Maria Constable

For the very first time in 2019, I was at the London ExCel Arena for the Miss World finale: a moment driven by my passion for beautiful gowns and the perfect fit. In 2018, I had created the winning gown for Miss Africa GB (Leila Samati). I am honoured and grateful to have created some red carpet gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses and African print-wear aimed at promoting culture and identity.

A lit bit about myself……I was born and raised in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe to be precise. In my teens, I studied fashion and fabrics at secondary school. My teacher wore her own custom designs, which really inspired and encouraged me to learn more. My love for the subject led me to making regular visits to one boutique at the mall that imported high-end gowns from different parts of the world. I would feel the texture of the fabric, look at the garment construction and of course try a few.

I made my very first gown at the age of 17 for my sister who participated at a beauty pageant; she managed to secure the second spot. I knew from a very early age how a perfect garment could transform an individual; from their posture to the way they would engage with others. At the age of 21, I moved the UK. The move meant I had to put my designing skills aside and get a job to pay the bills. However, after starting a family, I resumed my fashion designing. I making special occasion gowns for myself and it only took one compliment from a friend and introductions to different people to start my made-to-measure services. Being able to serve others by providing custom-made services has been rewarding and the journey continues……

My advice is if you are passionate about anything, give it a go.

What do you do and how would you describe your work?

I offer tailor-made clothing with a perfect fit no matter the size

What are the materials/equipment you use?

Sewing machine, over locking machine, hand press machine for eyelets and grommet die and rivets die

Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspired by my fashion and fabrics teacher who always looked amazing in her self-made outfits. The idea of being able to do that for myself and other women is a blessing.

How does it feel being part of the Arts Central community?

I think it’s wonderful to have so many creatives under one roof.