A DESIGNER whose family was devastated by Storm Desmond used the life changing experience to create her final collection for her fashion degree.

Emily White, from Levens, encapsulated the destruction caused by the 2015 storm in her collection ‘Resilience’, as well as the journey her family took to rebuild their lives after their home and kennel and cattery business were severely flooded.

The 22-year-old, who achieved a first in her degree with Blackpool School of Arts, believes the difficulties faced by her family made them stronger and she wished to convey this in the collection.

The Westmorland Gazette: OVERSEEING: Emily on set as models prepare for the shoot  Picture: Wood + Co

“We didn’t have anywhere to live for a while,” said Miss White.

“It made me appreciate things more. Losing physical things was bad enough but then the mental challenge of it was really difficult as well because I was in the middle of my A-levels.

“We had no choice but to carry on and slowly get things back to normal, although normal for us wasn’t quite the same.

“We’ve got a new house now and I think we are stronger as a family.”

The young designer also felt inspired to create the collection by her grandfather, who sadly passed away recently.

“They told us to pick something that was meaningful to us, and my grandad would always say use negative things to make something positive,” she said.

“He also helped us a lot with the house and so I wanted to do it in memory of him and use the emotions I experienced to put into something I love doing.”

The collection features an array of designs that convey the family’s journey picking up the pieces after the storm.

The Westmorland Gazette: REBUILDING: The collection conveys the journey the White family took to rebuild their lives Picture: Wood + Co

“I did the first piece to represent the water and the overwhelming flood, the second was the debris, the third the construction of the house and the fourth was the rebuilding of the house,” said Miss White.

“I used the tailoring and the construction of the garments to represent the rebuilding of our lives and us getting stronger throughout the process.

“I used natural materials. One outfit I crocheted pieces of plastic so that was all recycled and I used lots of wools.”

The Westmorland Gazette: RECYCLED: Emily used recycled plastic in her collection  Picture: Wood + Co

The collection saw her win HE Creative Lancashire Student of the Year.

“The fact people understood my message I was really pleased about,” she said.

“Because it’s so personal to me.”

The designer has now started her own alteration business and hopes to go into country wear.

“I’m making my own jacket at the moment and it’s something I would like to pursue in the future,” she said.