Who else has been staring at this Grade II listed building with its memorable address and prime location smack bang across the start of Brick Lane and wondering when 123, the store that got its soft opening last year was gonna actually be open? That said, when it did have its first time round opening, I was thinking the store was entirely taken over by Noki, one of the original rag rippers and re-constructors that has taken the idea of clothes customisation to a completely level that belongs to him and him only, me thinks. In actual fact, the three-storey shop is owned by Ross and Michelle Barry who comes from an actual family who has been in the textile recycling business for 25 years.
It's weird to think of the 00's as a decade where 'Green' suddenly became not just a colour but a lifestyle, when in 1985, we have Lawrence and Joy Barry who set up their fabric/clothing reuse business Lawrence M Barry & Co (LMB) in 1985. The true seeds were sown when Lawrence was involved in recycling docking ropes from London's dockyards which then progressed to the acquisition of old clothes and textiles for sorting and reuse and exporting to charity shops and the third world. They were the ones that were responsible for putting clothing recycling banks on the streets. It's also weird to think of charity shop stock as a booming business but now LMB collects between 170 to 200 tonnes of clothing every week.
Now, Lawrence and Joy's offpsring, Ross and Michelle have taken this background to create 123 that exists as both label, store and collaborator. Their own label is the sort of cutesy customised vintage that most people can get their heads around… quality finishing mixed with well-chosen fabrics as seen in the rail of printed sleeveless cropped shirts that are crying for summer days.
Noki then gets the 2nd floor where his NHS diffusion line takes over hospital screens. Sustainable doesn't mean safe in the world of Noki and it's crazy to think he's been doing this for over ten years. Didn't catch his show at Lovebox last week but I heard it was a good un'… Fred Butler has all the backstage snaps…
In addition, 123 hope to collaborate with other designers to re-work old patterns and use LMB's VAAAAAAAST resources… rags to enrichened clothing opportunities ahoy here. I'm hoping some of London's finest will get on board with 123.
I'm not normally a party pic kinda person but couldn't resist adding a few of these snaps taken by Morgan O'Donovan – grainy, black and white… hides my sweaty face pretty well… thanks Morgan.
Here's me with the lovely Kim Howells who styles Noki's
Blitz Kids royalty… Judy Blame and Princess Julia
(All black and white and beautifully composed photos by Morgan O'Donovan, all the shit DSLR ones are mine…)