In recent years, the demand for ethical fashion has grown significantly and with eco-friendly fashion on the rise, Beth Povey spotted an opportunity and set up her Leek-based business, Realm Designs, in early 2016. The business is renowned locally for its quirky crochet and upcycled clothing and accessories.
An Ethical Vision
The fashion fanatic set up Realm Designs after looking into the effects that the fashion industry has on the environment. She said: “I was shocked at the amount that was wasted, thrown away and had a negative impact on the environment, during manufacture.
“This gave me a real passion to do my bit and change the way that I myself and other people think about the clothes we wear.
“I had always wanted to own my own shop. I used to work at Holly Crow, a handmade clothing shop in Leek, which really inspired me to start my own business.
“I went to college after sixth form and then onto university to study fashion, but I ended up leaving after a few months. I wanted to do my own thing and felted limited at university.
“So I left in November 2016 and started plans to set up Realm Designs straight away. The website launched in February 2016.”
The 21-year-old kept to her sustainable vision.
“I always try to be as eco-friendly as I can in everything I do, so this was no different when starting a business.
“I try to use upcycled materials where possible, making a new product from something that may have been otherwise thrown away. I also keep any scrap bits of wool and fabric, I hate the thought of these tiny pieces ending up in the sea, and I will eventually make something new out of them.
“The fashion industry needs to change because too much waste and destruction is being caused by fast fashion. I hope to do my little part as a small business to change as much as I can.”
Keeping Up With Trends
Fast forward almost three years and the new Realm Designs Autumn / Winter 2018 Collection will be released to the public next week.
The collection features a new rainbow cardigan which Beth has said is her personal favourite out of all the products she has ever made.
The collection will be available on the Realm Designs website from Monday 26th November 2018.
Kelly Hodkinson and Jade Tideswell from Back Alley Productions shot the campaign, they said: “For us, working with Realm was a totally new experience where we got to work with vibrant ideas and products that simply make our job easy! The products speak for themselves – it’s clear that Beth is incredibly passionate about her brand and its ethos, so it was a lot of fun working together to achieve the best and most creative shot.
“Beth not only takes care of each individually-made piece, but also follows the ethos of an eco-friendly and sustainable brand – which is just the icing on the cake!
“The collection is fascinating and truly unique, from amazing crochet outfits to the cutest earrings. There’s something for everyone.”
Matilda Casswell, also from Leek, modelled the Realm Designs’ products for the A/W Collection. She spoke fondly of the brand and its founder. She said: “Beth is great to work with. It is amazing to see somebody so passionate about what they do but also about improving the industry they work in.
“She ensures she is being kind to the planet in everything that she does, and in doing so she is being true to her brand and to herself. I can’t wait for Realm to continue to grow.”
Learning The Craft
The Leek-based small business owner learned to crochet at college while doing an Art Foundation course.
“I fell in love with crochet straight away, buying books and looking at ideas online.
“I was encouraged to sew back when I was doing my GCSEs, in Art lessons. I also used to get clothes second-hand and alter them.”
Beth praises her mum for guiding her during times of uncertainty.
“Both are sort of self-taught with a little help from my mum when I needed her.”
When it comes to what’s trending in fashion, it is constantly changing. What worked last season may not work this season. Beth wants her pieces to remain timeless and adaptable throughout the year.
“I take a lot of inspiration from Seventies fashion and interiors. I love anything floral and colourful so all of these things inspire me in my work. The way I work also inspires my designs by trying to make no or little waste.
“As the seasons and fashion trends change, I try not to be too influenced by them, as I want my pieces to be something you love forever and wear all year round.”
Enjoying The Role
Amazingly, the young designer runs her entire business from her bedroom! Beth has a corner in her room dedicated to Realm Designs, and tells us that she loves to work there, “I am very lucky that I have a lovely view from my workspace. It is my favourite place to be.
“When my workspace is tidy it really gets me in the mood to work, and I like to make lots of lists to keep me motivated.
“Most of my products go down really well. I only ever put out things I really love and would buy myself. There have been lots of things I have learned along the way but I really feel that my products now reflect me.
“My best-selling products are my rainbow earrings, daisy bra and daisy earrings. Luckily, they are also some of my favourite things to make!”
Remaining Forever Humble
North Staffordshire’s market town of Leek is Beth’s humble home, and she regularly participates in the Totally Locally markets there.
Totally Locally Leek is a traditional and vibrant market town on the edge of the Peak District. It hosts a wealth of independent shops, cafes and pubs with regular weekly markets, as well as weekend speciality markets including the award winning Sunday Supplement, held on the first day of the month.
In the run up to Christmas, Beth will be running a stall at each of the markets, where she will be selling her hand-crafted Realm Designs products.
The dates for the markets are 2nd December and the 16th December 2018. More information about the markets can be found here.