Mel Dorey, 35, was able to see daughter Emily Twinn-Dorey, 14, model her outfits at the hiTechMODA fashion show, thanks to the support of Camellia Couture owner Debbie Holden.
A second-year student, studying BA fashion design at Northbrook MET in Worthing, Mel collaborated with the fashion designer to make 20 outfits for the show during a work placement.
Mel said: “The feeling at the end of the show was unreal. I still can’t really believe that it happened and I’m now looking forward to creating more outfits and collections and, more than anything, I’m looking forward to going back to New York.
“It goes to show that it doesn’t matter what your age, if you want something and are determined, then you should just go out and do it.
“Emily has modelled for quite a few years and I started making her outfits for workshops and fashion shows. That’s when I realised that I actually really enjoyed making clothes and wanted to go to uni to get a qualification in fashion.”
Mel met Debbie about five years ago at a charity fashion show, where Emily won second overall model. They kept in touch and became good friends.
Mel said: “When I found out that I had to complete a work placement as part of my course, it seemed only natural to ask Debbie if I could do it with her. She was more than willing and suggested we did a collaboration for New York Fashion Week.
“I travelled to London to go fabric shopping with Debbie and then I went up to Doncaster for a week, so we could design and make the collection. We worked 16-hour days some days and worked through the night. It was very rewarding and I learned so much. We created 20 outfits and the feedback we had was amazing.”
The friends travelled together to New York and Emily was asked to not only walk in the show on Saturday, February 8, but to close it, too. She also appeared on a billboard in Times Square, advertising Camellia Couture.
Mel said: “At the end of the show, the designers have to walk out with their models. Debbie had asked me to do this and to be honest, I was so scared, but she took my hand and we walked out together along with my daughter Emily and it was such a buzz.
“I am so grateful to Debbie for letting me do my placement with her and for teaching me so much that you just can’t learn at uni. I loved everything about it and we have been asked to go back to New York in September to help out with fashion week again.”
Emily has always loved making her own clothes and is currently studying fashion at The Littlehampton Academy, the only one in her year. She is thoroughly enjoying the course and recently got an A in her end-of-term test.
Mel said: “She says she likes to be creative and making her own clothes, as it lets her personality shine.
“I’m so proud of Emily, she takes it all in her stride and when I was nervous about the show, she always had some encouraging words for me to help me get through it.
“I had Emily at a young age, so I didn’t go to university but now, I’m glad, as I get to share this experience with her.”