Case Study: COOLI

What challenges did Corrine have in terms of breaking into the fashion industry before
getting involved in Fashion Fiesta CIC?

Before showing her designs at Fashion Fiesta CIC Corrine was having trouble getting herself
known on social media. She had a lot of creative energy and ideas but was struggling to get
any recognition.

It was while working as a weaver at a mill that she had the inspiration to take the waste
products and turn them into something else. She was met with huge amounts of negativity
but did not allow herself to be put off.

How did Corrine get into Fashion?

Corrine started taking the fabric home and working on her own designs. However, when she
approached the managers at the mill with her ideas on how to recycle the materials they did
not want to know. They thought it to be a complete waste of time.

Corrine was always creative and taught herself to sew. She loved finding the pieces of fabric
and seeing what she could make out of them. Whilst working for mills she was shocked at
the amount of materials which were being thrown away and discarded. Most of it would
line the factory floor. Seeing an opportunity, Corrine started packing the material into
plastic bags and brining it home with her to see what she could create.

She decided to target the teen market, as she felt teenagers and young adults tend to be the
most experimental and interested in trying new things. She also recognised that the
younger adults tend to be the trend setters.

With the renaissance of social media, Corrine had a place to showcase her work. However,
building a following and getting her known was proving difficult. Many of the viewers loved
her designs but did not have sufficient funds to purchase them.

She tried approaching the retailers only to discover they only deal with mass production
coming through the mills. None of her designs could be reproduced as each of them are a
unique combination of the fabrics Corrine had to hand.

How did Fashion Fiesta help Corrine?

Fashion Fiesta gave Corrine the opportunity to show what she could do. She had a platform
to bring her designs and present her creative vision to magazines and sponsors with the
ability to help take her fashion career further.

A friend suggested that she should take part in Fashion Fiesta, she laughs today at how little
she knew of fashion events and what they entailed. Corrine turned up to the Fashion Show
in 2017 with her designs in black bags and lacking any confidence in her aspirations and
unsure if it would amount to anything or how the models would respond. As it happened
the models loved the uniqueness of her designs and enjoyed showing them off. They felt
they were wearing something that was truly “designer”.

Corrine was the winner that year and was over the moon to have won. Since then her
business has continued to go from strength to strength and her online presence has soared.

Would she recommend Fashion Fiesta for future designers?

Absolutely, yes! Fashion Fiesta CIC is all about supporting creatives and giving people the
opportunity to have their designs seen and exhibited in a fashion show.
In Corrine’s words, if she hadn’t taken the chance and entered her designs, she never would
have won and she would not have been as successful.
Even if she had not been a winner, the connections she made that night would have stood
her in good stead. After all, it is not about the chances you expect it’s the ones which come
and surprise you when you least expect it!

Corrine is the perfect example of someone who started by manufacturing the fabrics and
now has created her own designer brand “COOLI”, truly sustainable fashion.

Written by Joanna Hardy, PR Volunteer