FASHION: Yorkshire designer launches new collection for autumn

York College graduate Laura Sedman has designs on success with her new fashion label, reports MAXINE GORDON

EVERYONE has to start somewhere – and for Laura Sedman, it is a log cabin in her back garden.

From here, she has launched her own fashion label – Laurelle Woman – designing and making the collections for an online clientele.

Laura graduated with a first class honours degree in fashion design from York College in 2013 with dreams of making it as a designer.

She launched Laurelle Women this spring and her second collection for autumn/winter has already sold out of some key pieces.

The emphasis, says Laura, is making beautiful, wearable clothes in quality fabrics that are affordable too – prices compare favourably with a mid-market high street brand. A hallmark of Laurelle Woman is having a twist in the design.

“I wanted to make simple designs but with interesting details, such as piping details, or certain type of fabrics, and pieces that you can style up as you want.

“For example, there is a red blouse with a small navy polka dot and frill sleeves that can be worn as a smart piece for work or with jeans for a casual look at the weekend.”

The shirt has been a sell out. Another popular item has been a white long-sleeved cotton jumper with faux-fur grey sleeve section in the mid arm.

She is now starting work on her next collection for spring/summer 2018. “I want to do lots of cosy, comfortable pieces and will be using a lot of stretch fabric,” says Laura.

Customers have been reached through social media and blog sites, although Apparel boutique in Staningley, Leeds, sells a few Laurelle Woman pieces.

Laura staged a shoot for the current autumn/winter collection in Scarborough, featuring model Kayleigh Foster who she discovered through a Facebook promotion and photographer Matt McCormick, found on Instagram.

Before Laura took the plunge to go it alone, she spent four years working in retail, getting insight into the fashion industry.

While working for a large wholesale company in Manchester, which made clothing for markets in the UK and Spain, she went on a buying trip to China, which was eye-opening. “I spent a week in China, going to the markets and buying existing styles there then going back to the factory and copying the styles using different fabrics.”

But early this year, Laura decided it was time to set up in business for herself. She manages to keep her overheads down by working from her family home near Pudsey (as student, she spent hours every day commuting to York College, taking four buses daily). She also has a part-time job at Dunelm, working in the fabrics department.

It is hard work, she says, but worth it, to follow her dream.

“I am enjoying it,” she says, admitting success is “not going to happen overnight.” She adds: “It’s a slow process, but I am excited about seeing the next collection coming together and see where it goes. Ideally, I’d love to do this full time and have my own studio.”

For now, the log cabin will have to do.