Taking The Work Out Of Dressing For Work
Despite all that has changed about women’s roles in the workplace, what hasn’t really changed is the daily dilemma about what to wear to work! Woman want to look and feel professional but also comfortable in the work environment. They also don’t have time to spend hours, on their down time, on shopping for work wear. Happily, one young working lady has come up with a simple and convenient solution. Working Wardrobe is the brainchild of one local woman, Jackie Pattison.
Jackie started her career in 1989 in the Head Office of the Ulster Bank in Belfast, now the fabulous Merchant Hotel. In 2000 Jackie went on to work for a number of companies across Europe but the story was always the same. Jackie explains “As a young woman working within the corporate business area, I was always frustrated with my work wear options. In my last role at Leeds based Masternaut I was working long hours in the corporate sector and I definitely didn’t want to spend my nights and weekends spending time trying to find clothes to wear to work. Weekends were my personal time and a time to detach myself from work and recharge the batteries.
‘The challenge for ladies in the work place is having clothing that allows you to be feminine but yet business appropriate. Also I had many long days where I could be sitting in the car for hours or getting on and off flights so having clothing that would be forgiving of that environment was essential. Having spent years trawling the high street and internet I realised that there was a gap in the market for this type of clothing – so I decided to launch Working Wardrobe.’
Having traded online for over one year (www.workingwardrobe.com) using stock carefully selected from wholesalers, Jackie quickly realised that the type of garments she wanted to sell weren’t available even in the wholesale market. Having teamed up with Head Designer Sarah Rawling they set about designing a range of dresses using high quality fabrics, designing everything with the working woman in mind and manufacturing every piece in Yorkshire.
Sarah explains ‘A lot of our design and manufacturing focus is on functionality – utilising wrinkle free, machine-washable fabrics and design elements that focus on comfort but also our pieces are timeless, versatile and classic. Sarah goes on to say “in researching our designs we found, from speaking to our customers, one of the biggest issues they faced was incompatibility in sizes – a nightmare when ordering online. Even from the same supplier significant inconsistencies across sizes were found so it was essential for our customers to know if they’d ordered a size 12 from us previously they could order another dress style in the same size safe in the knowledge that it would be a standard and consistent fit. “
Having spent many months creating the design and sourcing fabric, the Capzule Dress range was debuted at Moda at NEC in Birmingham which is the UK’s largest fashion trade event.
As part of the launch Jackie wanted to reflect her career roots which brought her back to the Merchant Hotel, Belfast to launch her exciting new range of clothing.
Jackie states ‘I stood on these steps petrified as an 18 year old heading into my bank interview and who would have thought I’d be back here 30 years later debuting my first dress collection. It’s ironic also that we’re using Alison Clarke (ACA Models) as one of our models as Alison and I first met in the bank so we’ve both come back to where it started. There was only one model agency I wanted to trust to our inaugural photoshoot. The grounding and the experience I gained during my time in the bank has stood me in good stead over the years so it seemed fitting to come back here today’.
Alison Clarke (ACA Models) said ‘I’ve been keeping up to date with Jackie’s progress for this concept from the outset and it’s been great to see it go from an idea to the delivery of the first collection. ACA Models and myself personally are thrilled to be taking part today’.
The full range of Capzule dresses is available online at www.workingwardrobe.com and through a select number of independent boutiques nationwide. In addition, they will be showcased later this year as part of Gok Wan’s One Size Fits All national roadshow – a masterclass in fashion, style and insider secrets. For any retailers interested in becoming a stockist of the Capzule range of dresses visit the Wholesale page at www.workingwardrobe.com.