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Sunday 6 November 2011

An interview with Top Drawer Diva

Every once in a while you meet someone who is so inspiring, you want everyone to know about them. And one such woman I’ve come across recently is Vicki Williams, known in the Twittersphere as Top Drawer Diva. Not that she’s in any way a diva! It’s more that divas themselves, (the J-Los and Mariah’s of the world), want a bit of what she’s got; gorgeous undies that get her noticed.
Indeed it’s not everyday you come across a professional underwear designer (there’s no shortage of ‘fashion designers’ but specialising in under garments just sounds so much more interesting.) I ‘met’ Vicki through Twitter and have been following her progress from appearing in her local paper, to running private workshops and parties. Like me, she is someone who ‘likes making stuff’, so I thought it would be nice to do a special blog interview with her (something I’ve not done before, but I’ve decided is going to be the first in a new series!) And so…introducing Vicki:

Inspiring Vicki

Underwear…some people can’t even say the word and keep a straight face!
Saying ‘bras’ and ‘knickers’ is second nature to me. It’s what I know about about! During a post school fashion foundation, I really got into the corsetry side so I went on to study for a degree in Contour Fashion at Leicester De Montfort University. It was the only ‘underwear degree’ in Europe. I studied swimwear and all aspects of lingerie including learning about different types of lace. Underwear construction is highly skillful, especially when you’re sewing the tiny pieces of a bra; nimble fingers are a must! After that, I landed several designer jobs creating undies for a range of high street stores from Top Shop and Miss Selfridge to Next. Just as the rest of the fashion world is fast paced, trends in underwear design have to keep up too.

Could a parent have a more embarrassing job?
My kids are always getting embarrassed, they say all I talk about is knickers! It’s even a talking point at school and when their teachers tell them they should be proud of me, they walk off!

Girlie glamour

Pants parties: why did you start running them?
My husband landed a job in Australia so I left the designing for a bit to concentrate on bringing up our two children, but while I was there, I got bitten by the making bug. The handmade culture in Australia is huge and it inspired me to take the buzz back to the UK. I just though ‘I can do this’, so I set up a part-time business running ‘pant parties’ where women can get together and customise their own knickers; it’s the ultimate girls night out and lots and lots of fun.

Sounds just like my kind of thing!
It’s proving a popular activity for hen dos and birthdays and it’s very good value. Sessions costs £20 per person with all materials, equipment and tuition included. Plus, you get to keep your new panties!

Bedroom bunting

Life isn’t just about lingerie though; what else does Top Drawer Diva get up to?
I also sell my own work, you can buy directly from my Folksy store or from stalls I often hold at local events. I make a range of sewn items like aprons, lavender bags and cards but my Top Drawer Diva signature product is Boudoir Bunting. This is not your usual gingham and floral tea party decoration, but sensual, seductive bow edged bunting that was made to be hung in your bedroom.
I can testify to just how extravagant it is as Vicki sent me a sample (above) and it’s absolutely gorgeous. She’s an exceptional seamstress, the construction is perfect and the style delicate and decadent. Mine is hung where it belongs, just beside my bed!

Sugar & spice...
...and all things nice!

Where and how can we find you?
I’m based in Cleethorpes, in the North East of England and workshops are held throughout Yorkshire and the North West including Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and as far south as Nottingham. Most private parties are held inside the hostesses’ home and I bring everything with me, but some people prefer to hire spaces like local halls or rooms. The best way to contact me for a booking is via Twitter or email; the website is on its way.

It’s a new business, but the scope is huge…
I’ve only been up and running since May and bookings have been increasing thanks to word of mouth and support from the local press. Right now I spend about three days a week on the business while the kids are at school and I have a friend that helps me. Looking forward I’m really keen to get myself a proper studio, where I could design and host parties and possibly even turn it into a craft café. (Fingers crossed she does!)

To find out more about Vicki and to book one of her Pants Parties, e-mail topdrawerdiva@hotmail.co.uk www.twitter.com/TopDrawerDiva

If you would like to be interviewed on this blog, email me with some details about you and your creative, crafty life. contact@momtazbh.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, interesting to read about Miss Top Drawer Diva! I'll have to check out her Folksy shop as the boudoir bunting is very cool!