Eliza Wyke is the label I created when I left Leeds College of Art (formerly Jacob Kramer College), way back in the last century, after completing a City& Guilds in Ladies Tailoring and Manufacturing
I used Eliza Wyke as “Elizabeth Pennington” wouldn’t fit on the label! However, I didn’t just pluck the name from obscurity, she really did exist… and she was a tutor, tailor, and my great-grandmother. A strong and extremely stylish lady, a maverick in an age when women were meek and mild, she was an altogether striking lady with a passion for style. Sadly, we never met, but I’ve seen the pictures and heard the stories and, yes there is an aspiration.
Where was I? 1999 was when it all began, since then I’ve designed, manufactured and produced catwalk collections, made numerous brides and mothers of the bride/groom exceedingly happy, and created wow factor tailoring.
Eliza Wyke continues to grow, as do I, and I continue to tailor the patterns, locally source the fabric (my favourite part), cut, manufacture and fit my customers all by myself. There isn’t any part of the process that I can’t do.
However, I don’t just design and make things. Over the years such has been my interest and passion for all things style, I’ve been asked for advice by friends, family and colleagues, I once had a recruitment consultant who knew me from old, call me out of the blue for fashion and style advice before her honeymoon! What started as a lunchtime hobby has grown into a career I adore. Such was the demand that in 2007 I became known as “The Personal Shopper”, helping customers achieve their perfect wardrobe – whether a capsule or a whole new look. This element of the business draws on my training as a tailor – I can assess a body-shape at 20 paces, and suggest tailoring solutions to give you the desired look. Thirteen years on and here I am; from lunchtime hobby to image consultant with lots of fashion and style in between.
And that’s how I got here.
I love sewing things. I love creating things. I get such a buzz when I see fabric (yes I’m the girl who shops for fabric on holiday – every time I manage to find some, it’s a running joke I have a fabric antenna). I love working with luxurious fabrics – if you’re going to invest time in making something you might as well use nice fabric – to create something unique. Whether it’s a contrast lining, that only you can see; piping around an inside pocket, or just the glorious feel of putting on a dress and knowing it will fit on the bust, waist and hips.
Equally I’m fascinated by clothes; how we wear them and why we select them. I love the fact that clothes can look so very different from individual to individual. My approach to dressing is less fashion and more style. I help my customers identify their style which is both unique, fits their lifestyle and budget, yet still makes a statement about their personality.