Enterprising Teesside graduate Cotilda Makhumula, owner of bespoke African fashion startup Cotilda.com, will showcase her entrepreneurial talents at African London Fashion Week 2016 (September 9 – 12).
Studying fashion at Teesside University, Cotilda graduated with a Masters in 2015 and went on to work in Teesside Launchpad’s makerspace to hone her talents.
Establishing Cotilda.com, the young businesswoman imports fabrics from Africa and proceeds to hand-craft designer fashion collections.
Originally from Malawi, Central Africa, Cotilda spent much of her youth inspired by her mum’s love of sewing. Today, she says her passion drives her to create the very best clothing for her clients, from design through to creation.
Cotilda has two ranges, the first being an online women’s bespoke store with a studio based in Middlesbrough. The second range of Cotilda is the blossoming designer’s upcoming ready-to-wear store, where she creates women’s fashion ranges.
Supported by Teesside Launchpad, Teesside University’s graduate enterprise programme, Cotilda benefits from office space, a co-working lab and the ability to meet, share and collaborate with like-minded startup founders and mentors.
Cotilda commented: “Launchpad’s maker space gave me access to sewing machines, overlockers and computer controlled embroidery, in fact I helped the Head Of Graduate Enterprise Steve Dougan and his team design the stitch and sew area of the maker space.”
Although a ready to wear range will be available next year, Cotilda’s focus for this collection is on handmade, bespoke clothing.
She added: “From drawing the patterns to cutting the cloth and hand stitching, it’s all about the connection between the designer and materials”.