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J'AIME MARCH 2020

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come back next week with some new designs.”After teaching herself to crochet, Gill started a lineof crochet dresses which proved to be immenselypopular.“I couldn’t keep up the pace, I was forevercrocheting!” laughs Gill. “The owner of oneboutique I made stuff for had been a croupier at acasino in Edgbaston and she knew singers in groups,so she used to get me orders from them.“I developed the crochet business; I started withberets, which I still do now, and I used to sell themfor a pound. I could sell loads of them, and back inthe early Sixties a pound was a lot of money!“I came up with other ideas, like crochet halterneckjumpsuits with bootcut legs, and when hotpantsbecame a thing I did them, and these little tops withfringes that hung off the arms. I was forever comingup with new designs and I just kept making andselling to lots of shops.”Suddenly, the designs which had seemed sooutlandish just a few short years previously hadbecome the defining styles of the decade.Gill and Del married in 1966, and continued theirreign as pioneers of style throughout the Sixties andbeyond. As one of the foremost experts on Mod style,Gill has featured in numerous books on the subject,notably Sawdust Caesars by Tony Beesley, whichchronicles Mod subculture throughout the decadesand features an iconic shot of Gill in one of herGILL WITHHUSBAND STUARToriginal designs on the back cover.After diversifying her design skills over the yearsinto bridalwear and prom designs - Gill ran her ownbridal and promwear shop, Gill Evans Designs, inFour Oaks for many years - about ten years ago,she decided to set up her ModTogs label, bringingback her original Mod designs and creating newcollections based around sketches from the Sixties.“There’s still a huge market for original Sixties style,”says Gill. “ModTogs’ core look is simply, classicstyling - the original Mod style.”As immersed in Mod culture as ever, Gill is a firmfixture at prestigious Mod events around the countryand beyond, and has a following which spans theglobe. After the death of her first husband - andMod inspiration - Del, Gill even found love againthrough the Mod scene, meeting Stuart at a big Modweekender in Brighton in 2014.A second-generation revivalist Mod, 55-year-oldStuart was into the more underground aspects ofthe scene so was unaware of Gill’s influence as theOriginal Mod Girl - until he spotted her on a TVprogramme about Mods.Bumping into her at the Brighton weekenderhe introduced himself, and the couple hit it offimmediately, with Stuart making the journey fromhis hometown of Ipswich to visit Gill in the Midlandsbefore making the move permanently.The couple tied the knot in 2015 - Gill, naturally,wearing one of her own designs - and now Stuarthelps Gill with the ModTogs business, making hisown line of accessories, which he ships around theworld.As a proud alumnus of Moseley Art School - nowrefurbished and reopened in 2018 as the MoseleyCommunity Hub following its closure in the 1970s- Gill’s alumni board telling her story has prideof place among those of other celebrated formerstudents, including Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriterChristine McVie, advertising guru Trevor Beattieand artist and IKON Gallery founder DavidPrentice.And even after six decades in the industry, Gill hasno plans to retire.“I just love it; the style, the events, the friendships - Ilove it all,” she says. “I think I have survived in theindustry because what I do is a niche thing, andpeople still love the look.“I’m proud to be the Original Mod Girl, and part ofMod culture history.”For more information about Gill’s designs, findModTogs on Facebook and Instagram.8

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