A TOUCH of designer class has been brought to Barnstaple by a woman with a working history which would make any fashionista green with envy.
Alessia Sheldon, who lives in Instow, has recently opened the Re:store charity shop in Boutport Street supporting North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA).
But before moving to North Devon nine years ago, Alessia cut her fashion teeth by working her way up through the ranks and becoming a personnel manager at none other than Giorgio Armani.
Based in London, Alessia spent five years learning about luxury fashion and retail management before going on to manage Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden.
From here Alessia worked with Sir Terence Conran for another five years putting her hand to interior design, helping to set up The Great Eastern Hotel in London.
It is this combination of fashion knowledge and interior design Alessia has put to use to transform a formerly dusty, empty shop in Barnstaple into a fun, quirky clothing shop selling items which feel less second hand and more upcycled.
"I wanted to make it an interesting and open space so it had a fresh and fun feel," said Alessia. "Charity shops do not all have to look the same.
"I also wanted to open it up to younger people as they often turn their noses up at charity shops."
Alessia said all the clothing is of a high quality, having been approved by her personally before being steamed, priced and put out on the shop floor.
"I go through everything before it goes on the shop floor," she said. We have fairly stringent policies. We have some amazing backers of the charity who have given us some amazing quality items."
The shop features a rail of slightly higher priced designer items that have been hand picked by Alessia.
A lot of the furniture in Re:store has also been recycled, including the front desk which used to form part of the oldcounter when Bristol and West occupied the shop.
"All these things are great but they are all for one purpose and that is to engage people with NDADA," said Alessia.
"I went into this with only one possible outcome and that was success. This has been my favourite project so far."
Alessia said the next step is to combine her love of fashion and catering by opening another NDADA shop incorporating a cafe.
For more information search for Restore-Charity-Shop on Facebook.