One of Britain’s top tailors has talent-spotted one of our Foundation Learning (FL) students who hopes to launch her own fashion design business.

College student Chloe has been invited by Savile Row in London, home to the world’s finest tailors. Chloe will visit their prestigious headquarters, view a photography shoot and meet their expert designers.

Our staff made this possible by arranging for Alison Salter, Communication Support Worker, and Carina Davis, Work Related Learning Coordinator, to accompany her. Alison also organised for an interpreter to assist Chloe during the visit, to ensure she gained maximum insight from her experience. Chloe met Jeffrey Doltis, Managing Director, and his daughter Lee-Anne Harris, Marketing Manager from Savile Row.

Chloe said her visit has boosted her ambition to launch her own clothing design company, having already sold some of her own designs at the Academy’s Christmas stall in Exeter city centre and she’s been commissioned to make one-off pieces too.

Carina said Chloe’s visit to the capital was particularly impressive as she has other needs for learning support, in addition to her Deafness.

Since joining Exeter Deaf Academy, Chloe has designed her own children’s clothing and begun vocational training with a professional fashion and sewing studio in Dorset. Academy staff have helped Chloe develop her self-confidence through her Foundation Learning (FL) course, which offers each student an individually tailored programme to explore their interests and fulfil their long-term aspirations.

Chloe had already tried clothwork, glasswork and flower arranging in tutor John Lilley’s design and technology workshop before deciding her future was in fashion. She began with light projects, such as colourful bunting, and now develops her own patterns, selling infant dresses, waistcoats, dog coats, designer bags and other bespoke items.

She is currently training at the Sew La Di Da Vintage sewing and design studio in Dorset, as part of her course, with support from her Academy CSW to overcome communication barriers.

The Savile Row Company were so impressed with Chloe’s motivation that they have since donated three of their top-specification sewing machines to Exeter Deaf Academy for student’s to use in Design and Technology classes. We would like to say a huge thank you to them.