ForeverYoung is back!
And is all about up-cycled, unique, one offs and limited-edition collections (and collabs!) made to order, with love in London and made to last forever...
Its just beginning on Etsy while I redevelop its website (and branding) and I'd love your support, reviews & shares while it gets back on its feet again as ForeverYoung Emporium.....
I began customising clothes at eleven years old and by thirteen I'm was on to my second sewing machine, I was off collecting vintage from secondhand shops, upcycling, and adding a unique customised fit or detailing .... a #textiletouch which led me to acquire my Diploma & Degree in Fashion Design and Textiles.
At 20 I did my first design work placement with Betty Jackson and the following year moved to London for my first job with English Eccentrics…My love of luxury and handmade began.
Many years later after living and working as a designer in Hong Kong and consultant to British luxury brands, I then knew I wanted to have a brand and collection of my own, so I launched ForeverYoung at London Fashion Week 2004.
However, after the birth of my first daughter Eva and second daughter Honor, it all became too much to juggle and I made the brand dormant, staying consulting with unique small British brands. I eventually later established Bespoke Textiles with Kate, supplying brands from Bills to Buckingham Palace.
As if that wasn't enough I wrote my book The Textile Touch to really talk about this journey and hone how you Design, Develop & Deliver unique collections.
During lock-down I’ve learnt so much about myself and what I want,
need and like around me.
I’m sure many of you will find some of these observations familiar…
I finally had the time to allow me to be selfish, to notice that I was tired, very tired. I’d clearly needed to go slower for a long time (a habit from being a people-pleaser).
To do more of the things I loved instead of constantly serving others whether in the home or my business. To just simply loving life’s little pleasures again, like reading for hours with a pot of tea (or a wine) in the garden almost every day. Or finally getting around to the many sewing repairs and customising piles, and organising my Nan’s beautiful vintage haberdashery sewing box, just for the pleasure of remembering where I sourced or bought the many ribbons, trims and things!
I stopped pushing, and began pulling instead, thus becoming a magnet for what I wanted to manifest. I joined a daily meditation zoom group and we did 18 weeks almost solidly, and it’s still going. I also saw what I could no longer do anymore….
But even though my work orders got frozen and client work couldn’t proceed, amazingly new things showed up……
Like the opportunity to be a judge and mentor on a Fashion Design degree course at The London College of Fashion (UAL), kindly invited by Lindsey Riley. I also set up my passion project @sustainablestyleshow on Instagram & YouTube to share my passion and play with second hand finds.
And had great new conversations and projects materialise with several companies, from the likes of Bermuda Airport, The Hilton, several property groups wanting concierge collections and VERY PROUDLY supplying bespoke face masks to the University of Kent and Manchester Metropolitan University.
I was also inspired by Karen Kennaby to re-do The Artists Way book by Julia Cameron over 12 weeks, doing one chapter each week in a group, to rediscover your true, inner artist. It was a challenging, emotional and demanding journey, but I loved it in the end! Especially to finally complete the book after my first attempt to do it 16 years earlier! I would highly recommend doing in a group with Karen (details here) so powerful and fun.
Unexpectedly I realised my book The Textile Touch could become a course (which is also 12 chapters long) and I could take others on a journey to support them in realising their product creation, dreams!
I’m extremely excited and also nervous to now be launching this but I know it’s going to serve an incredible purpose for many! For this reason, I’m so grateful for the courses and groups I joined during lockdown who have nourished me.
Teaching others to do what I have done professionally for almost 30 years through my book as a course will have everything business and brands need to learn step by step on how to define, design, develop and deliver a collection. To also take it to market inside of a tailored sustainable supply chain that saves waste in a conscious creative way. I hope this will assist people looking to create a new or additional income and a purpose to the many I know who are looking for that next step.
My first group is forming, and we begin on the 29th Oct this year.
There’s space for 6 more and will be perfectly socially distanced as its all via Zoom!
Register here www.thetextiletouch.co.uk
I wanted to wish everyone a super September.
And on a personal note, I also wanted to remind you this is the month of Second Hand September the brilliant marketing initiative created by Oxfam!.
As a leader in sustainable collections, sourcing & supply chains, second hand styling and shopping is an incredible way to get unique inspiration.
As well as Oxfam some of my other favourite second-hand shops are; Cancer Research Uk, Shelter, Royal Trinity Hospice, Wandsworth Oasis, Doctor Barnardo's, Boutique by Shelter, Chartwell Trust, Crisis Camberwell, Save the Children (Mary's Living & Giving shops).
I'm also loving these other companies with great initiatives, Make, Do & Mend, Depop and My Wardrobe HQ where you can rent or buy garments. This has to be the future, we all need to consume less and reuse more!
