Fashion designer once headhunted by Arcadia reveals she’s now spending six days a week sewing homemade face masks for friends and family – and has made ‘at least 300’ so far
- Amanda Riley, from West London, teaches online sewing classes from her home
- Had quit jobs for high-end Italian brand and fast fashion company in Hong Kong
- Was headhunted by Arcadia but turned down the top job to set up own business
- Created business called Fashion Factory teaching sewing patterns to beginners
A woman who quit her job in high fashion has revealed she is now spending six days a week sewing homemade face masks – and has made at least 300 so far.
Amanda Riley, from west London, set up a business teaching beginners how to sew after rejecting a top job at the retail group Arcadia, which owns high street chains Topshop and Dorothy Perkins.
She and is currently using her skills to make elaborate, colourful masks out of various fabrics.
Writing for The Telegraph, Amanda revealed that she began ‘studying’ the structure of the N95 face mask – favoured by healthcare workers – at the start of the pandemic, as it blocks the majority of airborne particles.
The designer makes masks for family, friends and carers as well as older people who have requested them and has been teaching others how to make them online.
Amanda Riley, from West London, (pictured) set up a business teaching beginners how to sew after rejecting a top job at the retail group Arcadia, owners of Topshop
Amanda is now spending six days a week sewing homemade face masks and has made at least 300 so far. Pictured wearing one of her masks
‘Obviously mine hasn’t been tested in a lab,’ Amanda admitted. ‘But it contains three layers of fabric and a disposable filter, so I hope it offers some protection.’
Amanda told how after doing ‘lots of research’ into the mask, the most important elements are ‘fit, efficacy and breathability’.
‘I wanted to try and do something to help’, Amanda explained in a YouTube tutorial. ‘So I went online and did lots of research for the best possible scenario for making a face mask at home.
‘I looked on lots of different websites and I think I’ve put together something that is probably the best it can be. ‘
Amanda began ‘studying’ the structure of the N95 mask, favoured by healthcare workers, at the start of the pandemic as it blocks the majority of airborne particles
Amanda told how, after doing ‘lots of research’ into the mask, the most important elements are ‘fit, efficacy and breathability’
She added: ‘The most important thing about the face mask is fit, efficacy and breathability.’
Amanda began sewing at the age of eight, and by the time she was 14 had started her first business selling clothes made from curtains.
When she was 21 the designer moved from London to Milan after studying fashion, and landed a job with a luxury Italian brand before moving to Hong Kong in 1992 to work in mass-produced fashion.
She told how the ‘greedy’ fast fashion industry meant she quickly moved back to the UK where she worked as freelance designer until 2003, when she set up her own business after rejecting a top job at Arcadia that she was headhunted for.
Amanda set up Fashion Rebellion, a platform to teach creating sewing patterns for beginners who want to learn to upcycle as an ‘antidote to fast fashion’
It was then Amanda set up Fashion Rebellion, a platform to teach how to put together sewing patterns for beginners who want to learn to upcycle as an ‘antidote to fast fashion’.
The company site states that Fashion Rebellion is a ‘contemporary design and make resource for those who want to learn a life super-skill and create stylish, useful and 100 per cent sustainable items at home while helping to save the planet’.
Amanda told that while things have slowed down due to the coronavirus, she hopes the pandemic can help people become more eco-conscious.
‘Of course, everything is on hold now with coronavirus’, said Amanda. ‘It’s a nightmarish time, but I do hope that it might make people slow down their consumption.’