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Family Business

Don Hardy Photographer directs my daughters & friends
Pop Fashion Photoshoot Tamworth Castle Grounds

My business has had its trials and tribulations over the sixteen years I’ve been trading. From copycat designers to a cancer diagnosis, I’ve dealt with them all and kept Missfit going throughout. This pandemic though has taken some work, and it’s not over yet.

Despite the much publicised government bail outs for business, I fall into a gap in the tick list for funding that affects many in the creative sector. No business premises or employees for a start. What I don’t get is, how are we expected to survive the drop in trade if we can’t afford retail units in the first place let alone hired help? Working from home is not a choice made because we want to work in our pyjamas and enjoy filling our homes with stock. I’ve looked at renting a shop or unit in the past and it’s simply not financially viable. As for hired help, unless you count Finn my Jack Russell I can’t tick that box. This industry can be remarkably unpredictable at the best of times so throw in a killer virus with lockdown and creative business is on borrowed time.

An element of my work I’m missing most is photoshoots. With social distancing regulations, arranging models to wear my designs has been impossible. I’ve had to resort to a badly behaved mannequin in my workroom – which is actually a large front bedroom. As such, although the majority of its contents are work related, there is little room to allow a plain backdrop. This is essential for showing off garments at their best so having a radiator in shot is currently annoying me. My photoshop skills are not sufficient to cut this out, plus I have no time for faffing around – did I mention I can’t afford help?

Josie & Thomas man my stall (taking advantage of the stock)
Lichfield Scooter Rally Vintage Stall

I’m fortunate that my family have been a tremendous support for my business from day one. It can’t have been easy living alongside shelves of fabrics, sacks of vintage and dismembered mannequin parts all these years. Not to mention the sewing machinery which makes our house sound more sweat shop than home at times. Another plus point is that I’ve been able to persuade them to model for me. Both daughters, their husbands and friends have dressed up frequently over the years making this a real family affair. The most notable of these photoshoots was a pop fashion extravaganza where I transformed several of them into pop stars ranging from Sid Vicious to Britney Spears. They took over our local town centre park and the resulting images were incredible, I still use them today.

I’ve also been able to rope the family into helping out at fashion shows and vintage fairs, not that it took much persuading. My daughters particularly have enjoyed taking part in large events like Clothes Show Live where perks have included celebrity encounters and of course new clothes.

For now though, confined to my workspace with no chance of a catwalk let alone a photoshoot on location, I have to make do with the stubborn mannequin in the corner of the room. Not forgetting an unpredictable Jack Russell known to have toppled the dummy on more than one occasion! Who said the fashion industry is glamourous…


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