A DESIGNER named national wedding dress designer of the year last night described the accolade as one of the highlights of her career.

Kate Fearnley, who owns an occasion-wear boutique on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, expressed her surprise and delight after winning the title at The Wedding Industry Awards 2019 in London on January 16.

The designer and her team attended the event at the Cafe de Paris, joined by top wedding industry suppliers, after sailing through the regional award for Yorkshire and the North-East last November.

The award is open to professionals across the industry to recognise their efforts and lists 23 categories including best venue stylist, cake designer, florist and photographer.

Miss Fearnley set up her boutique 17 years ago after graduating with a degree in fashion at Northumbria University.

She has since become a well-known name in Teesside and earned herself a lot of celebrity clientele in her early days.

One of her first big breaks came when Darlington’s Zoe Birkett started wearing her designs as she starred in ITV’s Pop Idol.

By 2009, the fashion designer was making gowns for a range of stars including actress Jennifer Ellison, singer Sophie Ellis Bexter, glamour model Katie Price and pop bands Girls Aloud and The Saturdays.

Now she specialises in bespoke designs, creating sophisticated pieces for brides and elegant gowns for hopeful prom queens.


For Miss Fearnley and her team, being recognised for these designs is a dream in itself.

Having previously won other prestigious awards, such as Cosmopolitan’s Fashion Entrepreneur in 2010, Miss Fearnley said she was overwhelmed by last week’s win.

She said: “Winning this award really is one of the highlights of my career, We pride ourselves on giving the highest quality of service to all of our customers.

“We listen to their ideas, sketch and plan the designs, advise and carefully choose fabrics, tweak designs to give the absolute perfect fit. We want to create our client their dream dress, and we are delighted that we have been recognised for giving the unique experience that we do.

“We are over the moon, and we really are looking forward to working with lots more brides and prom girls.”

To be nominated in The Wedding Industry Awards, professionals are voted for and rated by their clients.

The highest-scoring businesses become a finalist and are scored by a panel of judges where the regional winners are announced at a glamorous event at the end of the year.

The following January, the winners of each regional awards come together and are re-examined by judges to determine who wins the award in London.

Entrants in the awards get the opportunity to have their business recognised by experts in the industry and promote their independent brand.

Wedding suppliers can enter themselves in a category or be nominated by a client or member of the public.