CCAD & me
Written by Betty   
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:00


When I began my journey towards being a designer, I knew the only place to start from was Cleveland College of Art and Design. Receently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Andrea from CCAD'S press department in the run up to the summer shows. this is the piece she wrote on me and a few pics to go with it :)



Fifties dress maker Leigh Hornsey, of Hartlepool, is in the running to take home an award in the category of best vintage reproduction at The National Vintage Awards, in Birmingham.

The former Cleveland College of Art & Design student, who set up her own design label Call Me Betty, will be competing against eight other vintage design houses from across the UK for the coveted title.  

“I’ve never wanted to be anything other than a designer,” said Leigh, 33, who lives in the Bishop Cuthbert area of town.

“I knew from as young as five or six that I wanted to make dresses and I’ve always had a passion for vintage, so to be up for this award is absolutely awesome.”



Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, a tailor and cutter, an aunt and nana, who knitted and her mother, who made all her own clothes, Leigh now designs a range of everyday day and evening wear as well as party wear, glitz and glamour vintage gowns.


“I love the silhouette and the femininity of the 40s and 50s but I also like to set my brand apart by using fun funky fabrics and bold prints and patterns to create my designs,” said Leigh.

“Vintage really is for everybody and I’ve got a customer base ranging from 18-year-olds to 75-year-olds to prove it.”

Created in 2009 Leigh’s label is taken from her real Christian name Elizabeth and a favourite Paul Simon song.

She sells online in the UK, Thailand, America, Australia and Europe, through Facebook and currently has over 20,000 followers.



“The beauty of selling online is that you can be based anywhere in the country,” said Leigh. “I was always adamant that I didn’t want to go to London to work. Both mine and my husband’s families are from the North East and this is where we wanted to raise our own family.

“A lot of people think that if you want to be successful in the design industry then you have to focus on succeeding in the capital but there is such a wealth of talent in the North, coming out of places like CCAD, that you don’t have to look far to find great designers, photographers, models, cutters and manufacturers right on the doorstep.”

Having established herself within the textile industry, working as a designer for children’s and baby wear manufacturers, Leigh made the decision to turn freelance designing menswear for Littlewoods and Ethel Austin, children’s wear for Babies R Us, ladies wear for New Look and Debenhams and lingerie for Ann Summers.


“I always knew that this was the road I wanted to go down and looking back it was CCAD that helped me on my way,” she said.

“I learnt so much there from the tutors, gained confidence in myself and my ability, had a lot of fun and made friends that I am still close to now.” "


piece written by CCAD press dept




Unfortunately i wasn't shortlisted for the NVA's but not to worry, there's always next year. 







new look
Written by Betty   
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 18:49



you might have noticed things are changing a little on the website, i'm always trying to make the way i display my vintage style dresses and other items more visually appealing as well as neater and tidier, it's difficult without the aid of a professional photographer on site. i've had the privilage to work with some really great photogrpahers and models over the years, but it's not always practical to send dresses away to be photogrpahed, i need a way to be able to take pics of my dresses and skirts etc as they arrive, and so really it does need to be on a mannequin of some description, until recently i'd been using a shop window type dummy, but with the angle of the body and the skinny size she is, it just didn't look quite right.


So i've swapped to a more regimented 'look' for the website for now, I hope you'll like the change.








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