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European Social Fund

Fashion Students Partner with Hospice Charity Store, Scarlet Vintage & Retro

Scarlet Vintage Retro

The Fashion department of Harlow College has partnered with St Clare Hospice’s new, local charity shop, Scarlet Vintage & Retro, in a fashion-upcycling project to restore and reinvent vintage clothing sourced in-store. 

This special partnership between the two local organisations has seen the transformation of around 20 vintage and retro garments, which have utilised other recycled clothing off-cuts and broken jewellery to create new, ethically restored items of clothing. 

Harlow College Fashion Students are invited to come and choose their materials from the shop, and then, as part of their academic studies, ‘reinvent’ these items back at the college workshop. Scarlet Vintage and Retro then sell the newly upcycled clothing in their shop located at 3 Broad Walk, raising the profile of these budding fashion-designers from Harlow College whilst also generating vital funding for the West Essex and East Herts hospice charity, St Clare. 

Commenting on the charity-college partnership, Level 3 Fashion Course Leader, Shelley Clarke, said: “The fashion students were truly inspired during the construction of their upcycled garments. Having the opportunity to select their own garments from the Scarlet Vintage and Retro shop allowed the students to fully engage with the reality of producing a design which holds relevance within the retail industry. They were professional in their approach when considering their target audience and this experience has encouraged them to work to industry standards and the expectations of the customer. The students were inspired by the vintage ethos of the store and the pure commitment demonstrated by its staff. They are thrilled to continue this creative relationship for future design projects with St Clare Hospice.” 

Sacha Foley, a Year 2 Fashion Student studying at Harlow College who is taking part in the programme, commented: “What a fantastic opportunity! Really enjoyed up-cycling a vintage item. A fab little shop and all for a great cause.” 

St Clare Hospice’s first-ever vintage fashion specialist shop, Scarlet Vintage and Retro, opened earlier this year in October. Since then, Scarlet (an anagram of St Clare) is already on the map as a community hotspot just weeks after opening. From the moment it opened its doors the shop has championed meaningful partnerships with other local organisations, including Harlow charity Rainbow Services, Harlow College, and former local community hub, The Square. 

At the shop’s Grand Opening event on Saturday 20th October 2018, the shop showcased its first series of impressively upcycled items fashion by Harlow College Fashion students. More recently on Thursday 29th November 2018, a further collection of upcycled garments were once again on display at the shop’s Late Night Shopping Evening complete with a catwalk and DJ. 

Scarlet Vintage & Retro Shop Manager, Tracey Chippett, commented: “Harlow College have been a dream to work with, and we are so proud and excited about our newly founded partnership with them. The work that the Fashion students have produced is absolutely exceptional, and has been met with high regard and praise by customers of the shop – who are thrilled with their new upcycled purchases! We’d like to say a huge thank you to the College, and to all of the fabulous students, for supporting St Clare Hospice and our shop using their incredible skills and talents! Thank you also to our wonderful customers, who are also doing their bit for the environment through the power of sustainable fashion. We’re now looking forward to welcoming four students back to the shop over the Christmas period of their work experience!”

By Emma Sugarman, Communications Officer, St Clare Hospice