Welcome to Strawhouse. My name is Rebecca Allen, I design under this fashion house. My design style is very street and influenced by sportswear. I love to play with colours and textures to create interesting, bespoke garments. Most of my garments take an oversized silhouette creating a dramatic shape and unique look. I am often influenced by different cultures pulling inspirations from the fabrics, colours and shapes.
I recently pulled inspiration from African cultures, drawing on colours and beading often seen in tribal wear. Using the soft circler shapes often seen in the design of their clothing.
Traditional Angola dress (Image: Cultura Libre)
As you can see from the image above of an African tribe, they often use colourful fabrics and beads, which reflect their own cultures, faiths and traditions that may differ from other tribes. There are many different tribes in Africa and they tend to be very excluded so you never really get the full information on why they choose to dress as they do. (1) My designs take a small piece of their culture drawing out colour and exploring with beading techniques.
I have also explored Asian and Chinese cultures. One of my recent dresses drew from both these cultures, using the silhouette of a traditional Chinese garment, a Cheongsam. A Cheongsam is a straight, close-fitting silk dress with a high neck and slit skirt, worn by Chinese and Indonesian women (2). The garment also used Asian fabrics which incorporate a soft drape mesh fabric with detailed gold work.
(A Cheongsam. Image from: www.aliexpress.com)
Here is my garment for comparison.
I price all my garments the same way. I calculate the time it takes me to design, pattern create, pattern cut, manufacture and finish a garment. Most garments are bespoke one-off items and therefore the patterns are not used again and the garment not replicated. This tends to mean that the prices of a individual item is higher than that of a garment on the high street and this is simply because it is not a garment off the high street. The garments I create are individual items in which a lot of thought and time has gone into to create sometime artist and unique.
Future aims and brand direction:
Currently all my garments are hand created from the initial design to the completed garment. I source 90% of my fabric, fastenings and trims from local suppliers and shops, with one of my biggest suppliers being Fabworks. Fabworks sell fabric rolls that are end of line. End of line means that the original creator of a fabric or the design house using the fabric has finished with it and instead of been thrown away it is sold at Fabworks. Another one of my main suppliers is Worldofwool who are a local business that supply me with my wool for my knitted jumpers. As well as being local Worldofwool also hand dye everything in house.
My aims for the future are:
1). Focus more on unisex rather that Womenswear and Menswear
2). Create uni-size garments meaning garments that fit multiple sizes
3). Source more fabrics, fastenings and trims locally.
4). Use more organic fabrics
5). Use recycled fabrics and off cuts