Bethany Hil­ton

De­sign­ing a life in fash­ion

Cheshire Life - - Inside - WORDS: Janet Reeder

With a first class de­gree un­der her fash­ion­able belt and a place in the fi­nals of a ma­jor fash­ion award this month Tat­ten­hall-based de­signer Bethany Hil­ton has got her fu­ture sewn up.

The 22-year-old for­mer pupil of Bishop He­ber in Mal­pas has am­bi­tions to launch her own la­bel af­ter wow­ing the fash­ion crowd at Grad­u­ate Fash­ion Week with her no­madicin­spired first col­lec­tion.

Bethany, who stud­ied art, tex­tiles, busi­ness stud­ies and Span­ish at South Cheshire Col­lege be­fore hon­ing her craft at Birm­ing­ham Uni­ver­sity has a hands-on ap­proach to her work which makes it fresh and ex­cit­ing.

Tex­tiles are what she has fo­cused on in her bud­ding ca­reer and she has used her ex­pe­ri­ence of screen print­ing and fab­ric ma­nip­u­la­tion to cre­ate a unique first col­lec­tion.

‘The de­sign came from map­ping as the con­cept was all about travel and no­madic move­ments and no­madic life­styles,’ she says.

‘The print I took in a per­sonal di­rec­tion and cre­ated a map of Ch­ester for one of the de­signs as that is where I grew up. Then there’s an­other print that fea­tured cir­cles and which rep­re­sents my con­nec­tion to the map and where my fam­ily lives or the im­por­tant jour­neys I have taken my­self.’

She cre­ated her de­signs through a mix­ture of screen print­ing and us­ing glue and foils to cre­ate shapes and lines.

‘All the colour came from my re­search. I used blue, aubergine and navy as my colours, with high­lights of a paler bluey grey. They came from when I was look­ing at the sur­round­ings of Ti­bet and Peru

and those colours came from the rain­bow moun­tains in Peru where a lot of no­madic peo­ple travel to. I was also in­spired by the life­style of these tribes.’

Her de­but col­lec­tion of six out­fits and ac­ces­sories earned her a first class BA Hons de­gree and was achieved through hard work and some help from top name de­sign houses, in­clud­ing Ch­ester-born de­signer Amanda Wake­ley and bridal de­signer Emma Beau­mont, based in Knutsford.

‘I did some short work ex­pe­ri­ences with Amanda Wake­ley and Emma Beau­mont,’ she ex­plains.

‘And I took a year out and did a place­ment as part of my de­gree, which is when I went to work for Iris van Her­pen who is a cou­ture de­signer in Am­s­ter­dam .

‘There I be­came a team leader at Paris Fash­ion Week and worked re­ally closely with them to de­velop my hand work skills as all the col­lec­tion was made by hand.’

While she worked fleet­ingly with Amanda Wake­ley and on the team of Julien Mac­don­ald and JW An­der­son dur­ing her place­ment year it was work­ing with Iris van Her­pen which gave her a real in­sight into the cou­ture world.

‘With Iris Van Her­pen it was a close re­la­tion­ship. It was a re­ally nice work­ing en­vi­ron­ment in Am­s­ter­dam,’ re­veals Bethany.

‘They taught me a lot about cou­ture and about do­ing things by hand so I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the craft within fash­ion. I wanted to de­velop that and bring it into my de­signs. I have done ev­ery­thing my­self, screen print by my­self, hand print. It was re­ally nice to de­velop those skills and learn new tech­niques.’

Bethany was lucky to ex­pe­ri­ence with Iris some­thing that ev­ery fash­ion stu­dent must dream of - work­ing at Paris Fash­ion Week.

‘It was one of the most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences,’ she says.

‘I was work­ing back­stage, dress­ing the mod­els and help­ing with the or­gan­i­sa­tion. I helped with a lot of fit­tings and the cast­ings of the mod­els and it gave me such a huge in­sight into the in­dus­try. It was so mem­o­rable. I was with a great team of peo­ple and although it was very long hours and ex­haust­ing you were so mo­ti­vated be­cause it was so ex­cit­ing.’

Now, fresh from her de­gree show tri­umph Bethany is busy hon­ing her col­lec­tion for the fi­nals of the Mid­land Fash­ion Awards which are be­ing held on Oc­to­ber 12th.

She works in a sum­mer house in the back gar­den of the Tat­ten­hall home she shares with her mum Fiona, dad Martin and sis­ter El­lie, aged 20.

‘They’re re­ally sup­port­ive of what I do and helped me with a lot of the fund­ing for my first col­lec­tion,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t ask for bet­ter.’ Bethany’s dream is to launch her own la­bel one day but for now she’s seek­ing an as­sis­tant po­si­tion, maybe with a lux­ury brand so she can con­tinue learn­ing all about the tech­niques she loves to use.

‘I am look­ing for fund­ing cur­rently to get started,’ she says.

‘I’m look­ing for a large stu­dio space as I would like to re­tain that crafted el­e­ment of my work, whether it is screen print or fab­ric ma­nip­u­la­tion or em­broi­dery. I’d re­ally like to de­velop some fund­ing and even­tu­ally launch my own la­bel.’ bethany­

“The print I took in a per­sonal di­rec­tion and cre­ated a map of Ch­ester for one of the de­signs”

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