PHILIP COBBETT - PATTERN CUTTER/ DESIGNER

biography


From a young age I had strong influences around me, my Mother made clothes for my sisters and my Grandmother was always sewing and knitting. Every time I visited her, I was always intrigued to rummage through the drawers in her sewing desk and to play with buttons, hooks and eyes, and started to learn how to hand sew.
I would create displays and sew different fabrics together, not into anything distinguishable, but just to see how to sew and to discover how fabrics worked together.

I left school determined to get a fashion education and to ‘design’
I studied at Southampton Institute, and was the youngest applicant to be accepted onto their prestigious National Diploma course.
I was instantly drawn to pattern cutting under the strict, sometimes fearsome, but dedicated eyes of the renowned fashion tutors Judy Steptoe and Vivian Pearson. I realised I had a real skill for cut, silhouette and construction as I worked with different fabrics and techniques from flat pattern cutting to draping on the stand.

It was while at Southampton that I first met the fashion designer Gina Fratini. She taught me about ‘beautiful things’ and about ‘line’ and ‘fit’ and the use of beautiful luxurious, expensive eveningwear fabrics.

I learnt that what goes on ‘under’ a dress is just as important as what goes over the top.

Working in her couture designer fashion house proved a great education. I was introduced to a world of fashion shows, fitting celebrities and Royals and to the complexities of manufacturing bespoke evening and bridal wear. I was also very privileged to assist Gina at Norman Hartnell for a season. Gina opened my eyes to the beauty and possibilities of fashion and continues to do so, to this day.

From college I went to work as designer and pattern cutter for a company that supplied mens and womens wear for large chain stores such as Debenhams, BHS, Miss Selfridge, Etam and Principles. As the designer, I learnt the needs of a busy factory environment, working with thousands of garments. It was a challenge to learn the different manufacturing techniques and to apply them to my designs. I would oversee the initial sampling through to the final sealed samples.

I encouraged the factory to deal with smaller design companies that needed CMT (cut, make and trim) and developed business with many London designers, often re-sampling and re-cutting patterns to make them suitable for the factory. While working with London companies I realised that I wanted to move away from the large production of garments and working to very tight costings.

I started my freelance fashion career working with well-known designer labels in London, and really enjoyed the new freedom of creating beautiful garments freely without constraints. This way of working suited me very well.

I have been a successful freelance designer/pattern cutter for the past twelve years and have worked with a myriad of top designers including: Tracey Boyd, JoelyNian, Ben de Lisi, Roland Mouret and Workers for Freedom. Recent projects include Elizabeth Hurley Beachwear and Liza Bruce swimwear.

I also continue to take commissions from a roster of private clients; designing everything from bridal and evening wear to everyday separates. 

I have also designed and had manufactured several fitness ranges for personal trainers, sportsmen and also childrenswear.
During the past eight years I have qualified as a Pilates Instructor and look at the way a body moves and apply this new knowledge to my design and pattern work.

I approach each new project with enthusiasm, professionalism, dedication and creativity. With a keen eye to detail, line, fit and finish I feel that my work always enhances a woman’s natural silhouette. This is reflected in the fact that the majority of my clients return season after season for new additions to their wardrobe.

I am based in Hampshire, near Portsmouth. I also am frequently in London and across the south coast.

 

Influences
Halston/ Yves Saint Laurent/ Coco Chanel/ Christian Dior/ Lanvin/ Mme. Gres/ Lesage/ Edith Head/ Jean Louis/ Jean Muir/ Gina Fratini.

Principles:
Balance/ Construction/ Detail/ Finish/ Fit/ Line/ Quality / Silhouette/ Simplicity.

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