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- the commander - .....the making and the meaning of the new handmade collection, a note from designer Bonnie Lee Tipper.

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I think it's fair to say people tend think of clothing for it's utility rather than it's meaning, and that fashion design is a very commercially motivated art form. As a designer, I am lucky enough to be working on my own platform and design clothes that tell a story. The story may not always be on the surface, but for me making a new collection is a real opportunity to channel some of the experiences I have had into looks. To tell some of my life story in my work.
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This inspiration behind this collection was sparked one lazy afternoon spent with my best friend Biddie, that somehow ended up in us taking online 16personalities tests to kill some time. Now, I know this isn't sounding particularly cool but I ended up diagnosed as an ENTJ or "The Commander", a ruthless, driven and overwhelming individual who thrives on achievement.....just charming right...?
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As silly as it seems, this quiz result finally had handed me a key to accepting something about myself. I have spent a lot of my life feeling misunderstood, and holding myself back for fear of being abrasive or intimidating. Chastising myself every time I left a situation and felt I had been too over the top. I struggled with terrible anxiety as a young person, and I can see now that I was bottling up my big personality for fear of being judged. I was putting pressure on my self to be more "normal" & I just couldn't do it.
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Old habits die hard, but I have really grown to a place of accepting my sometimes bossy, energetic and confident personality as an asset. If this scares someone away, comes across arrogant or unladylike then that is a shame. But I've realised that being "full on" is what has gotten me this far, and it's what will take me where I am going next.
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This collection is my expression of this mood, and when I was making it, for the first time in my work as a designer, I didn't worry about how others would receive it. I collected vintage and recycled materials that all had a strong and unique quality to them and put together 6 looks. There is everything from beautiful 1960's lace, though to the navy blue leather from my parents worn out lounge.
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Some of the collection is ready to ship now, but most are only available as made to order. This is the first time I have done this, and it is simply because the fabric quantities are so limited. If you want to see these garments in action, you can watch a live stream of our runway show a the lock up on out IGTV.
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Thank you to everyone who helped me with this collection! Thank you to Imola and Bronte for the lovely look book and catalogue images. Thank you to Kiara, Cait, Heidi, Brigette, Annabelle, Imola, Grace Turner and Ash for helping me with my runway show & The Lock Up for having us. Last but not least, thank to my unwavering supporters. Until next time, Bonnie Lee. Xx
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All photos by Bronte a.k.a. Lazy Bones @lazybonesphoto 
Model and MUA Imola Jordan @imolajordan