Mia with her 'Make Your Mark' trophy

Mia with her 'Make Your Mark' trophy

With Eco-fashion really starting to take off, it's important to have a look at the fashion industry as a whole, and see the new emerging talent that is starting to grow from it.

We've looked at three young talents who emerged from the Make Your Mark in Fashion competition, which took place during London Fashion Week.

Berrie designing for Enamore, R.A.J.E designing for THTC and Mia designing for Junky Styling, beat off competition from over 300 entries to make the final.

This week we talk to Mia, about how it felt to win the competition, her plans for the future and what she thinks of eco-fashion being the buzz word of the moment. All the pictures shown are of her winning collection.

How does it feel to be the winner of Make Your Mark in Fashion?

Amazing! I'm still smiling.

How long have you been designing?

I graduated about five years ago, so I've been working in this industry for five years now.

Do you have a background in eco fashion, or is this the first time you have branched out into that area?

I was recycling all my time on my college course, I mean my 4th year was all about recycling and my end project featured a lot of that.

What sort of pieces did you create from recycled clothes?

Well, it was very similar to Junky Styling. I recycled men's suits a lot but that was before I even knew about Junky Styling and my tutor was like you need to look up this brand. So that was where it started really.

What is your favourite piece of recycled clothing?

I did a little thing made out of suit lining that was all ruched up and used the waistband of men's trousers too, that was great.

What are the retail prices for your collection?

There is a dress made out of shirt sleeves and it is one of the more marketable features for £55, but their prices vary. I want to appeal to both markets, not just the ethically aware market. You know I want people to buy my collection for being esthetically pleasing on the eye, as well as the eco-message behind it. It's the challenge getting the combination of both, so it appeals to the wider audience. It is important to be aware of the effect of all this mass market production, however and people are ignorant to it, but I think it's getting to that time now where people realise they can make a difference with what is already there. Recycling is so huge and it's important for people like myself to show what the benefits and possibilities are to others, because so many aren't aware of it or have the ability to see what recycled clothing can be like. We can inspire people.

What comments did the judges make about your collection?

Really good ones! One of the judges apparently said that I was the winner from the beginning and there was no doubt I was going to win.

Did you think you were going to win?

I didn't think i was going to win on everything because the judging criteria was really harsh. It wasn't just about the catwalk show, it was everything. They were looking at so many different aspects, so I was less confident. I really didn't know I would win.

Eco-Fashion is the buzz word of the moment, what does eco mean to you?

The difference is the quality and the way the fabric has been produced in the beginning. The label behind it and whether people are being exploited to create the garments. The again the quality of the buy is different these days, things are produced cheaply and not of good quality. People will wear it once, and then because the quality is so bad it will break up in the wash. If you produce things the right way, with the right fabrics then they will last so much longer.

What materials do you use?

I use all old army surplus clothing, when I go out to Malawi on the 29th, I'll be sourcing all of the fabrics from there and I think the Malawian's get their donations form America, so the clothes I'll be sourcing from the street markets will have a very western vibe. But I'll be fusing in the actual traditional African textiles.

What's next for you and your label?

I'm setting up production in Malawi. I'll be heading out there for 6 weeks to find premises and start hiring. It's going to become a training project where we bring younger girls into the mix as well, to keep them off the streets and give them some purpose and focus.

Are you a fan of throw-away fashion at all? I mean, you must go to Primark?

No, I don't i don't go there. It's that feeling where, I prefer not to wear what other people are wearing, I've always been a thrift shopper, so I've never seen the appeal of somewhere like that. I have been in the past to buy pants, but the prices there are pushing the clothes into a devastating market. When people get used to spending that little on clothes, then they don't want to spend anymore than that in future.