Leek perhaps isn't exactly Milan, or Paris, but who needs such places when you have fashion designers right here in Staffordshire? Based in Leek, Handmade By Holly Crow is a clothes shop in its fifth year, and going from strength to strength. REBEL Fashion reporter found out more about Holly's journey.
When did you first start designing?
I've always been creative, from a very young age. My dads always been into drawing and my mum into fashion, so I picked it up from there. I would say I seriously started designing things and making them up when I was in my mid teens.
How many people are currently working at the store?
There's me, Rachael who has just graduated from a fashion degree at university, and my dad is a huge help… the customers love him!
When did your shop open?
I first started my business in November 2011, working from home and attending craft and vintage fairs. In 2012 I took the plunge and opened a small shop in Getliffes Yard Leek. My current bigger premises on the Sheep Market in Leek will of been open for one year at the end of june.
What is your favourite thing about the store?
It's perhaps an over used word but it's quirky. The building is very old, no straight lines, wonky windows, different ceiling heights and cute nooks and crannies. My designs often one of a kind, I love unique things, and my shop, from the building, displays to the product represents this.
What inspires you the most when designing and creating your clothes?
People, colour and pattern. No woman is the same shape or a standard size. I love looking at what people are wearing and then building on it. Colour and pattern play a huge part in my work, you won't find many little black dresses in my shop.
What is your favourite thing about being a designer?
Expression. I love being able to be creative almost everyday. Don't get me, wrong when you run your own small business you play every role from the cleaner to the CEO, but I love those days when I might not have orders to fulfil or paper work to do and I can just pick up some fabric I love and think top? Dress? Coat?… And off I go, that's when I'm at my happiest.
How do you select the materials and prints you use?
When I'm completing a bespoke order I search based on what the customer has advised they like. When I'm searching for my own stock, It's very much just what takes my eye. Two things I always look for though is quality and value. Some very expensive fabrics aren't always the best and as a small company I like to pass this onto our lovely customers.
Do you have any future plans for the store?
We have plans to introduce clothing for girls. We make a lot of bespoke orders for children but in July we will be launching our own mini collection in the shop. It's really exciting for us, it's a chance to expand our customer base and you can let your imagination run wild with children's wear, so watch this space.