Why I am a clothing designer not a fashion designer

Why I am a clothing designer not a fashion designer

Fashion a popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behaviour.

 For something to become popular because people somehow feel obliged to embrace a trend as a means of fitting in is something that has to me always has had an almost counter productive element to it, as by my very nature I tend to be rebellious and non conformist.

 Why is it, that one day everyone feels it is important to wear their skirt a certain length (and in fact to be considered an outcast by those in the “know” if they don’t)? Why is it, that one day most people will not have even heard of Kale and the next it is served at McDonalds?

 Examples of this can be found from clothing; music; food; travel; interiors to books and political movements, a person’s desire to somehow look or feel or experience some shared common ground by those around them who’s approval they seek.  There is this element of me that somehow whenever I look at some trend or movement that appeal to so many that makes me lose interest. It’s as if I were to partake that I feel like forfeit part of my individuality. 

 My fascination with clothing and design in general started very early on I had a mother and an aunt that were constantly involved in clothing or design experimentation I don’t know how many Saturdays as a baby or infant I spend in clothing stores or designer studio’s the amount of Sundays that the house was in disarray because all the furniture had to be moved around or new wallpaper was applied, my aunt had this element of Iris Apfel about her, where turned heads wherever she went with her individual brazen style.

 It maybe runs in the family I remember my mother telling this story about how her mother (my Granny) had decided the she was tired of the old fashioned beds that were high off the ground that she had taken to sawing the legs to lower it. Unfortunately because of impatient rushed lack of planning (certainly an other family trait I’ve inherited), by the time she had sawn off all the legs at an equal height there were almost no legs left on the bed at all . 

 When I was in my teens a group of us started this sort of style experimentation depending on our moods and or influences. It could be books, movies and of course, music.  We would try to emulate that look or concept. One day we could be gangsters or pirates, the Great Gatsby, Bowie (of course) or hippy.  It was all done on a shoestring or none existent budgets.  The two elements that were very consistent was that it was all about experimentation and not looking like anyone else; to stand out and express our individuality. I am glad that this predated the era of cell phone cameras, as this way there is very little evidence of the right bloody idiot I must have looked like sometimes.

As I grew older the idea to go and work with clothes seemed like a very natural progression and I started working retail. Somehow though there came a point that it seemed important to continue enhance my education and coupled with this interest I enrolled in a tailoring and dress making course essentially with the thought that If I was so interested in clothes, getting a grasp as to how things were made seemed to be good idea. 

After finishing school I went back and worked retail. Occasionally putting my skills to use doing alterations. It was shortly there after that I became quite bored with the whole conventional clothing retail environment and when a friend decided to open a second hand clothing boutique and asked me to get involved I jumped on it.


The whole idea of second clothing stores in those days (early 80’s) was so cool our clientele range from office workers on a budget to drag queens, musicians and fashionistas trying to emulate a look it was a lot of fun in that there was no mould no rules everything was possible.

One thing that did happen was that when work got out about my ability to sew that I was approached by some of the clientele to make outfits for them. So I started creating looks for drag queens, musicians or people that had seen looks on the Streets of London and wanted something similar. This evolved to a point where I started building clothes and putting them on the racks and things just started selling.

The thing is the mindset was then and to some extent still is today that my first quest has always been for me that when I create something it is done to hopefully give people the tools and components to go out and express THEIR individuality .

And that is why I am a clothing designer, not a fashion designer.