Fashion designer launches debut collection in London before returning to Newcastle for big photoshoot

A fashion designer who first learnt to use a sewing machine at school in Newcastle has presented her debut collection of hand-worked garments to leading industry professionals at an exclusive underground launch event in Soho.

Slow fashion advocate Genevieve Devine (above), whose designs have graced the pages of some of the most iconic magazines, unveiled her Pearl Biter collection to photographers, editors, buyers and agents in the bohemian setting of Below Stone Nest, in London.

Genevieve, who hails from Chatton, in Northumberland and attended Dame Allan’s Schools, in Fenham, intends to return to Newcastle to have her work photographed for the collection’s lookbook.

Speaking after her launch event, the now London-based designer said: “It’s been really exciting to showcase my work in such a hauntingly-beautiful, intimate setting; it was the perfect backdrop to my garments that toe the line between fashion pieces and objets d’art.

“It’s my debut collection under the Genevieve Devine brand and it explores a subversive and sensually messy take on femininity, making use of discarded clothes that retain secrets and stories; repurposing fabrics and beautiful objects.”

Genevieve, a Central Saint Martin’s MA graduate, developed a love of fashion and design at just three years old and learnt to wind the spool on a sewing machine in the art studio at Dame Allan’s.

After leaving the independent school in 2011, she went on to take an Art and Design Foundation Diploma, at Newcastle College, and study Fashion Design at Northumbria University, where she won a scholarship prize at Graduate Fashion Week and designed a nine-piece collection for TU.

The 28-year-old, who creates sustainable, handmade garments typically from recycled or eco-friendly materials, said: “My heart will always be in the North East, that’s why I’m returning to Newcastle to shoot my lookbook for the collection.

“I owe so much to those who encouraged my creativity and inspired me in childhood, and I’m incredibly grateful for the start I was given by my art teachers at Dame Allan’s Schools, who allowed me to experiment, and challenged me creatively.”

Genevieve has had pieces from her Smoke and Mirrors collection – created as part of her MA work – appear in editions of British and Italian Vogue, Metal, and More or Less magazines, as well as the Autumn / Winter edition of culture, arts and fashion book Document Journal. Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Dua Lipa wore a feminine slip designed by Genevieve in a shoot for Vanity Fair magazine.

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