Cheltenham pop-up shop wants a very merry conscious Christmas

Owners of a new store in Cheltenham are encouraging retail activism this Christmas. Turning their backs on high profile fashion careers with Marc Jacobs and Selfridges, this dynamic duo is tearing up the rulebook to reimagine the future of shopping.

By Emma Luther  |  Published

A pop-up shop in Cheltenham, backed by £10,000 in crowdfunding, is challenging the traditional model of Christmas shopping.

With a focus on sustainable and smaller, independent producers, the duo behind MIMMO Studios in Montpellier hopes to provide food for thought and another option for choosing gifts this season.

The brainchild of Lil Gardiner and Katie Brown, the pair left behind successful careers in fashion after becoming disillusioned with mass-produced clothing.

Seeking an alternative, they hope their pop-up homeware and womenswear shop will encourage people to carefully consider just what they're buying into this Christmas.

Gardiner, who was born and raised in Gloucester, previously worked alongside Marc Jacobs at ateliers in New York; while Brown, who lives in Cheltenham, is an ex-buyer for Selfridges. 

United in their passion to champion sustainability, the pair say: 'Traditional retail is broken and we want to provide alternative ways for conscious consumers to get what they want without harming the planet.

'By working with brands using innovative and recycled materials with low waste and that aren't mass-produced, we are inviting retail activism.

'We're driven by the knowledge the fashion industry is fuelling the climate crisis and over consumption. We want to create a new model with longevity, creativity and community at its heart, demonstrating that change is possible.'

The store in Montpellier Walk is set over four floors and includes an espresso bar and a gallery.

Each item is cherry-picked by the co-founders, from the products they sell to the brands they stock, as well as the music played.

With a goal of progressing the industry to a slower, more considered, more empathetic and fairer way of working, they have brought together an eclectic mix of products that can’t be found anywhere else.

Local brands from Stroud include Mussi knitwear, Maisie Pack prints, Curated Home & Grown dried flowers and ceramics and Couper et Coudre handmade leather goods.

Homeware brands feature Shiv Textiles which creates homeware from deadstock yarns, London Terrariums, Wax Atelier, The Atlas Works glassware and Lily Pearmain ceramics.

Under the radar clothing brands include Cawley Studio, Camilla Bloom, secondhand from Curate & Rotate and Xi Atelier.

An extensive programme of events at the venue will focus on design, creativity, learning, wellness and sustainability, with the aim that everyone taking part can make a difference and work together towards solving the climate crisis. 

The pop-up store will close its doors on Thursday 5 January 2023.

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