There are so many things I’ve found and up-cycled from second hand which I really wanted to share with you, here’s just a few…
The first is an English Eccentrics original leftover silk panel's from '91 up-cycling on a new jacket shape.
The maroon jacket is a Lacroix original sample which I brought from Brixton Village Market
And the elegant blacktop was a hidden treasure from a charity shop in Marylebone!
I know I’ve helped so many of my friends unexpectedly with a fabulous unique second-hand find that just looked like it was a great fit for them, everything from a Dior faux fur navy coat to a Cashmere wool coat for my dad.
So who's up for the challenge this month?!
To find out more about this plus shopping and tips visit my Sustainable Style ShowYoutube Channel...
Want to know how to do some cleaver hacks on a jacket?
This video is great for both individuals who want to update and re-discover one of their old un-loved jackets and businesses who would like to do a batch up-cycling for an old uniform giving it a new lease of life.
Its an inexpensive and very inspiring way to turn your (what would be) waste into your wonderful again!
I've always been about creating signature style and the passion that fulled this is about sustainable style.
I've been a sustainable style shopper for over 35 years. It began when I grew up in Somerset and discovered Charity Shops as a great way to buy and customise unique clothes and I've been doing it ever since to make my own very distinctive looks that could be timeless, gorgeous and last forever.
I'm launching sustainable style tours which is about teaching and showing people how to find the gold in Charity Shops!
It is such an exciting moment when you find something so special that you want to burst, because you’re the only one that’s got that item! Then seeing the possibilities of how to mix it in with your existing wardrobe and add a bit of sparkle back to your life.
It might replace a tired, old piece of clothing that can no longer be patched up and repaired and so it’s sadly time to let it go. But you still want originality, that something special and unique. You want to develop a signature style that separates you from the rest and that makes you feel you!
You are a special, unique and extraordinary individual and that can show in what you wear.
In my book “The Textile Touch” I say how it takes 7 seconds to make a first impression, 87% of which is non-verbal. If you understand that the power of dressing, plus your words and body language will give you confidence in whatever you do.
You will have a winning formula to wow, when and where you want to. Most importantly it will make you feel amazing, but remember we are all dressing for ourselves first and foremost. That’s the magic I want to bring to you through Charity Shop discoveries which is launching soon!
I am starting this because I've been focused on working B2B for hospitality and heritage brands but I'm now refocusing to also connect with P2P because my sustainable style work is for everyone not just businesses, which will make a difference to people, the planet and their purses.
I am going to be setting challenges to repair more, buy less, buy nothing new for a while or even forever!!
Katie dropped by to Women's Radio Station to talk all things hospitality and the exciting re-launch of English Eccentrics.
Click the link below to listen!
We are honoured to announce that Bespoke Textiles has won another prestigious award for 'Most Outstanding for Quality Hospitality Uniforms' for Katie's meticulous work on the redesign and supply of uniform projects from Bills Restaurants to Buckingham Palace Housekeepers.
I always dreamed of having a fashion house one day so I wasn’t going to miss the Phantom Thread with Daniel Day Lewis. It won best costume by Mark Bridges and was about a Brixton couture house in London and it was, allegedly, going to be Daniel Day Lewis’ final film before retirement.
I came a little late to the party and almost missed it at the cinema. After a little research I found that the Curzon Film House in Bloomsbury was the only place in London that was still showing it! It was either 8.30pm Monday night or 3.15pm Thursday. The only option was taking the afternoon off and getting a babysitter to pick up the children. I couldn’t miss it!!
It wasn’t just the style development, skill and the beauty I wanted to see but the emotion behind being a couturier designer. I know from personal experience as a bespoke high-end uniform designer that it sometimes feels like a curse not knowing how to stop dreaming about clothing design; the details, fabrics, colours - and even imagining the people who will wear them!
I thought Daniel Day Lewis’ performance was astounding; his depiction of the nineteenth century designer’s passion and drive was utterly engrossing and entirely compelling. As I was watching it suddenly struck me that Day Lewis is a method actor! He actually learnt to sew to couturier standard for the film, which as everyone knows, to be really proficient at something you need to put 10,000 hours into it for it to become natural.
It confirmed my hunch that it’s the story behind the story that’s fascinating. I love clothes, style, fit, and I’m fascinated by them all in my style development work. But the film provided a strong reminder to dream big, to create beautiful things that delight and awe through sustainable product development and quality control tempered with passion and talent. (And to remain firmly grounded in understanding the importance of a professional yet compassionate attitude, passion and talent will never compensate entirely for people skills and good management).
We are thrilled to announce that Bespoke Textiles has been shortlisted in the sustainability category for the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards 2017!
It's such an honour to have been nominated and shortlisted; sustainability and transparency is at the heart of what we stand for and what we do.
We'll update you in November...
Katie was recently asked to speak at the UKHA event about how to apply fashion to uniforms.