Fashion / independent designers

Five designers to watch in 2020

By emma gorton ellicott, Tuesday Jan 21, 2020

Bristol’s cup is always overflowing with creativity, from skilled fashion designers to upcycling heroes. Meet five of the city’s independent fashion creatives that you need to know in 2020:


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Dirty Fries

It’s hard not to fall in love with the fun, colourful feather earrings made by Dirty Fries.

Founded as a side hustle to her college studies, UWE Bristol fashion graduate Betsy May Saunders makes adorable earrings that are available at That Thing on Stokes Croft and through Betsy’s Depop shop.

Betsy says: “I first made the earrings for myself for Love Saves The Day festival and to my surprise people asked me where I got them from, so I decided to start making them to sell.

“Now, over four years later, here I am – still loving it and having fun with it.”

Fall in love with Dirty Fries fun and fluffy earrings. Photo by Emily Parker Photography

Claudia Furst

Designing handbags inspired by a timeless bohemian aesthetic, Claudia Furst’s products have a high-end feel that would put them right at home on the pages of Vogue.

Since launching in 2016 Claudia, originally from Vienna, has settled in Bristol and developed her brand to become more sustainable, moving on from chic clutches made from Italian leathers to upcycling vintage chenille curtain fabrics in her most recent handbag line.

Prices ranging from £35 for a clutch to £55 for a tote bag and can be bought at

Sustainable handbags crafted from upcycled curtain fabrics by Claudia Furst. Photo thanks to Claudia Furst

Hello Cleo

Seamstress and designer Sabina Westlin makes cute dungarees, pinafore dresses and accessories in fun prints – from cactuses to dinosaurs.

“I like to make clothes that are bright, colourful and fun to wear!” says Sabina. “The best thing about dungaree dresses is that you can wear them all year round by layering up during the colder months and wearing them with short sleeves in summer.”

All of Sabina’s products are made my hand in Sabina’s home sewing room, using fabrics sourced from UK based mills. Her Hello Cleo creations are available to buy on Etsy and are hand made to order, minimising on fabric wastage.

Fun handmade dungarees by Bristol designer Hello Cleo

Black Olive

Specialising in digital embroidery techniques, Black Olive designer Charly Evans creates capsule collections of hooded bodysuits, embellished kimonos and customised bomber jackets as well as offering upcycling service, using embroidery to update denim jackets and jumpers.

2019 was an exciting year for Black Olive with their garms featured in music videos, festival performances and even in a collaboration for an as-yet-unannounced BBC film production. 2020 looks set to be even bigger, with exciting plans including sewing classes focused on upcycling.

Custom Black Olive orders are available on Instagram, with prices ranging from £70 for the bodysuits to £150 for bespoke embroidered kimonos.

Black Olive clothing at Bristol Fashion show. Credit Edward Felton (left) and Steve Sayers (right)

Elin Horgan

90s’ minimalism is back, and designer Elin Horgan brings it bang up to date with her beautiful, simple jewellery line.

These minimal delights come in geometric shapes and clean lines and are hand made in her Bishopston studio using 100 per cent recycled EcoSilver.

“The key to my collection is versatility and longevity,” explains Elin. “They are designed to work with the other items in your jewellery box so that when you invest in a piece you know that it will last forever and look great alongside the other jewellery that you own.”

From studs to hoop earrings, geometric and pendant necklaces and delicate bracelets and bangles, Elin’s beautifully handmade jewellery is custom made and available to order at independent shops around Bristol, including Flux and The Bristol Artisan, as well as through her website.

Elin also runs fun jewellery making workshops at Kiln Workshop on Gloucester Road and private jewellery making parties. Find out more

Minimal jewellery made from 100% recycled Ecosilver by Elin Horgan. Photo from Elin Horgan (left) and Hannah Miles Photography (right)

Main image by Emily Parker Photography

Read our fashion editor Emma’s blog No Debutante

Read more: Introducing five indie fashion brands for 2019

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