As part of our Future Shapers series, in partnership with Neutrogena, we've scoured the country to find 2016's hot new innovators. Phoebe Gormley is one of our Future Shapers, winning Neutrogena's Overall Future Shaper award…
The fashion radical: Phoebe Gormley, 22
As founder of Gormley & Gamble, Savile Row’s first tailor exclusively for women, Gormley is shaking up London’s dressmaking scene.
You can never start too early. I made my first bespoke suit aged 14 from some old work clothes my dad was throwing away. I got into dressmaking by interning on Savile Row aged 15 during my school holidays, and learning as much as I could.
Use your initiative. When I was 13 my parents refused to buy me a mannequin, thinking dressmaking was just a passing phase. So I got some chicken wire out of the shed, wrapped it around myself, papier-mâchéd myself in, then got my sister to cut me out; I made my own mannequin.
University isn’t for everyone. I didn’t find the learning environment and stimulation I was looking for, so I quit at the end of my second year and used my final year’s tuition fees to fund starting my own business.
Being a woman is an advantage. That’s where my gap in the market was. I never grew up thinking, ‘I’m a girl, I can’t do that’, it’s always been, ‘Do whatever you want to do and do it better than everyone else’.
Developing a thick skin is crucial. The suppliers that I had based my business plan on changed their minds after I had uprooted my entire life and moved to London. They cited my age, inexperience and their belief that women were volatile to work with as their reasons. I look back on that as an important learning curve.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I used to battle through issues alone, but you end up exhausting yourself in the process. Utilise the hard-won experience of others and always share yours, where possible.
#passiton ‘Day-to-day problems rarely matter. Stay focused on the end goal.’
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