Made in the Shade @ The Lighthouse
Made in the Shade is a 1950s boutique-cum-young designer showcase at The Lighthouse. Claire Sawers checks it out
She wears a frilly apron and teases her hair into a rock-hard bee-hive. She spends her days baking fresh cupcakes and her nights stitching patchwork quilts. According to Carrie Maclennan, she’s ‘the American 1950s housewife mother you never had’, and the inspiration behind the first Made in the Shade event at The Lighthouse.
The new ‘indie’ market fair is a chance for over 40 stallholders to show off their wares – including vintage clothing, handmade accessories and retro knick-knacks. Once shoppers have been lured in from Buchanan Street by high-heeled ladies in chintz dishing out chocolate truffles, they’ll be served up a throwback soundtrack of Americana, rockabilly and wartime Big Bands while they shop. And for bored children who dread the weekly drag round the shops, there’s cupcake decorating, and a chance to eat their own work afterwards.
The retro theme is more than just an excuse to eat lots of home-baked treats though; it’s part of the whole friendly, stop-and-chat ethos behind the event, which showcases young designers from all over Scotland. Expect acrylic jewellery from Aberdeen’s Aubeebop, knitted handbags from Dundee’s Syrah Jay and home-spun stationery and totes from Glasgow’s Hannah Zakari. ‘Instead of heading straight to Buchanan Galleries, we’re hoping people might try and find that pair of cute knickers or a special dress in here,’ says Maclennan, of the Glasgow Craft Mafia, who’s organising the fair with The Lighthouse’s Creative Entrepreneurs Club. As well as giving local designers a place to display their work, from felt corsages and ethically made soaps to digitally printed cushions, it encourages shoppers to step away from the chain store.
By getting independent designers together, the Glasgow Craft Mafia is helping highlight the growing love Scottish consumers have for all things grassroots and DIY. It’s a trend that’s been growing for the past few years. Miso Funky have been organising arts and crafts fairs in Glasgow for two years now, while in Edinburgh, crafty shoppers have been going straight to the source at Out of the Blue’s Arts Market at the Drill Hall, or Tracer Trail’s recent Village Fete.
So could this mean the death of fast fashion? Earlier this month, Oxfam got involved in the craze for ‘up-cycling’ by opening a new Westbourne Road boutique with second-hand clothes given a couture nip and tuck by students from the London College of Fashion, and a clutch of designers from Agnès B, Giles Deacon and Jonathan Saunders all recently created one-off garments and accessories from recycled goods. ‘A lot of folk like the idea that they’re getting away from the mainstream, and buying unique designs and vintage treasures, rather than off-the-peg stuff,’ says Maclennan. ‘Plus you’re supporting local designers.’