Although I love fashion, I don’t think that I could ever make it as a designer. I got a B in GCSE Textiles and I absolutely loved designing, but technically I wasn’t very good. When I started this blog, I wanted to find a talented Sheffield designer who could tell me more about how the city inspires them and I found one… Meet the lovely Anna Roberts!
Anna is a 49 year old single mother of two teenagers. She has always been into fashion from an early age, where she made her first dress on her grandmother’s old singer sewing machine aged 11. Aged 16, Anna decided to pursue a career in the industry, studying Fashion Design and Technology at Granville College. Anna then continued her studies at a higher level in Manchester, where she spent six years working for a variety of mail order and high street companies. Her developing career took her around the country and the next stop was Bristol where she went to work in pattern cutting. Lastly, she landed back in Sheffield at the Crucible Theatre as a wardrobe assistant. Anna’s jobs within the industry gave her the chance to develop her technical skills and her interest in innovative pattern cutting increased.
A couple of years later, Anna’s marriage broke down, and this encouraged her to go and do a teaching qualification as she had two young children to support. She spent 12 years at Chesterfield College teaching in the fashion department and during her last three years working there she really saw how the industry was changing, most notably how the independent designers were fading away as shopping was now governed by large corporations who all seemed to offer similar things. It was then that Anna’s passion for pattern cutting and garment manufacturing increased and she made the decision to start developing her own range of ladies dresses.
Anna says that she designs for real women and she certainly does not want anyone to look at her designs and think ‘Yes, that’s nice but I could never wear it’- she truly believes that her clothes should be accessible to all women regardless of shape.
So, what does Anna think about the fashion industry in Sheffield? She says that she has definitely seen a change in Sheffield over the last 20 years. What saddens her the most is that so many independent designers have not been able to succeed in the city, especially now with the upcoming demolition of Division Street, once the creative hub of Sheffield. However, Anna is thinking positive, hoping to offer some hope and inspiration to the fashionistas of Sheffield who are looking for great fashion with an edge!
Anna has embraced the digital world, with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter but she is still a firm believer in the shopping ‘experience’. At the moment, Anna is building a working relationship with a new boutique which has just opened in the Broomhill area and she hopes that her range will be available to purchase there soon.
Anna’s hopes for the future is to set up her own small manufacturing unit because this is an area where her skills and talents lie. With the unit, Anna would offer a service to small designers looking for small quantities of their styles; she is currently in the process of developing this service with a couple of designers. Anna also hopes to continue selling her own range, with ambitions to feature in a few more retail spaces across Yorkshire.
Anna’s new range is now available through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you can find her contact details. Finally, she hopes to see her designs being worn by lots of stylish Sheffield women this summer, looking fabulous in ‘frocks made in Sheffield’.
Hearing Anna’s story has given me great hope that fashion in Sheffield will bloom in the near future. I wish her the best of luck with everything!
You can see and order more of Anna’s wonderful designs here: