MEET YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG MEMBER // I SPEAK STYLE'S DEBBIE HUNTLEY //

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 It's time to introduced another Rebel Girl to our local Girl Gang this week. 

The lovely Debbie Huntley had already become an insta-crush of mine before we even started chatting. So imagine my joy, when I delved a little deeper and found out more about Debbie and her background in Fashion. Also known as I SPEAK STYLE, Debbie is a Designer and was named 'one to watch' by Clothes Show Live and ASOS Market Place.




Debbie is a self confessed style and interior-lover, as well as a first-time Mum. She has her own Independent Label as a Freelance Fashion Designer and has been featured in ELLE and Instyle Magazine, to name a few and has had her designs worn on the red carpet.

To top it off she's a local lass, so welcome to your local girl gang Debbie. It's a pleasure to get the opportunity to feature your work and find out more about you.


I'm not going to give away anymore spoilers, but I hope you all enjoy reading Debbie's interview with The Rebel Girls Club and join me in supporting another talented Designer/Maker in Hull.


Hi Debbie, could you start by telling all of us Rebels a little bit more about yourself?

Hi Katie, I am a currently on Maternity leave from my role as Designer and Garment Technologist for the PPE industry, my main background is Fashion Design where I worked on my own independent label and as a Freelance Designer. Most days at the minute I am rocking the- very tired first-time mum look- who will happily go and fuel herself with some fellow rebel girl's baked treats and I am slightly interior obsessed!


I’ve seen some of your collections and love the wedding dress you designed. What inspired you to get into Fashion Design in the first place and do you have a creative background?

Thank you, the wedding dress was a delight to design and make and given it was for one of best friends it was very special to be able to be trusted with such a responsibility. I always just liked fashion, I have a friend who can remember me drawing a dress when I was younger and me claiming I was going to be a fashion Designer. My entire education is creative I studied Art, Design and Textiles at A-level, followed by a Diploma in Fashion which fueled my love of designing but gave me an insight into pattern cutting which I love! I then made the decision to take my studies further in the specialism and went on to complete my BA Hons Degree in Fashion Design with Manufacture, Marketing and Promotions, I interned for Alice Temperley and Paul Smith in London on my gap year-both amazing experiences which gave me great insights into the luxury fashion market. I love most creative industries as I think fashion, art, textiles, photography etc all cross paths at some point so I would definitely say my book collection confirms the creative love.




Here at The Rebel Girls Club we love sharing people’s wow moments! What has been your favorite project or the thing you’re most proud of achieving over the years?

I would have to say whilst running my own small independent label; L.2.Mae , I was shortlisted as one the 10 emerging Designers to watch in conjunction with the Clothes Show Live and ASOS Marketplace. I got to exhibit at the Clothes show Live which I used to love visiting as a student and I got interviewed by the iconic Caryn Franklin once more which was amazing as I used to watch her on TV as a child- maybe that was an early influencer, who knows?! The events presenter Annaliese Days actually wore a piece to present a runway show on one of the days which was great exposure and Ashley James was attending the event who is a keen body positive spokesperson and as part of my mission statement was to design for women, I used various size models in my photoshoots which she loved so she wore a piece of my collection to a film premiere on the red carpet which was great to see. So, a few yippee moments all within one event.

 



I know you’re a Mum, alongside working Freelance. How do you find keeping a balance between parenting and pursuing a creative career? I was wondering if you had any advice for creative working mums like yourself?

As a new mum I had a lot of plans for my maternity leave from my main job as a Designer and Garment Technologist …but that was very naïve of me! Motherhood is hard and non-stop but now she is nearly 7 months it is becoming easier to carve out the evenings as ‘my time’ to work on my creative projects and plans for the future. It does make you become a master at time management meaning you can have a to do list and eventually work your way through it. Take your time! Its something I’ve learnt becoming a new mum, I’ve always led a fast paced and hectic life with juggling studies and part time work and then full-time work and projects- I constantly have a million tabs open in my head- but I know that things take time and it’s not a race and to be gentle on yourself and keep working to your goals and plans. Procrastinating is key for any creative I think as pressure just puts up barriers to your thinking, so if you spend a week thinking about what you want to create or do…but don’t do any of it…it’s fine. Its all part of the process. Slow down and take your time and a glass of red wine always helps.




I know friends who have interned in Fashion or tried to establish themselves in the Fashion Industry and I can imagine things get pretty competitive! Do you have any advice for people who are looking to establish themselves as a Designer/Maker?

What I love about the industry-and other creative industries- is how much it has all changed since the development of the digital platforms. When I was even studying it was all very competitive and trying to find people who worked at places seemed top secret-it’s like their email addresses were the crown jewels for only selective eyes! It’s all so different know, people work together more and its very transparent, it’s a huge industry so I think there is room for everybody. Be confident in yourself and your own work, that is something I’ve learnt over the years as you try and fit into a market but you’re not being true to yourself. Challenge things and think outside the box as that is what moves the industry forward and yourself as a designer. I am a very different designer to what I was 5 even 10 years ago as my mindset has changed with the more I grow and evolve as a person, so allow that to come through in your work. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people, if they don’t reply instantly don’t sweat it, reach out again and again and eventually they will. Knockbacks are part of any career it’s the get ups and working back on your goals that is key.
I feel like I am writing these words and reminding myself to take note of them!




I love your website and your Insta (please check them both out people!)
What do you feel like the future holds for I SPEAK STYLE?

Thank you. I will be focusing on a lot more of my own creative projects, in a sense I am starting again to re establish myself also and rebrand the label I worked on years ago. I’ve unfinished business as a designer for my own work and experiencing different job roles and markets fuels your fire again to regain your focus and work towards your ultimate goal. Sometimes you have to take a step back to fall back in love with things again which is what I’ve essentially done- Diane Von Furstenberg did this many time so here’s hoping the empire can be like hers!
I’m a huge nerd in anything about sustainable fashion and creating products that can be ethically made but also, I want to give back. If you are familiar with Selfish Mother she supports charities and that is something which I would like to do with specific products. I think becoming a mum makes you want to ensure even more that there is a better future for your child and giving back helps towards that, it makes you a better designer. I have some new products to launch this year, the samples are in, starting simple but with long term plans which I hope some rebel girls will feature in! As they say… watch this space.




Check out Debbie Huntley on INSTAGRAM and on her WEBSITE to find out more.

Thank you for reading 
xoxo

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