Laura is Deaf, a mother of two from Latvia. Latvian is her first language, has limited English and is developing her British Sign Language skills.
In 2015 Laura started the bespoke tailoring course at Newham College and at the end of the academic year she was nominated by the sensory team for a Newham College – Further Education Student of the Year Award – 2016.
She now works in Saville Row and recently launched her own coat making company – “Tailoring by Laura”. In 2017 Laura’s work featured as part of Deaf International Fashion Week in Paris, a global event which is open to deaf models and designers with the skills to showcase their abilities at an international level.
Fortunately, Newham College nominated Laura Gromova to attend a unique and rare event hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex at Buckingham Palace, which showcased and celebrated achievements within the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, which took place on Monday 19th February 2018.
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is an initiative which partners designers, craftspeople and manufacturers across all 52 Commonwealth countries. The Exchange uses fashion as a common language to illustrate and celebrate creativity, sustainability, trade links and ethical supply chains across the modern Commonwealth.
Laura said “I was so surprised to receive my invitation to Buckingham Palace I couldn’t believe it! At first, I was nervous about being the only deaf person there, but a member of Newham College’s Sensory Support team joined me and this put me at ease. I saw some amazing fashion designs on display from around the world, they were gorgeous and unlike anything I’ve seen”.
Here is an interview with Laura:
BDN: How did you feel about receiving the invitation to Buckingham Palace?
Laura: I was so surprised to receive my invitation to Buckingham Palace I couldn’t believe it. The invite was so posh it was thick and the edge was in gold and embossed with the royal logo. I’m going to frame it and keep it on the wall at home.
BDN: Can you tell me more about the event itself and what is involved?
Laura: This was my first time at Buckingham Palace I was greeted by the press outside who were photographing the celebrities as they arrived. I expected it to be small inside but it was enormous, the décor and art on the walls were very grand, I felt in awe of it all. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived, I felt humbled to be there with fashion royalty and really royalty. I saw some amazing fashion designs on display from around the world, they were very beautiful and unlike anything I’ve seen. Everyone was mingling around the designs and chatting with the designers and discussing their ideas and inspiration, it was very relaxed and a fantastic opportunity to network with others from the fashion industry. The canapés were delicious, they were so posh, very small and delicate. At first I was nervous about being the only Deaf person there and who would support me but I received support from Newham College Sensory Support and I was so pleased to see a friendly face and this put me at ease. Unfortunately, photography was strictly forbidden at the event except for in the media room where some designs were displayed. It was so wonderful I have never experienced anything like this in my life before.
BDN: Can you let me know who you got to meet and speak to (from the fashion industry as well as the palace)?
Laura: I met and spoke with lots of different people at this event, I was most keen to speak to Princess Kate, who has indicated that she wanted to talk with me on my nametag, unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to chat with her as she was whisked off. But I did get to stand with her while she was talking with others and that was a fantastic experience in itself. I was over the moon to see some famous fashion icons there, I have seen them on TV but to see them in person was such a wonderful experience. I was so pleased to see Neil there and that he remembered me, it’s lovely to have friends in the industry.
Some of the guests in attendance were; Kate Middleton Duchess of Cambridge, Sophie Countess of Wessex, Livia Firth, Hamish Bowles from Vogue, Anne Wintour, Stella McCartney, Princess Beatrice Naomi Campbell and Adwoa Aboah to name a few!
BDN: How will this visit impact your career?
Laura: My employers at Henry Poole are very proud of me and have shared my experience on their social media page. I also use this experience to get in touch with the British Deaf Association (BDA) to appear as a guest on the hit Deaf TV show “SeeHear”. I will try to use the media attention from this event to promote my upcoming business and find new clients. I really want to show young Deaf adults that anything is possible, we can overcome any barriers and achieve anything. I want to be a robust Deaf role model for them. There aren’t any famous Deaf people in fashion and I want to show them there can be.
BDN: What are your plans for the future, regarding utilising your tailoring skills?
Laura: I want to continue my part-time tailoring job at Henry Poole, as well as continue developing my own business as a bespoke coat maker. I am hoping my business will take off soon! I am also a mother of two and devoted to my family, so life is very full and busy for me!
BDN: Thank you Laura for your time and we wish you the very best successes. You are an inspiration!
Check out Laura’s work and to follow – see her Instagram and Facebook:
Facebook: Laura Tailor
Laura in the news:
“Former Newham College student invited to Buckingham Palace fashion event“
– Newham Recorder – 28th December 2017
“Former Newham College Students Attend Evening Reception at Buckingham Palace“
– Newham College London, 2nd March 2018