I made the trip to Barnsley last week to interview Rita Britton about her clothing brand Nomad Atelier.
Rita was for many years the owner, designer and muse of the legendary Pollyanna shop in Barnsley, bringing labels such as Jean Muir, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto to the North, although customers came from all over the UK and indeed the globe.
She closed Pollyanna in 2014 after having both a stroke and a heart attack, and you’d have thought that was that, but it seems you really can’t expect Rita to retire.
So she soon returned to high fashion retail, now concentrating solely on Nomad Atelier, in the Tobacco Warehouse just around the corner in George Yard, restoring a dilapidated Georgian storage house into a beautiful contemporary space, with a cafe on the ground floor, then on the upper floors a showroom for Nomad Atelier and a gallery for contemporary artists and craftspeople.
Currently exhibiting there is Dyehouse, the Huddersfield based design company which offers statement furniture and homewares evolving from the residential projects of ONE17 Architects and Interior Designers. The fire pit that Rita is sitting beside is £595, which I think is a brilliant price for a such a striking and useful work of art. Prices for the log stores start at £300 and the wooden tree trunk stools from £350.
There are also paintings in the gallery at very affordable prices, and plenty other beautiful home accessories and objets. Well worth a visit.
As is the cafe, called Quintessential Kitchen, where Rita and I had lunch. The food is amazing, beautifully sourced, cooked and presented (I had goat’s cheese tart and salad) and it’s a lovely place. It’s clearly become a much-loved meeting place in Barnsley, and no wonder.
Nomad Atelier clothes are, quite simply, wonderful. But I’ll write about them another time, once I’ve written my fashion feature for the paper.
Meanwhile, find out all about the gallery, Quintessential Kitchen and Nomad Atelier here: http://www.nomadatelier.co.uk/