| 5°C Belfast

Belfast girl Cara (12) teams up with top London designers to create clothing range for children with dwarfism

Close

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

For many fashion-conscious girls it can be a common complaint - they simply cannot find the clothes they love in the right size.

And it is even more of a problem for 12-year-old south Belfast girl Cara Mailey.

Cara loves singing, dancing and above all fashion, but at 3'5" tall, her height-restricting condition achondroplasia means she cannot get what she wants to wear.

Her answer to the problem? Design your own.

She has teamed up with two top London designers to create the UK's first clothing range for children who, like her, have dwarfism.

Cara, whose mum Tricia and younger brother Noah also have achondroplasia, will be familiar to CBBC viewers from previous appearances in The Dengineers and Craft Party. She said the chance to work with London-based fashion designers Amanda Rabor, founder of Mini Mode and Global Kids Fashion Week, and Tara TJ Hanif has not only given her a range of new outfits, but also the confidence to be herself.

Close

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

"People with dwarfism love clothes as much as anyone else and I think it's really unfair that there's nothing out there for us," she said.

"I was so happy to get the chance to try and change that."

Cara said that one of the biggest problems in getting clothes to fit is something that many women will recognise.

She explained: "With my body shape I'm small, but my spine is a lot more curved and my bottom is bigger. My jeans are too slim for my butt to handle!

"But no matter how big or small you are I hope I've shown you can still do anything if you put your mind to it.

"I'm very proud to be little. That sounds weird! But I'm proud to be different, I'm proud to be unique and I'm proud that I'm me."

That pride is matched by mum Tricia, who said her daughter, who is a constant bundle of energy, just takes everything in her stride.

Close

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

"Cara has done some TV with CBBC before and when they asked her if she would be interested in taking part in their My Life series she was never going to say no!" she said.

"I'm 34 and I have the same achondroplasia. I've never been able to buy clothes that fit. I'm a little jealous that she's managed to get a whole new wardrobe of her own designs."

Asked by the designers what she would like to be able to wear, Cara came up with her own logo. Her range of clothing is now called 'She's Fierce - by Cara'.

Covid restrictions meant that any planned trip to children's fashion week in London, where she could have ended up on the catwalk modelling her own designs, was curtailed.

Close

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

South Belfast 12-year-old Cara Mailey struts her stuff in some of the outfits she’s helped design

But Cara did get the chance to take part in a photoshoot for her new range of clothing with professional fashion photographer Khara Pringle and well-known make-up artist Paddy McGurgan.

Filmed over several months, the documentary follows Cara and the designers as they worked together to create her collection, but another star of the show, who might now have to find a new hobby for herself, is Cara's nanny Libby Woods.

"My mum has spent her life fixing and adjusting clothes," said Tricia. "The sewing machine might get a rest for a while now.

"Even a new school uniform, as Cara started her first year at Assumption Grammar in Ballynahinch, had to be made to measure."

My Life: Made to Measure, produced by Tyrone Productions will be broadcast on CBBC at 7.15pm next Friday, February 19.

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy