Working at Vogue.com for 12 years Abigail Chisman was at the heart of the fashion world.
“When I started working at the website it was before Euro 96 so there were a lot of football forums,” she explains.
“We had to show designers that they should be showcasing their collections online as the high street were ripping off their designs and people were unaware.
“Back then Marc Jacobs was copied a lot but people at the time didn’t know who he was.
“The newspapers could only print two or three images per catwalk show so people really didn’t see the whole picture.”
In 2008 Abigail was on maternity leave when she started to think about sustainable shopping.
“There is a spiral with fashion that people are willing to buy things and chuck them away,” she reveals. “Fashion is a barometer of what is happening culturally, emotionally and politically.
“People say it changes quickly so you have to update your wardrobe every six months but when you look back fashion goes in ten-year cycles, you can look at any decade and pick out the key looks.”
With that in mind during London Fashion Week she held a charity auction selling items not worn anymore by the people at Vogue. It was a success and led to more events and Abigail having her own pop-up shop.
“I would get them free of charge,” she explains. “The landlord would have someone in their property for six months which means they didn’t have any empty spaces in their shopping centres.”
Her last pop-up was a 1,000msq space at Westfield shopping centre.
In March 2019 she opened her first shop in Storrington – Abigail at 36 High Street, which sells secondhand designer items from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, Miu Miu, Prada and John Paul Gaultier.
Abigail says: “I want to show people how to shop sustainably. To make them think about where their clothes come from.
“I think the high street has its place, but what you pay for something, does that mean you are paying the living wage for the person that made it?
“If you invest in something, yes it is a lot of money but the quality is made to last. So the cost per wear works out at being more cost effective in the long run.
“But I do understand not everyone can afford a £2,000 coat.”
The clothes in the shop are all things that Abigail has collected over the years with new pieces being added to the shop each week.
“It is the fashion editor in me putting the collection together.
“I am really loving it as sustainable fashion is something I am passionate about – if you don’t wear or love something any more, sell it or give it away.”
The shop is open Tuesday to Thursday 9.30am until 2.30pm.
“I live in Thakeham so when the shop is closed if someone wants to have a look around they can just give me a call.
“I set those times as I didn’t want to be sat in the shop when I could be at home with my children. I didn’t want to put ‘by appointment only’ as it can be quite daunting for people but if I am nearby I will open up.”
Since opening, Abigail has been overwhelmed and excited by the response in Sussex.
She says: “It is about the environment and your wallet at the end of the day.”
You can find Abigail on Facebook here - www.facebook.com/AbigailStorrington