Pexmas Countdown

Here you are folks; more insights into the people, the designs and the quirky, fantastical loveliness that will make Pexmas the place to be on the weekend of December 8th & 9th. Introducing 3 of the stalls whose wares are featuring heavily on our list for Santa this year…

Modern Folk Collective

Modern Folk Collective are a group of recent graduates from Chelsea. These gals are energetic, sassy and full of sparkle. What sets them apart from the crowd is that they’re each individually, genuinely talented: take all five of them together and – whoa! Although each of the girls’ work is distinct, different and unique, it’s testimony to their close friendship and shared aesthetic that their creations seem to effortlessly work with and complement one another: Emily’s prismatic jewellery, and Olivia’s delicate resin necklaces encasing tiny pieces of electrical circuits sit alongside Freya’s beautifully mad animal illustrations, printed on to cards and notebooks. Alice and Rachel both name their grandparents as huge influences, yet although on the surface of it their work – hand dyed, hand stitched patchwork pieces from Rachel, and laser cut leather featuring traditional Romanian motifs and embroidery from Alice – is so different, there’s an element of a modern reworking of tradition that makes them harmonious; not a jarring element to be seen.  

“We definitely do bounce off and inspire each other,” say the girls, pretty much in unison. A handful of them house-share, and tell tales of living rooms given over to projects, bath tubs full of dye and tables covered with sketches. It should sound terrifying: borderline housemates from hell stuff, but somehow you can’t help but wish that you lived there too. 


Unsurprisingly, it’s a jumble of colourful memories we get when we ask Modern Folk about  their recollections of Christmasses past, but it’s Alice, who grew up in Romania, who has us hanging on her every word with her tales of pig slaughter!! Rachel makes us laugh,in that ‘oh no, we so know what you mean’ way, when she speaks of the family gathering for a Christmas Eve game of Monopoly, a game that most of them hate but wouldn’t miss, at least not on that night, for the world (she is, of course, always the iron). Olivia loves heading to Somerset House to catch that Londonesque festive feeling – she’s a lousy skater but partial to a good hot chocolate while spectating – and Freya would love a ticket to India in her stocking this year, but would settle for opening the door onto a winter wonderland featuring lots of glitter, lobsters and flamingos. And, she adds lasciviously, “a hot naked man in a Santa hat.” Merry Pexmas indeed! 

As well as a passion for the stage, thespian Tara of Threads has always nurtured a love of textiles and fashion. Little wonder – her mum sounds to be one marvellous influence: one of Tara’s early Christmas memories is of her mother rocking the “Christmas Day Dress” dilemma in a white, sequinned backless number, featuring a knee-length, shoulder pads and lace front. Does Tara still have it? You bet she does (and we’re more than a bit jealous.) 
Tara shops at least once a fortnight for the vintage loveliness that fills her shop, squeezing her retail forays in between running the store, auditions, rehearsals and caring for her lively pup Shadow. There’s also scope for customers to get involved with store stock, bringing in their own pre-loved pieces for Tara to sell on a 50/50 basis. She’ll also source pieces on request, so if you have a yen for a vintage steamer trunk or velvet prom dress, she’ll scour her contacts to track it down for you. 
So, what to expect from Threads at Pexmas? As well as fantastic accessories, shoes, belts, jewellery and bags – all perfect for gifting – she plans to have a large, cosy stock of Christmas jumpers (and as much as the High Street is touting them this year, how can their offerings possibly compare to an authentic retro piece?) as well as dresses to make an entrance in, coats to stumble from party to party in and huge crochet throws, perfect for cuddling up on the sofa for the watching of a Christmas film. As the saying goes: Nice threads! 
Cut Out Girls
Forget overpriced ‘It’ bags, more moniker than substance and so ludicrously capacious that they make the finding of anything other than a welly boot in their depths impossible. Carla and Libby, aka Cut Out Girls, make bags that are as sturdy and sensible as they are stylish and chicly unusual. If an oversized slouchy number bearing a £££ price tag is the WAG’s bag, then a Cut Out Girl creation is the Thinking Girl’s bag: crafted from hand-knitted cotton rope, with leather finishes reclaimed from army and navy surplus in Hungaria. Injections of colour are provided by way of bright woollen strands, woven into the design to give the bags a seasonal twist; in summer they favour raffia. Upcycled army surplus bags also form part of their fare, perfect for girls about town or those who prefer to cycle or dash, rather than teeter, between appointments. 
The girls met at university where they were studying Fine Art and, after graduating, engaged in a variety of pursuits: some exciting (travel) and some less so (temp jobs to make ends meet). Eventually they started on the market circuit where the buzz of creativity and possibility inspired them to really progress their ideas: they’re now stocked in Japan, London and online. 
There’ve been some lucky encounters along the way: the random passer by who saw Carla knitting a bag from chunky wool and remarked that rope would be sturdier and less stretchy. The market contact who offered to let them place their army surplus order as part of his, so that they’d not need to worry about reaching the high minimum order value, and thus releasing them from near-constant scouring of charity shops for second-hand leather belts. 
Still, if you believe in Christmas Karma then Carla’s definitely been accumulating some in her Christmases past: every year she returns home to her family, where friends and relatives gather for mulled wine before braving the chill to go carolling to collect money for a chosen charity. And we just bet they have the most stylish collection bag going. 

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