by Charlie Matthews
As a model I have attended many runway and fashion events. I have always said that I wanted to design my own clothes, but I would start it and then get frustrated with not being able to get out what was in my head!
Over the last couple of years, I have worked really hard with my artistic skills and my creative ideas have just grown and grown. I often get huge ideas with no idea how I can begin!
Back at the beginning of 2018 I decided I would show my own line of clothes at a modelling event I was attending during the summer in Miami. I just thought right you need to give this a go you can do this.
Firstly, I needed to come up with a name for my brand. I wanted my brand to promote awareness for Autism, so I began to think along these lines. Autism is often thought of as the missing piece in the puzzle that is why puzzle pieces are often used in Autism Awareness logos. I thought Missing Pieces would be a great name as my piece of clothing could also be the missing piece from your wardrobe, so it had double meaning.
Coming up with my logo was quite simple I wanted the three primary colours often used for Autism Awareness but to also incorporate green into mine. I wanted a heart to show love and this to be made of puzzle pieces. The red piece is just fitting in to the puzzle heart like it is the missing piece of the puzzle like the name.
I then wanted to come up with a theme for my first show and because it was in Miami, USA I chose a London theme. I knew everyone would love this. I searched everywhere and found the most amazing unique fabrics and my designs in my mind started to come to life. I am very lucky to have a nan who is a very talented seamstress, so she was able to make my designs. I think the hardest part was actually choosing the models. When I put out a casting in Miami, I had hundreds of models put in for the casting. I chose 17 models in the end from a variety of ages between 3-19 and one guest adult model to close the show. My guest model was Victoria Henley from the hit show America’s Next Top Model.
I wanted my show to not just be about the clothes but the whole presentation. I had a friends Simon from Customusix make a soundtrack from several tracks that I picked out that to me represented the London/English theme, he pieced these together in a really creative way. I then had my friend Dani Geddes from Willow Moon designs by Dani make a video of London sights to be played on the huge screens behind the models as they walked it was brilliant and they fit together perfectly.
Once all my designs were in production I started thinking about styling. This was important to me. I worked out exactly what footwear went with each outfit and picked out Hairstyles. I put out a casting for a hairstylist to work with me and I had a lovely girl called Celeste Riley come forward. She was able to do all the styles I wanted.
When we went over to Miami, I must admit I was nervous but more because I would need to interact with everyone as the designer and for someone with Autism this was quite daunting. I had arranged to meet all of my models before the show for a fitting and had taken a little goody bag made up of English souvenirs and treats which went down really well.
On the day of the show it all went amazingly well. My models were fantastic and showed so much personality which is what I had asked them to do, just be themselves and they looked incredible. For my first show I was so very pleased and proud of myself if you watch the video you will see me beaming with pride as I take to the runway in the finale walk.
I am currently working on my next collection for Walk the Walk fashion show in May and this has a theme that is very close to my heart so I can’t wait to show you all.