My wonderful mum’s influence on me is profound and far-reaching. Josephine was a knitwear designer and my design career started when I used to sit under her table when I was little, gathering up all of her scraps of wool and fabric to make dresses for my dolls.
Halfpenny London started as a teeny, tiny business in my home after graduating in the late 90’s from my fashion degree. Back in the early days, mum would embroider brides’ initials into their dresses, something she still does with my bespoke pieces. We have an interesting working relationship, the roles reverse sometimes and I become her assistant!
I’m sure you’ve seen our fabulous Riri skirt which gorgeous Lydia Millen wore for her wedding? It’s been so popular but there was always something that played on my mind about the wasted fabric from making it. The skirt is made with meters and meters of the most wonderful silk organza which is cut up to make the hundreds of frills, the offcuts are small, odd shapes. As mum has always taught me to find the beauty in the smallest of things I set to work on using these scraps. For my next collection (which I’ll be launching in October) I’ve figured out a way to repurpose those little off cuts into something new and wonderful, all with the help of my lovely mum! Check out the video below to see what we’ve done and for a glimpse at one of the new dresses we’ll be launching in October.
My mum’s always pushing for more. More colour! More ruffles! More embellishment! I have to reign her back in, which is weird because it’s the other way around when I work with my team, I’m normally the one who gets carried away because I just love it so much. She allowed me to express myself, encouraged my creativity and helped me find the beauty in the tiniest piece of cloth. This is my mum’s legacy she’s bestowed on me and I will continue to honour it.
Happy Mother’s Day, especially to my wonderful mum.
Kate & the Halfpennys xxx