Designer Spotlight: Silly Old Sea Dog
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Silly Old Sea Dog CR
Founded in 2012, Silly Old Sea Dog provides 1950’s vintage inspired clothing for women of all sizes.

Based in the UK, the brand prides itself on it’s handmade quirky designs which have been featured on ITV’s Take Me Out, the ASOS Graduate Market for the Clothes Show Live, Paris Plus Size Fashion Week, an Etsy TV advert and worn by American actress and model Hayley Hasselhoff.

We speak to the owner of S.O.S.D Alison Ballard, who some of you may recognise from Take Me Out series 7

Describe the general process you go through to conceptualise and design a garment.
I design all of the garments myself and choose the fabrics, I love buying fabrics, most of ours come from the USA, I always chose something bright and colourful and different from what is on the High Street. All of our fabrics are 100% cotton so they can be washed and tumble dried. My designs for the styles are based on the silhouettes of the 1950′s. I love these flattering shapes and think they suit all types of figures. Silly Old Sea Dog stock sizes 6-28 and I feel that the shapes look stunning on all different sized girls.

When did you realise your desire to become involved in the fashion industry?
I have always had a keen eye for fashion, however I have always liked to dress a little different and not follow what everyone else is wearing. I decided that I wanted to go to Uni when I was 22 and found a course locally at Truro College to study fashion. When I started the course, this is where the business really began. I designed a collection in my second year, very similar to what I produce now and lots of people asked if they could buy the pieces, so I started to sell on Etsy and Facebook and it just went from there.

Silly Old Sea Dog FR

What elements do you believe make your designs unique?
The dresses and skirts are produced in a small factory, however there are not many of each one, so the chances of you going out in them and seeing someone else wearing the same is very slim. All of our garments are made in the UK, I am very passionate about producing right here and providing jobs for the UK economy.

“The dresses and skirts are produced in a small factory, however there are not many of each one, so the chances of you going out in them and seeing someone else wearing the same is very slim.”

How would you define the Silly Old Sea Dog style?
Our style is 1950′s with a modern fun twist. Were all about colour, petticoats, and fun times!

Who are some of your favourite brands / designers and why?
I love Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel and Balmain designs from the 1950′s and more modern day Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood as they always do something colourful and different. I also follow some celebrity style – I like those that dress for fun – Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Dita Von Teese.

From personal experience, where are the best places to gain fashion / design skill, knowledge and understanding?
I think from my own experience its just to get out there and give it a go, buy a second hand sewing machine and make up some of your ideas for yourself, start easy with little accessories or up-cycling your own clothes. From there try buying commercial patterns and making them up. Lots of local colleges do evening courses in sewing which are great and not as much pressure as a degree course. Also just speak to people, its surprising how many people offer to help you or collaborate if you ask! If you want to start to sell, try Etsy or Folksy as its easy to set up a shop and little money is required to do this.

What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
I would say just to go for it, don’t listen to the people that say you can’t do it. When I was studying in my third year of University at Plymouth College of Art, we had a lecturer who told me I would never work in the Fashion Industry and that I wasn’t good enough. Luckily I never listened to her and I now run my own fashion business which has only been around for a year and a half and has achieved quite a lot in that time! One of my biggest achievements is that I was chosen from out of over 10,000 girls to be on the new series of Take Me Out on ITV, this means I got to showcase my dresses and hair accessories for weeks on TV. Also don’t say yes to everything but take the opportunities that you come across, even if its working for free, you will gain valuable experience from completing work experience, collaborating or just helping out.

For more information on Silly Old Sea Dog:
Twitter: @SillyOldSeaDog
Instagram: @SillyOldSeaDog

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