Cath Kidston is now known for her floral patterns and her home furnishings sell through a variety of channels, marking her out as an inspirational British business leader and designer, but she started from one store with a range of embroidered tea-towels and brightly coloured furniture in a small shop in London.

Paul Smith, similarly opened up his own shop in Nottingham in 1970 after training as a tailor. Now that eponymous shop is a global brand with a cult following in certain parts of the world. 

Whereas budding fashion entrepreneurs like Kidston and Smith would have once opened a small shop to start their business, 8 groups of Fashion Business School students at the London College of Fashion are using crowdfunding to test their ideas in the marketplace and launch their fashion brands.

The ideas include a sock with a secure pocket for festival goers, individualised chokers, caps with a shoreditch twist and a range of engraved make up brushes. “It’s given us a great first chance to get our name out there, reach out to a potential customer base, and get invaluable feedback for our business” said Tamara Massey, a student whose group has designed a small range of handmade leather accessories.

This is a world-first use of crowdfunding within the curriculum, giving students a real world challenge. These ideas and more can be found at

As part of the Fashion Business module at the University of Arts, these Fashion Business School students were tasked with coming up with their own business ideas. After looking for problems, assessing trends and doing market research, they settled on their ideas and pitched to a panel of lecturers and business professionals for £100 and to launch on the University’s crowdfunding platform to conduct a market test for their businesses.

“This is a really innovative use of crowdfunding in the curriculum, giving students exposure to a risk of failure and a real learning opportunity’ said Henry Jinman, founder of Crowdfund Campus, the provider of the platform to the University. ‘Crowdfund Campus works with Universities like the UAL to use crowdfunding and crowdfunding simulations for enterprise education. This is a great example of this in action”.

Universities face mounting criticism for molly-coddling students and not preparing them for the real world. “Creative universities such as ourselves are always trying to innovate through enhancing the academic curriculum with new ideas and technologies. Ultimately, we want our students to have the best learning experience possible whilst at the same time ensuring we equip them with the understanding and skills necessary for future employment” said Dan Henderson, Programme Director at LCF.

All that remains now, is to look to after May 18th and see if we have the next Kidston or Smith amongst us.

For more information. Please contact:

Henry Jinman

Founder & CEO, Crowdfund Campus


T: 07545 898120



Dan Henderson

Programme Director, London College of Fashion


T: 020 7514 8582

Liz Bunting

Lecturer of Marketing, London College of Fashion