Meet Niamh Macleod, a 2022 Flare Ignite finalist whose sustainable streetwear brand aims to reduce textile waste and contribute to greener fashion.
|Current job role||Social media assistant at eco-friendly brand Wearth|
|Year of graduation||2021|
|Course of study||BA (Hons) Fashion and Fashion Business|
Niamh’s Flare Ignite journey
Niamh was a finalist in Flare Ignite, the University’s highly competitive annual enterprise competition giving budding Herts students and alumni the opportunity to access entrepreneurial support and training to bring their business ideas to life.
Niamh’s business, Shoddy Threads, deconstructs second-hand clothes to make new ones. Niamh says, ‘since the age of 14 I have been learning about fashion and I have always cared about the environment, so naturally when I decided that I wanted to start my own fashion brand I knew it would have to be sustainable. However, I only came up with the idea to use second hand clothes when I was studying fashion at university after doing a lot of research on the impact of fast fashion and over-consumerism. This idea emerged from me thinking about the enormous textile waste problem which the world is facing today.’
‘My business idea is to create ranges of womenswear and unisex clothing for the streetwear department. I’ve partnered with Savannah Rags a textile recycling company to upcycle second-hand materials and better understand the waste crisis. I'm really focused on my brand launch for later this year. I think the world needs more honest sustainable businesses, so I'm looking forward to being a part of that.’
‘For me, the best part of Flare Ignite was being able to present my idea to judges and other finalists. This pushed me forward and brought my vision to life. This was a very motivating and constructive experience. I also really enjoyed discovering the ideas of all the other finalists and to learn from them too.’
An enterprising student experience
‘My studies at Herts have helped me in my entrepreneurial journey. In my final year I had to create a business plan, so this is where I started to structure my business ideas. I loved my course work, I felt challenged, and I am proud of what I achieved.’
‘My favourite memories of my time as a Herts student were sitting in the studio with my good friend Justina. We had loads of coursework to do and we had drunk too many energy drinks, but it was so satisfying to see our designs come to life.’
‘I am so pleased I studied at Herts. I remember visiting a couple of universities, but I felt the most inspired by the University of Hertfordshire. It’s a big university with so many other things going on, it feels like a very vibrant place to be, which helps if you're a creative person.’
Advice for other enterprising students and graduates
‘My advice to other students would be to do as much as you can, go to the events, meet people, discuss your ideas, reach out to people in the business, be excited about your ideas and get involved with the University’s Enterprise Team. I wish I got involved with the Team sooner as they have really helped me with my business research and supported in my business challenges. I also think it's important not to wait until everything is perfect, start discussing your idea before it's even ready as it will help you develop and apply more focus.’