Racing ahead

Thu, 08 Sep 2011 15:44:00 BST

YOUNG fashion designer Joanna Lomas is to launch her first collection of clothes at a trendy Huddersfield boutique. Her outfits are original and stylish, but she has some rather unexpected influences. They include Barbie Doll... and a grandfather who was a superstar motorcycle racer.

Joanna, aged 20, is from Alfreton, Derbyshire, and is in the midst of the highly-respected fashion design and textile degree course at the University of Huddersfield. She has taken the option of a placement year in which she has set up her own business – designing, making and selling clothes. After a Dragon’s Den-style pitch, she was awarded a £2,400 grant by the University’s Business Mine, which offers advice, back-up and financial support to student and graduate entrepreneurs.

Joanna had already done some part-time work for Huddersfield designer, fashion entrepreneur and pattern-cutting expert Hardy Punglia, who runs two adjacent clothes shops in the town’s Byram Arcade. During her placement year, Joanna is based in the store named Part II Vintage. When not serving customers, she is behind her sewing machine, creating her collection of designer garments, which she describes as ‘classic with a modern twist’ and ‘casual but dressy’, aimed at ages 18-30.

The collection will be unveiled at a champagne launch at the neighbouring Byram Arcade shop The Left Bank on Saturday, 24 September (from 11am). In addition to Joanna’s outfits, there will be her exclusive range of tee-shirts – featuring iconic images of her late grandfather Bill Lomas, a legendary motorcycle racer.

 Joanne Lomas_mid_2  

Legendary motorbike racer Bill Lomas in action and below Joanna’s
logo subtly echoes her grandfather and his machine.

He took two world titles in the 1950s and was a double winner of the Isle of Man TT races. He died, aged 79, in 2007, and although his racing days were over before Joanna was born she has a huge collection of photos of him astride his bike. And her specially-designed logo is a subtle evocation of the streamlined fairing attached to the front of his machine. It was granddad Bill who kick-started Joanna’s passion for fashion at the age of five, when he gave her a Barbie Fashion Designer CD Rom – “I would sit for hours designing clothes!”

Joanna is also passionate about pattern-cutting and the scope it offers for creativity. But does she dress in her own outfits? Not all of the time, but she does make sure that when she buys from a fashion store or charity shop she customises her clothes to give them a personal twist.

Joanne Lomas_mid_3  Joanne Lomas_mid_1  

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