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Dressed for success

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Published on 08 July 2019

Kirsty Thompson
Kirsty Thompson

Kirsty Thompson, 30, graduates from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Fashion Design & Promotion alongside her fellow students, and next week she will be behind the desk of her own business, ARUNA Couture.

It has been a long journey for Kirsty after dropping out of university ten years ago, and then finally returning to take the plunge.

She says: “Ten years ago I went to De Montfort University, in Leicester, and studied for a year and a half, but then I fell ill with IBS.  I just left education behind, and I got a job in a bank.”

Though Kirsty admits it has been a hard road, going back to university has changed everything – even leading to her landing a new job while she was still studying.

“Are part of the Fashion Design & Promotion degree you have to do a placement, and I did my placement at House of Mooshki in Seaham, the bridal occasional wear shop.”

Now, Kirsty is focussed on her future, and will launch her new business ARUNA Couture from the Enterprise Place, which is managed by the University of Sunderland, and allows new businesses to use co-working office space for up to a year.

Kirsty says: “Sustainability is so important in fashion at the moment.  Fashion is the second largest polluter in the world, and we’re not really doing anything about it. 

“I want to make couture fashion accessible to people to would never really consider it.

“The University has given me the perfect opportunity to start my professional practice – and helped make my dream of becoming a designer come true.”

The Enterprise Place

The Enterprise Place is managed by the University of Sunderland, and allows new businesses to use co-working office space for up to a year. Facilities are free and include: Business advice and support, a desk equipped with PC or Apple Mac, internet access, desktop printing, photocopying and use of presentation space/ meeting room.  Support is available through a team of business advisors and companies can also access external and University academics, agencies and networks.

The project is receiving up to £1,344,431 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.