A COURSE teaching young parents to sew could become a feeder to the fashion and textile industry after one student landed work with one of Scotland’s leading fashion houses.

Dundee mum Chelsie Bruce was one of the first 10 students to complete the online pilot Kindred Clothing course, currently awaiting official SQA accreditation.

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. They also gain practical fashion photography skills and presentation techniques.

Each element of the course is delivered by a professional and learners build up portfolios that they can show to employers.

Kindred Clothing also has childcare built into every aspect of it, allowing parents with young children to get involved.

Now, Bruce has landed the post of production assistant with Dundee fashion house Isolated Heroes. With a mix of studio and home-based working, she helps manufacture orders. Fellow learner Hannah Watson also gained an internship with the brand.

Chika Inatimi, project leader of Front Lounge, said: “To say we are proud of Chelsie is an understatement. She’s concrete proof of what can be achieved by coming on the course and, as the project evolves and more businesses get involved, we hope to provide our learners with access to an even broader range of opportunities, from training and work experience to employment. If we can cultivate and provide a ready-made labour force to local designers, we’re also meeting their needs. It’s a win-win.”

Samantha Paton, owner and founder of Isolated Heroes, said: “We have been extremely busy since the start of lockdown. With shops closed for such a long time, more people were buying clothes online and keen to support independent businesses. As a result, our level of orders can no longer [be] managed in our premises so we decided to recruit a ‘work from home’ team while we seek larger premises. We received a staggering 60 applications, mainly from fashion and textiles graduates but we chose Chelsie due to the skills she’s gained through Kindred Clothing, her love of the brand and her sheer determination. A degree isn’t everything – we also look for hands-on industry experience and a raw passion – Chelsie ticked all the boxes because of the course. We’re looking to create a positive working model and show other businesses how they can implement this into their structure – essentially taking people off the course, training them up and taking them on.”

Bruce added: “I’m absolutely delighted to have secured work with Isolated Heroes as a direct result of Kindred Clothing. I’m sitting next to two graduates but doing the same job – a real confidence boost! I hadn’t sewn on a button before I joined the Kindred Clothing programme. Now we’re almost at the point of gaining a qualification and I’ve secured work with a local fashion designer! I’m learning so much industry experience while still having the flexibility I need as a busy mum.”