Happy and Sustainable : the Christmas Spirit in Shoreditch! 2018

Tackle climate change and support the local economy with positive shopping this Christmas

Blue Patch is lighting up a Shoreditch high street for just one week with the UK’s very first Sustainable Department Store where visitors can buy directly from the finest British brands, join creative workshops, be pampered, solve burning environmental issues and get social. Ethical shopping made simple – and just in time for Christmas!  

Blue Patch is on a mission to help tackle climate change and boost the UK’s struggling local economy. Online shopping and rising costs are pushing businesses to breaking point, artisans and SMEs are struggling to reach customers and high street stores are closing down. For quality local brands with slender profit margins, it’s a challenge just to be visible.

The UK economy is decidedly shaky. Add global warming to the mix and our problems seem unassailable.

Blue Patch, a social enterprise, is rising to these challenges. Initially an online platform serving as a ‘collective powerbase’ for 350 businesses: heritage manufacturers, ethical services, social enterprises and artisans from across the British Isles, Blue Patch is now launching its ‘own-brand’ pop-up, the UK’s first Sustainable Department Store. The store will showcase 50 brands and run from 11th to the 16th of December at the Espacio Gallery, nestled in the heart of London’s East End and a stone’s throw from Brick Lane.

‘We want shopping to be social and a great customer experience. In our sustainable department store, customers, climate and community come first.’ says Jane Langley, Blue Patch CEO and Founder.

Shoppers are in for a real treat with quality products rarely available on the high street and several debut brands, giving customers the opportunity to purchase unique, bespoke pieces ‘hot from the workshops’.

A chance to meet the makers and watch demos on how to increase your ethical footprint will help customers to understand how shopping sustainably equals real value, not just for money but for all the positive change it brings.

In true department store style, there will be something for everyone; Brighton-based designers Baines & Fricker are launching a new drinks cabinet, Devon shoemaker RED Shoes will launch a ready to wear brand, you’ll find Tweed clothing by London’s Cock & Bull, McNair’s ‘plasma dry’ shirts from Yorkshire, organic beauty products from the New Forest, Diggle Chocolates from a Cordon Bleu-trained chocolatier, Sally Nencini’s handcrafted toys from Norwich. Bethnal Green-based social enterprise Juta, which trains and employs local women in shoemaking, will be running workshops and local startup Glow’s ‘secretly’ reflective hats will be available in dazzling colours.

And for those stressed out ‘post-work’ people looking for unique gifts, the store is open to 21:00 with music, organic wellbeing and a glass of fizz, we’re making ethical shopping even more effortless.

Visitors can join workshops throughout the week. The daily programme (see timetable below) of in-store events will be gently nudging visitors towards climate friendly actions via enthusiastic experts with ‘can do’ fixes. All this collaborative energy, in a store sparkling with beautiful products and friendly people, sets the scene for a new kind of high street store, one that’s social, entrepreneurial and sustainable too. It’s the power of positive shopping, Blue Patch style!

After the doors close in Shoreditch, customers can still  buy directly from members of the collective via the bluepatch.org website.

Keep a look out for Blue Patch’s next sustainable department store. It’s creative, low carbon, socially engaging and coming to a street near you soon.

Blue Patch is a curated ethical marketplace for sustainable, local and heritage products from the British Isles and beyond including furniture, clothing, gifts, beauty and services such as ethical banks, electric car hire and sustainable printers. Launched in 2014 by Jane Langley, Blue Patch provides a collaborative business network for SMEs and small traders. A triple bottom line social enterprise, 100% of Blue Patch’s income supports members and every penny of the (eventual) surplus will fund renewable energy, conservation and community programmes. Members will vote to redistribute surplus profits. Blue Patch is a new business model designed to flow money back to communities and support projects and enterprises that everyone will benefit from.

When: 11th-16th December 2018

  • Tuesday 11th December: Store open: 10:30 – 18:00. Launch party and Blue Patch Awards: 18:00 – 21:00. (RSVP.)
  • Wednesday 12th, Thursday 13th*, Friday 14th, Saturday 14th December: Breakfast events + store opening  09:00 – 21:00
  • Sunday 16th December 10:30 – 17:00

*Coffee served by the students from the charity Hotel School, winners  of the 2018 Blue Patch Social Impact Award


Espacio Gallery

 159 Bethnal Green Road,

London, E2 7DG


Blue Patch founder and CEO Jane Langley: “Our members are some of the best designers and producers in the country. Because they won’t compromise quality and utilise every second of the day making, artisans and local manufacturers have little resources available to get to customers. Listening to the issues led us to develop our concept department store so the Blue Patch members can showcase their products and get to know each other. This is the first Blue Patch department store on the high street, I’d love to hear from anyone with a shop, we’re a flexible, creative organisation looking for spaces to fill.”

Justin Good at Good + Original: “Getting into retail is very difficult for small independents and with the demise of the traditional department store, a pop-up department store is the way forward. Offering customers something different with low overheads is just what’s needed, with Brexit looming and uncertainty ahead.”

Joanna Hamer, founder and director of social enterprise, Juta Shoes: “We’re excited to be taking part in the Blue Patch Sustainable Department Store. As a small online business, it’s a great opportunity to meet our customers, show our products and tell our story directly to our community. Our shoes are handmade just around the corner from the store in Bethnal Green, supporting marginalised women into work, so it’s the perfect chance to connect our studio to the high street. We’ll also be running weekend reclaimed leather wallet making workshops.”

Emily Lambert, Co-founder of Seedball: “Seedball is so proud to be a member of the Blue Patch collective and a part of its incredible drive to shift people towards local, sustainable shopping habits – we can’t wait to join in the festive department store with our seeds for a bee-autiful Christmas that supports local wildlife too!’

Shopping ethically in the UK has surged with a market value of £81.3bn (Ethical Consumer Markets report 2017). According to Ethical Consumer this is a growth of £40bn since 2008 and it’s the younger generation who are leading the trend. A YouGov survey demonstrated that almost a quarter 24% of respondents said they had bought products in 2017 specifically because of their ethical reputation. See the full report here.


Free and paid for activities include:

  • Boost your Business. Free. Wed 12th.  9:00 – 10:30
  • The  Big Green Breakfast with Refill London. Free. Thurs. 9:00 – 10:30
  • Comfort & Joy on retrofitting. Free. Fri 9:00 – 10:30
  • ‘Move, Breathe and Flow’  Mindfulness and gentle breathing exercises. £7 Sat 9:00 – 10:30  
  • Weekend workshops including Design your own Wallpaper, Wildflower Seedballs and Upcycling Wallets. Timetable and booking
  • Global Impact brands including an installation by Finnish menstrual cup company Lunette and Bluehanded, artisanal natural hand dyed indigo textiles made by an Indigo Master, using a technique which dates back 800 years to the Song dynasty.
  • The award-winning charity Hotel School, which teaches hospitality skills to homeless and vulnerable people, will be serving coffee and sharing a bit of Barista Know-How
  • Pamper nights. Free. Tues – Sat. Late night shopping, fizz, music, massage and socialising.

Store opening times, events schedule and free tickets on eventbrite #BStore18  here.

Images and Lookbooks: Dropbox

More about Blue Patch:

  • BP is the UK’s First POP-UP Sustainable Department Store. In 2016 the concept store piloted in St Barnabas Village Hall in Dulwich, London and achieved 1000 visitors in a day. Find out more: Link.
  • It has over 350 member businesses nationally and is funded by member subscriptions.
  • Blue Patch’s company is limited by guarantee and has no shareholders.
  • BP team of five women and a small dog called Mole work in a house in Herne Hill, London. They also run The Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards. This year’s presentation party will be held on 11th December – the winner of The People’s Prize 2018 is available under embargo on December 11 th 5pm.

Jane Langley | +44 (0)20 7738 7267 / (0)779 272 6842 | jane@bluepatch.org

Twitter: @BluePatchTeam  #BStore18      Instagram: @Blue_Patch  

With thanks to Blue Patch Gold Patrons: Thrive Renewables and Naturesave