Made In Manchester Series - Part 2 - Alice Gasson

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

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Drawing on our city’s rich creative and industrial legacy, our garments are influenced not only by the artistry and innovation pulsating through our streets, but by the beauty we see in relics of bygone ages which give us a glimpse into England’s past. 

We proudly manufacture and print our garments here in Manchester, the city where the Industrial Revolution began. The city once nicknamed Cottonopolis, home of Britain's cotton industry. A city renowned for its creativity and innovation.

We've decided to feature a few different projects from around Manchester; visionaries who are cultivating their own innovative enterprises; artists and designers creating inventive new visuals; musicians driving the heartbeat of the city. We're passionate about local people embracing and excelling in their own forms of craft, launching initiatives which have a wider impact for good, and choosing to pursue positivity in their work to inspire others.

Manchester is renowned for it's diverse, creative identity. So many famous artists, designers, comedians, and actors have roots here, not to mention the legendary musicians and singers who have called Manchester their home.

We caught up with singer and songwriter, Alice Gasson, to discuss how living in this city has influenced her sound, and shaped her career.

Made In Manchester Series - Part 2 - Alice Gasson

"I started to learn the piano when I was 4 years old; my dad taught me to play. Then when I was 5, I got asked to sing at somebody's christening, and really that was the start of my career!", she jokes, reminiscing about her journey to becoming a singer. Growing up in Manchester, taking school singing lessons, singing in local choirs, and studying music at the University of Salford, all set her on a path to eventually writing and releasing her own material.

"I started writing music when I was about 14. I liked writing music but I didn't like what I was writing. I used to write really bad pop songs and I was like "I don't like it... but I'm going to keep writing", she laughs. We're glad she kept persevering all these years, though; her new single, Future, is such a great tune. We're still curious to hear some of these "really bad pop songs" though... maybe another time, yeah Alice?

A fan of the likes of Jill Scott and Angie Stone, Alice's own music, all self-released on her own label "Sun Face Records", has a soulful, R&B flavour. "I'd describe my sound loosely as R&B, because that's generally what I'm into, and what I end up writing a lot of. But this new single has, I guess, got more of a sort of UK Garage and Pop influence" 

We asked Alice if she thought Manchester has its own sound. "I think if you were gonna look at Manchester from the outside, everybody would just say "Oh, Manchester music, yeah, Oasis". There is a definite sound that come from peoples' accents and there's that Indie / Rock type vibe that has been Manchester's sound for a while," she said. She talked about how whilst some of Manchester's most famous bands, the likes of Oasis, Elbow, and the Courteeners, all have that distinctive, easily identifiable Northern, gritty, indie sound, there's much more to Manchester's music scene; other "layers". And really, there's something about Manchester music that carries across any genre. 

"From my experience Manchester musicians really write from the heart. It's not your generic lyrics about, you know, "pimps and hoes"... we don't write about that in Manchester. It's from the heart. People write about real stuff, but they can do it with a good catchy hook and thats what I like about it."

The recent Manchester terror attack, and the phenomenal response from our grieving city, was such an obvious example of how its musical legacy, its "layers" those "real" lyrics and "good catchy hooks" have proven to achieve something truly incredible. "What has come out of that event, musically, is that people were referring to songs that have got real messages about positivity and community, and about being overcomers I guess. Being able to sing a hook, like a little chorus that everyone knows, and having people sing that together has a real impact."

We've all been overwhelmed by the way music united people in the aftermath of something so horrendous. "People were just singing Oasis lyrics, "Don't look back in anger" in front of the Town Hall and out on the streets. I think music is great at bringing people together, there is just something about music that says what you want to say without you having to say it. You can sing it or feel it in the music itself. Music can speak from the heart when you haven't got the words. People leant on that for support, to get hope back again."

   

It's remarkable that out of such a solemn, mournful time for the city, a truly positive, loving response has left us all with a deep sense of hope. This has been particularly inspirational, and moving to witness and be a part of. There's been such a sense of pride in our city of Manchester. The stirring poem from Tony Walsh, "This Is The Place", which he read at the vigil outside the Town Hall left us with goosebumps.

