Products, fashion and style

Impractical history

Inspired by the past, record sleeves and Jarvis Cocker, Irene Wadsworth’s Impractical Clothes are a hit. Words: Paul Dale

rene \‘v'adsworth has a Lancashire accent so strong

yott cottld darn cloth red roses to its escalating htttn.

In her pinstripe mod sttit and her signature hobby hat this 35—year-old cttts quite a figure. She also happens to be the most interesting fashion designer cttrrently working ottt of lidinburgh. by quite some way.

‘I was reading something recently ahottt Vivienne Westwood about how she was front an industrial cotton manufacturing area and how that has influenced her.’ she says. ‘l've been dwelling on that a hit and I suppose because my auntie did alot of sewing and used to work in the mills. perhaps something has been passed on.‘

This veteran of many local attd national catwalk shows is working in the iconically named Shop. selling her Impractical ('lothes range a hop and a jump from the capital's infamotts sex district: the pttbic triangle area. It is virtually impossible to walk past her window displays without being lured in by the swirl of hurherry dress suits and the long bustle tartan evening gowns. \\'adsworth is reclaiming the feminine via Victoriana. ()(ls psychedelia and punk and her designs are flying otit the shop: 'lt's going great I didn't expect it to go so well.‘

Asked abottt her influences she is refreshingly unpretentious: ‘Vivienne Westwood has got the makings of style and I admire everything she's doing: I like the way Jarvis (‘ocker dresses httt otherwise my major influence is record covers. To be honest I don't take a lot of notice of the really famous fashion designers.‘

\N'adsworth however loves to talk about the history of

fashion and the periods she loves. ‘I obviously love (i()s

124 THE LIST x‘ [11'

fashion. all those hotpants. mini skirts. psychedelic bri- nylons. bttt I'm getting really into the \i’ictorian period just because it’s so extravagant. I like the lilizahethan stttff for the same reasons and I really love the Puritan stuff; you know. like ll’itc/t/indcr General. all those pointy black and

white Puritan hats are just great.’

Laughing into her tea she contemplates the bete noires of today's fashion: ‘I can't stand military stuff. combats and

camouflage prints. minimalist sttiff. things that are ripped apart. like hanging hems and that. and

asymmetries: they just don't appeal to my sense of


Wadsworth is currently very busy working on her secret new collection. to he previewed at this year's Intervention show. as well as carrying on with the custom tnade work for her loyal and growing clientele.

How would she describe her clothes to the uninitiated'.’ ‘They are just really feminine. I just like bits and pieces of things. taking something from here and putting it there. I like clashing prints and mixing ideas about. They are not

‘They are not clothes for lounging around the house in, they demand to be taken out’

clothes for lounging around the house in. they demand to be taken ottt and shown a good time.’ This self-taught former biomedical student is Scotland's best kept fashion

secret. buy from her now before she goes ballistic.

Available from Shop, 5 East Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, 0131 221 1722 and Cake Clothing, 1 14 Dumbarton

Road, Glasgow, 0141 576 6900.