Niccy - or the Scrapunzel Pixie, as I know her - is a very original clothing designer / deconstructor / remaker / creator. Why am I using so many terms to describe her? Well, because she is all of those things; her work is very original, and the name "Scrapunzel sums it up very well. There is a very big faerie lost in a medieval forest at dusk type vibe to what she does, and if you are into books and films like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings you are sure to love her unique style of clothing.
Question 1. You have a website called "Scrapunzel" where you sell handmade clothing. What led you launch this project and what keeps you going?
Deconstructing and remaking clothing has been part of my life since I can remember. I grew up crafting mostly because we had no TV. So, while other kids my age watched presenters get busy with the glue on those British classics "Blue Peter" and "Why Don't You?" I was deconstructing the contents of my wardrobe and swimming in rivers. I cut trousers into skirts, switched too big skirts into dresses and twisted bits of wooly jumpers into headbands.
A few years ago I took a look at the alternative clothing available and saw issues of inconsistent sizing could be improved on. Also, knowing what I know about fabric recycling now, there was likely to be a huge carbon footprint involved despite the good intentions.
So I took one hooded top - completely deconstructed it - and redesigned it with a pattern of my own construction. I also made the decision to source fabrics as locally as possible.
End result is this:
*flattering and 'true' size fits.
*locally sourced materials
*always,always, always original.
What keeps me going is knowing that I'm making people happy, and that I'm doing something I love. There's a crazy, free spirited energy to what I do. Every stitch is worked to an exacting quality and I do not make anything that I wouldn't want to receive myself. My items are made to last, ensuring that the beauty goes on and on. I want people to live beautifully and authentically, wearing creations made with heart and soul.
Question 2. How did you get the technical skills necessary to create the clothing you sell?
Experimentation, perseverance, imagination - I sew instinctively, with an idea in my head of a look that I want to achieve. I didn't train - I just explore 'what ifs' to completion.
Also, I grew up in an environment where a sewing machine was part of everyday home-life. Home-made clothing rather than something you buy in a shop. So it's nice to be able to make clothes for my little girl and she also gets to see the process involved too - an invaluable lesson in todays consume-at-all-cost world.
Question 3. Are you inspired by any other fashion designers?
Vivienne Westwood, without a doubt. She had no formal training, but it didn't deter her in the slightest - and she went on to become one the most influential figures in the fashion world. Just through sheer determination, irrepressible creativity and - that most important quality of all - a total disregard for the establishments rules. Also, if there is a cause, she will fight for it - she has campaigned against nuclear disarmament, fought for measures against climate change and spoke fervently about what she calls "the drug of consumerism."
Question 4. Do you consider yourself part of the fashion world or does your heart beat to a different drum?
Oh, gosh. I don't really think of myself in relation to the fashion world, although it never fails to interest and inspire me. I just make the clothes I like in the style that I like. I'm very lucky that I get to do what I love, with the help of all the amazing people that have appreciated and bought my work over the years - that's the energy that my heart beats to! I'm still blown away by my journey so far and overwhelmed by the support I've received.
Question 5. When you look around you and see how the average person on the street dresses does it inspire you or depress you?
Definitely inspires me. I see people combining clothing pieces in such a variety of ways.... like a shop-bought coat with a hand-knit scarf..... vintage jacket and funky trainers.... You can add something new to a clothing look by having different coloured nail varnish, or changing the style of your hair. People are always subverting and creating fashion,sometimes without realising it. Mixing it up and creating something new. Which is no different to me reconstructing clothing. We are quite naturally rebellious as humans... I hope this is always the case!