Although his name is not yet up there with Versace and Alexander McQueen, Huddersfield-based couturier Adam Shaw already has a star-studded following.

Earlier this year he dressed actress Maxine Peake for her red carpet appearance at the BAFTA TV awards and created a gown for Emmerdale cast member Fiona Wade, a nominee at the British Soap Awards.

But the former theatrical costumier, who works from a small first-floor room above his mum’s gift shop in Lidget Street, Lindley, is still a one-man business and makes his bread and butter from individual, mostly hand-sewn bridal and evening dresses.

Now after nearly a decade in design, Adam has ambitions to become a supplier to high-end stores and is about to launch a new collection to buyers and stylists at a fashion show in Manchester tomorrow evening.

Maxine, whom he met on set when she was filming the Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (filmed at Oakwell Hall), has promised to attend the show’s after-party. Unfortunately, she can’t be there for the entire evening as she’s appearing in Hamlet at the Royal Exchange, but fellow actress Fiona will be bringing soap star friends to the glittering event at the Great John Street Hotel.

This is a nerve-wracking time for Adam, a fashion design graduate of Derby University, who has sunk all his savings into the fabrics for his collection and the show itself.

“I feel like I’m paying for a wedding I’m not having,” said Adam, who has gratefully accepted offers of help from friends and family to cut costs. “But I have been under the radar for so long that I want to shout out ‘here I am’.”

Adam began making one-off bridal gowns after leaving university and it was through a client that he met a movie cameraman and found work on the film adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, released in 2008 and starring Emma Thompson.

He enjoyed the costume work so much that he became what is known in the trade as a ‘daily’, working as and when needed on location. He has created costumes for the ITV dramatisation of Wuthering Heights and worked with Sarah Lancashire on All the Small Things and with Lucy Davis on Married Single Other.

For Maxine Peake, as Anne Lister, he created an evening dress from an original 1814 pattern and a military style riding jacket.

Maxine Peake in an original Adam Shaw couture gown at the BAFTAs
Maxine Peake in an original Adam Shaw couture gown at the BAFTAs
 

For the real-life wedding of actress Rebecca Night (who played Catherine in Wuthering Heights) he designed and made not only her gown but also three bridesmaids dresses, a pageboy outfit and the bride’s mother’s outfit.

The ‘daily’ work, combined with bar jobs and bridal dress designs gave him a living. When he opened his bridal studio in January 2012, initially in premises in central Huddersfield, he was still supporting himself with bar and costume work.

But, as he explains, that didn’t leave him much time for what he really wanted to do. He said: “I was working 12 to 14 hours a day filming and had all sorts of other jobs so there was no time for me to come back to my studio and see brides. I nearly gave it all up because the original workshop wasn’t really working and no-one knew I was there. I was ready to throw in the towel.”

But then his mum, Lindsay Smith, offered him a room above Snug, her gift shop, and Adam’s business began to flourish.

Lindley, he says, proved to be a great base for a bridal business. “Even though I don’t have a sign up outside, brides have found me,” he said, “I’ve even had four brides who have come up from London to see me.”

What Adam offers is the chance to have a unique, bespoke wedding or evening gown. His designs start at £2,000 but he has created dresses that cost up to £4,000.

“That covers everything from the design to pattern cutting, toiles, the silks and hand-beading,” he says. “I spend hours hand-sewing. I even rope members of my family into it. At the moment my mum, aunt (Susan Jenkinson) and sister (Hannah Shaw) are hand-stitching for me.”

With this year’s wedding season at an end (he made 15 bridal dresses for brides in 2014) Adam has been focussed on the creation of his collection, which has a distinctly vintage feel, as does most of his work. He is even designing a baroque costume for opera singer Jennifer Coleman, who is entertaining at his debut show.

He explained: “I love historical costumes, in particular the 18th century, and the shapes that they create on women – nipped in waists and a wide decollete. I like to use quite muted colours, like antique ivory, oyster and cloud pink. With my evening wear I’m inspired by tarnished silver, black, grey and aristocratic gowns. I love jade green and peacock blue but I absolutely hate cerise pink.”

Designer, Adam Shaw of Lindley, at work in his Lidget Street studio
Designer, Adam Shaw of Lindley, at work in his Lidget Street studio
 

For Maxine’s Bafta gown he chose fluid copper fabric and metallic French lace. “She wanted to look old Hollywood and she has quite a quirky dress sense, but she didn’t want to look trussed up,” said Adam. “I like to create a shimmering effect, like the sparkle on shiny surfaces from candlelight.”

Fiona Wade’s dress was made from metallic gold lace and took 72 hours to hand-stitch. He added: “I met a stylist who asked me if I could make a dress that could be borrowed for the soap awards but I’m thinking of giving it to Fiona because she mentions me in interviews and says it is the ‘best dress she ever wore’, which is wonderful.”

It certainly helps to have celebrity endorsements but now Adam is hoping his designs will speak for themselves on the catwalk.

Adam is hosting a second fashion show for the Yorkshire Children’s Trust, a local charity that helps families with sick or disabled children, on Friday, November 7, at Bertie’s Banqueting Rooms in Elland. Tickets are available by messaging him via Facebook Adam Shaw Couture or from Snug in Lindley.