SECOND-HAND wedding dresses from a Halstead charity shop have been wowing fashion judges after being given a new lease of life by a budding clothing designer.

Instead of being worn down the aisle by blushing brides, the frocks – from High Street charity shop Each – are being modelled on glitzy catwalks.

Now bridal designer Jenna Martin, 34, is up for a national award after transforming the outdated wedding dresses into a collection of stunning one-off pieces.

The mum-of-two, who recently graduated with a first-class fashion and textiles honours degree from University Centre Colchester, has been showcasing her collection in Colchester and London.

She previously worked for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and approached the charity to see if they had any old garments she could upcycle for her final project.

The charity’s Halstead shop was able to provide Jenna with more than 30 wedding dresses.

She then turned them into ‘Eternal Gift’ – a sustainable, couture bridal collection which showed how traditional dresses can be incorporated into 21st-century looks.

Jenna said: “Having worked for Each, this is a charity I’m passionate about. The shop kindly gave me a range of options that I was able to work with by deconstructing, over dying, reassembling and transforming the unwanted garments.”

Jenna’s work has seen her nominated for Student Designer of the Year in the Bridal Buyer Awards – the UK’s leading wedding trade publication. Jenna is up against five other students.

Each shop manager Tina Tate-Lovery said: “The wedding dresses Jenna used were rather past their time and it’s fantastic to see what she’s been able to do with them. We’re pleased to see they’re being recognised and wish her the best of luck.”

Jenna is planning to continue her work in the fashion industry using only fabrics destined for landfill. She is currently looking for companies to work with. For more information, call Jenna on 07805 177032.