Commonwealth Fashion Exchange

It still feels like a strange dream but a few weeks before Christmas ’17, I was sent the most incredible invitation.

 It was just a normal day here in the Duncairn, I walked into the office (wearing my Mongolian fur scarf) and William, the centres handy man, starts making fun of my outfit (some men just can’t get their heads around leather look leggings and a fur scarf), he’s laughing, saying “she thinks she’s the queen” as I’m handed my post.

I open up the letter and see the Royal Crest…needless to say I nearly had a heart attack. My immediate reaction is to question William as I thought he was pranking me! Especially because of his comment. I literally can’t believe it. It’s such a beautiful invitation too, a golden leaf crest and gorgeous card, a bit elaborate for a prank surely? I still can’t believe this is happening though and of course, me being me, I need reassurance that this isn’t the worlds strangest prank, so I phone the number at the bottom of the invitation and low and behold, through to the Master of the Household, its 100% not a prank and now 100% full mortification as I’ve just phoned the Royal household asking if this is a prank. Heart. Stops. Why. Did. I. Just. Do. That.

Very funny looking back on it now, the lady on the other end of the phone must get that all the time. 

The Royal Invitation.

The Royal Invitation.

So, in my hyper state I phone my mum and send her pictures of my invitation. Another classic moment as she’s in town buying towels or whatever mums nosy at. She phones me immediately and is just as hyper as I was! In the middle of town… hilarious.

The event itself is about sustainability and the appreciation of bespoke craftsmanship. I love this concept as I feel society has this real throwaway fast fashion ideal and it would be fantastic if more people appreciated the hours of labour or thought process that’s involved in an artisan, creative garment, all designed and sewn by one individual. What’s not to love?

Designers and makers from the 53 Commonwealth countries have been invited and I’m absolutely thrilled to be chosen as it’s a massive opportunity for someone who has only graduated a few years! Stella Mc Cartney and Burberry are invited; I mean WoW.

I’m going to fast forward a bit now to the weeks before I go. I’m writing this now with only 2 days to go. I’ve literally just finished my outfit and can just about walk in my heels. I’m big time over thinking the whole thing of course, what if I trip, what if I feel silly, what if no one talks to me when I get inside, but I have to get a grip of myself and tell myself this is an exciting time and stop letting anxiety over a trouser hem take over me!

(I’m actually really looking forward to it incase you can’t tell with me having a rant here. It’s quite the conversation topic as it’s not every day you get invited to the Palace!)

 It hasn’t been without its bumps along the way though. Being self-employed and a person who generally struggles to get organised I found getting started on my outfit to be like one of those tasks you just put off and push to the back of your head, then when you realise 2 weeks before the event you haven’t a thing to wear and then the anxiety goes into overdrive.

So, I took a deep breath and started to toile my outfit design. This is when you make a rough version of your garment in cheaper fabric and allows for any mistakes or alterations. Thankfully I went through this process with my outfit as I overestimated how many mini pizzas I’d been eating the night before and bust the butt seam. Not good for the self-esteem but alas the joys of making your own clothes means I just made it an inch bigger at this section and when It came to cutting out in my desired fabric, it fits like a glove! Phew!

Pattern cutting my leather belt. My leather is sourced and is a bi product of animal food waste.

Pattern cutting my leather belt. My leather is sourced and is a bi product of animal food waste.

I’ve shown a select few my outfit. A second opinion at this stage is crucial as my head was going to explode with making decisions about it by myself. I’ve to consider the location of the event when making my outfit, the invitation stated no hats or gloves and the dress code was “Day Dress”. I’ve put my own twist on a classic and elegant shape and I love it. It looks appropriate for this special occasion, is flattering and makes me look pretty tall which is always a bonus and not a low neckline or cleavage in sight.

Its surreal to even type this but my next post will be about the event! * Queue heartrate increase*

 I can’t wait to share my Buckingham adventure with you all, so fingers crossed and I’ll fill you in when I get back C x