About Odelyn Smith

I have fond childhood memories of my mother designing and sewing clothes freehand for us as a family. My father is a capable sewer to. Aunt's and uncles' are either sewers or have a tailoring background. My grandparents were participants in the rag trade of their time. I remember falling asleep as a child to the sounds of a sewing machine as my mother was in full production.designing is in my genes!
My first toy sewing machine was at the age of seven, my confidence and accuracy in sewing grew and my mother allowed me to use her domestic sewing machine.

I have always had a passion for fashion but I also have a love for art.
'Scratching the Surface' was an exhibition run at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery from the 29th January - 2nd March 1994.
Work by local artist Dave Gunning and students from Colton Hills School which I attended were all on exhibition.
We visited Wren's Nest in Dudley and worked on sketches in the open air.
I produced an exciting range of work which included a fossil sculpture in cement, watercolour paintings, charcoal drawings and etchings.
This exhibition celebrated the richness and diversity of an area which is often ignored or taken for granted.
The project was supported by The Friends of Wolverhampton Museums and Art Galleries.
A radio interview on Wolverhampton's Beacon Radio Station and the Express & Star Newspaper write ups have paved my path to fame.
The second art exhibition that I took part in was called 'Linking the Routes'.
The starting point of the work has been to look at the Black Country and its various Routes and Roots.

Students from both Colton Hills and Bilston High School created a journey through the Black Country with Dave Gunning.

This exhibition was displayed at the Bilston Art Gallery and ran from the 29th April - 3rd June 1995.
I drew a large black and white pencil drawing with effective shadings of the landscape and the rubber was used to emphasize light.
I left secondary school with seven GCSE grades and went on to do A Levels.
My dream was to become a fashion designer and no one was going to stop me!

I was successful in my application to attend the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design in Bourneville, Birmingham. The course ran for a year from September 1995 until the following summer.

I graduated from that course with a BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. During that course I expressed a flamboyant art style
Much to the disappointment of my tutors I chose fashion and not the prospects of becoming a budding artist.

I applied for the degree course in Fashion at the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, in Chislehurst Kent. I was delighted with my acceptance.
During the first term I was introduced to the Dubied Industrial Knitting Machine. I worked from morning until night knitting fantabulous samples and garments. Nearing the end of the first year we embarked upon a project with the Brits School of Performing Arts in Beckenham, Kent.
The theme was Kabuki a popular form of Theatre that developed in the urban culture of Edo in 17th century Japan. Kabuki features magnificent flowing costumes, highly stylized scenery, acting, makeup and elaborately styled choreography.
I designed a technicoloured coat made from printed paper.
The dress was an engagingly asymmetrical design knitted predominately in bright red with yellow stripes running vertically across the dress.
The performer wore a mask that looked quite ghoulish.
As first year students we were allowed to show one garment on the catwalk of the BHS Graduated Fashion Show in June 1997. I designed a ravishing dress, knitted in viscose yarn which I dyed in somber colours of brown, green and yellow. Lycra threading was added during knitting to enhance elasticity. The dress was knitted in to a dropped square design then surfaced decorated in clusters of brass type hair jewellery pieces. The dress was well received.

During the second year of the degree I worked at various design companies to gain further knowledge of the fashion industry. I worked with Pascale Smets who was the British designer for Giovanni Valentino. I worked in the design studio of Pineapple for Debbie Moore. Artwork for Patrick and Jane Gottelier and also Diane Loney Knitwear with Diane Loney. I learnt new skills and enhance my design, cut, grading and knitting skills. I understood the process of clothing manufacture a lot more.
Second year Ravensbourne students were allowed to show two garments at the BHS Graduated Fashion Show in June 1998.
The theme was 'Very Bad Boys'.

I knitted two outfits for men in white cotton with sections of knitted white viscose with drawstring features. My knitwear was inspired by urban street wear.
The Feminella Coat project was a traditional third year project. Woollen and cashmere fabric were available in a variety of colours for students to use. The project itself was sponsored by Feminella.
I enjoyed working on the project, unfortunately my design was not selected for mass production for the store.

On Wednesday the 9th June 1999 I participated in the BHS Graduate Fashion Show.
My collection consisted of eight knitted women's outfits. Quirky construction of knitted pockets formed the basis of the collection. Combinations of cotton and cashmere yarns were used.
Stiffened fabrics such as felted woolen knitwear compose robust, exaggerated silhouettes unnaturally proportioned. The catwalk show was simply fantastic the models wondered dreamingly down the catwalk to music which was quite ethnic in content having heavy but slow drum beat.

I graduated from the Ravenesbourne College of Design and Communication in July 1999 with a BA Hons Fashion (Fashion/Textiles) grade 2.2. After graduation I have been involved in projects to further my passion for fashion. I created an innovative collection for Spring/Summer 2000.
In June 2001 I traded for the first time in the Fashion Market, a new venture that ran every month at the Old Spitalfields Market in the East End of London. I enjoyed running the market stall, meeting interesting people and associating with new designers.

In September 2001 I decided to open the 'Diverse Designs' company that was supported by the Princes Trust. My vision was to start on a market stall and to establish my business by having regular customers during the time span of two years. I achieved this aim within a year! As the business grew a larger variety of colours and choice in yarns became more readily available. New ranges of unisex accessories such as scarves and hats were made as commissions. At a later stage cuffs (sleeves) were produced some from recycled jumpers and others in alternative materials.
In January 2003 after much contemplation the name of the business was changed to my name 'Odelyn Smith' and the change was well received by my customers.

The Odelyn Smith ranges of knitted clothing and accessories have evolved over the past five years. Many garments can be compared to the art of Origami, layered knitted fabric with multi versatility. The Odelyn Smith brand has continued to grow with new stunning collections for the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter ranges. The Odelyn Smith brand is making it's mark on the International Scene.

Enjoy the Knitwear Experience
Odelyn Smith