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Mrs Lang on Moving to Deal, Making Friends & Creativity .


Sea Wall Deal in Kent. Mrs Lang , looking down at  her phone with dog on lead whilst a by stander takes a photo .
Sea Wall Deal - Roni & Lulu

Have you like me ever wondered what it would be like to "up sticks" and move away to start a new life by the sea?

When my friend Roni and her Husband John moved to Deal I was really excited to see how they would get on. It seemed doubly brave to me as they moved durning lockdown and took on a High Street shop.

John Lang , man standing outside shop in Deal High Street, Kent . Shop windows are covered over while the shop is being renovated.
John Lang during renovations : Feb 2021

I chatted to her this week while she pinned and stitched a jacket to find out how things are going as she recently celebrated her 2nd Anniversary of opening the shop.

Embelished Jacket hanging on doorway of  cream country cottage kitchen .
The Kent country cottage Roni sold to move to Deal

What made you leave the Countryside?

"I was bored " she replies in a weary tone.

" We didn't make a lot of friends, I had my Neighbour, Nana, she was amazing but we needed to move.

It's been incredible, I made more friends in the first month than in 9 years in the countryside".


Mrs Lang in recycled kantha jacket at home with herTibetan Terrier , Lulu
Roni in Lisa Taylor Design jacket at home with Lulu

Did having a dog help you make friends?

She laughed . "Deal is full of dogs and Dogs are Deal ! Yes, but if you move here and don't have a dog you will make friends anyway ".


What made you buy a shop in Deal ?

"We didn't plan on buying a shop at all.

We were looking in the Conservation Area but the houses have steep staircases, which we had in our previous cottage. We didn't want another like that. It took a while to find a place to live. Finally we found this shop in the High Street, it was just perfect".

John and Roni moved in late January 2021, and immediately began to get the shop ready for opening.

She explained "the lockdowns were a blessing in a way, it meant we could get the work done in the shop to get ready to open. It took four months".

Roni and John are both originally from London. Roni is a St Martins trained fashion designer and John an electrical engineer and photographer.

Mrs Lang in front of sculpture in London . Wearing customised vintage jacket and camouflage bag of her own designs .
Roni in London wearing of her own designs .

When people ask her about moving she says " We went from grey to green to blue". She elaborated further, "I always say to people we moved from the grey of London, to the green of the Countyside to the blue of the Coast".

How's life in Deal?

"It's brilliant, I am having the best time I have ever had in my life since moving here .

I am doing this new thing, so different from what I was doing before. Designing the clothes that I want to design, rather than working for someone else and creating to their brief , and sharing my shop with two of my friends Lisa Taylor Designs and Shellie-May Vintage. It's amazing, however nothing is easy! "

Woman sketched in shop with vintage haberdashery cabinets and vintage customised  jacket .
Sketch by Roni Lang

She goes on to add "Yes, now I have a beautiful shop, lots of friends, life's great, but sometimes I panic.

The first year of trading was good, retail was for everyone, as people came out after being stuck at home and wanted to treat themselves. Things have slowed down now though. The biggest day for sales is a Saturday when the DFL's (Down from London) Folks arrive into town. The pressure is on to get stock made and ready for the rails each week".

Sewing Workshop with vintage pictures on wall.Vintage sewing machine, desk and chair . Ironing board and iron to side of shot .
Workshop at back of the shop - Mrs Lang

Roni sells vintage jackets, as well as her own designs. They are all customised with vintage embellishments and fabrics. Each individual design takes hours of work and thought. All jackets are named and put into collections, with names like Lounge Lizards and Prairie as well as her trade mark Camouflage "Golden Shoulder" jacket, her best seller and a permanent feature of all collections.

Vintage Picture of woman in traditional Chinese Dress holding a guitar. Vintage Denim Jacket decorated with Japanese Embroidered Trim .
Sold Vintage denim jacket by Mrs Lang

She laughs as she says "It's like having a show each Saturday to prepare for. One lady brought a whole collection as soon as it went out of 9 jackets, which is great but means we have to get more made up fast !"

Since she arrived she has thankfully found a brilliant team of machinists who help get the jackets to the rails. These include Annie the ex Chelsea It Girl" who is also a designer and brings her experience as well as a 'to die for' collection of vintage trimmings and fabrics which she shares with Roni.

Roni explains "Deal is full of creative people; designers; illustrators; film makers; and writers. This place is amazing, there is so much inspiration all around. I am now like a hermit, I don't like leaving Deal".

Mrs Lang and Shelli May Vintage shopping in London Portobello Road Market .
Roni and Shellie- May Vintage - Portobello Road Market London shopping

Is there anything you miss about your life before ?

"Exhibitions! I miss going to London for the Exhibitions at the V&A and RA. I used to love going to see things like my favourite Lucien Freud, but they come round again and again. Like fashions and trends, they come and go.

I do still get to London, it's 1hr 20 on the train. I like to go to Portobello and stock up on goodies, like old blankets, for coats, vintage trimmings and tapestries. I just have to take bigger carrier bags now I go less often.

I still love London, but it's not the end of the world. There is so much going on here, since we have been here we've seen lots of new things arriving, like new galleries opening".

Woman and Man on beach in Deal in Kent , holding hands in Designer Jackets by Mrs Lang Design. Woman has grey hair in quiff style with glasses , and vintage fabric long jacket with stripe on arm . Man has white short hair and beard and sunglasses . Wearing vintage demin jacket with embellishments on back  and white jeans. Both are wearing  Birkenstock Sandals. The beach is pebbled
Roni and Kenny on the beach at Deal in her designs

Roni is passionate in her belief that older people are of value in creative roles.

" I am very aware that companies often don't like to employ older designers , but we have so much to offer. With age comes all that experience that they really are missing out on. I am actually more creative now than I have ever been. It's not the ideas that are the problem, it's keeping up the energy levels ! "

Deal Conservation Area row of houses in Middle Street . Old fashioned gas style street lantern .
Deal Conservation Area.

Lastly I ask for the up and downsides of moving to the coast ?

Ups?

"Lots of creative people to inspire, making new friends and a great social life."

Downs?

"When the weather is bad people hardly go out. Being only a couple of minutes from the seafront it gets very cold and windy durning the Winter. We only open the shop on Saturdays in Jan and Feb."

Lisa Taylor Designs with Mrs Lang in the shop in Deal High Street . Two women in vintage jackets standing together smiling in shop with vintage glassware in Deal High Street, Kent .
Roni Lang and Lisa Taylor Designs in the shop

Roni inspires me and often makes me smile with her antics on Instagram. These include regular dance routines at the shop with customers and friends roped in for the laughs too !

You can follow all goings on Instagram or maybe take a trip to Deal to say hello.

You can find out more about Lisa Taylor who shares the shop with Toni from her website

Or Shellie-May Vintage

I have written a blogpost on a Day Trip to Deal

Or you can see the Visit Kent site for more information on Deal






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