FORMER Brighouse High School pupil Zoe Regan has two jobs, is studying for a degree and is busy planning her first major fashion show featuring her own designs.
The energetic 22-year-old from Hipperholme credits her family with giving her the determination and drive to succeed.
Her grandad, 85-year-old Bernard Sweeney, worked with fabrics all his life and passed on his love of textiles and ambition to excel to his grand-daughter. He is now suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and being looked after in a care home. Zoe’s fashion show on Saturday, July 9 at the Casa Hotel, Brighouse, will raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
“My grandad used to tell me stories of how he bettered himself and it’s down to him that I’m so ambitious. He is now in a care home in Bradford and it’s so sad to see him. That’s what prompted me to hold the fashion show and raise money for research into the condition,” said Zoe.
It is thanks to her grandma, Dorothy Sweeney, that she picked up the sewing bug. “My grandma gave me her old Singer sewing machine and I taught myself how to use it,” said the designer.
“When I left school after doing my A-levels, I had no money so I started making my own clothes. When I wore them on a night out people would come up to me and ask me where I bought them. I was so pleased by their reaction that it made me think I might be able to start a fashion business. I get a real thrill when I see someone wearing an outfit I have made.”
Working in her bedroom and encouraged by her parents, Gill and Neil, Zoe makes about a dozen garments every two weeks, varying from dresses and tops to skirts and coats. Her prices range from £45 to £100.
She also works as a hairdresser at Daniel Taylor’s in Birstall and cleans a church to make some extra money as well as studying for a teaching degree at Huddersfield University.
“My life is very hectic particularly with the fashion show coming up but I’d rather be busy,” she said. Zoe has managed to persuade ‘Look North’ presenter Christa Ackroyd to attend the fashion show and members of the Alzheimer’s Society will also be there.
Zoe’s friends will model the clothes and there will a buffet supper, a charity auction, raffle and music.
“I hope people will come along and support the event. Seeing my grandad I felt so helpless but at least with the fashion show I feel I am doing something to help.”
l The summer fashion evening starts at 7.30pm on July 9. For tickets contact Zoe on 07805 986296 or the Casa Hotel on 01484 401717.