A fashion design student from Leigh is sketching, cutting, and stitching her way to the top of Manchester’s fashion scene.
Jodie Reynolds has been making clothes since her very first textile lesson in year seven. She outshone her classmates from the get-go, grew up attached to her sewing machine, and hasn’t looked back since.
No wonder then that Manchester fashion giant Hawes & Curtis spotted Jodie’s knack for forward-thinking design straight away, snapping her up as the winner of their student design competition.
The 19-year-old blew away the judges with her re-working of the classic business shirt, taking inspiration from the movement and colour of waves in the ocean, as well as the architecture at the Tama Art University Library.
And this isn’t the first sign of Jodie’s exceptional skill: in her first year of University she won a design competition with the Business Confucius Institute in China where she re-worked the traditional Chinese dress, the Cheongsam.
She also spent two weeks in Beijing presenting her work to prestigious fashion brands.
But Jodie’s success is a result of more than just talent: being an incredibly hard worker she was determined to match her creative ambition with realism. She knew that she needed to create a piece of clothing that would sell.
“It was really important to me that the shirt would be something that people would want to wear and would fit a gap in the market,” she told MM.
As a result, she conducted extensive interviews and delved deep into the world of business fashion. But what clinched her the win was the shirt’s detachable cowel neck.
“I personally love cowel necks! I could see that there were no cowel necks in the Hawes & Curtis collection. And I thought, why aren’t they there?”
For Jodie, the solution was obvious – and it clearly made sense to the expert panel and public who were judging too.
Growing up, designing and making clothes always posed a challenge that Jodie felt she could tackle.
As a 12-year-old studying at Bolton School Girls’ Division, she would finish her projects much quicker than her classmates.
“If there was a problem in textiles, I could see how to fix it,” she said.
“I could solve things in textiles, which wasn’t always the case in other less creative subjects.”
Inspired by – and perhaps owing some of her natural talent to – her Grandad, Jodie acknowledged their shared aptitude for practical skills:
“My Grandad was really good at woodwork. His house is full of things he made himself.
“I was good at Product Design too, but decided to go down the clothes route.”
And going ‘down the clothes route’ has proved the best decision she ever made…
Describing the feeling of seeing the shirt in stores as ‘amazing’, and people actually wearing it as ‘unreal’, Jodie is just getting a taste of what it means to design for a living.
Her practical roots will never leave her though, and her eye – not just for fashionable, but for functional clothing – promises to take her far.
She loves streetwear and hopes to work for outdoor brands that match her sporty personality, such as Roxy and Quicksilver. As for the immediate future, Jodie has started to think about her final year project.
“This year, I want to do something spontaneous and weird, because that’s what you need to stand out on a catwalk.
“I want a collection that will stand out and represent me.”
With her own shirt in Hawes & Curtis stores, an internship in China under her belt, and a clothing collection to come, there will be no stopping Jodie Reynolds.
You can see some of Jodie’s work here.