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About Sue

Growing up in London it was inevitable that art, fashion and culture would have a big impact on my life. I spent my childhood, and reams of paper, doodling fashion drawings and, as my mother proudly reminded me, I made my first dress on her sewing machine at the age of nine. As a teenager I delighted in my ability to run something up on a Saturday afternoon and wear it out on a Saturday night, excited by the concept of fashion being the perfect form of self-expression. I have been happily making ever since, designing and creating individual clothes and textiles, each piece having it's own theatrical spin.


I studied a BA (Hons) degree in Fashion and Textiles at Ravensbourne College of Art & Design and was already supplying my designs to a boutique in Covent Garden, London before graduating. I developed and grew my business in partnership under the label 'Howat-Foy'; cutting patterns and sampling my own womenswear collections before they went into production in east London factories or with our team of local out-workers prior to being delivered to independent stores across the UK. That was the late eighties and an incredibly exciting time to be involved in the fashion industry! Sadly those heady days came to an end as Britain went into a recession; many of the smaller independent boutiques folded to make way for the new, now well known, fashion chains and consequent mass production. I continued my career as a womenswear designer for several of the big names on the high-street and, still based in London, I travelled globally for inspiration, sourcing and production which was both glamorous and demanding, however, best of all, it led me to meet my future husband, Tim, a denim designer!  When our first child was born my values had changed and I felt reluctant to return to the pace of fast-fashion I'd previously been so enthusiastic for.  Inspired by valued friends' compliments for the clothes I was making for my daughter I launched a childrenswear label; 'The Princess and the Pea' in early 2000, which ultimately involved lots of fun-fur, plush fabrics and small production runs.  After our second child arrived I took time out to enjoy being with my children and gradually turned my hand to sharing my love of fashion and textiles with others by means of teaching.


In 2012 I launched FASHIONSKOOL as an after-school sewing club at Highgate Primary School where enthusiastic groups of fashionistas learnt to use a sewing machine and up-cycle their own clothing. Encouraged by the eager demand for learning sewing and textile skills I expanded FASHIONSKOOL by introducing fun, fashion trend-inspired, clothing and textile workshops for children and teenagers during the school holidays from my own home work-space where I would provide my own exclusive patterns and step-by-step tutoring in small groups. As my young students progressed so did their desire for increased challenges so, utilising my previous pattern-cutting knowledge, I developed higher skill-level workshop projects and launched dressmaking classes for teens and older children in addition to the regular sewing classes. Before long their parents were also asking me to teach them the same skills and I added adult dressmaking and pattern cutting classes to the list, otherwise known as 'Friday sewing therapy!' 

I aspire to encourage all of my students, at whatever age or skill level, to choose their fabrics with care, avoid any unnecessary waste, make their clothes well (inside and out), look after and love wearing them, before eventually passing them on to someone else to enjoy. Above all, our clothes need to make us feel good and give us the confidence and self-assurance to inspire brand new new adventures every day! I absolutely love my job running FASHIONSKOOL and honestly believe there is no pleasure greater than creating, nothing more fulfilling than inspiring creativity in others and little more satisfying than being able to say proudly "I made it myself". 



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