A budding fashion designer who faced unemployment after graduating with a BA in Printed Textiles has fought back with the launch of her own luxury clothing line.
Mary Zreik, 28, of Wimbledon Park, left school without any GCSEs; something she attributes to undiagnosed dyslexia, despite a love of learning.
She juggled caring for her mum with several design courses at South Thames College, Wandsworth and Kingston College, before starting a foundation course at London College of Fashion.
But after completing her BA at the University of East London, Miss Zreik struggled to find work in the creative industries.
She said: "When I left uni I didn't get a job and I felt a bit lost. Then I was accepted by 'Ladies who Learn', an initiative for young women who don't have jobs and need inspiration. They opened doors for me and put me in touch with 'The Rix Mix', a charity and social enterprise that hosts arts events."
With their support, Miss Zreik sent eight models strutting down the catwalk in her 'contemporary-urban' printed textile designs on Friday night.
She said: "This is a really personal show. I want to make outfits that people can wear and talk about and think about the patterns they can see.
"I love it when people can talk about their clothing and be passionate about what they're wearing."
Miss Zreik starts her design process by taking photographs, from which she makes drawings to use for screen-printing on Pure Silk fabric.
In five year's time, she hopes to be running her own boutique, with plenty of investment so she can give up her part-time job as a customer assistant and devote more time to designing.
Mary is part of The Prince's Trust Creative Careers programme and has been sponsored by Cockpit Arts. To see more of Mary’s work, visit: http://mzdesigns.carbonmade.com.