Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a regular feature which highlights some great businesses. Here we profile Slaithwaite-based seamstress ELEANOR BRADLEY, who runs Wild Strings by Eleanor.
In a time of impulse buys and fast fashion, seamstress Eleanor Bradley has slowed the pace right down.
Fashion graduate Eleanor, 26, creates individual, handmade clothing from recycled fabric.
After leaving university Eleanor set up her own fashion brand, Wild Strings by Eleanor, now run from her former childhood bedroom at the family home in Slaithwaite.
Eleanor makes beautiful clothing including dresses, jackets and tops and customers select a style and then choose a fabric from a range sourced by Eleanor mainly from charity shops or platforms such as eBay.
“I sell a range of clothing and everything is made to order,” said Eleanor. “Fabrics comes from charity shops, eBay or from donations and I recycle that fabric into new pieces.
“The customer picks the fabric, so it’s quite a personal experience for both the client and for me. It’s all about sustainability and upcycling, and that’s what makes it unique.”
The bespoke items take three or four weeks from order to delivery, which is in contrast to current online shopping trends.
“It is all about slow fashion and we are encouraging customers to connect with something they really want, that really means something,” said Eleanor.
“Everything is handmade so it’s about slow consumption rather than fast fashion where you buy something on impulse and it’s on your doorstep the next day.”
Eleanor takes great care in selecting her fabrics and the colours and patterns. The fabrics could be old duvet covers, table covers or even curtains. But they are all quality-checked before being upcycled.
Eleanor, who attended Colne Valley High School and studied textiles at Huddersfield New College, found a passion for sewing and fashions while growing up. She was a dancer and her mum made many of her costumes.
Eleanor went on to study fashion design at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and was an intern at an online fashion brand before deciding to launch her own business in 2019.
“Running my own business was something I always thought I would do,” said Eleanor. “I always saw myself as running my own business whether that was as a freelance or having my own brand.
“I thought that was always something I would do in the future but after university I was living at home with my parents and I didn’t have a lot of outgoings and the time just seemed to be right.
“I could have waited for 10 years but by then I could have been comfortable in a job and had other responsibilities and never have done it. I decided to go for it. There was nothing to lose.”
Eleanor launched the business in summer 2019 and, of course, had the pandemic to contend with. She combined her business with volunteering, making masks and scrubs.
As the pandemic eased, Eleanor’s business saw steady growth which she combines with freelance seamstress work. Her business is a seven-day-a-week operation. “If not eight,” smiled Eleanor.
She loves being busy but doesn’t want to grow too fast. “I want to grow at a pace that’s sustainable,” said Eleanor.
“I am not dreaming of becoming a multi-million pound fashion brand. I want the business to continue as a job for life for me. I want it to be a well-rounded business that gives back. Maybe I will host workshops or teach sewing to pass on these skills to the next generation.
“Longevity is my big dream for the business.”
For more go to Eleanor’s website HERE.