For all the sartorial pull of London, the roots of real fashion often stem from the most unlikely quarters.
Take Dunstable for instance, where one budding fashion label is proving this market town has something stylists and photographers the world over are taking notice of.
It’s name? Hellavagirl.
With its sculpted sleeves and bodices, sequins, feathers and otherwise flamboyant flair - Dunstable designer Helen Woollams’ brand certainly packs a punch.
As does the 32-year-old herself, who runs two fashion courses at Central Beds College. Talking about her label, she simply said: “We’re quite eclectic!”
Helen graduated with a degree in fashion design from the London College of Fashion and spent many years working as a freelance designer before starting the label in 2011.
She said: “In freelance, someone gives you a brief – almost a design – and you produce that for them, but you’re always working under their rationale. After freelancing so long I just craved something I had more control over.”
And with Hellavagirl, Helen has got her wish. Classically eccentric British style, reminiscent of 60s and 70s boldness, is celebrated in a summer 2014 collection brimming with bright pinks and golds launched by online retailer Asos.
Helen said: “Asos approached me about an online boutique when I started the brand in 2011, but as I had just started I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it.
“I continued building the brand to make it stronger, then got back in touch with them this year. We’re a bit edgy - not very high street, but we do have a certain customer base.
“Demand is growing and I’ve had interest from stylists and photographers overseas who want to work with the brand.”
That interest has also extended to the fashion press, who are recognising the unique style of Hellavagirl.
Already, the label has been featured in Company magazine and items from the new collection have also been selected in the editor’s picks of Cosmopolitan’s December issue.
Hellavagirl’s much darker winter collection is currently being prepared for the catwalk in the Birds of Paradise Headlining show at Oxford Fashion Week on Saturday November 8.
To find out more information about the label, visit here.