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Designs are eco-friendly
GILLIAN Farmer’s career started in Chaos and has ended up on a calmer note with a designer label that embraces eco-friendly fashion as far as possible.
Chaos was the name she chose for her fashion label when she first set out as a designer after completing a fashion design and pattern cutting course at Bournemouth in 1984.
“I had a unit at the crafts centre at Holt for about three years designing sports and leisurewear,” she explains.
“It was a big tracksuit time – it was the 80s and everyone was wearing them as a glamour item rather than for sports.”
She has also worked for other companies before leaving the industry and training as an aromatherapist after her father died and she took on his chiropractic clinic.
Being an aromatherapist fitted in snugly with bringing up her two children but around four years ago, her passion for fashion reared its head again and Chaos was reborn.
“I still used the name Chaos, but now another couple of labels have established themselves with the same name, so now I’m Calm Amongst The Chaos,” says Gillian, who designs under the name Frances Farmer, using her middle name as her professional moniker.
The thrust of her collections is what could loosely be termed accessories – wraps, scarves, cardigans, shrugs, capes and shawls plus evening bags and kaftans and sarongs in the summer.
“It’s for people who have a little black dress and just want to shush it up a bit,” she says.
She uses Indian and Chinese silk from sustainable sources, hemp mixed with other materials for softness, and organic cottons.
“I’m currently using organic pure wool from a Cornish company – I can even tell you which sheep the wool came from – and hand-spun wool from a lady in Dorset who could also tell you the name of the farmer and the sheep the wool came from,” she smiles.
“The idea is use everything natural, everything pure, everything individual.
“It’s also trying to protect the environment for future generations.”
Such green credentials do, she says, add to the cost of the garments. “But it is also much more precious to be able to buy something that you can’t just buy on the High Street,” she says.
Most of her sales are through customers who come to her workshop at her home in Ringwood, but she also sells through some retail outlets like Senspa at Careys Manor in Brockenhurst.
Hollywood glamour and mixing textures are key trends and much of Gillian’s work is embellished with embroidery, handpainting, vintage buttons, crystals and evening bags.
Anyone who wants to find out more about the Calm Amongst The Chaos collection can contact Gillian Farmer on 01425 478894 or visit www.calmamongstthe chaos.co.uk