Hannah Wilde is a Norwich-based seamstress who created this dazzling dress for award-winning construction recruiter Kelly Cartwright for last night’s Women in Construction Awards. Here, they both take up the thread of the story behind the dress
Seamstress Hannah Wilde learnt to sew by watching her mum and her nan when she was a child. Fast forward a few years and Hannah has created a show-stopping PPE gown for Kelly Cartwright, award-winning Owner of Core Recruiter, a specialist business delivering recruitment solutions to the construction industry. Hannah, who has her own shop in Lakenham, Norwich, specialising in bridal wear and clothing alterations, explains: ‘Kelly is one of my clients and as a leading woman in the construction world she regularly is nominated for awards.
‘I always alter her dresses for her, but she came to me with the idea of a dress made from hi-vis and I do like a challenge, so I came up with the design and, with instruction from Kelly, kept it as similar to a hi vis waistcoat as possible. The response has been fabulous.’
Kelly adds: ‘Last night, I think it’s safe to say I wowed attendees at the National Federation of Builders Top 100 Women in Construction Awards. Kitted out in a custom-made hi-vis dress, I stood out from the crowd in order to champion authenticity and diversity in the industry.
‘The dazzling PPE gown – made by Norfolk-based Hannah Wilde – was paired with my favourite steel-toe-capped boots and tiny hard hat earrings. By debuting it at a national awards ceremony, I hoped to make a key statement about confidence and vulnerability.’
‘I feel most comfortable out on a building site, wearing my PPE. I don’t feel that way in a ballgown at an awards ceremony. You can only be comfortable when you wear something that truly resonates with who you are, so I’ve often joked about going to an event in my PPE!
‘’As the winner of last year’s Ally award, I am very vocal about the importance of authenticity in the sector, living by my motto ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.
‘The dress is also a nod towards the Chartered Institute of Building and Construction Management magazine’s ‘PPE that fits’ campaign, which highlights the lack of diversity in protective equipment and the impact this has on safety.’
Hannah found herself working in the sewing and textile world quite early on after leaving school. She adds: ‘Having always been creative I then went onto specialise in bridal alterations, although I have also worked on large bespoke projects for clients such as Eurocamp and Richmond Park in London. I moved to my shop in Lakenham earlier this year to give myself a base and have not stopped since!
Featured images – supplied