Fashion and fabric have always been a part of me. At 2 and a half years old, I made a little coat for my doll, albeit it a very simple design with my mums help, and that’s where is all began.
From then on I was always with a needle in hand, working on something or other. In my teens I had my own little kitchen table business, first designing and wearing my own clothes and then fulfilling requests for my creations for my friends; my dungarees were a firm favourite.
After studying Fashion Design at art college, I took a job in Bahrain to set up a tailoring business for expats who wanted western styled clothes. Working with a team of skilled seamstresses from Thailand and the Philippines for 8 wonderful years, I learned the real techniques of tailoring, understanding body shape, and how different colour pallets and patterns lend themselves to some and not others. I also learned how to ensure clients got the design they really wanted and were completely comfortable in. My time in Bahrain turned out to be the making of me and my future clothes care businesses.
CLOTHES TAILORING, ALTERATIONS & REPAIRS
When I returned from Bahrain just before the first Gulf War, I had to leave everything behind and start my career from scratch. I got a job working on a clothing concession at Harvey Nichols where I provided alterations for newly bought clothes making sure each garment was the best fit for the individual. It became so successful that I put a small ad in Vogue offering alterations, and Voila!, my alterations business was born. Based in London, The Wardrobe Curator provides mending, alterations, redesign and new designs from scratch. There really isn’t anything we don’t do to breath new life in to clothes.
It’s amazing how impeccable tailoring can transform how a garment looks and feels to wear. All body shapes and sizes are different; a size 10 can be tall or short with different waist length, arm length and leg length. Then there’s the body shape to take into account, are the breasts large or small? Are the hips wider or smaller than the shoulders? In fact, when you think about all the different variations in body shape it’s a wonder that any off the peg clothes fit anyone at all. The truth is they don’t.
When it comes to buying clothes from everyday shops we tend to develop a preference for a few brands and learn to steer clear of others. We do this almost subliminally, because the size and fit of particular brands are closest to our own measurements, so those clothes just look and feel better.
I would urge everyone to go through their wardrobes and look at what clothes they don’t wear. Is it because the sleeve is too long or the waist is a little tight? Seek out a local tailor if we are too far away and just think, you could be wearing your old treasures again with just a little tweak!
PROFESSIONAL CLOTHES STORAGE
It was while working with clients for my alterations business that I realised most people need help with how to organise their clothes. Part of my work involved visiting clients in their homes and from this my next business in clothes care began.
I found that my celebrity clients needed drastic help. They required vast wardrobes as part of their job but were usually overwhelmed with where to put everything and how to keep it looking tip top. So I launched Total Wardrobe Storage, a virtual wardrobe service which provides high end expert clothes storage. I know how to clean precious fabrics, look after and protect clothes from dust, mould and moths while they are stored for long periods of time and my clients can use the virtual wardrobe to ensure they have the correct clothes available and delivered when and wherever in the world they need them.
CLOTHES STORAGE AT HOME
Alongside the launch of Total Wardrobe Storage I had another business idea brewing. While some clients couldn’t do without my high end storage services, the vast majority didn’t need that level of help but did require help in their own home. I would start with advising them what items to keep and disregard based on colour and fit.
Once that was done I helped organise their storage. I started to look for the best hangers for various types of garment and storage bags which were sturdy enough to protect clothes stored for months at a time but in a material that would let them breath and protect them from clothes moths. After a while I had quite the range of products to hand and when I couldn’t find what I wanted, I designed it and sourced a manufacturer myself. Now I’m proud to say this extensive range of bespoke clothes protection products is available here at Total Wardrobe Care.
DEALING WITH CLOTHES MOTH
One of the most common questions I was asked was, how to get rid of Clothes moth? At the time, my client base was mainly in London where clothes moths seemed to be making a comeback in the UK. Now of course they are pretty much a problem everywhere. Traditional moth balls were all I really knew about but their use is out of the question now. It’s a big subject so you can find out more about it in my blog, What is in Moth Balls?
My research took me to pest controllers and museum curators where I learned about Integrated Pest Management, which is the use of lots of different tools in an integrated way to deal with a pest problem. Essentially, there is no silver bullet so you hit them with everything you’ve got. I immersed myself in the traditional and modern ways to repel, kill and even confuse moths with pheromones. Starting with a signature, moth repelling Essential Oil Fragrance which I designed with the expertise of a perfumier in the New Forest, I now have an extensive range of natural tools to combat clothes moth including fragrances, a Natural Killer Spray and very clever pheromone Moth Box & Decoy. My Clothes Care Blog includes all I know and is a great information resource for customers dealing with the perils of the clothes moth!
I’ve had great fun telling my story here and I hope you’ve found it interesting. My clothes care ethos has always been the same: “your clothes are friends for life, choose them well, look after them and they will look after you"! So all that’s left to say is please have a browse or Contact Us if you need help with clothes storage or protection from clothes moths, we’re here to help.