As a freelance costume designer, I have always had a costume collection which includes research books and old research work too. Our first store was a small one called Cardiff Bay Costumes which we had for a couple of years then two of us moved out of Cardiff to a much bigger warehouse in the valleys, which proved to be cold and unsustainable and also expensive. Then, I gave all my hanging costumes to Dawn at Marigold costumes and simply rented an office for files and books and lovely things. I have spent 10 busy years throwing things into that space and so it has grown again.
Cardiff is going through a huge riverside property development and Marigold and all us freelance designers with stores have to move.
We all pay our own storage fees and as a collective are too big to financially afford a new storage facility together, the business rates alone are not achievable and there’s not much help for local costume designers.
We all collect stuff and keep a good range of staple costumes that we can use on our productions so we can be sustainable. My book collection is quite big and I have now built up enough stock again to warrant a new store. We all have equipment, shoes, jewellery, spectacles and accessories which ultimately save money on budgets.
My new store is almost sorted and the move is done. Marigold costumes is moving as well and we are all in separate places now but hopefully we will continue to help each other, we have a very good support network for costume workers and college students in South Wales, long may it continue. The store will never look tidy but it provides a workspace and good storage for a more sustainable future.