Newby Bridge Designer Angy Morton is taking inspiration from her surroundings
PUBLISHED: 17:26 15 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:00 20 February 2013
The Lake District's industrial past is just the inspiration designer Angy Morton needed, as Amanda Griffiths discovers
When it came to picking a career, Angy Morton had it tailor made. Her grandmother was a dressmaker, her grandfather was a tailor and so was his brother. No prizes, then, for guessing her chosen path.
Angy has been sewing since the age of six. I grew up around it, she says from her home in Newby Bridge. I dont remember a day without the noise of a sewing machine.
They say these skills skip a generation and thats true her mother is not a fan. She shows some interest now in how some of the technical things are done, but she still wont touch a sewing machine, laughs the 37-year-old dress designer.
Ive always made my own clothes, in fact I dont think Ive ever bought an item of clothing apart from jeans and shoes - I do love shoes!
Originally from Romania, clothes have always played a big part in Angys life and when she first moved to the Lake District with husband Michael, a local lad, in 2004 she noticed a huge cultural difference as far as fashion is concerned.
Romanians have Latin blood like Italians, she explains. Clothes are very important to us. You cant go out in Romania without the right clothes, shoes and your make-up done. Not in a showing off what you have kind of way; its more about showing respect for ourselves and other people. We bother because we take pleasure in making ourselves look nice.
In my country you dress up to go to an evening at the theatre. I you went in jeans like people do here you would be told to go home and get changed.
Having said that, Ive never seen so many well dressed people as I did at the Whitehaven Festival where my collection was launched there wasnt a bare bottom or scuffed shoe in sight!
The Western Lake District, where Michael grew up, has proved to be the inspiration for Angys latest stunning collection
The Red and Black collection is based on the areas iron and coal mining industries. Michael told me his grandfather had been a miner and, chatting with his mum, I found the stories fascinating. So, even though Im claustrophobic Michael arranged for me to go down the Florence Mine in Egremont. I have never seen blackness like it. I decided to do a collection based on black and red.
People often ask why I live here and not in London. I just love it; its so inspiring.
There are challenges of course. You dont have the same sort of customers here, but Im regularly getting orders from Manchester and all over the north. People say they just cant find anything different.
I dont want to be like any other designer. I want to do something a bit different. Designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen - designers that wouldnt be dictated to, who always did their own thing and some really unconventional things are the people who inspire me.
I like to wear something unusual to stand out. My dresses are designed outside of fashion; they have a longevity to them that means you could put them on three years later and they wont date.
To me they are designed to be part of your favourite wardrobe; your saviour for when youre going to a party and want to know that no-one else will be wearing anything like it.
Until now Ive been concentrating on the bespoke side of things but Im working more on the retail side of things with the black and red collection for example and hoping to talk to local shops about what they and their customers want.