Hannah Kinsey, Cheshire Fashion Designer
PUBLISHED: 22:21 14 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 20 February 2013
Most designers head to London in pursuit of a fashion career. But Hannah Kinsey from Lower Stretton has launched her own fashion label right here in Cheshire
As a little girl Hannah Kinsey spent hours cutting out pieces of her mum's fabric and sticking them onto outfits she had drawn. Today, the 27-year-old has not only worked alongside fashion's big names like Maria Grachvogel and Jenny Packham, she has also worked for burgeoning designer Erdem and as an embroidery designer at independent haute couture fashion label, Saint-Hill Couture, in London.
She explained: 'I was really lucky to have placements at such fantastic places. It was such a small team at Maria Grachvogel, so I got to work right alongside her. I was involved with decisions and was made to feel like I was part of everything.
'When I was working at Saint-Hill Couture I was looking after their embroidery pieces and got to go to Paris Fashion Week with them. I worked as their lead designer, so to be able to go through the whole process from designing right through to seeing them at Paris was incredible. I learned so much through these experiences.'
But unlike most of her designer counterparts she has turned her back on the bright lights of the big city and has come home to Cheshire to set up her own girly label, Lorna England.
'It was so demanding in London and the days were awful,' explained Hannah. 'I was doing over 60 hours a week. I thought I could be doing this for myself back here in Cheshire.'
Nicola Young, owner of The Naked Mannequin in Knutsford, already stocks Hannah's designs. Her sample collection, released last Christmas, completely sold out. Hannah, who is currently due to launch her Autumn/Winter collection, won a Little Black Dress Award and came second in the Young Designer category at Chester Fashion Week.
She thinks she inherited her creative streak from her mum, Elaine, and grandma, Edith. She spends hours hand-making each piece in her collection, focusing mainly on designing and making dresses but jackets, blouses and skirts are also included.
She said: 'I wanted it to be really feminine and to make sure people know I am a British designer. I'm lucky because my family are creative and I seem to have picked that up to, I'm not an academic person.
'Dresses are the things I really enjoy, not only because they sell but because you can create some that are really different.'
Hannah, who is inspired by the looks of Hollywood actress Chloe Sevigny and Radio One presenter Fearne Cotton, is now Designer in Residence at Mid-Cheshire College, where she studied fashion design. Here, she has her own studio to work on her label but she's on-hand to give advice to undergraduates.
'It works well because I have somewhere I can dedicate myself to my designs but I'm also available if the students want to talk about their work.
'It's working really well I. I did a photoshoot recently for my clothes and some of the photography students from the college did the pictures. As well as having great pictures of my clothes, hopefully it helped them too.'
Hannah's pieces range for 60 to 150. She is now concentrating her efforts on increasing awareness of Lorna England and coming up with new designs.
She said: 'I'm really lucky to have Nicola's support. There are not many people taking a chance on someone new. I'm making everything myself which takes a lot of time. I'd love it if I was able to concentrate on the designs and patterns and then I could outsource the manufacture.
'I know it is going to be hard work but I want Lorna England to be a recognised label made right here in Cheshire.'