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Fashion made in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 June 2012

Blouse and 1940s inspired shorts designed by Claire Read for Poppy Valentine in Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Blouse and 1940s inspired shorts designed by Claire Read for Poppy Valentine in Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

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This weekend's Jubilee sees many shops celebrating British heritage - an ideal time to support local fashion made in Norwich, says Emma Harrowing.

There is a fashion revolution taking place in Norwich.

Over the past few years an increasing number of designers are making clothing, accessories and jewellery that follow the latest fashions, with some setting new trends.

It’s all reminiscent of the days when our fine city prospered out of a flourishing textile and shoe industry. Back then, before the industrial revolution took hold and factories were set up to meet demand, weavers, seamtresses and textile designers would work from home to make items such as the elegant Norwich shawls which spawned a fashion in the leaf Paisley print.

Then shoe, textile and handbag factories took Norwich fashion to the next level. Most of these factories closed in the 1980s when recession and an interest in manufacturing overseas took hold.

Now it seems that fashion made in Norwich is on the way back.

Today fashion designers and makers are creating the latest looks from their homes. Eco fashion designers Marian Williams and Jo Couldrey have set up their own studios in their homes and accessory and hat maker Betsy Hatter of Sugar and Hatter has recently invested in equipment to make hats in the traditional way from home.

Then there are clothing designers such as Tom Hayden of Iron and Pin, Sam Harron of SHhhh clothing and Claire Read of Poppy Valentine who have set up their own studios in Norwich. Claire has a studio upstairs in her Poppy Valentine boutique in the Royal Arcade and can often be seen sewing at a table amongst her designs in the shop.

Norwich illustrator Gemma Correll, who avid Life Matters readers would have read about in Tuesday’s Evening News, designs t-shirts for retailers such as Urban Outfitters from her home and studio in Norwich. Gemma’s ‘Pugs not Drugs’ design was last seen worn by comedian Russell Howard on BBC Three’s Russell Howard’s Good News last week.

Van Dal, dubbed as one of the last remaining shoe makers in Norwich, still entirely manufacturers some of its range at the Diben Road factory. The new Made in England collection joins the plethora of other fashion retailers celebrating their Best of British heritage as part of the Jubilee and the London Olympics celebrations.

With a growing brigade of clothing, accessory and jewellery designers and makers in Norwich perhaps the slogan ‘Made in Norwich’ should be once again sung from the roof tops as Britain goes batty for homegrown products.

See our pick of some of the current fashion made in Norwich by clicking on the photo gallery link at the top right of this page.

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