Sky's the limit for Nova Scotian fashion designer with Down syndrome

·2 min read
Marie Webb and her mother launched an online fashion accessories store called Necklings on Friday. (CBC - image credit)
Marie Webb and her mother launched an online fashion accessories store called Necklings on Friday. (CBC - image credit)

Marie Webb has an eye for fashion and she's hoping to take her fabric accessories to a wider international audience.

The 30-year-old designer from Halifax has Down syndrome. She already has runway shows and a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia under her belt.

She describes her work as "colourful, joyful, comfortable, soft, practical, [and] creative."

On Friday, Webb and her mother, Renee Forrestall, held a virtual launch and fashion show for their new online accessories store called Necklings.

Marie Webb shows off  a scarf printed with her 'girl power' design from her Necklings collection.
Marie Webb shows off a scarf printed with her 'girl power' design from her Necklings collection. (Renee Forrestall)

The Nova Scotia-made accessories feature prints of Webb's hand-drawn designs in an array of colour combinations. So far, the website offers, bags, scarves, face masks and neck tubes for sale.

According to Forrestall, an art teacher who works with other people with Down syndrome, the condition may be partly responsible for some of the beauty that Webb is able to convey in her work.

"There's a real interesting quality to it that is profound and beautiful and uniquely, I think, related to the culture of people with Down syndrome," Forrestall said.

For her part, Webb said she is inspired by "people, movies and art," adding that she also draws inspiration from her hometown, holidays and the Pride parade.

Family support

During her many achievements, Webb's family has been with her every step of the way — from spotting her artistic talent at the age of five to ensuring she got a post-secondary art education at home when art school wouldn't enrol her.

It helped that both of her parents teach art and know talent when they see it.

Webb not only draws and colours, but she felts her designs.
Webb not only draws and colours, but she felts her designs.(Submitted by Renee Forrestall)

According to Forrestall, her sister, Millie, has also been very supportive, teaching her art and now helping to format her designs digitally to make them ready for printing.

As for what's next now that her fashion accessories store has been launched, Webb, a fan of Ru-Paul's Drag Race, said she wants to create "drag wear-inspired clothes and accessories" that people can wear every day.

Webb hopes her success will inspire other people with disabilities like Down syndrome to follow their dreams.

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