"Manchester people are really good at celebrating the stuff thats come from here. It's a big city but it's not so big that we all lose each other. We're really good at celebrating each other's successes. People are really good at rallying round and supporting each other." Alice sums up.

We asked her if she finds Manchester to be an inspirational place to live, "I think it's very inspirational, all the music and the different events; there's so much going on all the time. I think that people in Manchester are very real. Probably some of the most real people I've ever met are in Manchester, and I write a lot of stuff about people I know or people I've met, so for me there is a lot of inspiration in the city. And also its a very beautiful city to be in I think."

Alice regularly sings and plays at many of the bars and venues across Manchester, but touring with Billy Ocean as his support act for two years running in 2015 and 2016 helped get her some attention from further afield. "That was the first time my band and I really had to do any tour type gigs, so that was really exciting. We got to meet some really great people including Billy himself. And that created a whole load of new opportunities for us, as after that when I released a new EP, BBC Introducing got onto us and they loved the story about us randomly getting onto Billy Ocean's tour." she recalls. "It was really good as it just showed that amazing things can happen from people that aren't a big deal yet. If someone recognises talent or a message that they like then they will go for it." 

And in true Mancunian style, Alice has combined a "message" and a "good catchy hook" in her latest single. Knowing how easily a tune can get lodged in peoples' heads, she wanted to write something positive that would inspire people, and that they would end up singing themselves; something that would affect them and lift their moods. "I generally try to write very positive messages, whatever I'm writing about whether its little everyday things or big themes, I try and give an overall message of hope. The chorus,"I bless this day", was just for people to start their day thinking "this is going to be a good day". Future definitely has that sun-drenched sound of summer. And don't the lyrics fit so perfectly with the mood in our city, and even our nation right now? 

"I bless this day. Let the light in, whatever you're going through. I bless this day. Keep your head up the future is coming soon..." 

We shot these images of Alice next to one of Mateus Bailon's street art murals in Manchester's Northern Quarter

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Made In Manchester Series - Part 1 - The Pilcrow Pub

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

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Born in Manchester, England, our roots are threaded deep into the
creative heart of the cotton city – Cottonopolis itself.
RUN&FELL. Made in England. 

We proudly manufacture and print our garments here in Manchester, the city where the Industrial Revolution began. The city once nicknamed Cottonopolis, home of Britain's cotton industry. A city renowned for its creativity and innovation.

We've decided to feature a few different projects from around Manchester; visionaries who are cultivating their own innovative enterprises; artists and designers creating inventive new visuals; musicians driving the heartbeat of the city.

We're passionate about local people embracing and excelling in their own forms of craft, launching initiatives which have a wider impact for good, and choosing to pursue positivity in their work to inspire others.

In the first part of our Made In Manchester series, we wanted to show you round a project which we felt shared our values entirely; The Pilcrow Pub.

Made In Manchester Series - Part 1 - The Pilcrow Pub

Hidden away in Sadlers Yard, a small square in Manchester which isn't very obvious and isn't very well known, is The Pilcrow Pub. The wooden cabin-like structure, not too dissimilar from an oversized garden shed, sits surrounded by imposing corporate buildings, in the recently regenerated paved square. Maybe it's all the wood, but it's got a very Scandinavian feel to it, with its clean lines and subdued tones.

The Pilcrow Pub

We stumbled across the pub quite by accident, making a detour through a back street. The modern teal and beige hues of the newly laid out square, and the decidedly un-weathered wooden frame really stood out amid the 1970s towers and corporate Victorian architecture. There was definitely a feeling of freshness and expectation about the whole area.

What's really incredible about this place however, is that it's "The Pub That Manchester Built". A group of volunteers assembled and grafted together on the construction, building the, er, building itself. But they didn't stop there. 

Workshops were held over a series of weeks, where locals could sign up to join in and make the furniture, furnishings, and everything inside, even down to the bar itself and the ceramic beer pump handles.

Hand made ceramic barwho doesn't love Baked Goods

Light fittings, chairs, planters, tables. The curved, glossy, yet substantial ceramic tiled edging round the bar. Each one was made by hand by local people. And before you panic, it's all excellent quality; you're not going to fall through one of these handmade chairs, there's nothing flimsy, amateur or "home made" about them. 

