They were there to shout about their latest campaign, the first they have done with a fashion spin, called ‘Turn up the style, turn down the heat’. The campaign encourages people to keep warm in lovely snugly jumpers, rather than cranking up their central heating.
This is an issue that I can really identify with; I always seem to be grumbling about people who moan that they’re too cold whilst sitting around in vest tops and generally flimsy garb. I mean, hello! Don’t put the heater on, just put on some more clothes!
The Global Cool Lounge was like a little oasis of calm within the hot and hectic goings on of the BNTM Live exhibition hall. Decked out like a cosy living room, with flocked wallpaper, rugs, sofas and other retro furnishings, it was the perfect place to settle down for some craft and customisation, refashioning much-loved jumpers into uniquely individual creations.
Rails of vintage jumpers, supplied by Rokit, were available to purchase for £5 – all of which went straight to the charity. Once punters had selected their ‘blank canvas’, experts from knitwear designer Cooperative Designs were on hand to help with the sewing on of tassels, buttons, bows and pom-poms. The stand was a frenzy of industry, with creative types sitting and working on their jumpers amongst piles of wool and fabric and various other embellishments. It all felt very nostalgic, like being back at primary school!
The spokesperson for ‘Turn up the style, turn down the heat’ is Gemma Cairney from Radio 1 Xtra and the TV show Frock Me.
^ Gemma Cairney
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Gemma to chat about her involvement and to admire her own personal creative flourishes – a woolen ‘G’ on her batwing sweater and a cute little pom-pom in her hair.
Sarah Nicholls, one of the Cooperative Designs experts, said “Some people need our help, and some are fine to just get on with it. Once you get the wool in your hands, it’s easy to be creative.”
You can watch Gemma and Sarah working on the ‘G’ jumper in this YouTube video.
Gemma said that she was really happy to be at the show supporting Global Cool. A keen fashionista herself, it certainly seems like the perfect campaign for her to get behind – helping people to help the environment by upping their winter style points.
“It’s fun and hands-on, and really kitsch! It gives me a lot of pride to be here spreading the message. Really it’s a win-win situation; it’s helping people find a more environmentally friendly way to stay warm, while they’re saving money and looking better.”
After Gemma had signed on to support the campaign, she got Rokit and Cooperative Designs involved to provide the expertise behind the knitwear. “I wanted to push it to the next level and help make it the best it can be.”
^ Gemma with Sarah Nicholls (L) & Sam Quinlan (R) from Cooperative Designs
Gemma was also kind enough to share some of the fashion wisdom passed down by her mum, Hazel. “My mum’s a firm believer in the ‘one pound rule’ – no matter how much something costs, make sure you wear it one time per one pound that you spent.” Genius!
Claire Bee, who runs a children’s theatre group, was one of the keen workshop attendees, adding a big blue bow to a vintage black number. “I went for the simple option”, she said. “I love the idea of customisation; my friends are always sewing on new buttons and things and I always wish I could do it too. This is a great opportunity to pick up some tips, and I’ll definitely be taking what I’ve learnt away to start customising clothes at home.”
^ Claire (hiding behind her work-in-progress) with her daughters Jamielee (L) & Charlotte (R)
Emily Barrett, 16, had already spent about an hour and a half at the Lounge when I sat down to chat to her about her creation. She said she was attracted by the look of the stand, with its sofa and carpet, and had thought the range of jumpers would just be nice to buy before she realised about the workshop. “It makes people like me who are interested in fashion take notice of the charity’s environmental issues.”
^ Emily, hard at craft (top) & with her customised jumper
The Global Cool Lounge was a roaring success, with over 180 jumpers being turned from drab to fab. Watch Gemma and Sarah hosting the Global Cool Style Icon Workshop, on day two of BNTM Live – including a masterclass in how to make your own pom-poms – in the video below.