A fashion designer to the stars - who once created the world’s most expensive dress - went back to her old school to help pupils with their crafty creations.
Former Mexborough Academy pupil Debbie Wingham is renowned across the globe for creating a red diamond encrusted Abaya dress worth £11.7 million and has designed garments for stars such as Katy Perry, Kim Cattrall and Kate Winslet.
The 33-year-old is now passing on her knowledge of the fashion world to the next generation of designers through her Future of Fashion scheme and she visited her old school in Mexborough last week to work with students on unique garments.
The lucky group of 40 Year 11 pupils and youngsters from Highwoods Primary Academy will be invited to wear their creations and strut their stuff down the catwalk in front of some of the world’s top designers at London Fashion Week in February next year.
Debbie said: “I have been fortunate enough to design for some of the world’s top celebrities and work on a number of unique projects but now I want to help inspire the next generation.
“Through the session I wanted to encourage the students to think about the environment and about re-using old materials. They came up with some really unique creations, including a skirt made out of old newspapers and a corset made from table cloth.
“As part of the project they will be coming down to London for Fashion Week and they will have the chance to showcase their designs.”
She added it was a treat for her to return to her hometown after she left for the bright lights of London to follow her dream aged 18.
Since then she has climbed the fashion ladder and in 2013 created the world’s most expensive garment, encrusted with 2000 stones, including the rare red diamond. Around the same time Debbie also created a black diamond dress, valued at £3.5m by the Antwerp Diamond House.
She took the dresses on a tour around the world to places including Dubai, Mumbai and Moscow.
She said: “They were not sold and instead were used as a showcase of my work, to show what I can do. It really helped to boost my profile in the fashion world.”
Debbie has also created gowns worn by actress Kate Winslet at a red carpet event a few years ago, singer Katy Perry has recently ordered a dress and Bond girl Eva Green wore one of her creations in the blockbuster Casino Royale.
She said: “I really hope through my experiences that I can encourage youngsters to be more creative and let their imaginations run wild.”