FASHION designer Sadie Clayton’s striking creations have been wowed on catwalks as far afield as Rome, Berlin, Miami and Singapore.

Famed for her sculptural womenswear, the West Yorkshire-born graduate’s clothing took centre stage last year at Alta Roma, Italy’s haute couture fashion week, held at the British ambassador’s residence in Rome. Italy’s first major catwalk show celebrating diversity saw her designs represent the Government’s Great Britain Campaign, showcasing the best the nation has to offer.

Watching her clothes grace the Italian catwalk was not the only high point of the event for the talented designer - she was also thrilled that ambassador Jill Morris, herself a passionate advocate of British fashion in Italy, sported one of her jackets. “She absolutely loved the design and she looked amazing in it,” Sadie said. “What’s great about her is that her aim is to open the doors and promote diversity.”

Sadie went on to impress audiences at the 2017 London Fashion Week. Her fashion collaborations include designs for Nixon watches, shoes for Underground and sunglasses for Cutler & Gross and her collections have been seen in Berlin, Art Basel Miami and as part of Singapore Design Week. She has also exhibited as part of the Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process exhibition at London’s Tate Britain.

Sadie grew up in Mirfield, attending Castle Hall Academy, and from an early age she knew she looked different and embraced it.

“I was one of only a few mixed race children, so I always stood out, whether it was the cornrows in which my mum used to style my hair, or my fuller lips - I was always the epitome of diversity,” she says.

“In my early teen years I took advantage of that and developed and enhanced my look with vintage clothing, fabrics from IKEA for dresses, gold eyeliner, and rows and rows of beads swinging around my neck. That’s when I realised I loved fashion and that it could be a career path for me.”

She began her journey at Batley School of Art. “I knew what I wanted to do when I left school, so I went ahead and studied fashion and clothing,” she says. “One of my first projects was to design and make a tea dress. As always, I put some many elements into the design, included a collar, ruffles, mutton sleeves, a cowl skirt and printed satin. Wow, that was a heck of a project, but I was so happy with it.”

She laughs: “I wonder where the dress is now? Maybe mum has it stored for me with a lot of my graduate pieces.”

Sadie’s mum has always been her biggest inspiration. “She led me to believe that I can do what I want - all I have to do is dream big and knock on those doors. Since being young we’ve always been close, she’s my best friend.”

In the art world, her biggest influence has been the Israeli industrial designer, artist, and architect Ron Arad, with whom she spoke to for a Radio 4 programme Only Artists, which brings together two artists to talk about their work. “He has achieved what I wish for in the future, she says. “I’ve already started in the last couple of years - applying my creativity and specialisim to multi disciplines within art.

“I am a fashion designer because what I produce fits the body, but if you remove the body from my pieces I’m an artist,” she says. “I’ve worked with the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, I’ve had a meeting at Saatchi; there are a lot of art things on the horizon.”

Sadie graduated from Kingston University in 2013 with a degree in fashion. Her collection included a glimmering dress made of 2,000 copper plumbing brackets and saw her named runner-up in the Graduate Fashion Week London showcase’s award for innovation. Looking back on her collection now, the pieces remain her favourite.

She loves working with copper, in particular. “I’m in my element when I’m banging and hammering copper metal. I create new textures with it and colours by oxidising it.”

As part of her production process, Sadie heats copper using a gas burner to produce amazing colours, including striking greens as the metal oxidises. “For my final collection I used an African model and the copper tone next to her skin was incredible,” she says, “It’s such a striking image.”

One of her favourite pieces is a copper metal body sculpture created this season. "It’s a piece that enables people to see that my sculptures don’t have to just be for the body - you could take it and hang it from the ceiling, as it’s a light fitting, or you put it on the floor and it could be a prototype for a coffee table. This is what excites me - there’s more to my creativity now than just fashion."

Taking part in Alta Roma Sadie said she felt proud to be British. The event struck a chord as diversity has been at the heart of her work since the very start of her career. Models of varying sizes, physical abilities and ethnic backgrounds wore her collection, which was crafted from suedes, satins, corduroy and velvet in rich rusts, copper, nude and grey tones, creating powerful, feminine silhouettes adorned with metalwork.

Sadie, 27, who lives in London, believes it is vital to encourage diversity within the fashion industry. “It is super important. At the first ever diversity catwalk show in Rome the reaction was impressive - my message was very clear and some people in the audience were in tears. I think this is a successful movement in fashion today as so many people believe you can only wear a certain thing if you look a certain way. What we achieved on the catwalk in Rome was the complete opposite - it was a proud moment and it reached the press internationally.”

She adds: “I hope to give women confidence and boost their styling skills. I would like to encourage them to experiment with shapes, cuts, colours and textures. You’re only on this planet once, as far as I’m aware, so we should all embrace it and explore!

“I have worked with (fashion commentator) Caryn Franklin who is a leading diversity campaigner, since the day she handed over my certificate at my graduation ceremony. She’s really promoted these issues on the catwalk.”

Sadie’s Yorkshire roots have influenced her work. “The advantage, or maybe disadvantage, of living in Yorkshire is the fact that you don’t have the design museum or the V&A on your doorstep, so you learn to pluck inspiration from anywhere and from everything you see. You automatically become more creative.”

She enjoys going home to the slower pace of Mirfield for a break, and to visit her "amazing family and friends" in West Yorkshire.

Sadie admits the fashion industry is very competitive and extremely pressurised. "You’ve always got to be thinking ahead, but it keeps you driven and keeps you striving to achieve more."