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BAF - Birmingham Architecture Festival. Find out about the interesting places to go visit in Birmingham that are now looked past or fogotten.


HISTORY - Read about all the buildings in

Birmigham that are now forgotten in it’s vast skyline.


CUSTARD FACTORY - Find out where the coolest independent stores are in the heart of Digbeth and the Urban Village.


URBAN VILLAGE- Go visit the Urban Vil-

lage in the Custard Factory and find all your favourite vintage goods.


MR.BIRDS - Interview with the people of Mr.Birds a cool vintage store in the custard factory. Find out how it all started.


PROVIDE - Interview with the owner of Provide Birmingham, an independent skate store in digbeth. Selling a range of things such as books, clothes and salsa dips.


THE PEOPLE SHOP - A creative couple that’s life revolves around art and design. Read about their fasinating story.


BIJOU - An interview with the owner of an indenpendent boutique on the outskirts of Birmingham. Theres a different fashion for everyone.


STEEL & JELLY - An independent formal menswear store. Find out where to get fashionable menswear to jazz up your suit.

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Victorian Law Courts, Corporation St.

Birmingham Architecture Festival Birmingham Architecture Festival is an independent However there is so much more to the city, like the old festival which debued in May 2013, it invited people to Victorian Law Courts on Corporation Street, if you ‘take a second look’ at the old and forgotten architec- are ever in town it’s worth seeing the breath-taking ture of Birmingham. ‘I think we are all guilty detail in this building. There’s also Birmingham’s School of Art and The Old Joint Stock, a pub and theof it, rushing around and not really no- atre, which is based near New Street Station in the ticing our surroundings’ says festival director, centre of town. Laira Piccinato. The festival encourages people to take a better look at the city, because whether you are a vis- If you go a little further out of town you can enjoy itor or have lived here for many years you will always the grungey streets of Digbeth, a graffiti filled town full of the best vintage stores or the rundown derelic find something new. buildings around the Jewellery Quarter. There is trueThe festival holds a range of events for the public to ly something here for everyone. get involved with from guided tours and workshops to film screenings. It’s really to help people appreciate Going back in history a little Birmingham was the the city and the architecture which is now forgotten or most heavily bomed city in the UK outside of London looked past. The Festival programme is still avaliable during the Second World War. After the war the counto dowload online so if archicture is something you cil were faced with a massive amount of reconstrucare interested in it’s worth visiting these places when tion around the city, unfortnately all the buildings built around this time had little to no external attracyou visit Birmingham. tion and weathered so badly, that the City has been in Birmingham is full of really interesting and exciting constant reconstruction since. We are so lucky to still architecture that people come here solely to visit, for have all these amazingly beatiful victorian bulidings example the Selfridges building and the new Library. it would be a shame for people not to visit them anymore. Birmingham Architecture Festival highlights to us just how outstanding this city is.


ARCHITECTURE Since the middle ages Birmingham City Centre has been under constant renovation. We are seeing more and more new buildings flying up by the day. Unfortunately there are only two Tudor timber framed bulidings left. The Old Crown in Deritend and then the later re-arrected Golden Lion in Connon Hill Park. As the Georgian period started a lot of the old timber framed bulidings were dimolished or either replaced with brick, sadly these buildings no longer exist. Only a few of the 18th Century houses still stand and a few late 18th Century bulidings in the Jewellery Quarter. Luckily for us though a lot of the victorian architecture still stands, which is worth going to visit, go to the business quarter in Birmingham or view the spectacular victoirian builds along Corporation St.

There is still al lot of post WWII architecture in the Birmingham skyline. As Birmingham was the second most heavily bomed city the demolition of a lot of Georgian and Victorian buildings has really reshaped the city centre. From the end of the 20th Century to the present day there has been a lot of reconsruction across the city especially around broad street and the re-build of the 1960’s bullring. There has not been a time for many many years now that the city hassn’t been under re-construction, and we hope to see the city pull out some more gems.


Located in the district of Digbeth, youngsters all around the country flow into the arts and media centre to keep updated with today’s fashion and media trends. The complex is filled with busy vintage shops, lots of mouth-watering restaurants and cultural assets attracting the hipsters and indie population to gather together. Not only is it popular during the day, the night becomes crowded with partying spirits accompanying the loud music and entertainment venues.


Urban village is a vintage shop within the custard factory and specialises within the 60’s and 70’s era. It has been inspired by many cultural references such as music and films as well as clothes. The store also takes advantage of its great location placed in the heart of the custard factory and gets involved with local fairs and events that are regularly held within the area.The shop consists of a wide range of clothes including, button down shirts, T-shirts and coloured dresses.

The shop also focuses on vintage accessories such as shoes and bags going right back to the Twenties, for around ÂŁ20 a piece. The staff are helpful, enthusiastic and have an impressive knowledge of what they have in stock. Not only do they have great customer service, the shop layout is very well organised with different sections, making it easy for the customer to browse. Whether you are looking for hot fashion trends or a good quality item, Urban Village is the place to go.

Mr. This successful retail store in the heart of The Custard Factory attracts a wide audience. Located in the second biggest city in the country, with plenty of students around, the store draws in alternative, quirky students from across the city. The shop itself has a wide range of different clothing, from tartan shirts, to vintage dresses, Mr. Bird’s Emporium is the number one place to shop for those standout clothes. The three traders continue to provide the shop with interesting, colourful and stand-out items that any student with a creative mind-set would enjoy.

What sorts of people come into the shop? For example, target audience? “Very much alternative, a lot of students because we have a very big range of stuff. Mainly fashion students and people like that.” How long has the shop been running? “Basically last year it opened on October 13th and it had 11 brands in one. And then this yeararound a month ago we had a big refurbish and about 9 of the brands went on to do their own separate businesses or to go back to Uni-

Bird’s versity. Two of the main traders stayed and 1 new brand joined in with the shop so now it is just 2 larger vintage brands and 1 smaller brand.” How are the clothes made? “Some of them are handmade and some are from Cherry Pick Vintage so we get them from all over. From places like Berlin.” Do you think the shop is more successful because of it’s location? “Yes, definitely. And its probably more successful being

not necessarily a smaller shop but with less brands because people don’t get as confused as they did before when they couldn’t really get their head round that we were 11 different brands in a single shop. But definitely being around near Universities and Colleges”.

PROVIDE is an independent store based in Digbeth, Birmingham which opened a year ago by a young designer who wants to inspire independent creativity. They sell a range of products such as menswear, books, magazines, art work and salsa dips! What is the target audeince for your store? It’s a bit of a funny one, my target audience is not really like most businesses, it’s all about just trying to inspire everyone to get the most out of life. So I have like a lot of young guys come in for the clothes, girls as well buying the t-shirts. It’s quite a kind of cool, kinda skate street style customer, but then you get the older guys that work for graphic designers, they’ll come in and buy the shirts. But then with the books and magazines that attracts a huge range of people cos you’ve got everything from fashion and art theory through to business advice and philosophy.

role. I always wanted to have my own shop but thought i’d do it maybe 10 years down the line when i’ve got loads of experience but because I hated working for otherpeople so much I decided just to give it a go anyway, so rather than setting up with loads of money and loads of experience. Are your clothes made by hand? Yeah so the way the clothes work is we buy in what we call blank garments, cos it’s a real simple range of t-shirts and hoodies and then we have them printed by hand in Digbeth and they’re printed and finished off right here in the neighbourhood. Do you think your shop is motr successful being in this area?

Yes and no. I love being in this neighbourwhood because it’s a bit of away out of town so people have to come and find it and it’s a really nice community to be involved in because theres a lot of like minded How long has our store been going businesses around here. But on the negative side of that because it’s out and how did you start out? of town you get much lower foot fall Just over a year. It started out because which means that it’s not as busy I was working quite a corporate less people passing by, so obviously job in London for a big high street we’re not selling as much stuff as we retailer and it wasn’t what I wanted would if we were in town. to do. I found it very impersonal, I found a big lack of creativity in the

“It’s a bit of a funny one, my target audience is not really like most businesses, it’s all about just trying to inspire everyone to get the most out of life.” -PROVIDE

the people shop

Parents of two, Allison and Christian Sadler, are an incredibly inspiring pair. Their beautiful handmade shop in the heart of Birmingham really shows off their talent. From handbags to cushions to dresses, the Sadler’s design, create, stitch and make everything in their collection. And with the help of other inspiring designers from the Midlands, their shop has been extremely successful and continues to be one of the most individual, prettiest and inspirationanlshops in this artistic city. Mr Christian Sadler is an inspiration to all upcoming fashion designers. As well as juggling his two children, the impressive shop he shares with his other half, and his personal hobbies (which usually still involve some sort of design or stitching), he has managed to create his own bespoke fashion line, ironically named, Mr Christian. His designs include 50’s style wedding dresses to the perfect prom dress. Italian Vogue have also shown their true appreciation for Sadler’s hard work when his dresses appeared in their fashion magazine!

