Northern Ireland designer Angela Sloan reveals daunting process behind debut collection

Angela Sloan by Rinaldo Sata
Angela Sloan by Rinaldo Sata
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Belfast woman Angela Sloan is the dynamic woman behind a self-titled, newly launched womenswear label, based here in Northern Ireland.

Angela Sloan celebrates the female silhouette and exclusively uses luxury fabrics.

Angela Sloan by Rinaldo Sata

Angela Sloan by Rinaldo Sata

The unique and limited edition dresses, which are each made in the UK to ensure that the brand ‘remains exclusive’ received widespread critical acclaim at Belfast Fashion Week recently during its debut collection.

But Angela, who originally hails from the Falls Road in west Belfast, explained that it was a daunting process to put her work on show for the first time.

“There’s always a risk whenever you’ve worked very hard on something that’s yours and then you put it out into the public realm,” Angela said. “But quite honestly, people have been very complimentary and I have a great deal of support and encouragement from a small group of close friends and family.

“I was brought up on the Falls Road in Belfast. Of the local fashion scene, I do believe the region has always struggled due to its location and lack of diversity in cultural expression but things are changing slowly. Sadly many talented designers leave these shores from necessity.”

Angela Sloan by Rinaldo Sata

Angela Sloan by Rinaldo Sata

Despite this, Angela remains passionate about supporting local, “It’s very important to me to keep the manufacturing in the UK.

“Firstly to keep control over the quality - but it’s also paramount that the people involved in the manufacturing are paid a decent wage,” Angela adds.

Fashion conscious Angela, who describes her own style as ‘practical and understated’, has worked her way up in fashion to where she is today.

“From a young age and with very little money I had to be resourceful - so I made or adapted existing clothing to make it really stand out,” she said.

“I was also very shy and this was my way of having a voice. I wanted to formally learn the processes from designing, pattern cutting, making up, finishing and tailoring, so I completed a two year full time HND Diploma course in the mid 80s at the then Belfast Tech.

“I worked for numerous fashion designers before taking on some commission work of my own, eventually gaining the confidence to launch my own brand.

“The fabric I’ve used is a lightweight wool blended with Lycra and sourced in Italy. The garments themselves are seasonless, they are investment pieces that will still look current this time next year and the year after. My dresses are quite forgiving in that they skim over, rather than cling to, the figure, placing the emphasis on comfort and style.”

With this in mind, Angela suggested anyone struggling to dress for a special occasion such as a wedding, should shop around as much as possible.

“Make sure to give yourself plenty of time,” Angela advised. “All too often it’s easy to stumble into that ‘Mother of the Bride’ look - when there’s so much more choice out there. It would be nice to see a bit more individuality.”

To shop the Angela Sloan collection, visit angelasloan.co.uk.