Harriet’s little shop of hand-made delights

A young Belper fashion designer has fulfilled a dream by opening a shop of ‘hand-made treasures’ to showcase her creations.

Harriet Kemp, 24, of Orton Way, opened Harriet Jade Boutique on St John’s Street, Wirksworth, with a grand opening party on Friday night.

She says the shop, which is titled after her first and middle names, will also give her an opportunity to display works by other local people.

She said: “This is a dream that I have always had.

“I wanted to help other creatives as well – so we’re providing an outlet for them.

“Being a designer I realise it’s quite tough to get yourself noticed and find a place to display your work.”

Harriet describes the shop as a place where “everything is hand-made.

“There’s a massive mix from clothing, jewellery and art to crafty things and accessories.”

Wirksworth become famous for textiles when Richard Arkwright first opened his mill in the 18th century, and Harriet believes the town comes alive again, with the annual festival

She said: “Wirksworth is a good place, particularly because of the Wirksworth Festival, which starts this month.

“Creatives come from all over for the festival, it’s full of artists and makers, people open up their homes to showcase, even the local builders have provided space for art work to be hung!”

Harriet graduated from the University of Derby in January this year after studying fashion design – but was already selling her work through a new online boutique. Unfortunately the online company folded, but it enabled Harriet to gain vital contacts, which she has used in her shop.

She said: “So far we have 25 different designers, most of them are from the Derbyshire area, but we have the odd few from Manchester, London and Birmingham.”

But the fashion business runs in Harriet’s blood as both her grandparents made their mark at the very top of the trade. She said: “It’s in my family. My grandma used to make for the Royal Family and my grandad used to own ladies’ wear factories. I have been brought up with it. I’ve always been making clothes. My mum hates it because there’s mess everywhere!”

Harriet studied fashion at Chesterfield College before attending the four-year course at Derby, which included working at Eternal Spirit, a bespoke corset and bridal service, in Nottingham.

Here she helped make costumes for stars like Leona Lewis and Girls Aloud.

Recent projects have included a 24-hour photographic challenge in Derbyshire for Children in Need, and her designswere published in a fashion book and she went on a trip to Barcelona for inspiration.

She describes her latest collection as “quite feminine and tailored in style” with a “lot of attention to detail and quite structured in luxury fabrics like chiffon and suede.”

Harriet is very keen to create a platform for other designers so they can launch or establish their careers and wants to give work experience to other young up-and-coming designers. Email Harriet_jade@hotmail.co.uk for more information.