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Blue Mountains Tourist : Autumn 2011
quality new Australian-owned labels, such as Queen, featuring individual designs and fantastic detailing for women of all shapes and sizes. At the other end of the spectrum, there's a modern, cuttting-edge look with with labels such as Manque and Ataya, also Australian-made and with plenty to choose from here. If after accessories, beautiful Kirsten Ash designs featuring pieces with resin and brass and a distinctive vintage feel, go well with many of the clothes on offer. Across from here in the newly revamped Civic Centre is Shermann and Betty (Shop 9 Town Centre arcade) owned by Anton Curnow and Juliet Green. The photo at the start of this article shows Juliet with one of their courier style bags made from reclaimed materials. Shermann and Betty specialises in clothing and accessories crafted in Australia from ethical fibres such as organic cotton, as well as handmade hats from vintage fabrics and handmade children's toys. Another interesting label in their shop is Otto & Spike, with scarves made from surplus yarn. "Adapting, reusing, salvaging and recycling" is their motto. Heading down Katoomba Street, Mountain Style Clothing with soya and bamboo fibre shirts, trousers, undies, socks and varied clothing items is worth a look, as is After-A Fashion Recycled Clothing and Retro, always with eye-catching window displays and another shop supporting Presbyterian Social Services. Okay, so The Hattery doesn't have recycled hats, but it is one of the biggest hatteries in Australia and stocks a diverse range, including the all-important beanies and woollen hats, de rigeur when the cold winds blow, and a limited stock of ethical fibre hats. Near The Hattery is the Anglicare Shop, managed by Stephanie deVasquez, containing recycled, preloved and donated (new) clothing. There's also an extensive range of children's clothing and the all-important accessories for fashionistas, such as jewellery, bags and shoes. The Anglicare Shop has partnerships with the local parish offering services to the community -- another good reason to support this store. Feeling like a coffee? Take your pick from one of the many cafés and restaurants in the precinct for coffee or something more substantial and make sure you go up Halfpenny Lane to the much-loved Blue Mountains Food Cooperative, where good food doesn't cost the earth. Mingle with the locals on Tuesdays -- which is Soup Kitchen Day here -- operated by Sid Stolk from Lushious Gourmet Vegetarian Catering. In Waratah Street, Very Fashion will excite fashionistas. Described by owner Helen Mountford as "fun, funky and fabbo" and "recycled, rescued or rare", there are also great accessories, lots of colour and intricate, locally-made felted shawls and other local crafts. Helen also makes bags from vintage fabric and baby wear. Duck down to St Vincent de Paul in the same street stocking clothing for men, women and children, accessories and lots of other items. Admire the Reverence Mural in this location done by local artists to commemorate the Year of Tibet 2006. How about a change of pace as you go to the other side of Katoomba, away from the Central strip and yes, it is all accessible on foot. Blue Mountains Cancer Help Op Shop in Whitton Street (off Camp Street) has a wealth of clothing, in a spacious shop and all clearly marked. Unusual and one-off clothing can be found here -- and good labels. Fashionistas will experience the 'feel good factor' in abundance while they shop here as this charity was established to provide support for local residents who have been diagnosed with cancer, helping to fund support groups, complementary therapies, a buddy system and assistance with transport. On your way back to central Katoomba, go to The Handy Store, corner of Victoria Street and Camp Street. Yes, the traditional corner store is back! Purchase something to take with you as you wander a little further down Victoria Street to the Blue Mountains Community Gardens. Get a little dirt on your hands and do a spot of gardening, mingle with the locals, meditate a while and walk the labyrinth, smell the herbs and meander through the apple arch, admiring the wide variety of heirloom apple trees as you go. Find a quiet corner for a picnic lunch, perhaps. Afterwards, take a S L O W stroll back up to Katoomba Station to catch the train for the fashionistas' last stop -- Blackheath. The original railway platform at Blackheath opened in December 1869. The mural on the eastern end of the building depicting bushranger Govett with sacks of gold was painted in 2004 by Vernon Treweeke. Fashionistas should visit Ravir Boutique, specialising in clothes for men and women, and manufactured from hemp, bamboo, and alpaca silk, for example. The clothing is produced with the welfare of the environment in mind and this shop also supports local artisans. Two other shops here specialise in recycled, pre-loved goods -- Chic But Not Shabby, good for collectables, accessories, decorative items, and Margarita's, for funky clothing, 60/70s linen and bric-a-brac. The Victory Theatre, containing an extensive range of antiques and collectables as well as interesting clothing, has a café in front, famous for all-day breakfasts, with the menu changing daily. Another popular eating place for locals is Mementos, featuring ricotta tarts, mezze plate, Hungarian goulash and other creative fare. Don't forget to go over the railway line to the Vinnie's located in Station Street. Slow Food is an international non-profit association formed in 1989 as a response to the standardising effects of fast food and the 'fast life'. There are now thousands of members in over 100 countries, divided into local focus groups called, convivia, of which Slow Food Blue Mountains is just one. To join, tap into local events for find out more about Slow Food Blue Mountains email firstname.lastname@example.org You can also visit the Slow Food Blue Mountains website www.slowfoodbluemountains.com.au Cittaslow (Italian for Slow City) is derived from the Italian Slow Food Movement, whose principles are based on using local, seasonal produce, supporting small producers and restoring time-honoured methods of production. There are around 100 Cittaslow towns in the world, mostly in Europe. Goolwa in South Australia and Katoomba Blue Mountains are the first in the Southern Hemisphere. Cittaslow towns take the time to identify what is important and special about their town and region and then implement strategies to preserve these unique qualities. A current major ongoing project for our region is a Cittaslow-created A KITCHEN GARDEN IN EVERY BLUE MOUNTAINS' HOME, with our goal of most residents producing their own leafy, green vegetables within 5 years. Essentially, Cittaslow is all about creating a great quality of life that brings benefits to the community. For further information on Cittaslow, visit www.cittaslow.org.au or email email@example.com Did you know that what is considered to be the largest private collection of vintage clothing in Australia --- the Darnell Collection --- belongs to a local Blackheath woman, Charlotte Smith? Find out more at www.darnellcollection.com Janice Stone at Linen and Lace in Glenbrook Very Fashion and the Reverence Mural, Katoomba From Dawn Wigg's art clothing Rare Birds at Wentworth Falls www.bluemountainstouristnewspaper.com.au autumn 2011 30