Che Camille

Rags and riches

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Che Camille

Kirstin Innes visits Che Camille’s new city-centre home and finds out about a new project to benefit Scottish designers and shoppers

In the beginning, there was The Chateau, a shambling old tenement warehouse on Glasgow’s Southside, rented out at rock bottom prices to a loose collection of artists, designers and performers, and Franz Ferdinand, who staged now-legendary guerrilla shows there. In 2006, well-dressed New York whirlwind Camille Lorigo found an empty floor and took up residence, creating Che Camille. Nominally a showroom for young Glasgow clothing designers, Che became a venue for gigs, fashion shows and clothes swap parties. It all ended when the Chateau burned down in an arson attack.

‘Of course we miss the Chateau. There’s still nothing like it,’ Lorigo says. ‘However, we’re hoping to recreate some of that spirit in the new space’.

Part-funded by the Scotland With Style campaign, Che’s new shop, showroom (pictured) and workshop is a huge white space six floors above Buchanan Street and accessed from the diamond-studded Argyle Arcade. ‘You will faint when you walk in,’ the website promises, and I nearly did: the views – over the whole of the city centre – are amazing. They’re even better from the rooftop garden and the open workshop space which will house the resident designers, Che Camille’s Glasgow Ten.

‘The Glasgow Ten!’ says Lorigo, excited. ‘I came up with the idea of having ten resident designers – I’ve currently named the first four.’ They are Rabii Denim; seamstress Rose Fleck who creates pieces and wedding dresses from old Vogue patterns; William Chambers (the upcoming milliner who has designed for Roisin Murphy) and innovative tailor Florence To.

‘Being a resident is about being ready to progress with your work at that stage where you’re totally committed to it,’ explains. ‘I wanted to be able to say to them, ‘give me a year, and I’ll help you be in a totally different place’. I want to help them progress technically, with customer base, with materials, with suppliers and with collaborations.’

The idea behind the new venture is to encourage Scottish design talent to stay in Scotland, but also to get shoppers involved with local design. Not only can you see the designers at work from the shop floor, you can get involved with the process and work with them to custom-design your own clothes. The ever-active Lorigo also has plans to hold catwalk shows from December, and she’s building a stage for performance and acoustic gigs in the new year. It’s worth the trip, – even with the risk of fainting.

Che Camille, Floor 6, Argyle Arcade, Glasgow. www.checamille.com

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