Just nine years old and sitting at the singer sewing machine under the watchful eye of her grandmother as she taught herself to do alterations was the first taste of fashion for South African-born Carmen Sylvester.

On leaving school although not interested in design at that point, Carmen attended college for three years, where she studied clothing design and construction. 

Her interest ignited, she went on to become a fashion design teacher at Cape Town college of Fashion, while making bridal and formal wear in her spare time. In 2005, Carmen immigrated to New Zealand with her husband and three children which she sats was a bit of a challenge being so far away from a close-knit family, but she found it easy to embrace Christchurch as her new home. In 2011, She started Carmen Sylver Design, offering alterations, dressmaking and remodelling for adults and children’s clothing. She is now expanding into creating one-off garments and making to order.

“I am driven by my passion to create beautiful garments.”

Next she plans to start private classes in sewing and pattern making.

“Running a business here is rewarding especially building good relationships with your customers. The big plus is sharing this dream with great staff and working together as a team.”

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