Call it kismet that Caroline Righton lost her chance of becoming a back bencher at last years General Election for she went on to much better things. With the help of her sister Elaine, they have both designed and brought to the fashion market, the world’s first ‘five in one’ dress. But is was not without difficulty and side stepping some major red tape in the process. The idea for the dress came about when Caroline was musing in her back garden about a multi functional dress that she could take on her holidays. From this seed of inspiration came an idea of a creating a single multi way garment that could be worn in different ways and ‘blinged’ up or down to suit several occasions.
Caroline and her sister are not clothes designers but Elaine, the more artistic one came up with a template and Caroline put them together. After much digression and reworking of the original design, the final dress was completed. But then the problems started, how to get the product produced and marketed? Needing about £10,000 and not wanting to approach her bank manager, Caroline and her sister found that family and friends stepped in with financial help to get the project up and running. And with advice ranging from ‘get the dresses made in the Far East’ to ‘use cheap material’ the sisters had their work cut out for them, but they decided to keep the production based in this country and found a small family firm in Birmingham who were prepared to start making the dresses in small quantities each week. They also found a beautiful soft jersey type material that would hang in a flattering manner which would suit all shapes and sizes.
Calling the dress ‘The Original One’ and setting the price at a cool £95, the first production of 20 took place this February and sold out before they were even delivered. Soon after 160 more were made and they sold out. The sisters are now awaiting delivery of further stock. So who are buying the dress? Well it seems it has captured the imagination of holidaymakers, businesswomen, Muslim and pregnant ladies who love the versatile style. It has proved so popular that the sisters have now introduced two new colours in taupe and red. And how exactly can you wear the dress? It comes with a sash that can be turned into a belt, shawl or top and you can change the dress from a skirt into a dress, then into trousers, a cape, a hooded top and back into a skirt – long, short and midi.
Caroline says “It’s a long way from Westminster and the House of Commons, but it gives me huge satisfaction every time an order or an email from a satisfied customer comes in.” Caroline Righton’s dresses are available from her website, www.theoriginalone.co.uk