This year we’re catching up with some of Frome’s independent shops and businesses, and this month it’s one of the longest standing independent retailers on Catherine Hill, Assembly. Assembly offers “… a hand-picked selection of British garments, traditional grooming products and interesting objects, with a few continental classics thrown in for good measure.”
We chatted to shopkeeper Antony Hick about training as a designer in the 90s, and how small independents can take on fast fashion.
Tell us a bit about your own background, what led you to set up shop as Assembly?
I studied Fashion Design in London in the mid 1990s. It was an amazing time to start working in the industry, and after graduating I spent several years at Red or Dead working in-store and behind the scenes, catwalk, TV, and magazine styling work. I began my love of independent retail when I moved on to become an Assistant Buyer at Sefton (which is still open today), where my job was to buy accessories cross a 4 store chain.
On the design side I had my own design company designing cutting and making wedding wear.
After moving west I worked for several High St chains before making the move to open Assembly in 2010.
You are one of the longest serving shops on Catherine Hill, how have things changed since you first opened your doors?
I always loved Frome, even before I moved here. It has grown into the most amazing bubble, this is across retail as well as in terms of the local council and community. Just having people such as yourselves at The Frome Independent makes a massive difference! I think Frome is a very unique place.
Tell us about your selection process – what’s in your shop and why?
The providence of a product is the most important thing and something I championed from the start. British design and made, British fabric, Ethical, Recycled, Organic. It can also just look good!
What’s your favourite thing currently available in Assembly?
A printed short sleeve shirt from Kestin Hare in Ochre made from Tencel, one of the most environmentally conscious fabrics you can find, it originates from Eucalyptus wood pulp. Also a pair of digitally printed swim shorts made from a fabric woven using Polyamide from recycled single use water bottles.
Your ethos is all about championing British manufacturing and design – why is this so important to you?
I feel the fashion industry is often ridiculed, but it’s one of the country’s biggest exporters and the stories of the people making your clothes is paramount. More now than ever in the days of fast fashion giants.
And finally, what’s next for Assembly?
Assembly Apparel, my own line of clothing and bespoke products that’s launching next year. AW20 should be really exciting and nerve-racking!
Thanks Anthony! Assembly can be found at number 8 Catherine Hill, and is one of our Market Maker shops, which means you can pop in with your little red card on market days and day in between and get 10% off purchases!