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WITH a wealth of accolades and fans such as Victoria Beckham, Kate Walton is one of Northumbria University's success stories. Graduating in 2004 in fashion marketing, Kate not only has a successful handbag collection, but also a thriving fashion boutique. The 27-year-old from Gosforth exploded on to the scene at Graduate Fashion Week in 2004 with her havetohold handbag collection. Her bags earned her a nomination in Topshop Accessories Award and a shortlisting in the Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The bags have been a must-have in the wardrobes of Victoria Beckham, Peaches Geldof, Sophie Anderton and Cheryl Cole.
Kate became interested in fashion as a child. "Ever since I was a little girl, mum was always glamorous and still is. She used to take my sister and me to London for new outfits and we were always having fashion shows at home. "My grandma used to take me to Tynemouth market and I was fascinated by the vintage clothing and accessories."
Being shortlisted for Grazia’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards prompted Kate to start her business. With advice from Business Link and the Arts Council, she opened boutique havetolove in Gosforth three years ago. The stunning shop stocks designer brands such as Victoria Beckham Denim, By Malene birger, MiH jeans and Style Stalker as her well as Havetolove'srange collection. Kate will launch a new range of bags next season. The shop scooped the 2007 Drapers Best New Business award.
Kate has since been named '30 under 30' one to watch for the next generation in the fashion industry by Draper's magazine.
Kate’s fashion roots are in the North. She said: "London is very overcrowded in terms of fashion. I felt there was more opportunity in Newcastle to open a fashion boutique and there was definitely a niche in the market.
"Newcastle has a lot of potential in terms of fashion and fashion design. Northumbria School of Design is one of the best and highly regarded amongst fashionistas in the country.
"The region has supported well known brands such as Nigel Cabourn and Barbour and can support many more.
"We are an up-and-coming trendy city with a lot to offer, especially in terms of fashion."
Havetolove has featured in Grazia as 'Top Secret Boutique,' Vogue as '50 Best Boutiques in Britain and the Sunday Telegraph as 'Shop of the week.' Also named as 50 best fashion boutiques by Stella magazine.