Sunday, 16 June 2013

Gladrags: Festival Vs Full Moon Party

 From vintage pieces to tie-dye kimonos and mystic accessories, Gladrags is a treasure trove for trend setters. Upon arrival at their 'Festival Vs Full Moon Party' customers are greeted at the door with colourful cupcakes and cocktails. The shop jam packed full of goodies reminiscent of the 90s, festival favourites and customised one of a kinds. There are frequent competitions to win clothing and discounts galore. With the shop celebrating it's 6th birthday and the recent launch of their own line, 'Elsie & Fred' it seemed like the perfect time to pop in for a visit and get the inside juice on Coventry's coolest boutique from shop owners Natalie, Chloe and Ryan.

What is Gladrags?

Chloe: Gladrags is a shop for creative people who like glitter and unicorns. It’s quite eclectic and a bit random.

Natalie: Gladrags started in 2007, it’s a mix of vintage and new clothing and accessories. It’s not all the same, we like to keep it unique and make the shop not just a place to buy things but to have fun and a nice time on a Saturday afternoon.

How did you start Gladrags?

Natalie: I worked at New Look and knew that I wanted to do something with clothing, to own a shop. I put together a business plan, looked out for empty shops, worked out what I could afford, and went for it. My brother, sisters and dad all helped to set it up.

Where do you hope Gladrags might go?

Chloe: We really want it to exist outside of Coventry, we have an online presence, and we are on ASOS, but we want to branch out. It’d be nice to have shops in other places.

Natalie: From launching Elsie & Fred we are hoping to build on that. We’ve just signed a new lease for the shop in Coventry, so this will be here for at least another three years.

Ryan: I hope it takes over the world!

Tell us about Elsie & Fred

Chloe: It’s Ryan’s baby.

Natalie: It’s Gladrag’s little brother. It’s the same ethos, modern meets vintage. Unique and customised clothing, so we don’t sell any other brands.

Ryan: We named it Elsie & Fred after our nan and granddad, which caught on. We wanted to give Coventry something a bit more alternative, and to be able to offer stuff that isn’t always available. It came partly from my own frustrations of where I’d have to go to get the stuff I wanted, some stuff off eBay, sometimes some back street shop. The inspiration for it comes from everything I love, the 90s, Will Smith; it was the perfect time to launch.

What inspires you?

Chloe: Part of our inspiration is from a shop in the 60s and 70s that was very popular called Biba. We wanted something unique and we set our own trends. We do a lot of research looking at stuff on tumblr, pinterest and blogs.

Natalie: We spend hours looking on tumblr, magazines, the internet, instagram, blogs. We like street based fashion, rather than cat walk.

Do you make any of the products that you sell?

Chloe: Yeah, mainly jewellery, we customise some clothes, do a lot of tie-dying and putting spikes on things. Anything on trend that we can do ourselves, we do.

Natalie: We do a lot of customising, but not as much as we used to. We make tie-dye kimonos. Dad helps too.

(At which point, Natalie’s dad walks into the shop, arms full of tie-dye T-shirts)

What are your top 5 current picks from the shop?

Chloe: 1. The floral headbands. 2. The Lion Jewellery. 3. The “You Can’t Sit With Us” top. 4. The Bohemian jewellery. 5. The kimonos!

Natalie: 1. The tie dye kimonos. 2. The Ganesh T-shirts. (They’re really popular) 3.The Lions selection. 4. The tie-dye “You Can’t Sit With Us” T-shirts. 5. The 90s jeans.

Any funny stories of things that have happened in the shop?

Chloe: In my first week working in the shop, when Natalie was away in Thailand the heater above the door set on fire. W shut the shop, called the fire brigade, they put it out and we thought everything was fine. When it came to locking the shop up for the night we found that the fire had burnt the circuit and so we couldn’t bring the door down over the front of the shop.

Natalie: During one of our earlier shop parties, not last October but the one before, I was working here and there was this Candy song playing. I looked up to see five girls in the shop all doing the dance routine for it!

Gladrags Official Facebook Page:

Gladrags Boutique Online:

Elsie & Fred:


  1. Thanks, anytime you want something like this again let me know :)