South West Wales

Designer Jayne Pierson finds celebrity future for Welsh tapestry

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Media captionJayne Pierson makes high-end fashion from her studio in Pembrey

Welsh tapestry has taken centre stage at a Vogue fashion shoot after receiving an "edgy" makeover.

Carmarthenshire-based designer Jayne Pierson has worked with fabric from one of Wales' few remaining woollen mills.

Pierson, who has a studio at Pembrey Airport, said her previous designs had been worn by the likes of Ellie Goulding, Beyonce and will.i.am.

After spotting Rihanna's stylist in one of her Welsh tapestry pieces she hopes the fabric will be a celebrity hit too.

Image copyright Jayne Pierson
Image caption Pierson's Welsh wool tapestry pieces have starred in a Vogue fashion shoot

She said: "Oftentimes [people] see these woollen blankets in charity shops or vintage fairs and to see them reworked into something contemporary and edgy and maybe with leather or pleats… the reaction has been really good.

"Maybe younger people aren't so familiar with the heritage of Welsh wool - [they can] look at it again and be introduced and turned onto something that is actually very beautiful."

A hundred years ago there were more than 200 mills spread across every Welsh county - today there are eight remaining and some mill owners fear for their future because of a skills shortage.

Image caption Pierson has a degree in Fashion Design from the University of Glamorgan

But Pierson, who previously worked for Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, believes her work with Melin Tregwynt in Castlemorris, Pembrokeshire, shows the product could have a bright future in fashion.

"Hopefully [I've created] something that is a slow, sustainable fashion that is taking something age-old and reinventing it and upcycling it and making it relevant now to a younger consumer," she said.

An airport deep in the Carmarthenshire countryside is not the most likely spot for a high-end fashion studio but Pierson would not have it any other way.

She said: "I love being away from London - I think it's good for the soul, to be able to breathe and then absorb other things apart from fashion... I feel we have space and landscapes and wonderful horizons to be able to have that space to think of new concepts and new innovations.

"And I'm able to use local skills, local heritage and crafts that are based in Wales so that makes me unique and gives me a unique signature... I couldn't imagine living in London or anywhere else to be honest."

But there is one Welsh ambition she is yet to fulfil: "I haven't actually dressed any Welsh celebrities yet so that would be fabulous… Tom Jones with a tailored jacket with Melin Tregwynt wool on it - that would be fantastic."

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