cial Clubs (craft evenings) for aspiring designers and creators. As well as this, she passes her talent, passion and inspiration onto upcoming designers by teaching textiles, fashion design and business workshop sessions at local schools, colleges and art centres. Passing on her skills and inspiring others is what makes Allison the happiest.

Mr and Mrs Sadler truly are an extremely inspirational couple. All their hard work never tires them. Their whole life revolves around their family and growing their beautiful shop and their designs, and thats exactly how they The other half of the talent comes from Alli- like it! son. Equally as hard-working and just as busy as her husband, Allison manages to run the couple’s shop whilst hosting occasional Sew-

Creative, talented, individual, are three words that describe Gemma Ramage, the owner and designer of Bijou at no.15. Each item of clothing is perfectly created and presented to a standard hard to beat. Every aspect of the shop brings you in to stylish, unique, quality fashion. What was the process you went through to start up your magazine? I have had my brand for about 6 years and then me and my friend Nicki decided to open a boutique so that we could sell other brands as well as my own and have a working studio at the back of the shop. What are your inspirations for the clothing designs? For my brand, I dont really follow trends. For my first collection, the concept was “One Size Fits All” so the way in which the fabric is draped can be minipulated in the way that you can tie the garments together. It ables a size 8 to a size 16 to be able to wear them. Do you make all the clothes in your collection

yourself? I design them and with the help of my mum we both make the clothing. I also sell my clothes at other boutiques and we also sell other brands in the shop. What are your goals for the company for the future? To build the website up to generate more sales rather than through the actual boutique. Probably won’t open another boutique because we will want to work on the website for it going global. Who is your main target audience? For my brand, I would say ages 20-35. But I do have customers as old as 70 who are the more quirkier customer and they go for the more vintage designs.

STEEL & JELLY Established in 2004 this Birmingham based company supplies for more than 100+ chain retail marketers as well as having its own store here in Birmingham. This traditional and innovative company always meets its signature unique look with every seasonal collection. The company mainly focuses on formal wear but also supplies other essentials for a classy gentleman’s wardrobe such as shirts, jackets, shirts and knitwear. Though this company creates a contemporary look whilst maintaining tradition, like jack wills, it also strives to set itself apart from other clothing companies with its sense of individualism, making sure every design is as unique as you are. I had met up with Jeanette Wong, the seasonal clothing designer for Steel & Jelly and had a quick interview with her to get some more insight on the company. Tell me a bit about the company and your role within Steel & Jelly. Steel & Jelly is an independent men’s formal clothing line based within Birmingham, I’m a designer there and I focus on there seasonal collections, I also do a range of other things for the company as well such as finding models and photographers, promoting and holding events.

work within fashion.

What has been the highlight of working with Steel & Jelly? One of my biggest highlights of working for Steel & Jelly is going on business trips to places like Istanbul where our clothes are manufactured. I also really enjoy working with my colleagues within the small environment; my boss is great as he gives me a What inspired you to become a designer lot of independence. for this particular company? well, I had a background in fashion anyway Do you still see yourself working here on so it was a stroke of good luck that Steel & the long run? (5-10 years time) Jelly just happened to be hiring when I had I would like to think so as I really enjoy it only just graduated from university. and like working within the small group of people. What have been your main goals with Steel & Jelly? Other than working for Steel & Jelly, do One of the biggest goals within working you have any other work alongside? for Steel & Jelly is being able to learn more No I’ve been so pre-occupied with steel & about the industry and build a wider range jelly I’ve not had time to do anything else. of skills not only as a designer but also within the business side of things, so if I was Can you give any tips to anyone who wishever to set up my own company, I do have es to enter the fashion industry? the skills to achieve that. Get as much work placement and experience as you possibly before you venture What would you consider the most enjoy- out, that way you’re moreexperienced and able part of working for Steel & Jelly is? it shows future employers that you know I really enjoy the people I work with and what it’s like working within the industry. the work I do, it has always been a dream to

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