My first attempt at a ‘Bespoke’ dress was for my school formal back in the mid-80’s, the era of crimped hair and ‘Duran Duran’. I used old copies of the ‘Belfast Telegraph’ to draft my pattern for a strapless black satin dress with a fish tail skirt – VERY ambitious at 17!
After finishing ‘A levels’ off I went to the ‘Big Smoke’ (Belfast) to undertake a course in Fine Art Studies, and it was after this Foundation year that I decided to pursue a career in the ‘ever changing’ world of fashion.
Off I went to attend an interview at Manchester Polytechnic carrying the largest and the heaviest, A1 art portfolio on the tiniest of planes from Belfast City Airport. This was (a few) years before mobile phones and ‘Google maps’ and I did manage to successfully find my way and be offered a place on the Degree Course in Fashion and Textiles. My time in Manchester was amazing! I loved my course, my fellow students and the fabulously talented course tutors! During the three years, which followed I met Paul Jones, Milliner London, visited Fashion Houses in London and Paris and had a drink in the Rovers Return (albeit the replica which was open to the public). I was awarded prizes for designing for local UK companies and interned with Royal wedding dress designers ‘The Emanuels’ and Irish designer Paul Costelloe. I was awarded a 1st Class Honours degree and the ‘Kennett and Lindsell Award’ for 3 Dimensional Pattern Drafting.
Fast forward through the years which included running my own Couture Design Studio in Gilford, designing accurate Historical Costumes for ‘Northern Period Productions’, Edwardian Costumes for both the Titanic Museum and SS Nomadic, Belfast and “Game of Thrones’ costumes for the Official GOT (and award winning) McCombs Coach Tours.
Currently I am a part time fashion tutor at Belfast Metropolitan College. I am also involved in ‘prototyping’ for very varied Innovation Projects in association with BMC, Invest NI and private clients.
In my ‘spare time’ (I use this term loosely) I design and make products under my own brand ‘the pinked edge’.
‘the pinked edge’ evolved quite by accident. My fellow craft obsessed stitch-a-holic Kirsten (or Pixie K) asked me to show her how to make a casual tote bag for work. I provided the guidance and Kirsten made a beautiful reversible canvas tote bag. The first ‘TPE’ tote was born! The requests came flooding in and both Pixie K and myself started a little production line in my parents’ garage. I set up a Facebook page, ‘just for fun’, that was 4 years ago and here I am today!
Thank you for taking the time to read about me. I hope you enjoy ‘the pinked edge’ products as much as I enjoy creating them.