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Lawnside, 1977 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Seren Kelsey

I started my own bespoke design and tailoring label for men and women in the late 1980s, after attending fashion school and an apprenticeship both in couture and on Saville Row. Being the 80s - the 'boom years' - most of my potential city clients were glued to their screens having no time to get to their tailor, so I decided to offer a service that went to them at their offices.  

The company grew quickly from a one woman band to a team of ten with the flagship Kelsey store opening in Holborn in 1990. In 1997 the second store was opened in the City of London. The Kelsey London Label I designed for men and women was stocked at Selfridges, John Lewis and Saks 5th Avenue NY.

I was voted Menswear Designer of The Year in 2001 by GQ readers. Clients include royalty, captains of industry, legal professionals and A-list celebrities, the likes of Kate Moss, Oasis, Paul Weller, Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, Dizzy Rascal, Greg Wise, Ioan Gruffudd and Gary Rhodes. 

Having emigrated to Auckland 7 years ago, I am continuing to create exquisite garments for many of New Zealand’s top executives and lawyers, and sporting stars.  

What does success look like?

To me success isn't something one has achieved, how much money is in the bank, collections in the stores or awards and press articles on the wall. It's the mind-set of perpetual pursuit that there is always something to learn from every twist and turn, setback and failure. 

What is your best piece of advice?

Well to be honest my school life was pretty hit and miss! On reflection though, it must have set me up to be a determined and focused young lady. I do feel for all the staff and Headmistresses - I can hear them tutting now!

I would say work hard, play hard and follow your dreams but always stay empathetic and finally stay true to who you really are.