Fashion: Dawn of the new Ice Age

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Leeds designer Bo Carter tells Stephanie Smith how Iceland inspired her new collection.

Bozena Carter is fast making a name for her exotic and vibrant, street-wise yet wearable designs, all ethically created and pulsating with pattern and texture.

Bo has a shop in Central Arcade, off Briggate in Leeds city centre, where customers can browse and try on her clothes. She uses natural and synthetic fabrics rather than animal skins and furs to create luxurious yet vegan (PETA-approved) fashion.

For her latest collection, Bo has gone glacial, inspired by the other-worldliness of Iceland, which she discovered when she showed at Iceland Fashion Week a few years ago.

With her photographer partner Steve Gabbett, she stayed in Reykjavik, touring to find suitable backdrops.

“The landscape is absolutely amazing,” Bo says. “It is like being on different planet, the moon or Mars, as I would imagine. You can’t compare to any other place and it is so changeable.”

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe (it has a population of around 325,000 and is 40,000 square miles), its strange, human-less vistas characterised by volcanic lava fields, mountains and glaciers. Bo drew on this land of molten rock and swirling smoke-steam when creating the range.

“It was a challenging collection, as I have walked away from my usual prints and bright colours,” she says, adding that she did get some orange in among the palette of stone, smoke and charcoal greys,

She says: “I have played a lot with textures of fabric and shapes and I absolutely love this collection.”

Soon to be 35, Bo moved to the UK when she was 21 and trained to become an accountant. Her design career began in 2010 with a Leeds Fashion Week competition to find new designers, after which she showed in the US, Malta, Iceland, Bangalore and around the UK. Her shop opened in 2012 and she also sells through her website.

Increasingly in demand, Bo is currently working on pieces for musicians John Robb and Kristin Hersh and film director Darren Aronofsky, as well as her new range.

She says: “Iceland is such a beautiful place. It was lovely to be back in this crazy land.”

The Bo Carter Boutique is in Central Arcade, Leeds. Check out: