Claire Quigley is the creator behind florriemitton, a luxury label for couture garters with a distinctly vintage aesthetic. She lives in Lancashire, North West England, with a supportive hubby and a fluffy, grey Mini Lop bunny.
After studying fashion design at university, Claire was one of the lucky few chosen to show her degree collection at London Graduate Fashion Week. Following university, she worked as a lingerie designer for 6 years at a company that supplied designs to the UK high street. “Going from uni to designing for mass production was a huge contrast and I was constantly aware of cost and large retailers’ needs.”
During this time she learnt about the industry, from sourcing fabrics and materials, to dealing with buyers, packaging design and branding, but eventually began to feel creatively frustrated. “Most of the design work I was doing was computer based and I really missed sketching and working with luxurious fabrics. I was dreaming of working for myself and doing something where I had the freedom to fully utilise my own creativity.” While planning her own wedding in Italy, inspiration struck. “I really couldn’t find any garters I liked and nothing I saw suited my style. I decided to create a range that embodied everything I love about vintage lingerie, but with a modern twist. I figured that there must be other girls like me who were fashion conscious and wanted something different to what was on offer.”
Claire launched her very first product line on Etsy in May 2009. Her label is named after her great grandmother, who inspired her career in fashion. “I still have her collection of antique fashion magazines that continue to inspire me now. I love the fact that her name lives on in what I do and think she would be really proud of that.”
She has many muses, including Zhandra Rhodes, Alice in Wonderland, and foreign edition magazines. “One of my biggest inspirations is Etsy itself. I’ve met so many great people here and while working at my old job I would read the Quit Your Day Job posts all the time. They really encouraged me to take the plunge and I admire all the people who have contributed to that feature.”
Florriemitton has had some impressive press coverage, with the brand getting picked up by bloggers and journalists early on and, much to Claire’s surprise, there were reports that actress Hillary Duff wore one of her garters on her wedding day. “I was amazed when I found out – I actually had to pinch myself! I discovered the news through a blog and then Access Hollywood made a TV feature about it. It was very flattering and, as a designer, it’s the ultimate accolade for someone famous to choose your product. Really though, it’s just very rewarding to know that your designs are desirable and that people like what you’re doing, regardless of their celebrity status.”
We’ll soon be seeing exciting new products and projects emerging from Claire’s blossoming business, including a partnership with a wedding brand. “In the future, I want to develop my line further and simply carry on making beautiful things. Every day I’m so grateful that this is my job. My dream is to have a converted stone barn in the countryside for a studio and workspace, but for now I just feel very lucky to do what I love!”
Many thanks to Claire for sharing her story with us! Find some of her wonderful work in the Seller’s Items below.