The Sparklewren brand was founded in 2009 by Jenni Hampshire. She completed a BA(hons) in Fine Art, having created jewelled paintings, feathered wings and a stuffed unicorn; even before moving into clothing, her creations had the dreamy atmosphere and sparkles that the corsetry brand would become renowned for. The designer is entirely self taught in corset making and had never received a formal garment making education.
Originally Sparklewren corsets were created entirely in the maker’s home. Early designs were experimental without a consistent aesthetic: referencing entirely disparate areas of corset history: from rigidly structured 18th century stays, to the fan lacing that was popularised in 20th century girdles.
The brand’s early years reflected the concepts and techniques initially explored through Jenni’s fine art work, combining sparkles and frivolity with the exploration of gender as performance. Her creations have always focused on the relationship between the corset and its wearer, treating the garments as a form of sculpture rather than purely functional clothing. Even in these early pieces the signature Sparklewren aesthetic began to clearly form.