A guest post from Katie Antoniou
I began working with Gabby Young and Other Animals soon after the Bush Hall gig that landed her in The Sunday Times, where their flamboyant frontwoman was dubbed ‘Gabby, queen of shops‘. So many of Gabby’s friends were craftspeople, that she had invited them to bring their stalls to her album launch and make it a mini-festival. Though this seemed like a novel idea to the press from The Times, collaboration isn’t actually anything new for Gabby-in fact its something she swears by. So as we began to receive more and more offers from creatives who wanted to make something bespoke for her performances,we decided to put into action ‘Gabberdashery’, a plan Gabby had for combining lots of handmade pieces into one collective.
One of the artists who came on board was Twinkle Troughton who not only designed our gorgeous logo, but also created the artwork for Gabby’s merchandise t-shirts. Other contributors included Rosa Bloom who handmakes bustles, frilly silk knickers, lace gloves and feather headpieces and Merrimaking Hoods who make gorgeous animal hoods. Megan Tait of Merrimaking said ‘ it was the culmination of art and fashion with music that inspired us most about Gabby Young. We get the feel that the audience is much more integral to her performances than just being a spectator, and thats something we encourage of our customers when they commission designs. It’s more personal!’
We started working with a 75%-25% split between artist/creative and Gabberdashery. Our aim was never to make money out of the project-once we’ve covered stall hire and transport we barely break even- but what we really wanted was a chance to showcase all the amazing talent that sometimes gets overlooked in favour of cheaper, mass produced items. We try to keep everything reasonable;but it can be frustrating when people moan about a really ornate, handmade necklace being £30. Yes, in Primark it would be a tenner, but it would probably break after a week, it wouldn’t be an original, one-off piece and the person who made it can’t have been paid a decent wage. We try and educate people about the importance of supporting small businesses; Gabby herself runs her own music label with her parents.
We launched at The Art Car Boot Fair where we were given a car by Vauxhall to sell from- this was certainly a challenge but we had great fun decorating the vehicle with lace and flowers to make it look like a Gabberdashery stall. At Standon Calling where Gabby and the band were performing, we even had a little shop built for us; complete with real front door and window!We had such an amazing time and really didn’t want to leave, packing up all our stock was heartbreaking; we’d so love a permanent venue to sell from, but at the moment we are making do selling at the venues on Gabby’s UK tour.
Sometimes this can be tricky as we won’t know how much space or what sort of area we’ll have been allocated until we arrive, so we sometimes have to be inventive with our merchandising; interesting locations so far include a boat and a church! For the tour we’ve also collaborated with some amazing illustrators who designed posters for the various dates of the tour; all have been printed in very limited edition (only 10 of each design) and are being sold through Gabberdashery and online here, with 50% of the sale price going to the artist.
We really hope to get the whole Gabberdashery range online soon, but in the meantime we’re preparing for a very special pre-Christmas Gabberdashery at Gabby’s London gig on the 20th November at The Tabernacle. We currently stock pieces by Hatastic, Crème Nouveau, Rosa Bloom, Love From Hatty and Dave and many more talented craftspeople-if you’d like to join them then do email me, firstname.lastname@example.org; we are always looking for new contributors!