Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Old clothes, new looks

December 09 2011
Now you can get your gladrags with built-in feel-good factor


If you are fashion-forward or a retro geek, Forgotten Vintage is for you. SIFA Fireside and Reach the People have opened a vintage store in Birmingham’s Great Western Arcade to raise funds for their homeless services across the city. We went along to meet the trio who are managing the venture: Marie Dennehy, Richard Leighton and Carl Foley. Dennehy and Leighton have worked with the charities for a number of years, whilst Carl Foley’s retail background ensures the shop will be a success.

Forgotten Vintage will sell clothes, accessories and other treats, such as a large collection of vintage teacups. The clothes will be temptingly priced to ensure a quick turnover in the small space, so regulars won’t be left wanting. They will also have an exclusive selection of vintage items such as a real fox fur coat donated by one of the founders.

The government funding that charities are used to receiving is no longer secure. With extensive cuts taking place, many charities are reducing their services or, in some cases, folding. These testing times have pushed SIFA Fireside and Reach to explore new ideas to raise money. Along with the shop, there is also Change Kitchen, a vegan catering social enterprise that enables homeless people to gain cookery skills. The charities paired up to make best use of their resources: finance, passion, skills and experience. The ‘pop-up’ shop is a testing ground for the project: if, in six months, they have a successful business, they will form a social enterprise to make the business sustainable and independent. They hope to grow and develop an increasing number of opportunities.

The charities launched the project on 25 November with an exclusive preview for customers. This is not a musty shop full of floral shirts and elasticated waistbands: it is an ambitious store with thoughtfully selected, highly desirable vintage items - with the added bonus of a free feel-good factor with every purchase.