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The latest group who have achieved the Kindred Clothing Award (Garment Production) qualification

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THE FOURTH cohort of learners to complete a ground-breaking clothes-making qualification have been celebrating their achievements.

The SQA-accredited Kindred Clothing Award (Garment Production) qualification, run by Dundee charity Front Lounge, was created by a group of young Mums in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the first intake of learners worked through the qualification online, graduating in August 2021.

The recent group, who have just completed the 12-week course, bring the total number of Kindred Clothing learners to 23, with applications now open for the next cohort due to start at the end of January 2023.  The course provides opportunities for anyone under the age of 25 who has an interest in fashion and is seeking a change of direction.

The Kindred Clothing Award is delivered by a range of businesses within the Clothes Making Learning Partnership (CMLP). Kindred Clothing takes learners through the key stages of the garment production process, from setting up and using a sewing machine to mood boards, pattern making and garment construction. Learners also gain practical fashion photography skills and techniques to present themselves, their stories and their clothes.  

The most recent course was taught by local businesses Dots n Stripes, Kathryn Rattray Photographer, Isolated Heroes, Andie and Grainger Public Relations.

The latest group of successful participants are young mums Amy Revell, Courtney Keddie and Shantelle Lawson, alongside Chelsea Donovan and two pupils from Baldragon Academy, Tiana Kelbie (S4) and Samantha Graham (S3).

Amy, (24), mum to two-year-old Leo, commented: “I had just moved to Dundee when I found out about Kindred Clothing. I was struggling with anxiety and needed a distraction. Kindred Clothing gave me a break from the negative things going on in my life and really helped with my mental health. I’ve learnt so many skills – I’ve made a bag, lounge suit, bucket hat and a t-shirt dress. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not been easy. I’ve been stressed, I’ve been confused, but I’ve also had such a laugh and made so many new friends. I’ve also learnt that patience is key and there’s always a solution. I’m sad it’s come to an end, but the Kindred Clothing team took a chance on me when they let me do this and gave me a focus. One day, I’d love to open a clothes shop in Kirriemuir for all ages and sizes.”

Meanwhile, Maureen King, Support Worker at Baldragon Academy, added: “Kindred Clothing is making a fantastic and important contribution to our pupils and the school. Most of all, it’s given these young people a focus and the chance to work towards a credible and valuable qualification in a different way than they might have realised was possible. They’re also creating new friendships, building their confidence and seeing their true potential. The young people are genuinely surprised at what they can do, so Kindred Clothing is also opening their eyes to new possibilities down the line.”

Chika Inatimi, Project Leader, Front Lounge, added: “Kindred Clothing works with young people who are in danger of being left behind. It’s about giving learners opportunities they might otherwise miss out on or be excluded from to allow them to create change and more positive pathways.  Like previous learners, the latest cohort came to us with busy and challenging lives. Some were struggling with motivation, while others felt they lacked a purpose.

“And yet again, every single learner has transformed throughout the process and smashed their goals.   The course has shown them that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything and do it well.  They’ve learnt tenacity, determination and creativity. They’ve also supported each other, which is a fundamental aim of the course. The tutors and I can’t wait to hear what they do next and welcome the next group of learners next year.”

For more information, email hello@frontlounge.org, call/leave a message on (01382) 220330 or visit www.frontlounge.org

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