Nan inspires new designer

UCLan graduate Ellie Pennington
UCLan graduate Ellie Pennington

A budding fashion designer took inspiration from her late grandmother’s experiences of living with dementia for her latest designs.

Ellie Jane Pennington, 23, reflected on her gran’s battle through a collection of outfits produced for her final year work.

Ellie said: “My Nan, Betty Badge, was the one who got me in to sewing and interested in fashion, so I’m doing this in her honour.

“I have reflected on my experiences of memory loss and having to endure the long goodbye through my garments.

“My clothes are influenced by the effects of the progressive deterioration of seeing a person slowly disappear, but joined with the happy moments and memories too.”

Ellie developed her own style of clothing to raise awareness of the disease and used materials sourced from charity shops as a way of paying tribute to the memories they may have carried.

She visited the St Catherine’s Hospice’s Preston superstore and utilised the ‘Buy a Bag’ offer, which allows customers to fill a large bag with garments and accessories for just £10.

The talented designer then recycled these items to craft a number of outfits into her collection.

As an extension to her work, Ellie set up a Just Giving page to generate donations for research into the disease. This helped her to gain a stronger insight and engage with other affected families.

The fashion designer’s work has recently been on the London catwalk at the prestigious annual Graduate Fashion Week.