Front Lounge

From Mending Daughter’s Clothes to High Street Orders!

A young Dundee mum, who joined a local sewing project to learn how to mend her daughter’s clothes, is creating garments for a major High Street retailer.

Cerrys Duke (21), mum to four-year-old Layla, was one of the first students to complete the Kindred Clothing course.  The course, which is just days away from receiving official SQA accreditation, was due to be taught in person but moved online when COVID hit.

The course, run by Dundee charity Front Lounge, takes learners through the key stages of the garment production process from setting up and using a sewing machine through to mood boards, pattern making and construction.  Learners also gain practical fashion photography skills and techniques to present themselves, their stories and their clothes.   What makes Kindred Clothing unique is that it has childcare built into every aspect of it, allowing parents with young children to get involved.

Samantha Paton of Isolated Heroes with Cerrys Duke.

However, Front Lounge also aims to provide learners with a broad range of opportunities through local businesses, from mentoring and training to work experience and employment.

Samantha Paton, owner and founder of Dundee fashion house Isolated Heroes has been involved with the project from the outset and believes the course can help fill a skills gap across the industry.  As a result, she offered Cerrys a six week placement, working on a retail order from Urban Outfitters.

A range of Isolated Heroes garments, including embellished motif sweatshirts which Cerrys has been working on, will go on sale from Friday 28 May 2021, as part of a weekend-long pop-up event within Urban Outfitters’ store on Princes Street, Edinburgh.  Cerrys has also been working on garments on sale within the V&A Dundee shop, where Isolated Heroes is the exclusive fashion collaborator for the Night Fever: Designing Club Culture exhibition.

Samantha said, “For us, Kindred Clothing ticks a number of boxes. We have the privilege of complimenting their skills and experience and, in return, we can tap into their talent pool – these are women who are ready to learn, to improve and to listen. Cerrys is extremely able but also possesses that rare skill of listening to feedback and acting on it. We’ve loved having her in the studio and she should be exceptionally proud of herself.  Selling our creations within Urban Outfitters and V&A Dundee simultaneously is just amazing and for Cerrys to be involved in that is wonderful – she could have a really bright future ahead of her!”

Cerrys Duke

Cerrys added, “I started Kindred Clothing to master a few basic sewing skills and to fix things, with Layla at my side but I genuinely never thought I’d get an opportunity like this. As well as following a design brief, I’ve loved soaking up the atmosphere of a real fashion business.    The course and this placement have really boosted my confidence and shown I can do anything I set my mind to. Kindred Clothing has also led to some lifelong friendships – we’re like a family now and we’re all starting to see our potential and imagine what our futures could look like.”

Chika Inatimi, Project Leader, Front Lounge said, “The experience Cerrys is currently having is the culmination of a journey that has had many ups and downs, but a journey that is proving to be life-transforming. We are so very proud of Cerrys, and very thankful to Isolated Heroes for amplifying the Kindred Clothing learning experience. We hope to secure additional placement opportunities with other Dundee-based fashion labels to provide many more opportunities to grow in a professional work environment. Our hope for Cerrys and all current and future Kindred Clothing graduates is that the skills they gain open up new possibilities for their futures, and that they have the skills and the confidence to pursue them. Life is big, be all you can be!”

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