Fabric Heaven - Discovering Joel's
In 1979 Joel's Church Street shop opened and I was awarded my degree in Fashion and textiles - a momentous year for both of us.
In the late 80's there was a feature in one of the Sunday newspapers about where to find quality fabrics and dressmakers in
London, highlighting amongst others both Joel's and Mandy Barber. Mandy contacted me about producing the bridesmaid dresses for the London Brides who were commissioning her. I was already well established in
Gloucestershire, and moved eastwards to Cambridgeshire in 1988. We worked together on several Cotswold weddings in 1989-90.
The reputation of Joel's beautiful fabrics was spreading beyond London, and by 1993 existing and new clients were delighting me
with their parcels from Joel's. Whilst looking for fabric on behalf of clients I would happily spend hours in their original Church Street shop (half the size it is now) trying to find the right material. I was
always spoilt for choice so I sent the client directly to Joel's. Inevitably my workload went up, as clients fell in love with the fabrics, and saw the potential for a whole new wardrobe!
It's a gloriously sensory experience working with wools, easing in sleeve heads with a gentle bounce, getting a good roll on a
jacket collar. Wool and silk fibres blend into Boucle's for a Chanel style suit, or printed Cloque's and Brocades for evening jackets. Sequinned fabrics can be soft, subtle and beautifully printed, lace fabrics
delicate or firm. The range of stock continues to amaze.
In 1997 I planned a fundraiser for Breakthrough Breast Cancer in memory of a good friend and client who passed away in 1995,
aged just 40. A retrospective exhibition based around my clients in Gloucestershire celebrated my years in business in the Cotswolds. Generously hosted by a longstanding client who was well known to all
locally, I knew it would be well attended. A good raffle prize was needed- one that attendees would definitely want to win. I approached Joel's and they provided me with a generous gift voucher for the event.
The prize winner headed straight for Joel's, spent 5 times the vouchers value, and kept me happy with Versace fabrics for quite a few weeks!
22 years on from that event I still get a frisson of anticipation when a client presents me with a limited edition Joel's
carrier to open, and says- "Look what I found!"
I echo the "Thank-you" which is usually found printed inside the carrier near the top.
That hasn't changed for me in 25years!