Due to the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the world, Savage, 43, has lost a lot of revenue and jobs over the past few months.
“It’s been horrific,” she told PEOPLE. “We’ve had all our work literally dry up. My 14-year-old daughter is skipping meals to save on the food budget. The stress is getting to her and she is self-harming too. So, she’s now going to Child Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to get support.”
When Savage is not working on royal wedding gowns, she dabbles in theater, TV and has worked for Balenciaga and Victoria Beckham. However, her jobs have dwindled down due to the economic state of the world.
“In January and February, we started seeing a lot of international contracts getting put on hold,” she said. “Work just disappeared.”
Unfortunately, Savage made the “desperate attempt to stop hemorrhaging money” and closed down her Chloe Savage Embroidery studio, slashed apprentices’ jobs and took out a $30,000 loan to help her small business. However, the loan didn’t quite work out since she had to pay for electricity and materials, among other things. She has applied for the U.K. version of welfare four times but hasn’t been accepted each time.
Now, Savage is making $250 a month selling embroidery kits. “We are now in the position where we have to actually not pay our bill for the first time ever,” she said. “Well, what else do you do? You spend half the time phoning up agencies trying to grovel your way into reducing your bill or putting it on a monthly payment or spreading it over, just so you don’t get hit by the whole thing.”
Savage is hopeful that “we might make it through the New Year but we’ll then have to sit down and try and grovel with our landlord and go into rent arrears until he decides to start removal procedures.”
The embroidery guru may be working on a new HBO project in 2021, so she is trying to stay positive during this difficult time. “It might just keep us vaguely floating as long as nothing goes wrong,” she said.
Savage helped create Middleton and Markle's gowns at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court Palace. "Kate came in a few times," she said. "She was lovely. The usual blushing bride. She was excited about the dress, nervous about the day, questioning what we were doing ... all that sort of stuff."
The U.K. native didn't get to meet Markle when she came in to see her Givenchy dress since she was out of the office, but she recalled stitching the ears of corn, Commonwealth flowers and California poppies to her veil. "It gave you snow blindness after an hour-or-so because you were constantly working white on white," she revealed. "You start to go a little bit cross-eyed after a while!"