News Column

Style in the saddle

May 3, 2014

Duncan Leatherdale

Duncan Leatherdale trots along to meet a teenage fashion designer who has jumped through hoops to launch an affordable equestrian clothing firm

WHILE most 18-year-olds are preparing for university or planning a gap year, Jordan McCabe is embarking on her journey as an entrepreneur. At a glitzy celebration party last night, the teenager launched her own range of fashionable equestrian wear, realising a long held dream to be a fashion designer.

As well as being a fulfilment of her childhood ambition, Jordan's Aztec Diamond is a response to her own frustrations in the marketplace. "Equestrian wear is either quite boring and bland or really expensive, I want to provide fashionable, affordable equestrian wear, " says the former show jumper.

The 18-year-old is running the business from her terraced home in Stanley Crook, County Durham, and has invested her own savings, as well as those of other family members into the fledgling business. Jordan's mother, Jane Maguire, has given up her own job of 26 years to support her daughter's design desires. "Jordan is passionate about this. I know she will make it work, " she says.

Jordan has received business support from design and manufacturing consultant StacyMarshall. "Jordan has identified a gap in the market and has the talent to fill it, " says Stacy. "She was determined to follow her dreams."

Jordan has also defied doubters by getting this far. "Some people said it would never work, but that just made me even more determined. Even getting to this point of launching the business is a lot further than some people expected me to get, " says Jordan.

Having studied design and business at college, Jordan believes she is ready for her new venture. "Seeing my friends fill in their application forms for university just confirmed for me that I didn't want to go. I want to start my business instead, " she says. "It is something I have wanted to do since I was ten. I'm so excited it is finally happening.

Jordan's dream started when she was young and was unable to buy anything pink or sparkly for her pony. "Although my tastes have changed a bit since then, " she laughs.

Jordan, who has competed in numerous show jumping shows and started riding when she was seven, has named her brand after her horse, Aztec Diamond, a 12-year-old bay mare who is "the love of my life".

Aztec Diamond is starting with three ranges - essential, everyday and limited - featuring a couple of dozen designs of all types of riding clothing, from britches and bodywarmers to gloves and socks.

"Throughout my teenage years, my family invested almost every penny they earned into my show jumping passion so that I had a nice horse to compete on, correct clothing for me and my horse and was able to travel to shows up and down the country to compete most weekends, " says Jordan. "I also had to work every night after college and both days of the weekend, even if we were at a show, to be able to afford to keep of my horse."

Jordan struggled to be able to afford to compete and says the high prices of equestrian clothing didn't help. "It discriminated against so many people from the sport, becoming too expensive just to look the part or wear the technically correct clothing. I only justmanaged to keep up and look half decent by compromising 90 per cent of the time on either fashion or quality."

As well as creating a new company to offer an affordable option for riders in the same position, Jordan has also given a lot of thought to the fabric used to form her creations. "It is a highly technical sports fabric which is geared towards keeping the rider comfortable and mobile while also looking the way they would want to look, " she says.

Jordan will be selling her ranges through her own website which went live after the launch party at Sedgefield Racecourse last night. She is also planning to show case her designs at agricultural and equestrians shows over the coming months.

For more information, visit aztecdiamondequestrian. com

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Source: Northern Echo (England)