Omey Walker is a student of Bespoke Tailoring at London College of Fashionwhich she enrolled in after taking a Foundation Degree of Art & Design at Camberwell College of Art.
Not only is Omey one of the most talented people I know, she is also one of the best people that we here at Pretty Normal Me have ever had the pleasure of knowing! We've been friends for five years and I'm currently working hard to persuade her to join us here as our "all things fashion" go-to-girl. After all, it's very rare to see Omey in something other than a beautifully designed item that she's made herself!
1) What is it that made you want to go into fashion in the first place?
I kind of just fell into it, I wasn't meaning to get into fashion, I originally wanted to paint but sadly that didn't work! So I just thought I'd give sewing a go...
2) Obviously it seems to be quite daunting as an industry, was it scary going into it?
Absolutely terrifying! I remember the night before my first day desperately throwing everything out of my wardrobe trying to find something to wear! But then when I showed up I realised that everyone was weird. I'm only studying it now but it is terrifying to think about going into it, especially as I hate everything about the fashion industry! Obviously everybody watches The Devils Wears Prada and sees all these glamorous women strutting around that does make it daunting, what if they just throw me out?! You laugh... But they really might!
3) Do you think it's harder for you to keep body positive when you're surrounded by the 'size zero' culture?
I think it is definitely, but in recent years I've tried really hard to take a step back. That said London College of Fashion is a total celebration of the weird and the wonderful, a lot of the talk is about cheese and chocolate! In terms of designing, it is incredibly depressing that everything is for a size zero model, it also makes designing very limited!
4) Obviously here at Pretty Normal Me we're quite vocal about our views on the fashion industry and how damaging it can be for young girls, what are your thoughts?
I think that the fashion industry should be burnt to the ground and made to start again! Where to start with my hatred for fashion? Studying tailoring has really shown me that clothes should be a celebration of individuality and they should be used to extenuate the human form, nowadays everything is built for one body type, not only that but clothes are badly made so anything you may want to hide inevitably ends up on show. I also feel that the industry has totally pigeon-holed everybody into one ideal, every shop sells the same pair of boots in the same colour in the same style and all that does is force people to make them hide their sense of style. We're mindless consumers.
5) Do you have plans as the next generation of fashion designers to make a difference? Is Omey Walker World Domination on the cards?
I don't know if World Domination is the right phrase but I certainly want to make a lot of big changes. I think the industry has become lazy, for a start the fact that shops have anorexic models on show is despicable, this issue has been raised so many times and yet shops still seem to get away with it. I think it should be outlawed. Even in shops you don't expect, like L.K. Bennet, their mannequins have hips sticking out, when I asked about it they said "it's who the clothes are made for", but you find me one yummy mummy with their hips sticking out! First of all, I'd bring back sustainable fashion, people need to understand that good quality clothes work for the rest of your life. I'd also get rid of lycra, I think it's a terrible invention made to make people feel bad!
6) With a new found insight into the fashion world, what is your least favourite shop?
Obviously it's everyone's least favourite shop, yet the one that is most popular: Topshop! They're at the heart of this body crisis culture, not stocking bigger than a Size 16, what happened to Marilyn Monroe being every man's dream? They've become lazy as well, they know they can make money so they use poor quality fabrics, bad techniques and actually they repeat! But sadly there just isn't a healthy contender for them yet!
7) If every shop burnt down bar one, what would you keep?
I'm not really a great believer in the high street shops anymore but if I had to keep one, it would be Uni Qlo. 95% of their clothes are made out of natural fibres which I really like, but they also make the only pair of jeans in the whole f*cking world that fit over my arse! Apart from that I'm a great believer in charity shops, I think they're not nearly appreciated enough!
8) Have you learnt any tricks for dressing for your body type? Are there different styles you'd recommend for different body types?
Yes absolutely, I spent years hating my arse and thighs because they're the biggest things in the world and feeling uncomfortable in everything that I wore. But just using basic sewing skills to take things in at the waist and accessorising with belts has taught me to love what I have and also stopped me from looking like a sack. I think 'fit' is key, if you have something that really fits you well it changes how you feel about yourself. Abolishing short skits was the best, they looked like fun but in reality, constantly pulling it down and feeling uncomfortable is not ideal!
I think 'body types' in itself is a negative concept, the fact that there are five types, especially when they're named things like apples and pears! No woman wants to be told she's an apple! I think the key is to really understand your own body, there is not one hard and fast rule that will work for everyone. I think also not being too regimental with sticking to fashion trends, it may seem cool but it may not work for you and accepting that is important!
9) People say that "beauty is pain", how much of this is true? And more to the point, how much of this do you think is right?
I think it is completely true, but I also think that it is really sad. In Alexander McQueen's exhibition, he looks at women's accessories and how most of them are incredibly sadomasacist, I don't know, is that the right term? Take stuff like the stiletto heel, it's an accessory designed by women, for women yet all it does is cause pain! I think we think we wear them for men, I think men like to think we wear them for men, but I'm not sure we do. I'm not sure why we wear them at all, after all looking like a new born foul is never sexy, it's just restricting!
10) There is obviously a tonne of talk right now about pules size models in the industry, although at Pretty Normal Me we hate that title, do you think the movement of bigger models on the catwalk is here to stay?
God I hope so! I think we have got to a point where skinny models are so extreme that they only way forwards is backwards. I think it's important for women to see clothes on other women and want to buy them, by customers relating to the models it must increase sales and if something is clearly not designed with you in mind then you're not going to want to buy it! I think the designers are finally working out that target market has never been more important!
Whenever I make clothes, I make them for myself. It's beautiful to see a pattern with shape rather than just straight lines. It would be my dream to design for all the real women out there!