How I got Started
I have always wanted to work in Fashion. My mother thought it was time to have a chat on Career Options when I was about 10 years old….like who knows what they want to do at that age??? Not many mate!
I thought to myself…who makes a lot of of money ooh I know;
” A Secretary?” I said
” Are you mad!” she barked “They work like what n’ what they expect you to stay behind ‘to work late’!! Oh no you’re not”
Well f*** me I didn’t know!…ooh ooh I had it!
“I’m really good at Drawing, I can be an artist! That’s it, my teacher already said I was good at Art!” I proclaimed
” Artists don’t make any money until they’re dead” Mother was not impressed at.all
Okay now I’d cracked it ” I’m good at writing stories! I’ll be an author!”
“And how many books do you think you’ll have to sell before you make any money!” She snapped
” A TV presenter??”
“The only black people on TV are Trevor McDonald and Moira Stuart and Lenny Henry” (This was sadly true) ” you better think on girl!” Then she gave me the ‘look’ and sent me back to my room.
Barclays bank were doing a Fashion design competition to design an outfit for your favourite celebrity so I did a design for Grace Jones. It was a leotard with the top half in Nude up to an empire line then the rest was black with extra long fringing from the empire line to form a kind of skirt. Well! My design got to the regional finals which I was chuffed to bits about. I started to think that maybe this could be my thing? What cemented it was a cheesy biopic on Coco Chanel actually. watching her rise to fame just switched on my buttons and then that was that. I had made my decision.
I walked up to my Mum and told her I had decided to be a Fashion Designer. She looked at me then started talikg to herself “it’s creative…people like buying clothes…hmmm…Okay then, I’ll find out what you have to do” I started watching The Clothes Show and Fashion TV with Jeanne Beker, to learn who was who.
I came home from school one day and Mum was annoyed. She had looked up some designers and wrote to them and got no feedback at all.” I wrote to all these designers and no-one would help me! In the end I did get hold of Bruce Oldfield and had a word with him…I mean why won’t these people help!” I was mortified! Oldfield was big at that time but I don’t think my mum realised how big ( yeah I’m that old…bite me) Anyway he did speak to her and advised that I should do Art not Textiles and, learn to sew before college and learning French or Italian would be good. I thought it was kind cool that my Mum went to bat for me like that.
I got good results on my GCSE’s so Mum gave me her sewing machine and started teaching me to sew. Along side my BTEC I did evening courses in Dressmaking and then I discovered they offered Millinery. Little did I know that the tutor was a famous Milliner called Rose Cory who was the milliner to the Queen Mother up until she died. I was in a class of about 12 people who were old enough to be my grandparents…I didn’t care because I absolutely loved it. I know for sure that having a collection of my hats when applying for University made a hell of a difference.
Little did I know that I would return to Greenwich and start a side career in teaching which would last for 16 years. I really did enjoy teaching Millinery, I found it relaxing to do and very rewarding. Students at the beginning would never believe they would make a hat and their faces when they did? …it was an affirmation of my ability 100%
As I go into this new chapter, I hope I can deliver more of the same to my Clients.