Years of hard work and an unwavering vision paid off for a woman as she was named Britain’s Top Designer on Sunday.
Dunstable’s own Helen Woollams, 34, won the award in a fashion contest at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. It was hosted by industry impresarios Fashion’s Finest.
Helen, whose label Hellavagirl showed at London Fashion Week just the day before, was left “flabbergasted” at the news.
She said: “I think it’s only just starting to sink in!
“We’d been in the competition for months as they whittled it down to eight designers... And then on Sunday we had to show part of our collections.”
Helen faced stiff competition from designers Daniel Cho and Raahim Khan of Haus of Ra, who came as first and second runners up in the contest.
She said: “I just thought both of those guys’ work was amazing and it was even more of an honour to win after seeing their collections.
“I’m completely over the moon about it. It had been a busy weekend and I’d had a bout of nervousness beforehand.”
The annual awards take place in the middle of London Fashion Week and offer a significant trump card for up-and-coming designers to advance their careers.
Helen, who was showing at London Fashion Week for the third time, admits to feeling blown away by Hellavagirl’s growing success. She received a standing ovation after her first showing.
Helen said: “This is my third season and the response has been outstanding. It’s been better and better and I couldn’t have imagined it.
“The first show got such a good response that I was nervous about the second season but the feedback has been absolutely amazing.
“I’ve been offered to show at New York Fashion Week and so that’s something we’re working towards for September.”
Helen still runs the label from her studio in Tavistock Road, Dunstable, and has a number of fashions shoots scheduled in the coming weeks.
And as the label expands, she’s confident she won’t lose her touch.
“One thing I never struggle with is coming up with new ideas”, she says.