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Guts For Garters

The new concept store in an old Victorian butcher’s in Camden mixes curiosity shop artefacts and art gallery items with clothing pieces

Rachel Chudley and Cassie Beadle are the founders behind Guts for Garters, a unique new store in Camden. As former students of the Courtauld Institute, they were concerned with creating a space that was curated and ran under three alternating themes a year. They will open under the concept of ‘The Royal We’ and those involved in the first installment include: Child of the Jago, Le Gun, Keith Coventry, Jamie Reid and rare pieces from the Vivienne Westwood archive. Dazed Digital met up with the founders to find out more.

Dazed Digital: How did the concept for Guts for Garters first come about?
Cassie Beadle:
We met at the Courtauld Institute and have an academic background in the history of art. Yet we have always gravitated towards other creative fields, I wanted to do Fine Art and Fashion, whilst Rachel was interested in design. When we left the Courtauld we were expected to become teachers, but we wanted to go in another direction. We had an interest in vintage clothing but we didn’t want to neglect the academic skills that we had developed during our studies.

We liked this idea of forging links between things and this is something we wanted to develop, then we decided that we wanted to create a store that was curated and was focused around themes. Essentially we wanted to get people excited about clothing in a different context. We wanted to work with long lasting things; collectable items from the past with pieces we hope will become collectables in the future.

DD: You have described it as a curiosity shop that operates like a concept store…
Rachel Chudley:
Yes and we are functioning a bit like a gallery in that we are going to work under these very specific themes. There will be three different themes a year and we are opening with ‘The Royal We’. We have split up the theme in to four different sections: the public, the private, the anti-Royal and the pro-Royal. It will be a mixture of old and new and we have collected artists from a really broad scope. They have all either responded to the theme in their own way or we have specifically picked them because they fit the brief.

DD: Were you conscious of having a balance between established and emerging artists?
Rachel Chudley:
Yes, definitely. We have also specifically chosen people who work well together. I think we wanted to prove that an established artist can work with somebody that is up and coming. They don’t have to be separated and we feel they enhance each other. It is also great to know that people who are more established want to work with other artists. It is so exciting in that sense.

DD: How did you go about selecting everyone involved?
Cassie Beadle:
Somehow it morphed into the monster that it is. It started off with Martha Todd, whose work I personally admire. She then suggested the work of Jonny Briggs and suddenly other artists began approaching us. What has been amazing for Rachel and I, is that people have been genuinely inspired by our brief. That’s what Guts for Garters is, it is about the collaboration and the people.

DD: Finally, what will run after ‘The Royal We’?
Rachel Chudley:
The second theme is ‘Surreal Women’ and we have lined up some very exciting people including Craig Lawrence and Terry de Havilland. The last theme of the year will be ‘Anatomy’ and we have some great performance artists involved.

Guts for Garters opens on 10th March, 205 Royal College Street, London