The Dress Agency CIC

The Dress Agency CIC is like no other clothing store I’ve come across before. I’m going to do you a huge favour and pass on the info about this little diamond of a thrift shop! You’ll be unable to thank me enough if you love high end, good quality labels such as Burberry and Vivienne Westwood at ridiculously low prices. Plus the added bonus is The Dress Agency CIC invests its profits back into the local community, so essentially you’re making the world a better place by shopping! Yay, go you!

 I was enticed into the shop by a window display showcasing an outfit Jackie O or Marilyn would have rocked in their hey day. The handmade salmon pink halter dress, made from fabric printed with ladies in cloche hats, flared beautifully from the waist, complimented by pale pink courts and a fresh white ladies umbrella to battle the turbulent weather. A clever use of colour against the grey backdrop of the looming clouds and slick tarmac. Next to the ensemble sat a pair of black Converse mid boots, a black spotted dress with a draped long-line pink lounge jacket and a popart style handbag, possibly Paul’s Boutique?! I had you at Jackie O, right?

The Dress Agency has expanded massively over the last three years which speaks volumes about how people are shopping for clothes in 2015. The main store compromises three street level rooms with rack upon rack of garments, shoes, handbags and jewelry plus a newly converted basement level that is beautifully designed to show off a huge vintage collection, including feathered hats and gloves against the backdrop of the original Smith fire range, exposed brick and coal chute. Eeeee they don’t make them like that anymore! (must be said in a geordie accent for full effect)

Owner, Leah Hobson was kind enough to explain just how a CIC led business works and allowed me to take a few photo’s of my favourite pieces currently in stock. (Its fair to say we also spent over an hour discussing favourite labels, The Bowes Museum YSL event and why Mulberry changed their design fob from silver to bronze…..I know…random)

  What is a CIC I hear you cry? Its basically a community interest company. Leah invites clients to bring in good quality clothing and accessories which when sold, The Dress Agency takes an agreed cut and reinvests that profit into training and employment opportunities for local people. Leah has connections all over the North of England and provides a friendly service to those seeking specialist items such as prom dresses and 1970’s vintage wedding gowns to original embroidered velour lounge suits (think more Golden Girls and less Juicy Couture).

After trying on every Burberry Mac and Irregular Choice shoe in my size I dragged myself back out onto the Barnard Castle high street. If you live in the North East and love fashion you simply must go visit The Dress Agency. I’ve added more photos to my Inspiration page….you can find them here.

Friends in the North West….we need a Dress Agency all of our own…..who’s with me?! 

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