Derbyshire designer worked hard to achieve her dream

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As a youngster Fazane Malik spent hours creating clothes for her Barbie dolls made from old pillow cases. There was never any doubt she was set for a career in the fashion industry.

And Fazane, 32, didn’t waste any time in pursuing her dream. After years of hard work she now co-owns ‘Fazane Malik’ – a multi-award winning womenswear label based in Heanor.

After attending Dale Abbey School and St John Houghton in Ilkeston, Fazane went on to study a BTEC in Fashion and Clothing at NCN Nottingham. The followed a four-year stint at Derby University studying fashion, where she spent a year of the course working with two designers is Australia.

The mum-of-one then decided the best way to move forward would be to work in the industry for a while at top firms such as Whistles, Paul Smith and John Lewis, before setting up on her own.

She said: “I’d always wanted to start my own brand even whilst I was at university but realised I needed to work in the industry for a while, gain as much experience as I could and make lots of contacts.

“I worked on starting it for a while but eventually launched in 2011, whilst still working a limited edition womenswear brand – Fazane Malik England – offering luxury capsule collections of your ‘forever’ pieces – timeless pieces that you will be able to wear over and over again.

“Having worked in the industry for so long I noticed a gap in the market for well-made pieces that were suitable for a number of uses, something very important for a busy businesswoman, that wouldn’t go out of fashion within five minutes but were unique enough for a woman to stand out.

“I launched the collection to a select audience of friends, family, press and buyers in Derby and gained my first stockist Airr Clothing. Since then things have just taken off.

“After about six months I won a business mentoring programme sponsored by ASOS marketplace and Fashion Angel. Through the programme I gained the confidence to finally go it alone with my business and left my job in December 2012. I gave up my home and car and moved in with my parents.

“With the help of Fashion Angel, I set up the second part of my business Fazane Fox Apparel Production & Development which offers small retailers and brands help with any part of the design and production process.”

The busy entrepreneur, who is backed by silent partner brother Joseph, has since been stocked in retailers in the UK, Europe, China and India, and has worked with more 15 different brands producing and developing their collections.

Fazane says it’s a stressful job but the highs far outweigh the lows.

“I love being my own boss and although running your own business is way more stressful than having a proper job, the highs do outweigh the hard times. My favourite thing is helping people either through my own brand, making women feel and look fabulous in my clothing or helping a new start-up, taking their ideas and turning it into reality for them.”

She’s come along way, but its not the end of the road for Fazane. Whilst having a young child has slowed things down this year, she is planning to use the time to review her businesses, preparing for a relaunch with an ‘essentials collection’ next year, and a potential studio move too.

“It’s chaotic but amazing. I am passionate about celebrating women of all shapes and sizes and offering those ‘forever pieces’ for their wardrobes.

“I never thought I’d go from dressing my Barbies to dressing real women – it’s all about working hard to pursue your dreams.”

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