Leeds fashion designer big in Bulgaria

Not yet a household name, Lisa Jayne Dann is nonetheless a leading player in the world of fashion.

She is sometimes called the queen of Leeds independent fashion and her clients include A and B-listers.

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Among them are former Coronation Street star Lucy Jo Hudson - Lisa Jayne designed her bridesmaids' dresses; super-wag Coleen Rooney and TV stars Kerry Katona, Zoe Salmon and Sara Cox.

Now she has made another big impression at the Vancouver Fashion Week where she was showcased by Marketing Leeds, the body that promotes the city.

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Its chief executive, Deborah Green, said: "Leeds in Vancouver has proven an overwhelming success. We have managed to secure worldwide recognition for Lisa and gained an invaluable number of contacts, in

both retailing and manufacturing."

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Lisa Jayne received special attention, surprisingly, from buyers from Bulgaria, a land not always associated with high fashion.

"But it is a growing industry in that country," explained Natalie Gibson, of Marketing Leeds. "The women like conservative styles with a bit of edge and that is where Lisa Jayne succeeds. Her work is

sophisticated but demure."

She has been featured in the leading Bulgarian women's magazine (circulation, 40,000) in which she describes her style.

"I find inspiration from both past and present trends," she said. "I love the grandness of theatrical costumes and soft tailoring. I let the fabric direct me. I feel it and use the quality of the cloth to inspire me.

"I adore nudes and natural colours and I think the mix of creams and browns look great. Animal prints are fabulous, too."

Lisa Jayne admits her work has been compared to Vivienne Westwood's but adds: "I try to design tastefully and enticingly without being over the top."

Every second counts in her hectic schedule. "I write lists and check tasks as I go along," she said.

"I reply to emails, dash off to manufacturers, pick up stock, meet with my clients or agent and finally start designing - around midnight!"

The vivacious 35-year-old designer, a single woman, now lives in Leeds but hails originally from Boston, Lincs.

She studied fashion design at Dewsbury College of Art and Design where she was presented with an award by top American designer Ben de Lisi, now a judge on the TV series Project Catwalk.

She spent a short time in retail at Tortoise, Leeds, which specialises in corsetry, and then worked part-time as a dressmaker.

Her work is now stocked in many independent boutiques - in the USA, Canada and Ireland - and she has started her own online shop:

www.lisajaynedann.co.uk

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