If We Can, You Can Challenge 2015

Back in November, Olvanhill successfully won the ideas prize at the ‘If We Can, You Can’ Challenge 2015. The prize was a 4 day trip to visit the Start-up Foundation in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The trip was amazing and I got so many new ideas to help me grow my own business in the UK, from a start-up culture that is so much evolved and open to new ideas.


King Kong Hostel – Rotterdam 


Restaurant Bazar- Rotterdam


The Start-up Foundation

After my first day of exploring the city, I went to visit Larry Monster at the Start-up Foundation; an organisation set up to give support to individuals with scalable ideas. They also run start-up experience workshops for entrepreneurs, universities and companies. The Start-up Foundation had recently moved offices to an exciting open-plan workspace right in the heart of Rotterdam; which also had small pods for start-up businesses to work from . My day included mentoring sessions with experts who provided 1:1 support and shared some of their own personal experiences . Another highlight was the Pitch & Pizza evening hosted by Funk-e animations, where we learnt how the structure a successful 1 minute elevator pitch. I met some inspirational people and gained a huge amount from the trip, which has helped me explore different approaches when it comes to marketing and selling. The discussions highlighted issues fashion start-ups face in the UK; one being the cost of renting out a retail space.


The Start-up Foundation – Rotterdam

Pop- up shops

The city is so well known for its thriving start up culture; the high streets weren’t just overwhelmed with big brands but also small emerging designers, making use of the wealth of pop-up shops. I feel this is a concept that we should expand in high-streets across the North-East; not only would it give small start-ups a platform to showcase their products, but also help fill our empty shops that dominate our high-streets.

For example there are currently approximately 80 vacant retail spaces in Newcastle, with the majority in prominent locations like Grey Street, Eldon square and Northumberland Street. In my opinion we should encourage local landlords and councils  to adopt those of Holland’s, who either rent out there spaces for free or at a significantly lower rate, with the understanding that the shop has to be easily moveable if a bigger retailer wishes to rent the space. They view this as an opportunity to showcase how the space can be utilised, which makes it more appealing to potential longer-term rentals. I feel this would significantly help small start-ups, encourage more entrepreneurs to take the leap to set up their own businesses, which would help economic grow our local economy.

‘Tijdelijk Modemuseum’ – celebrating the old and the new

Whilst in Rotterdam I also visited the temporary fashion museum ‘Tijdelijk Modemuseum.’ It was like no other fashion exhibition I have ever visited; more interactive and insightful, not only were visitors able to see inspirational designer pieces, you could also buy vintage designer garments whilst at the exhibition. One floor specifically focussed on major issues related to the textiles industry such as over consumption and wastefulness. This part of the exhibition also showcased and sold designers work. The clothing sold in the museum was designed by Alexander van Slobbe and Francisco van Benthum who had collaborated on a project called ‘HACKED’ which aims to stop textiles wastage by only using offcuts of mass produced fabrics to create their collections.

The museum also included a live workshop, where you could see designers creating patterns and sewing their latest collections; an interesting insight into the production process which could potentially inspire the next generation of designers!


Tijdelijk Modemuseum- Rotterdam

I would just like to say a big thank you again to Charlotte Windebank from FIRST face to face, Larry Monster and the team at The Start-up Foundation Rotterdam and fsb North-East for sponsoring the trip!






With just a few days to go, I am hectically preparing for Moda at the NEC Birmingham 19th – 21stFebruary 2017, where I will showcase the full Olvanhill Autumn / Winter Collection. Mrs Olvanhill has been roped in to taxi me to the show, carry my bags and generally provide PA duties. Swing tags attached and swatch books and business cards at the ready, Moda here I come.

A/W 2017




The Olvanhill Autumn / Winter Collection

The A / W Collection 2017 is finally complete and I feel a great sense of achievement. The collection is inspired by nature; flora and fauna portrayed in flamboyant 70’s style prints. I have chosen colours that reflect an autumn palate; reds, greens and yellows. Staying with the natural theme, all are printed on beautiful silk crepe. The collection comprises soft feminine dresses, blouses, and trousers, for women who want to feel and look beautiful. My personal favourite is the kale print dress; who knew cabbage could look this good; perhaps the more exotic Brassica Oleracea Dress is a more appropriate name.



On the 8th of November I visited the YSL “Style is Eternal” Exhibition at Bowes Museum.

Bowes Museum-

Bowes is a magnificent French château build in the early 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes.  The museum is located just outside Barnard village, in the picturesque countryside. It is known for its Spectacular textiles and fashion archives as well as the iconic  ‘Silver Swan”.

The Yves Saint Laurent Exhibition- 

Bowes was the first museum in the  UK to show a comprehensive display of the French fashion designer’s work and early life. 

The exhibition was inspirational, it showcased some of Yve Saint Laurents’ most famous pieces such as ‘Pierre Bergé Dress’ an the ‘Zephirine dress’. The display gave visitors a wider insight into the late designers early work with Chirstian Dior, as well an intimate showing of Laurents’ own design process.

Although all aspects of the exhibition were memorising, I personally loved seeing how Yves Saint Laurent took inspiration from his favourite artists (Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Pierre Bergé) and how it uninfluenced his deigns. 


“YSL – Pierre Berge Dress”


YSL – Pierre Berge Dress (Vogue Cover)


Original YSL logo


YSL- Georges Braque Dress


Olvanhill/Gustav Klimt mood board

Gustav Klimt- 

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement.

I love Klimts use of  vibrant colours and his mixology of textures.

Gustav Klimt/ Olvanhill collaboration-  

Finding my inner Yves Saint Laurent I created some bespoke collaboration prints with one of my favourite artists ‘Gustav Klimt’ . I digitally combined original Olvanhill designs with some of Gustav Klimts most famous paintings, drawing back into them to highlight my favourite aspects of Klimts’ work.   


“Gustav Klimt/ Olvanhill Collaboration Prints”




"The scarf is to a woman what the tie is to a man, and the manner in which it's tied expresses your personality," - Christian Dior


Way 1 – “The Pony Knot” – Simply fold the scarf diagonally, roll until thin ,then simply tie it round your ponytail.



Way 2 – “The Boy Scout Knot” – Fold the scarf diagonally , roll until thin and tie loosely round your neck keeping the scarf central  




Way 3 – “The Dolly Girl Headband” – Fold the scarf diagonally, roll until thin then tie the scarf round your head. Tip : you can tie the scarf under or over the hair and have the bow either showing or hidden underneath.


Way 4 – The Classic Lose Hang- Simply fold the scarf diagonally, roll the scarf  to whatever width size suits you,then lay the scarf loosely round you neck .



Way 5– The Bags Bestfriend – Simply fold the scarf and hang or tie it round the bag handle.



Way 6-  The Side Way reverse – Fold the Scarf diagonally then tie it loosely round your neck, spin the scarf to the side tucking the ends under.