Open Door community space brought stunning sustainable fashion with an Indian influence to Berkhamsted at an ‘Indian Summer’ evening on Friday 21 July.
A sell-out crowd enjoyed browsing rails of an Indian Summer collection created by the talented Make & Mend team at Open Door – made up of almost 100 including dresses, jackets and scarves as well as bags, earrings, bunting and more, all upcycled from sarees donated by Nita Babha, a local Open Door supporter. Nita was so impressed with what the community centre was doing having recently moved to the town, that she decided to offer up her extensive collection of sari fabric to the Make & Mend tutors so they could give them a new lease of life.
Nita said: ‘When I moved to Berkhamsted I didn’t know many people. I bumped into one of the Make and Mend team who suggested I popped into the Open Door Community Space as it’s a welcoming place with lots of activities. I joined sewing sessions and had fun, learning so much with my new machine. I thought of all the beautiful saris that don’t get worn every day and how we could use the fabrics. Jane and I collected quite a few from my friends and here we are amongst this stunning collection!’
Guests were able to browse and purchase pieces whilst enjoying delicious onion bhajis and samosas freshly made by Verandah Restaurant across the road, and a glass of fizz. Local textile artist and author, Paula Watkins, also a tutor at Open Door, gave a talk and slideshow from her travels across India that have inspired her work.
The event kicked off a week-long exhibition of more clothing and accessories all created by the team, who have stitched the pieces as part of Open Door’s
Make & Mend project, which promotes a more sustainable use of fashion and textiles. The exhibition at Open Door runs until Friday 28 July.
Purchases and ticket sales from the evening raised an incredible £1000, with all donations going to support Open Door’s work to provide a safe, welcoming, and creative space for local people, whatever their circumstances.
Jane Vellacott, one of the Make & Mend tutors said: ‘We’ve had a lot of fun working with these amazing fabrics! We hope that seeing the collection will inspire people to think about reusing fabrics in creative ways themselves, and we run a range of workshops at Open Door to give people the skills and confidence they need to do just that.’
Make & Mend have a series of sewing workshops for various skill levels from beginners upwards running throughout the Autumn – enabling people to get to love their sewing machine, learn how to insert zips, make cushion covers, use an overlocker and much more! All classes are open for booking at www.opendoorberkhamsted.co.uk/make–mend.