WHEN talented fashion designer Isabelle Pennington-Edmead embarked on her career she could hardly have believed it would lead to an audience with Royalty.
However, that’s exactly what happened as the former Priestley College student met Prince Charles just weeks before he became King.
Their two meetings took place at Dumfries House to discuss a new womenswear collection she had been involved with that was designed in London and Milan, but manufactured in Scotland at The Prince’s Foundation headquarters.
“He said he was very proud of what we were doing and seemed interested by the design process,” said Isabelle.
“I was really nervous to meet him and address him correctly, but as soon as I spoke to him I was put at ease because he’s very warm and friendly. I also met the late Queen Elizabeth when I was a child so it was exciting I was going to be meeting the future king too.”
The project brief was to create a womenswear collection celebrating circular design using innovative features like QR codes and carbon tracking. It also celebrates more traditional techniques of small batch production and craftsmanship.
The designers took inspiration from the gardens at Highgrove, something Isabelle had done before while at Priestley College only then it was the beauty of Arley Hall’s gardens that were her muse.
“We actually worked in a similar way when designing at Highgrove as we did on the Arley Hall project,” said Isabelle, who studied Textiles and Fine Art.
“We walked around the grounds taking photographs for inspiration and doing observational drawings. It was also a similar time of year so all the gardens were similar autumnal colours.”
Isabelle, a former pupil at Bridgewater High School, worked in London at the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group offices with three other British artisans.
They partnered with four artists in Milan and during the collaboration she visited Italy to source fabrics and trims. Throughout the project they worked with Carbon Sink to ensure their impact was offset.
All the artisans relocated to Scotland to manufacture the collection and were mentored by the likes of Patrick Grant, Gabriela Hearst and Giuliva Heritage.
“One of my favourite things about the experience has been meeting some amazing people, which has been great for industry contacts, but I have also made some friends for life.
“I am so pleased with the manufacture skills I have perfected from being on this programme and I now know I can produce clothing made at luxury standard.”
The collection is available exclusively on Net-A-Porter and Yoox, 50% of the recommended retail price from sales will be donated to The Prince’s Foundation charity.
Isabelle said her time at Priestley had helped her to reach where she is today.
“Priestley felt like it embraced students even if they aren’t academics like myself and encouraged creativity and careers in the creative industry,” she said.
“Studying Art Foundation at Priestley helped me to build a strong, diverse portfolio. It also changed my perspectives on art and allowed me to look at it differently.”
Isabelle launches 'Desiderium'
Isabelle’s third collection ‘Desiderium’ is a continuation on from her second collection ‘Nostalgia’.
Desiderium shares the continuous inspirations and themes as her previous collection inspired by homecoming and nostalgia taking inspiration from homes in the Caribbean with contrasting British-Caribbean diaspora themes. This collection is created combining the lessons learnt on her master’s from Manchester school of art and her time spent on the Modern Artisan programme. Desiderium is an elevated take on the Nostalgia collection which more knowledge on sustainability and artisanal hand craftsmanship are incorporated.
Signature to Isabelle Pennington-Edmead, the garments’ silhouettes celebrate unapologetic femininity which is a constant in Isabelle’s ideals and designs.
With awareness to climate change and global unpredictable temperatures, as with all previous collections, Isabelle’s collections remain seasonless with hope to be worn throughout the year; over and over.
Classic, vibrant pieces created without trends as a priority. All fabrics are high quality natural fibres and smart fabrics printed sustainably and sourced in the UK. All garments are ethically manufactured by Isabelle herself in the North West of England.