What a delight it was to meet Isabel Taylor (née Winwood) at Colour a few weeks ago! In our brief ‘greet and meet’ time, I discovered that Isabel is a fashion designer, so without knowing much else about her, I asked if I could interview her for Created Creative Collective. I’m so glad she said yes! She brings such a beautiful and gentle perspective on creativity, and the ability to cherish and treasure people through the gift of fashion design.

What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity is a way to bring understanding to the beauty that God has placed in the world. Creativity brings joy to life, which is why I think it’s so vital, and it can be so diverse in so many areas of life.

What’s your earliest memory of being creative?

I used to make up these weird little food dishes for my family and I would make them eat it. But it was always based more on colours and textures rather than the flavours that were going together! It wasn’t very nice for them!

Also, I remember Mum always saying that I really enjoyed writing when I was younger. Every Sunday at church I used to sit with my friend Sharina and draw dresses, while the boys drew dinosaurs during the service.

What struggles have you had in stepping into creativity and how have you overcome them?

It’s changed a little as I’ve grown older, but comparing is always there a bit. Comparing what other people do, with what you like and what you do. I’ve found that really hard.

And also just being scared of failing, in what I try, cause sometimes one of the struggles of being a creative person can be that you’re a little bit of a perfectionist in what you do, cause you can see all the little details of things.

I don’t really feel like I’ve overcome that stuff completely, cause I guess I’m still a little bit scared of failing. But getting older helps a lot. You learn to just not worry about what people think as much.

One practical thing is just spending the time, doing the things you enjoy and also just learning about who you are, because then you actually work out the things you like and you get more confident in being able to be secure in it.

What connection is there between your creativity and your spirituality?

I believe that spirituality doesn’t have boundaries in our life when it comes to God, so my creativity isn’t any exception to that. I don’t think I’ve learn that 100 percent, connecting the two.

I feel like creativity communicates the heart of God, which can be used in line with sharing the Gospel and creativity also creates a whole new element to the personal time that I spend with God.

I also think that creativity can restore dignity to people as well. A lot of creativity brings beauty to us, and I feel that people have lost a chance to be cherished and treasured and I believe that creativity can be the building block for giving that back to them, and to break down the walls that people do build up in their life.

I think we all enjoy seeing, and hearing and tasting beautiful and interesting things.

Tell us about fashion bringing dignity to people…

Actually one of my favourite things that I’ve done for someone…there was this lady who, so she heard about me making head pieces from another lady on the sunshine coast. I had made some women who owned a shop there some headpieces for race day. This lady’s mum was a regular at the shop and she got talking to the shop owner about the head pieces that I had made for them because her daughter was looking for one for a wedding. She contacted me and it turned out that she had had chemo for the last four years, so she’d lost all her hair. She actually looked really good with no hair, but she wanted to have a cap made for her wedding. And she was just finding it really hard to find anything, so I was able to make her a 1920’s style headpieces. It was a cap that covered her whole head with little pieces of beaded lace from her wedding dress. That was probably the nicest thing I was able to do and I really enjoyed being able to give that to her. Because I think that she felt really beautiful, and she was able to feel that on her wedding day because I was able to make that for her.

What do you hope will be the impact of your creativity?

I’d like to use it to bring dignity, mostly probably for young girls. To people that have lost that because of experiences they’ve had in their life. I do feel like, sometimes people can be quite lucky in the sense that we don’t really realise the luxury of being able to go out and wear a nice piece of clothing and feeling like a woman, all dressed up and beautiful. So I think for me being able to give that back to someone who hasn’t had that luxury. There are girls who have been put in foster care or who have had a really hard life. I’d like to use it for something like that, rather than it just being a nice piece of clothing to add to the wardrobe.

Do you have a dream with your creativity?

Fashion is quite a hard industry because it exploits a lot of people, and so I’ve struggled with that a little bit, like knowing exactly what I want to do with that. I’d like to own a little shop. I love vintage clothes and things like that, so I’d like that outlet, but I’d love to design things too. I want to add to the world, rather than taking from it.

Isabel’s tips for stepping into creativity…
  1. Don’t be scared of it, but also expect surprises!
  2. Work hard! I have never seen anyone be promoted or be respected in a position without working hard. Working hard gives you the understanding of the craft that you’re deciding to pursue. No matter how boring the job is, there’s always something to learn from it, even if it’s numbers or spread-sheets. Even if it’s boring, it’s good to know all the elements of what you are doing.
  3. The people that you choose to surround yourself with will show you where your life is heading. So choose people who encourage, challenge and support you, whilst still helping you to live an honourable life. One thing I’ve seen with my creative friends and in the creative industry, just because something is creatively successful, it doesn’t mean that it is always healthy thing to invest in. Just be wise about where you put your talent and your dream.

Isabel Taylor (née Winwood) is a Fashion Designer who grew up in the town of Lismore on the Northern Rivers. Due to the creative culture and beautiful surroundings of Lismore she constantly had creative people and events around her. This made it easier when the time came for her to decide on studying Fashion Design and later became the Design Assistant at the Byron Bay based label, Thrills. Recently getting married and relocating, Isabel is now working at establishing her own brand & designs in the hope to use them to enrich people’s lives. You can find Isabel on instagram @ isabelwinwood_designs. Isabel’s fashion photos are courtesy of Ryan Ferguson Photography.