Norfolk designer’s show-stopping designs

Norfolk designer Vanessa Lewis will be launching her second fashion collection at the Royal Norfolk Show this week as the show becomes more synonymous with fashion. Emma Harrowing reports.

For those in the know, Norfolk fashion designer and maker Vanessa Lewis used to have a boutique on Wensum Street next to the Window Coffee cafe.

Her Chanel-esque tailored bespoke and off-the-peg designs were shown at the Norwich Fringe Festival last year where she worked on a collaboration with fashion students and she exhibited at the Royal Norfolk Show.

It is at this show that she plans to launch her second off-the-peg collection at this year.

'Many people have wondered why I am not in the Wensum Street shop any more and the answer is that it just became to small for me,' says 48-year-old Vanessa.

'Although it was lovely to have a little boutique in Norwich I need more studio and design space and so I moved to a large studio and shop in Thornham Magna, near Eye.

'I still live in Norwich but it is great to have so much space to design in and to bring my clients here is easier as some of them live in Norfolk and some in Suffolk.'

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Vanessa has just completed her new summer collection. The off-the-peg range consists of eight pieces, some which have been adapted from popular pieces from her previous collection.

'You can expect similar muted and elegant designs that have become synonymous with my brand,' says Vanessa. 'Tailored pencil skirts, shift dresses, summer linen and new pieces such as a broderie anglaise top feature in the new collection.'

Pieces that have been adapted for summer from her previous collection include a tweed jacket which is less boxy in design and is collarless rather than having a Peter Pan collar.

A classic shift dress, one of the staple pieces in Vanessa's designs, also takes on a summer look with cotton replacing the heavier material.

'I design both off the peg collection and bespoke items that are made to measure and all pieces are designed to suit all ages and shapes,' says Vanessa. 'There are an increasing number of women who are looking for investment pieces that they can wear forever and my designs offer comfort, design and quality – a winning combination if you are looking for timeless pieces that will last you a lifetime.'

When Vanessa exhibited her first collection at the Royal Norfolk Show last year she was amazed by the amount of interest and commissions she received. The positive feedback has filled her with excitement over what this year's show will bring.

'Any of the items can be adjusted to suit an individual's figure, even the off-the-peg pieces,' says Vanessa. 'My clothes are all about getting that perfect fit so that you feel confident in what you are wearing.

'At the moment my collection is quite smart and ladylike; in the future I would like to branch out into more casual attire for the stylish woman.'

You can see the new collection from Vanessa Lewis at the Royal Norfolk Show on Wednesday, June 27 and Thursday, June 28. For tickets to the show and more information visit

See the highlights from the show in your Evening News on Thursday and keep up to date with the show news as it happens on the Evening News homepage.