St Albans haberdashery store celebrates 50 years

Simone Taylor has been running Fashion 'n' Fabrics since 2018.

Simone Taylor has been running Fashion 'n' Fabrics since 2018. - Credit: Fashion 'n' Fabrics

An independent fabric, yarn and haberdashery store that is woven into the fabric of St Albans' community is marking its milestone 50th anniversary.

Fashion ‘n’ Fabrics was opened in 1971 by the late Christine Campbell, who jumped at the chance of fulfilling her dream of owning a haberdashery when a shop became vacant opposite her house in Beech Road.

Fashion 'n' Fabrics in 1971.

Fashion 'n' Fabrics in 1971. - Credit: Archant

With limited funds available she made the shop look as stocked as possible by hanging one item on every peg, a contrast to the jam-packed shop most people know today.

Fashion 'N' Fabrics in 1975.

Fashion 'n' Fabrics in 1975. - Credit: Archant

Chris ran the business for 46 years, expanding the premises by taking over the jewellers next door and building an extension where sewing and quilting classes took place.

In 2010 the BBC One Show ran a national competition to give a small independent shop a Selfridges-style Christmas window make-over.

Her daughter-in-law applied and, unknown to Chris, Fashion ‘n’ Fabrics was chosen. The presenter Carrie Grant, her camera crew and the Selfridges team surprised Chris one cold morning in November, took over the shop and created a spectacular display. The feature aired on The One Show in December and proved the perfect way to mark the shop’s 40th anniversary.

The One Show's Carrie Grant at Fashion 'n' Fabrics with Morag Hickmott from Redbourn who works for Oxford Street Selfridges.

The One Show's Carrie Grant at Fashion 'n' Fabrics with Morag Hickmott from Redbourn who works for Oxford Street Selfridges. - Credit: Archant

The late Christine Campbell, founder of Fashion 'n' Fabrics, with the shop front dressed by The One Show.

The late Christine Campbell, founder of Fashion 'n' Fabrics, with the shop front dressed by The One Show. - Credit: Archant

When Chris passed away in 2017,  Marshalswick mum of three Simone Taylor decided to take a leap of faith to keep the legacy alive. She had joined a patchwork class at the shop and fallen in love with her new hobby, and so she made an offer to Chris' children to take over Fashion 'n' Fabrics.

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Simone set about ushering in a new era, while maintaining the ethos that Chris had built up over the decades: to provide a ‘go-to’ destination to support people who create hand-made, beautiful and unique items to treasure.

“It has been a lot of hard work over the last couple of years, but I am so pleased the shop is still going strong 50 years on! When mental health and well-being is such an important part of our daily lives with the added stresses we are all under, I am pleased to be part of a solution where crafters can get a wide range of good quality supplies to inspire their creativity.”

Herts Advertiser articles on Fashion 'n' Fabrics in St Albans.

Herts Advertiser articles on Fashion 'n' Fabrics in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

Herts Advertiser articles on Fashion 'n' Fabrics in St Albans.

Herts Advertiser articles on Fashion 'n' Fabrics in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

The shop itself has been redecorated and reorganised, and the massive stock offering is continually extended and updated with new ranges from well-known designers.

Despite the daunting task and the interruption that the Covid pandemic brought, the shop not only remains part of the fabric of the local community but is extending its offering to those further afield via its website.

There are plans in the pipeline to extend the shop further to offer long arm quilting services as well as re-starting a wide variety of crafting classes in the new year.