Hastings has been accumulating an impressive creative scene over the past decade. With many comparing it to Brighton in the eighties and nineties, it hosts a range of designers, creators and curators from eclectic vintage and antique shops to quirky restaurants and cafés.
We shed a spotlight on a few of the local designers based in this bustling seaside town.
Fashion designers Anna & Lilly are the team behind Afri-Co-Lab, a community interest company based on the seafront in St Leonards. The pair draw on their Ugandan cultural heritage, the seaside town and sustainability to create workshops, educational programmes and creative events for artists in East Sussex. Afri-Co-Lab is built on the cultural mash-up of Ugandan and British culture, celebrating and promoting positive attitudes towards Uganda, countries of the African continent and the African Diaspora community in East Sussex.
Bramwell Cole is the brainchild of Kate Bramwell Cole, who has been selling her original designs in her shop at 40 Normans Street, St Leonards over the last five years. Cole studied fashion at Salisbury Art College and moved to Hastings in 2010. She focuses on re-using, recycling and dyeing. She designs and makes all garments herself, with a beautiful old sewing machine in the back of the shop. Cole reworks fabrics into angular, original designs using a collage of ideas, memories, shapes and silhouettes. Cole uses a variety of new and recycled materials with an emphasis on sustainability, both in the sourcing and manufacturing of each item. The shop stocks original ceramics and perfume oils, both made at her studio at home.
Deborah Bowness is an artist and designer who has been making and exhibiting wallpaper since 1999. Her work is permanently exhibited in many institutions from around the world, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Bowness grew up in Yorkshire and today lives in Hastings where she has set up a print room, designing and making wallpapers. Bowness has produced an extensive range of wallpaper designs and aims for the wallpaper to be a piece of art, deliberately shunning repeat patterns and intending for it to interact playfully with the other objects in the room and not dominate the surrounding environment.
Named after the two basic components used to turn thread and yarn into fabric, Warp and Weft offers a range of handmade clothes, bags and shoes from their shop in Hastings’ Old Town. Founder, Leida Nassir-Pour along with head tailor Brett Isherwood create elegant designs which stand the test of time. The woollen waistcoats, linen suits and leather bags all draw on bygone eras.
Anna Winston is a sewing teacher and costume maker based in Hastings and makes quirky designs using vintage fabrics and sustainably sourced materials. The school was founded in 2010 by Anna, who studied Fine Art at Brighton University and has twenty years’ experience in costume design, including for some iconic West End productions like The Lion King, Dreamgirls and The King and I. La La Rookh offers the opportunity to create your own designs yourself from their studio in Rose Cottage in Hastings. The school offers many classes from how to set a sleeve, to getting to grips with seams and stitches. You can also buy patterns from Anna, to make yourself or to a ‘bring your own project’ class.
Based in Hastings, Olive Morris’ unique collection of house shoes are designed to bring some glamour into your home. The collection includes bubblegum pink and green velvet slippers alongside antique linen and gingham robes. They are designed in the UK and made in Spain.