I recently got to find out about fashion designer Bo Carter another inspiring talent whose collection was showcased at the Leeds Fashion Show this year. I also learnt how a £12 sewing machine kick started a very successful career in the world of fashion. Bo is 32, married and surrounded by positive and supportive people who have been very much a part of her success.
Bo attended Leeds Metropolitan University and studied Accountancy and Finance. Founder of Leeds Fashion Show Anjula Davidson has been an inspiration and provides realistic motivation for Bo and others. So here’s what I found out about Bo Carter…
Bozena the accountant?!! Well there have been a few changes and I’m dying to hear all about this fashion adventure you’re on, what was it that inspired you to become a fashion designer?
You know, it may be sad but I do still love my numbers and spreadsheets…I always was creative and I always loved clothes, but I thought everyone loved clothes as much as I do. I put my clothes in certain order in my wardrobe, on certain hangers and if I don’t wear something for a long time I feel sorry for that outfit and have to wear it even if I don’t like it (now that’s unconditional love!). My hubby was always telling me I should do something about it and he is the one who found out in summer 2010 about Leeds Fashion Show, he told me to enter as a volunteer but me being me decided to see if I could actually be part of competition…and it worked. I got the sewing machine from charity shop for £12, learned how to use it and off I went to runway. Then there was more and more shows and more and more love to what I was doing and I love every second of it.
Since your first fashion show (Leeds Fashion Show 2010), first sewing machine, first runway and first everything you’ve been achieving more and more locally and globally can you share your adventures with us? Where have you been and are there any experiences that stand out more so than others?
It has been the most amazing year ever. After LFS last year I went to Virginia Fashion Week where apart from showing my collection I met some fantastic designers, models and I was judging upcoming young designers. After that I was invited to go to Bangalore but my visa didn’t get in time and my passport got lost, that was such a sad experience as I made the whole collection for that show.
I then had a few shows in the UK and worked with Tree of Hope Charity and Models of Diversity. In May I had the most amazing show in Malta, oh I did love this one to bits. In August I went to Baltimore to showcase my clothes; September Iceland Fashion Week and appearing on Romanian Next top Model, that was fun.
In October I won the Best Local Designer title on Leeds Retail Awards, worked on the amazing collection: nothing but nets, which was showcased at Fashion Bites Back event to generate awareness of net beds helping in thebattle against malaria. And then it was LFS again. Loved it every day!
You’ve expressed that you have felt very angry at the fashion world at times please share with us why?
You know, this can be nasty world. In Oxford my clothes didn’t make it to runway due to a rail mix up, but things got sorted later on and an apology was sent and accepted of course. During the year I have been involved I met so many lovely people and I love working with them all. There is always gonna be one time, but as everywhere else and I just concentrate on the good ones and keep going.
May 2011 was a significant marker in your career history, you showcased your work at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Malta and shared a runway with Julien Macdonald what was it like?
Oh my gosh, seriously, that was the most amazing show! 5000 people I don’t think I could ask for anything else. My collection was shown during Malta Fashion Awards, which is most fabulous event ever. I was so privileged to be part of it, met some truly amazing artists and the show was the best I’ve ever been to. And sharing the runway with Julien, what can I say! Amazing, and what an after party that was! I’m so in love with Malta, it’s a such a beautiful place, can’t wait to be back.
The 2011 LFS celebrated the 1st anniversary of Bo Carter fashion designs what was the inspiration behind your collection?
I wanted to do something new, hence the men collection. The prints for it were designed by two talented ladies: Laura Rimmington and Charlotte Smith. They did a great job, we went for strong prints and strong colours and I made shirts in Victorian style which with modern prints added this extra twist.
How would you describe your clothing range?
I would like to think it’s for everyone, I do love colours and prints, which appeal to a younger audience but at the same time I love unusual fabrics to create some more extravaganza dresses.
This year has seen the opening of your own shop located in the popular and respected Birds Yard, Leeds. What has helped your business most?
My friends and supporters, without them I wouldn’t be where I am. I do network a lot and try to get my brand everywhere I go.
Is there anything you wish people would understand about fashion?
It can be really hard and sometimes people will try to ‘kill’ you and what you’re doing and all you have to do it is keep your chin up and enjoy it. I love what I’m doing and that’s why I am doing it.
What is next for you?
Another busy year, even busier. More shows, it will be hard to choose where to go as there are so many opportunities. I’ll be Ccontinuing on with the mens range, opening the new shop, trying to sell my brand overseas and having lots of fun and even more energy drinks.
What advice can you offer to anyone wanting to start a career in fashion?
If you love it and believe it in it go for it. Remember what Anjula Davidosn says: everyone got a chance. But be prepare for hard work and be realistic.
So now we know a little bit more about Bo Carter and I think Bo will be one to keep an eye on as this lady is climbing higher and higher and at an mpressive rate.
Thank you for your time Bo and I look forward to more of your wonderful creations.
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