John is a co-founder of the Festival of Thrift along with Stella Hall and Red or Dead creators Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. The festival is a free, family focused, community event which attracts around 45,000 people each year and in 2015 won the Observer Ethical Award.
John has spent much of his career assembling and running project professional teams and attracting commercial customers to Marchday’s schemes. He has worked extensively with Artists to transform peoples’ perception of place through the use of art. Most notable large scale projects are Ron Haselden’s ‘Rose’ at Marchday’s CNE building in Middlesbrough and Christian Barnes & John Kennedy’s ‘Futurescope’ at Lingfield Point. John is a firm believer in the hard, commercial value of art in the reinventing process.
In response to Government funding cuts John chaired Darlington Council’s Arts Enquiry Group looking at how ‘Art’ could be delivered by community groups in the absence of central funding. He has given lectures in Placemaking, Commercial Regeneration and Customer Service.
John is a Director of Albion Incorporated and last year staged Waking the Giant, an event showcasing Lost Craft and Folklore at Fort Burgoyne in Dover.
She was Festival Director of Preston Guild 2012 and in 2013 became freelance undertaking a range of projects from programming Salford Quays to becoming a Canny Creative for the British Council. She has directed Festival of Thrift the National Festival of Sustainability since its outset in 2013, and is most proud that In 2020 it won the People, Environment, Achievement Award, for its digital and hyperlocal Festivals under lockdown.
Stella is a board member of Redcar Town Deal, D6:EU (Cyprus) Queen Mary University, London and Rosie Kay Dance.
She is a committed internationalist and has advised and learnt from cultural organisations in Eastern Europe, India, China, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Alongside producing and place shaping consultancies she regularly mentors younger professionals in the cultural sector
Wayne Hemingway MBE
Wayne was born in 1961 and grew up in Morecambe, a typical British seaside town. Perhaps not the most appropriate surroundings for one of Britain’s most acclaimed designers, but then again, being appropriate was never Wayne’s strong suit.
Wayne’s earliest memories are of his mum and nan dressing him up as Elvis, a Beatle or Tarzan, then either parading him up and down Morecambe pier* or being held aloft in a wrestling ring by his dad, costume still intact. (For those that don’t know, Wayne’s dad is Billy Two Rivers, a Red Indian and the World Heavyweight Champion at the time.) These early modelling stints went some way towards influencing a childhood full of style, culture and reinvention – plus a few blue suede shoes.
After spending most of his childhood in Blackburn, a young and multicultural Hemingway left school with ten O-Levels and four A-Levels. In 1979 he made another inappropriate decision for a future designer and gained a degree in Geography and Town Planning at University College, London. Whoops.
But it was his most inappropriate move of all that sealed his fate forever. One bright day in 1981, Wayne nicked his and childhood sweetheart (now wife) Gerardine’s rent money to buy practice space for the band he then played in*. To recoup the cash, he emptied their wardrobes, which were full of handmade and vintage clobber, and flogged the contents on Camden Market. It went outrageously well, and the realisation that money could be made from fashion suddenly dawned.
Alongside Gerardine, Wayne built Red or Dead into a globally-celebrated label and, after 21 consecutive seasons on the catwalk, sold it in a multi-million-pound deal. In 1999, fresh from the sale of Red or Dead, Wayne and Gerardine embarked on a new adventure: HemingwayDesign. And the rest, they say, is history.
Other than his BSc degree in Geography and Town Planning (which, surprisingly, have become very useful!), Wayne spent 6 years as a Design Council Trustee Board and having been with CABE for a decade since its inception (as Chair of Building For Life), has been a Mayors London Leader and currently supports the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan as a Design Advocate. He is an advisor to House of Commons Select Committees on coastal regeneration, got an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list of 2006, is a Professor in The Built Environment Department of Northumbria University, a Doctor of Design at Wolverhampton, Lancaster and Stafford, and an Honorary Fellow of Blackburn College, the University of Cumbria and Regents University. (Just call him Prof, Doc, Doc, Doc Wayne Hemingway MBE, BSc, MA, Esquire.)
* We know where the photos are hidden…
Gerardine Hemingway MBE
Born in 1961 in Padiham, Lancashire, Gerardine immersed herself in the ever-changing fashions of the 70s and made all of her own clothes. In doing so, she paved the way for one of Britain’s best-loved fashion brands to take flight.
In 1981 she met her future husband, Wayne, in Burnley’s Angels Disco, and they moved to London together a year later. After setting up Red or Dead on Camden and Kensington Market, Gerardine designed, stitched and sold her first collection from a 180 square foot stall. Within a week of opening, she received her first order from Macy’s, New York, and a global business was born.
As well as bringing Red or Dead to life, Gerardine raised four children, and it’s the Hemingways’ home, the highly acclaimed modernist, family-friendly building that she created in 1997, which launched her new career within interiors and building design.
Now, having sold Red or Dead and founded HemingwayDesign, you can see Gerardine’s handiwork across our entire architectural and product portfolio, including The Staiths South Bank, a 750 property mass market housing project on Tyneside for Taylor Wimpey Homes, the much publicised Workplace, and IOD at 123, the new wing for the Institute of Directors, and many, many more.
In June 2006, Gerardine was awarded a MBE for services to design in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, and has a Doctorate from Plymouth Uni, Lancaster Uni, Stafford and Regents University. Not bad for a lass that left school at 15, eh?
Join our Board
DO YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THE NEXT EXCITING STAGE OF THE JOURNEY FOR FESTIVAL OF THRIFT CIC?
We continue to want to host the best possible large scale free gathering each year to celebrate and share sustainable living, as we build our year-round programme and establish ourselves more deeply in Redcar. And we therefore need more diverse voices, more expertise, and more energy to make it all happen!
As we consolidate our organisation and take on staff on a more formal payroll basis, we are looking to expand the small Board of first Directors of our community interest company to more fully reflect the communities in which we work and to help us in our strategic development. This is an important moment of change for us and a great time to welcome new people on board.