lightly it almost felt ghostly. The amount of black used created the feeling of something deep and dark, yet the space itself was well lit and spacious. ‘Lost in Lace’ should be experienced first hand if you want to get the full effect and become consumed within the artist’s work. The ‘After the Dream’ installation had to be my favourite piece out of the whole exhibition. Each individual line of lace had been stapled to the wall to create this maze of linear divides.

-’Lost in Lace’ exhibition Gas Hall


I was so inspired by the concept of being Lost in Lace that I went out and conducted a photo shoot. The first of which was set in a forest, the angles from the branches were coming in from every direction and the sun was hitting the leaves in a way that made the forest appear almost mystical. I lightly hung a dress on one of the branches and began the shoot, alternating with a few accessories. I used a long piece of lace and wrapped it around the foliage, leaving it hanging down in places to create lines in the image. It was as if the clothes were lost in the forest waiting to be found. Completely contrast to this I completed another shoot in a derelict factory that had once been burned. Charcoal marks stained what was left of the brick walls. Shards of glass and pieces of wood were scattered all over the floor. Weeds were growing through the broken concrete; the wallpaper was flaking off and crumbling to the ground. There was graffiti and loose planks hanging from rope where youths had broken in and used it as a playground. Looking up, the blue sky was visible, with the metal framework from the upper floors, breaching across. Whatever this place used to look like, there was no evidence of it now... I used what was left of the building to hang or place my clothing. Although this proved difficult due to everything disintegrating, I definitely got a few good shots. When looking back at the images I could see a narrative unfolding, I just wish I knew what the story was. The two shoots together show two sides of Birmingham. It displays a little bit of the history of how industrial it used to be and how much it has grown and changed to become slightly more commercial. The fashion element illustrates how both sides can be used to create something more relevant to current time.


‘After the Dream’ by Chiharu Shiota 2011 site sensitive installation wool, cotton, paint “My installations with clothes always refer to the clothes as a second skin, which carry the memories of the people who wore these clothes”




“Probably it is not the material itself that is significant. It is instead the large amount of thread arranged that is somehow significant�



Location: Belmont Row -Factory Remains Photographer: Rebecca Ines Ouedraogo








An insight into Birmingham from an art and fashion point of view.

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