“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”: How one GCU student is stepping into the world of sustainable fashion

Thu, 06 May 2021 16:19:00 BST
Laura and her mum (left) and the famous 'Le Dollar Bean' design
Laura and her mum (left) and the famous 'Le Dollar Bean' design

A GCU student has teamed up with her mum to launch her very own sustainable fashion brand - after taking inspiration from two of her University modules. 

Fourth year Business Management student Laura Hughes decided to start her own business, “Uncultured Aesthetics” after her lockdown t-shirt designs proved popular. 

Laura explained how the partnership with her mum came to fruition and how GCU helped light the entrepreneurial spark inside of her 

She said: “Ioriginally started with a couple of Vine drawings during lockdown, when I was bored. I was doing them on paper at first and then I wanted to try them on the laptop. I then started some more digital art and posting them on my Instagram page and people were really complimentary! 

I went to my mum’s and she was telling me that she got a Cricut Machine for Christmas. I told her about my designs and from there we just came up with the idea to make our own t-shirts – it was as simple as that. 

Laura added: “I really found myself becoming more aware of sustainability though the SCoRE (Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility) module. We looked at our carbon footprint, which really got me thinking about how we could also influence other people.  

I felt I could openly produce goods that were sustainable and also make people realise that it’s not a difficult choice to live more sustainably in terms of what we buy. 

The MIC (Managing Innovation and Creativity) module was also in the back of my mind when I was chatting about the whole concept with my mum. The whole time I was just thinking that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so why not try it!” 

After having originally started it as a hobby, the venture has now become Laura’s own business – which she plans to combine with her new job working in a Glasgow city centre bar. 

She’s also hoping that the recent success from one of her designs can help generate funds for charity. 

She explained: “have one specific design which is basically a can of beans with the phrase Le Dollar Bean written on it. 
On Tik-Tok you can block certain things from appearing on the #ForYou page. This is leading to a lot of gay voices being silenced. To get around this issue, people came up with idea of tagging their videos as 'Le$Bean' rather than using the word 'Lesbian'. 

So from there I saw people saying that they only wanted to be known as 'Le Dollar Bean' from now onThat was where the inspiration came from and it’s proven really popular - I’ve actually been sending quite a few of the t-shirts to people in the USA. 

I’ve also decided to donate 10% of proceeds from the shirts to LGBT Youth Scotland, so were really keen to get it out there. 

Laura added: “On top of all this, I got in touch with someone on Tik-Tok who has 204,000 followers to help try and get my designs out there. I sent her a message and she agreed to do a couple of videos wearing my t-shirts promoting the business – which is amazing! 

It’s really nice knowing that there are people in America with my products. If that’s all that comes out of it, then that’s still pretty cool. 

Despite being novices to the world of online selling, Laura’s knowledge through her degree at GCU and mum Susan’s business experience look to be providing the perfect recipe for success.  

Laura spoke about the decision to team up and what makes the two of them work well together. 

She said; “At the start, we had to have a chat about how we were going to communicate with each other to make it productive.  

We’re not in the same house but we were staying together for a bit and we actually phone each other pretty much every day now. It’s been going good so far but it’s certainly an interesting dynamic!  

My mum was also formerly at CEO level in a business, so she definitely knows what she’s doing. 

Laura added: “The big thing about all of this for me is that I wouldn’t remotely consider myself an artist or anything like that. We really like the idea that neither of us properly know what we’re doing in respect of creating or designing – it’s our first real go at something like this. 

That’s also part of the reason that we called it “Uncultured Aesthetics” because it buys into the idea that we’re not pretentious designers or creators, it’s just something we’re keen to try out. 

You can see the sustainable designs on Laura and Susan’s Etsy and Instagram pages. 

By Ross Clark  
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