THE blood, sweat and tears of labourers in the booming Victorian steam industry has inspired a designer for his Autumn collection.

"Victoriana" and "Steampunk" are themes which Gresham Blake explores in his series of styles for men for the forthcoming fashion season.

Brought alive during a photoshoot in Hove's British Engineerium museum, his model stands in a suit jacket spattered with red - depicting the hard work which went into working in the Victorian steam industry.

"The collection is based around Victoriana and Steampunk and drawing on the colours of this era," Mr Blake said.

"The Engineerium was a really great setting for the shoot - I like to keep everything based in Brighton as it creates a natural interest.

"I have a lot of city boys as customers and they don't have time to go home and change after work so I wanted to create styles they can wear for work and in the evening.

"The suit is smart enough for work but I also think they can get away with a patterned shirt or colourful tie. It makes it a bit fun, individual and they can show off their character. I think they can get away with that now whereas a few years ago they may not have been able to."

Growing up in Tunbridge Wells, Mr Blake was taught needlework by his mother - a seamstress and art teacher. By the age of four he was already using his tailoring skills to create apparel and matching accessories for his Action Man collection.

As he grew older he was decided on his choice of clothes, but often struggled to find the styles and designs he craved.

"I remember I was looking for a Tweed suit and I could never find one. When I started out there were a few things I wanted to wear and looked for but never had much luck so I decided to make my own. There wasn't as much colour then so it was hard to buy off the peg. It was for purely selfish reasons really.

"My mum had taught me how to sew and be confident with a sewing machine and when I went to City College I was good at geometry which lends itself to pattern cutting."

After briefly considering a career as a sculptor - but fearing he would never make any money - he studied fashion at Brighton University and followed in the footsteps of graduate and Polish fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki.

He launched his brand in 2000 in Brighton with his wife Fal and soon expanded to a second store in London. His cloths are sourced from British mills and the fabrics are weaved in-house, making them completely unique.

Now, the 46-year-old entertains a cohort of famous clients including Ray Winstone, Steve Coogan, Jimmy Page, Plan B and Fatboy Slim.

He said: "Brighton is great because you can walk down the street wearing something outrageous and feel really comfortable.

"There is a lot of inspiration and expression here and I am often phoned up by customers asking me about something that I haven't yet thought of."