A DMU alumna is now a full-time mum and running her own business

A Contour Fashion graduate said that her time studying at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) set her up for a successful career in the fashion industry.

Aimee Collins started her own business, Mint Cake Club, while she was pregnant with her daughter Fenn.

Aimee and Fenn mainimage

She has been successfully running the business for the last year and a half while juggling looking after her two-year-old daughter.

Mint Cake Club makes and sells unconventional clothing for kids which are an ethical fashion brand, cloth nappy friendly, have gender neutral prints and designed and hand made in the United Kingdom.

Aimee said: “I always loved sewing, I made my own clothes and was into fashion from a young age. So I studied Contour Fashion at DMU as it incorporated costume design and DMU was the only university that offered that course.”

When she first stepped onto campus in October 2004, Aimee instantly liked the university.

“DMU was friendly, I really enjoyed my time there and made some very good friends,” she said.

“I was involved in many clubs. My time at DMU will always stay with me as I met people from different backgrounds, who I wouldn’t normally meet.”

DMU’s Contour Fashion course has a global reputation for producing outstanding graduates and last year it celebrated its 70th anniversary, making it the oldest course of its kind in the world. Aimee believes that the strong industry links were one of the best aspects of the course.

She explained: “Companies from industry used to come into university to set up competitions. This was really useful as we also received feedback from the companies. This was good as you can feel out of the loop at uni if you are not involved with industry.”

When asked if studying at DMU helped her career, Aimee said: “As I was moving back to London, I asked for advice from Janice Mee, who was then Course Leader in Contour Fashion. This helped me greatly as she gave me valuable advice and I managed to secure a job before graduating.

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“I began working at Aura Lingerie who provided the High Street with lingerie. As a Junior Lingerie Technician I was involved in technical grading and fitting. While there for six years, I travelled to China and visited the factories and made wedding dresses including my own.

“I then worked as a Pattern Cutter for a season at Phillipa Lepley and made contour wedding dresses for celebrities and aristocrats.

“I then went back to lingerie and began working at Myla London who wanted someone to run their new Atelier (fashion workshop), producing bespoke silk and lace nightwear and couture gowns for celebrities. I worked there for two and a half years before sadly being made redundant."

When Aimee was made redundant she was pregnant and made the life-changing decision to start up Mint Cake Club.

Aimee said: “My daughter had cloth nappies and I realised she needed garments that would fit over them. So I started making garments for her. I have been running the business for a year and a half now and it is going well. I love making things, it keeps my brain engaged.

Aimee main

“It is a hard slog and tricky looking after Fenn full time and running the business. I have to juggle both but you have to have the drive and determination to do it. If you want something badly you will do it.

“For me Fenn comes first. My mum helps look after Fenn and when she’s asleep I get the work done. The business works around Fenn, but it all works out in the end.”

Posted on Tuesday 20th November 2018

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