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13:37 on Wednesday
27 October 2004

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J-Lo, Kate Winslet, Marilyn Monroe and Nigella Lawson are all women celebrated for their beauty and curves. However, larger women who want to dress to emulate their style icons are often stuck for choice.

Following this logic, Suzanne Notley developed a business concept of providing funky and fashionable clothes for women of all shapes and sizes from 10 - 32. So, full of ideas, but short of the money, Suzanne entered the Lloyds TSB createcard 'Do It Your Way Awards'.

Fashion Junkie

The awards were kicked off in June 2003 to coincide with the launch of createcard, the new flexible credit card from Lloyds TSB, which allows people to change their credit card features to suit their lifestyle. The competition was open to individuals who wanted to transform their way of life and create a different future for themselves.

Suzanne (27) from Peterborough, beat hundreds of aspirational Brits to win the award and has scooped the prize of 10,000. She is now well on the way to making her mark on the UK fashion industry and flying the fashion flag for what she calls the 'average female figure,' size 16 plus.

Suzanne was inspired by Dawn French who is famed for setting up Sixteen 47, a fashion label for fuller figured women named from the statistic that 47 per cent of the British female population are at least a size 16. But, she still feels there's a big gap in the clothing market for younger women of all shapes and sizes.

Suzanne says she's done her homework. She makes the point that two of the final ten Pop Idols are both fuller figured women and while they're destined to be pop stars, they're choice of 'pop fashion' is a lot more limited than their thinner Pop Idol counterparts. She adds that Pop Idol Michelle quotes her most embarrassing moment as, "Borrowing a size 12 skirt of my sisters to go out in, bending over to get into a cab only for it to split and fall down around my ankles." 

Suzanne said of winning: "I believe that the UK fashion industry at present is "sizist". Women should be able to wear what they like - young, old, big or small - it's as simple as that! Anyone from Posh Spice to Lisa Riley will be able to shop on my website.

"The inspiration for my business came from the fact I couldn't find somewhere on the high street where I could shop with my friends, we range from size 10 to 18, and find fashionable clothes to suit all of us. If you are over a size 16 you seem to miss out on what your size 12 friends are wearing. I want to change that and create more choice for everyone. "

Matt Isaacs, head of marketing at createcard said: "When we launched createcard, which puts the customer in control and lets them design their own credit card, we also wanted to give somebody who had designs on their dream lifestyle, the chance to make them a reality. We had hundreds of entries, some of which were really wild and wacky, but Suzanne's entry was exceptional. She's developed a thorough business plan, she's found a niche in the market and most importantly she's got the drive and enthusiasm to make it happen."

November 2003




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