Back story of Frock Tales designer and owner Janie Morgan-Wood

Back story of Frock Tales designer and owner Janie Morgan-Wood

My mother, Gwen was born in 1924 and was 40 when I was born. Having lived through the Second World War and through rationing she had experienced hard times. As a result, she adopted a ‘make do and mend’ approach to living, she instilled this value in me. She often visited the local markets, bought fabric and made clothes. Her Singer sewing machine was electric but only went forwards and backwards with a straight stitch, it was on this machine that she taught me to sew. With an artistic flare she taught me to draw. I had a great supply of stationary as my father worked as a Design Engineer in a drawing office.

I had always loved clothes and my earliest memories of adaptation as an avid Bay City Rollers fan is of splitting my jeans down the outside seam to insert a tartan strip. Later splitting the outside seam to make a drainpipe jean, lying on the floor to inch in to them, Lycra hadn’t been invented! I followed in my mums’ footsteps and frequented market stalls to buy fabric for my next creation. I didn’t want to wear designs that were available on the high street, I desired clothes that were alternative and making was a means to this end. There was, however, a distinct difference between mine and my mums’ approach. She would use a pattern from the day such as a Burda, Butterick or Simplicity, with no pattern I would hack into the fabric creating shapes to sew together. One of my first designs was yellow and grey striped cotton dungarees. I remember making a jacket from denim patchwork and selling it to a friend, upcycling was on my mind.

My desire to create along with my ability to draw led me to study a BA Hons in Fashion at Manchester Polytechnic. I worked hard and made the most of my time to learn as much as I could. I was featured in the Manchester Expo and made fashion drawings for use on Coronation Street in Mike Baldwin’s factory. 

After graduation I worked on developing my own garment range named FREE, an acronym for Fashion Reviving Earths Environment. I created graphic designs which were printed on to Organic Tees and Sweat Shirts. I sold these in to boutiques and the then trendy Affleck’s Palace in Manchester. I very quickly realised that I had limited experience and ideally needed to learn my trade in a commercial world.

 I was lucky enough to find work as a designer for a M&S supplier, where I was taken on as a Junior Designer by my now husband and business partner. In my first commercial role I attempted to introduce organic cotton to M&S but it was not the right time as consumers were not ready and it would appear neither was the retailer. During the following years in various companies, I worked my way up the ladder carrying out design and technical roles, becoming Design and Technical Director for a large supplier in to Next. I ventured in to education and taught graphics and textiles, immersing myself in curriculum development and becoming a Director of Studies in a 6th Form College. In 2014 I left education and went back to my design roots, opening a design and technical facility to support small and developing brands. We were visited by Stacey Dooley as part of her New Start programme.

I lived many years with the ambition to develop a brand, one that was sustainable and ethical. Frock Tales is a culmination of a lifetime of working in fashion, being disappointed by styles and fabric choices. It is finally my opportunity to bring pieces that are well considered, classic but edgey, that have longevity and will not be thrown away, ones that have meaning and can be initiated in to our lives. At Frock Tales we try our best at all times to be sustainable but recognise the challenges that long supply chains can bring. We are delighted to be stocked on Wolf & Badger and proud of our ethical guarantees.

Janie Morgan-Wood


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