ABOUT ME, SJ
“I design and handcraft all of my pieces myself”
My name is SJ and I am a multi award winning Designer, Brand owner, Celebrity Stylist and Authentic Personal Style Coach from Yorkshire in the UK.
In 2016 following my son’s diagnosis of autism, I started my artisan handcrafted accessory Brand, Urbanized Neckwear. I describe Urbanized Neckwear as my happy little accident, created during a period in my life where I was being thrown nothing but lemons but my instinctual positive response was to create ‘Urbanized’ favoured lemonade!
As an outlet and way to express myself creatively, I came up with the idea of creating interesting architectural scarf-like structures from fabric that drapes and fasten around the wearer’s neck using zips and fasteners to make them look quirky and interesting. Before I knew it, I had transformed my hobby into a business, selling my contemporary handcrafted Neckwear pieces to customers all around the world. Since then I have taken part in a wide range of events, fashion shows and have exhibited and sold my wearable art designs at some of the most prestigious art events in the UK.
I have an innate desire to be innovative with fabric and create a look that is completely unique and stand-alone. The starting point for all of my creations is always the fabric, focusing on its unique features, pattern, texture as my inspiration. From there I aim to create a juxtaposition between how people are accustomed to seeing such fabric being used with how it can be presented when incorporating the signature edgy Urbanized style.
My Neckwear concept was influenced and inspired by both my working class and first generation born African-Caribbean background. These two together create a unique synergy which reflects the rich diversity of the multicultural environment I grew up in in Yorkshire, England, alongside my African-Caribbean roots which can be seen in the choices of fabrics I use.
A key feature of my design process is versatility. Many of my designs are unisex and can be worn in a multitude of ways. For example, my necktie design can be worn as a traditional necktie or bow tie and my long lined zipped Neckwear design can be worn long or as a neck wrap – it can even be wrapped up to fit neatly in a bag!
I design and handcraft all of my pieces myself in my home and all of my creations are either limited edition or one-off pieces. This adds a level of exclusivity to my garments and means that I can keep things new and fresh.
“My ambitions for the future are as big and bold as my heart and personality!”
In 2020, my hard work and achievements led me to be voted as the Windrush Female Entrepreneur of the Year winner for both Huddersfield and the West Yorkshire region. Most recently I was nominated and won the Simply Ladies Award for ‘Fashion Designer of the Year’ and was also featured in a powerful local history book ‘Windrush: Three Generations – Stories of Hope, Courage & Success’. Invited as a regular guest on BBC Radio Leeds, in March 2022 I was also invited to join as a regular on the BAFTA nominated UK Channel 4 daytime TV programme Steph’s Packed Lunch and have since featured as a style expert in the Daily Express National Newspaper.
In early in 2021, I decided to build further upon my business portfolio by calling upon my impeccable interpersonal skills and 40 years’ experience of sewing, designing and fashion styling to launch my own Personal Style Coaching Programme. This has led to me being nicknamed the ‘Style Guru’ and so far coaching and styling celebrities including top UK TV presenter, Steph McGovern as well as working with established artists in the music industry.
I believe that true style starts from within and radiates outwardly, so in line with my philosophy I decided to focus on empowering women to connect, discover and step into their authentic personal style. Through my life-changing one-to-one and tailormade sessions, I aim to guide an army of women towards becoming the best and most style confident version of themselves.
My ambitions for the future are as big and bold as my heart and personality. My focus is to keep moving in line with my purpose by continuing to build upon my personal brand. Also, through media, motivational and public speaking opportunities, I hope to use my expertise and passionate backstory to connect with and inspire a whole tribe of women, helping them to unearth and step into the best version of themselves too.
My adventure as an all-round enriched woman is evolving all the time and is one that I enjoy sharing though my blogs, Instagram and Facebook posts – I love the results of what I do – I hope you do too!
Style Guru & Creator of Urbanized Neckwear