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The Difference Between a Dressmaker and Designer

My old nick name is Stitch Bitch. I had given myself this derogative, tongue in cheek name to make people laugh but also think about my position.

It was Pete Burns who came up with the phrase when I was making quite a lot of his wardrobe in the 80’s and he said “you will have to get a Stitch Bitch to help you.” FAB!

Basically I have prostituted my Art and stitch bitched for Westwood for over 20 years. But I am still a designer. I have a degree in design and I create my own designs. Sometimes quite difficult to be completely original because of course I am pretty saturated with the “Westwood” stylee.

So many times when I wear one of my designs people ask if it a Westwood. Of course to blatantly rip her designs off would be stupid of me because I am on their radar and ripping off another designer would not suit my brand. This is what dressmakers do! Although Vivienne Westwood herself openly admits to plagiarism.

Recently I made the Bird of Paradise dress as a sample for the Westwood couture label. (Took me half a week!) Absolutely amazing dress! This design HAD inspired me to make my own Scarlett dress a few years ago. It is similar in silhouette because it goes in at the waist and has a full skirt but it’s actually completely different in design and method of finish. Many people have compared my design to Dress Dita Von Tees’ wedding dress.

Many customers do not understand the difference between a designer and a dressmaker. I am frequently bombarded with pleas to copy another designer and make a cheap dress of their dreams from a picture they bring along! The public is not to know that dressmaker is a derogative term. I do, however, love to work with the customer on design developments as long as they fit in with my style.

Westwood’s customers have tried to change even Westwood’s designs….take it in here…take it out there!! Where do you draw the line? Suddenly the garment is a completely different design and far removed from the original! Many many moons ago my mother called me a dressmaker but now she now calls me a couturier corsetiere or dress designer! As I do build frocks as well!