Take Five with Catherine Shaw
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Take Five with Catherine Shaw

Catherine Shaw of Allbone and Trimit designs and makes bespoke clothes for women.  Her motto is “Only ever wear clothes that make you feel like doing a small dance”.  She specializes in creating colourful wedding dresses that can be worn again, giving a dress an afterlife and allowing the owner to relive that special moment; Cocktail Frocks for the best parties; and she has introduced a work range, meaning a woman never has to walk into a meeting and find her dress staring back at her.  All are beautifully tailored (the workmanship is so beautiful, you could almost wear the clothes inside out) and all made with love in her Crystal Palace studio.  

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
I have to say the single best thing about what I do is making people smile!! Making a woman look good by designing the perfect dress for her and the event she is attending make me smile too. My aim is to enhance all the good bits and disguise the least liked which in itself makes a woman exude confidence and smile!!  

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
My creative hero is the Australian costume designer Catherine Martin. I am drawn to her because she is a very grounded, creative woman who uses her own ‘space’ to the maximum good. She is talented, fresh and allows others to grow creatively. And I love her zest for life and freedom with colour.   

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
The advice I would have wished to have been told is to follow your dream no matter what else is going on, to be strong and focused and look at every obstacle as an opportunity and don’t give up especially when it all looks grim…these are usually the times you learn and grow the most.  

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
Having a creative block is one of the most soul destroying times ever but it can happen to the best of us. My top tip is as simple as doing something completely different from the task in hand. My favourite one is go home and cosy up with tea and a good book. This eases me out of the space in my head where I am convinced I have no creative juices left and puts me in the place where I come back to ‘Me’.  

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
If I were a shoe I’d be a ‘Boat shoe’ handmade by Dubarry’s in Ireland. My colour is deep blue nubuck leather with tan leather trim. The reason is simple for me as I love sailing and being a boatshoe would take me to the edge of exhilarating pleasure racing on the high seas. I will see the dolphins first when hiking on the rail, with the wind in my shoelaces.   

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