2016 is almost over, so now is the time to take stock of all this years achievements and share some of my highlights with you!
I started the year by taking part in my first fashion show at DISTRKT nightclub in central London! I showed a capsule collection I had designed and made specifically for this show, with other new designers invited by LSE Fashion Society. This was an amazing experience and a great opportunity to show a few of my designs to a new audience!
DSTRKT nightclub in London was an amazing venue for the fashion show, with it's long and narrow dance floor it was a perfect catwalk!
Also in February, I was suprised to be nominated by West Kent Housing Association for the TPAS awards, Tenant of the Year for my entrepreneurship. I went with other nominees in our local area to The Hilton, Wembley to attend the ceremony. I had a fantastic time and I was honoured to be nominated and to get that recognition!
April saw the end of the Womens Enterprise Kent course I took part in, such a shame that it had to finish! I met so many amazing fellow female entrepreneurs aswell as making some new friends. We had various seminars, sometimes in beautiful locations and we learnt about marketing our businesses, financial and business skills.
Which leads me nicely on to tell you about the photographer Jane Mucklow, who I met on the course and who took the stunning new images you can now see on my website. We arranged a photoshoot in a local historical site which made an amazing backdrop for my dresses.
During the spring months I had several clients who wanted bespoke garments made and I worked on four weddings, well actually four mother of the bride/groom outfits which I specialise in. In this capacity I create the bespoke garments from the very beginning, from my design through to the finished garment, working on every stage myself. This one shoulder cape dress was a particular favourite of mine, due to the stunning asymmetric design and it started my wedding season off nicely!
One of the highlights of my wedding season was to work with Deborah Turner, image consultant of You Image Consulting, whose client wanted a bespoke dress designed and made for her son's wedding. As Deborah had already worked with this client, establishing the colour palette for her wardrobe and makeup, it made choosing suitable colours and shades for the dress much easier and so we went on to choose a beautiful mocha coloured embroidered tulle with silk satin lining.
Some of the projects that I work on require my technical support skills, working as a creative pattern cutter and as a seamstress or sample machinist. So in May, I worked with designer and fashion industry consultant Carol Rose, to create her daughter's prom dress that she herself had designed and choosen fabric for. I saw the sketch and knew I would love making this dress, especially as we were using stunning African fabric, silk finishing touches and with an elegant back waterfall detail. This dress was actually made up of 46 seperate components that needed to be sewn together! All the outside pattern pieces had to be placed strategically on the fabric before cutting out in order to make the design of this garment work.
I was also thrilled to be asked by Carol Rose, to take part in a fashion show (my second of the year!) at London's Docklands on the Sunborn Yacht Hotel for a Christian ladies website launch! This was a chance to show off my own designs as well as Carols, we each showed three looks. My garments were Dana my chiffon asymmetric dress, Isobel my two piece cape and layered dress and Oriana my silk satin and leather jumpsuit. This was a fabulous experience for me, plus an education on how to put together a small scale fashion show!
I also had the pleasure of working with a couple of celebrity clients during the summer months, one of whom was Joan Collins, no not the one from Dynasty, but Gemma Collins' mum from TOWIE! Joan commissioned me to make most of her holiday wardrobe as she was taking a special holiday in August. Joan loves unusual fabrics and sometimes bold colours and although the dress styles were quite simple, Joan wanted to be creative with them by mixing the colours and textures of fabrics in a unique way. Some fabrics we used were from remnants from Joans' previous projects, but used as part of new dresses we created. Not only does Joan enjoy experimenting with the fabrics and trimmings, she also likes to make good use of eveything that is available to her so that nothing is wasted. This was a new challenge for me and taught me a lesson in upcycling!
To round the year off nicely, Carol Rose ask me to work with her on another exciting project, the grand final of the Miss Caribbean UK 2016 pageant, positively promoting the Caribbean. Carol collaborated with award winning hair salon owner Anastasia Chikezie to create the Chikezie-Rose collection for the event. The designers bought some amazing heritage fabrics and sketched out their initial ideas. I worked again in a technical support role for this design collaboration as creative pattern cutter and seamstress. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend this spectacular event and look forward to seeing it grow in future years!
It made my evening when one out of the two beautiful ladies wearing the dresses I made, Cheniel Henderson, won second runner up prize overall! (seen here on the right)
Some of the carnival costmes for the first section of the pageant were laid out in the dressing room and of course I couldn't help but take a photograph of these!
The beauty pageant marked the end of a fantastic year for me and there was plenty more to tell. I would like to say a massive thank you to all my clients from this past year and for all the advice and support I have recieved from various individuals and organisations. Next year I look forward to growing the ready to wear side of the business, desingning evening wear pieces, which needs to be nurtured too! I hope to see many new clients booking for bespoke garments to be made and the technical support side of my business. Look out for further new developements and have a creative 2017!
Carol Rose firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Turner www.youimageconsultancy.co.uk
Jane Mucklow http://www.janemucklowphotography.co.uk/