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MK College students curate bespoke fashion collection for Willen Hospice shop


Willen Hospice and Fashion and Textile students from MK College have joined forces to launch an exciting new clothing range for retail in the charity’s Central Milton Keynes store.

The partnership and supporting #wearitwillen campaign will highlight the vast range of high quality, pre-loved clothing available from Willen Hospice charity shops and its online stores. People are encouraged to shop sustainably by choosing pre-loved clothing as an alternative to fast-fashion, helping to reduce wastage and landfill as well as recycle unwanted items by donating to Willen Hospice shops.

Rachael Withe, Marketing Manager of Willen Hospice said “We are thrilled to be working with the students at MK College to support their studies as well leveraging their expertise to attract younger and more fashion-conscious shoppers into our stores. Students have visited our donation-sorting warehouse to make a selection of clothing that will be sold under their own label, Cygnet, which they have developed to specifically appeal to the 16-25 year old shopper. It’s been exciting for us to see their selection process and has certainly helped us gain a fresh perspective on current trends.”

As part of the ongoing retail collaboration project, MK College photography students have documented the process and participated in creating imagery for point of sale and advertising material.

Gemma Hudson-Findley, Course Team Leader: Art and Design at the MK College said: “This is an invaluable partnership. It gives our students an opportunity to work with a real-life client and gain experience in accepting briefs and delivering assignments in retail. They have been excited to go out into a business environment to apply their knowledge in a really practical way. They particularly enjoyed the upcycling project where they were given a selection of clothing to reimagine into a different outfit.”

The students’ new Cygnet range is available in-store at the Willen Hospice Midsummer Place shop in Central Milton Keynes. All proceeds go directly towards helping the charity care for local people living with and affected by life limiting illness.

Rachael continues “We’re inviting our shoppers to come in and explore the Cygnet range as well as the wide variety of clothing and accessories we have in our shops – from high street brands to designer labels and quirky vintage pieces. We’re asking people to share their outfits on their social media using the hashtag #wearitwillen to inspire others with their sustainable fashion.”

The partnership with MK College will continue with the new second year Fashion and Textile students who are already busy working on exciting developments for their Cygnet brand.

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