It’s been well over a year since the M&S on Broadmead closed its doors for good. But most of us probably still have some clothing items knocking around our wardrobes from the department store. You might not be able to return them anymore, but what if you could swap them? Sparks, Bristol’s new arts and sustainability hub, opened recently (May 13) and comes with its own Swop Shop.
Taking over the old Marks & Spencer’s building, Sparks (get it?) aims to create a “vibrant, positive venue where local people, visitors and fashionistas alike can shop, recycle and explore what a greener, fairer and creative future could look like.” It will team up with the creators of Sustainable Fashion Week to create a fashion department store with a difference.
Fans of Sustainable Fashion Week will already be familiar with its Swop Shop which has travelled across Bristol and popped up at Valley Fest. It allows the public to bring up to five garments and swap them for five new-to-you pieces to make fashion and consumption greener and more pocket-saving friendly. Sparks’ fashion department will also feature fashion retail, alterations and a repair cafe. Plus weekly pop-ups, free sewing resources to take away and sewing kits for mending on the go.
The creative space will let the public showcase and sell their own sewing and tailoring skills to the community. Some of the sustainable brands on display at Sparks include Daines Atelier, Campervan Vintage, Clothemod and Salvaged. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm, essentially Sparks is about to become a one-stop shop for sustainable fashion.
“We’re over the moon to be joining Sparks and curating the fashion department,” said Sustainable Fashion Week founder, Amelia Twine. “There’s a real buzz in the slow-fashion movement and this opportunity to align the ethos of SFW with the creative community at Sparks is a dream for us.
With such an integral city-centre location in an iconic building, it’s a great way for us to reach and engage with even more people and just have an amazing time in what will be a collaborative, communal space with regenerating, re-wearing, repurposing and reconnecting at its core.”
The annual Sustainable Fashion Week will also return to Bristol on September 25 to October 8, 2023. For more information about the event head here.
What else is at Sparks?
It’s not all about fashion at Sparks though. As Bristol’s new arts and sustainability hub, you’ll find a range of services. This department store with a difference, co-created by Global Goals Centre and Artspace Lifespace, also offers everything from food to nature to energy. Each department is designed to support local people in Bristol to take easy and money-saving actions on climate, equality and well-being.
You can support sustainable incredible indie businesses at the Gift Shop (run by the team behind Mila Plants); discover sustainable travel initiatives or get your bike fixed with Dr Bike at the Travel Agency; or take some time from shopping on Broadmead to explore the Sparks Garden! Elsewhere, you can discover energy-saving initiatives, purchase upcycled/recycled household items, and eat sustainable, local food.
Honestly, there’s so much to find in this massive store with a huge range of shops, installations, events and more. Upstairs you’ll also find a hub for local artists, offering affordable studios, rehearsal and performance space. To learn everything Sparks is up to head to its website here.
Find Sparks in the old M&S building at 78 Broadmead, Bristol, BS1 3DS.