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Dressmaker launches sewing workshops to empower BAME women

PUBLISHED: 07:43 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 07:43 10 October 2018

Joyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Nazli Kale

Joyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Nazli Kale

Nazli Kale

A dressmaker in Dagenham is running subsidised sewing and pattern workshops to empower women from BAME communities.

Joyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Nazli KaleJoyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Nazli Kale

Joyce Addai-Davis, 32, of Clementhorpe Road, was awarded £5,000 of funding in June from UnLtd, a charitable organisation dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship.

She has since decided to set up sewing and pattern cutting workshops, called the Alpha Female Academy, that will focus on the couture style of pattern making and sewing.

The couture style is a particular method that relies on making clothes by hand from start to finish, initially using cheap cloth to ensure any mistakes in the size and style of the dresses are resolved before the final product is made.

The method relies solely on sewing and hand-executed techniques.

Joyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Joyce Addai-DavisJoyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Joyce Addai-Davis

Ms Addai-Davis said: “Methods like this will particularly empower women underrepresented communities such as Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds, where many families from these communities have clothes sewed personally for themselves.

“With this more refined method, which will improve products, it will mean they will be able to sell their products internationally.”

Ms Addai-Davis was keen to highlight that not only will the workshops equip women from all backgrounds with skills in sewing and pattern making but will also empower other women who will be able to wear clothes that fit according to their needs.

She said: “I started this because being a BAME woman myself I felt there weren’t many high-profile women who represented me and my work so I started my own, so I can be that example and empower those that need empowerment through learning a craft and perfecting a skill.”

Joyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Joyce Addai-DavisJoyce Addai-Davis aims to empower women from BME backgrounds by running workshops where they can learn the sewing and pattern skills. Picture: Joyce Addai-Davis

As a result of her skills, Ms Addai-Davis has been commissioned to design and make the world tour costumes for Afro-Punk artist Nao, who recently collaborated with the musician Niles Rogers.

A launch event to mark the workshops will take place at the Barking Enterprise Centre, 50 Wakering Road on October 12 between 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Further details about the workshops which will run once a week, will be announced at the event.

Although there is a cost of at least £45 for the workshops, Ms Addai-Davis has said costs will be subsidised for those who may not be able to afford it.

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