The pub sells a variety of local beers and a selection of ales from independent breweries from further afield. Cakes and baked goods are made by a couple of small Mancunian bakeries and the coffee is supplied by a startup coffee roasting company from neighbouring Salford.

inside the Pilcrow Pub hand made chair at the Pilcrow PubHomemade chair Homemade Planter

The project brought people together to learn new skills, meet new faces, and ultimately create something long-lasting and unique. And it continues to do so, by running pub quiz nights, gin tasting events, and DJ sessions (from local DJs of course), seeking to build a sense of community in the middle of what would otherwise be a rather bland, soulless part of the city.

And isn't that what true regeneration is all about? It's not just about making the tired, old, or run-down physical structures and spaces look revitalised and modern, but also about injecting the very life and soul back in.

For further information regarding the Pilcrow Pub and their forthcoming events, visit: http://www.thepilcrowpub.com... See you at the next gin tasting?

 

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The Anchor

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

You might have noticed we don't tend to shy away from political issues; rather that we use them as inspiration for our designs. During the weeks of running our Chelsea pop up shop, we decided to tackle something that we felt needed talking about.

The refugee crisis is something massive that can't be ignored. We feel it's being handled somewhat questionably, with some pretty terrible and frankly xenophobic comments issued by the media and our British government. David Cameron is famously reported to have referred to the large numbers of refugees fleeing for their lives rather derogatively as "swarms", and said outright that Britain will be "no safe haven" for these people, who are facing such horrific situations.

We decided to communicate a message that challenges Cameron's response. When peoples' lives are at stake, with children drowning in the Mediterranean as they flee their homes, how can we turn a blind eye?

Our Anchor T-shirt design is a symbol of hope. The anchor represents safety; a "safe haven" even. It speaks of the bravery of the many who have journeyed across the sea to find safety here in Europe, and acts as a poignant reminder of those who didn't make it. 

With a nod to the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and welcome to thousands of refugees arriving at Ellis Island, we incorporated a lantern in our design. Our heart behind the design echoes the sentiments of this poem, describing the Statue of Liberty and all she stands for: 

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

                 - Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus"

 

We designed the print, and cut it out to make a stencil. We cut fabric and made a bunch of t-shirts in the shop window on our vintage machine, and printed them downstairs in the shop basement using traditional screen printing methods with the stencil.

We have a small number of pieces left, so if you'd like to get your hands on one of these very limited edition pieces, do take a look in our online store.

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Don't Shoot.

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

This is our reaction to recent world events. The hunting and killing of Cecil the lion has caused (no pun intended) major uproar; we think this shooting is ridiculous. We hate the fact that Cecil was shot. It was a pointless act.

But we are painfully aware that there are even worse crimes against human life taking place across the globe. And we wanted to communicate a message through this limited edition design, made and printed in our Chelsea Pop Up shop.

With a nod to the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan and logo adopted by people angered by the 7th January 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre in France, we wanted to create a statement t-shirt which embodied our interpretation of the world around us. 

And our message is this: DON'T SHOOT. 

Enraged by the events we read about and see on our television screens, be it the events in the USA in Ferguson, the Charleston shooting, the Tunisian beach massacre, or the genocide brought about by ISIS, to mention just a few, we wanted to communicate a message of peace.

All life is precious. So when we say "Je Suis Cecil", (in English, "I am Cecil") we are calling for a greater respect for life. 

The t-shirt was our most popular "design of the day" which we made and printed in-store in the pop-up shop. We proudly displayed it in the shop window, and had customers stopping on the street, and coming in the shop having seen it whilst travelling past on the bus.  

 

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Chelsea Pop Up

Posted by Naomi Jackson on

We launched our first pop-up shop in Chelsea, with a unique concept. As well as selling current RUN&FELL stock, we offered customers the opportunity to purchase a T-shirt made especially for them, in-store. 

With a vintage overlocker sewing machine in the shop window, a cutting table and a roll of organic cotton jersey, and a print-making area set up in the shop basement, we developed a new design each day, which would only be available to order that day.

The shop had some great reviews, was featured on Sky news, and our customers were really intrigued by their in-store shopping experience. After an amazing few weeks of selling through our own pop-up boutique, we look forward to opening something a little more permanent in the near future!

 

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