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Art alumnus making fashion industry more accessible for shorter stature people

An Art and Design alumnus of Eastleigh College has launched a clothing brand for women affected by Dwarfism.

Chamiah Dewey Fashion was established by Chamiah Dewey in August 2021; the culmination of almost three years of research and development. The idea first originated from an experience she had during a youth program in 2018 working alongside a person with Achondroplasia – the most common of approximately 400 types of Dwarfism. In the process, she learnt about the struggles that shorter stature people face on a daily basis and the broad discrepancies in needs and requirements between individuals in the shorter stature community. Building on her childhood dream to become a fashion designer, she realised she had an opportunity to make a real difference in a sector of the fashion industry that had fallen behind.

Chamiah joined Eastleigh College at the age of 18, undertaking an Art and Design Foundation Diploma between 2017-18. Having just completed her A-Levels, which she felt had repressed her creativity, she saw the course’s varied itinerary as a chance to rediscover her artistic freedom. Topics included fashion design, photography, textiles and graphic design, with Chamiah’s favourite activites including crafting word art out of flowers and a live drawing session with a model.

Chamiah Dewey said: “I have fond memories of my time at Eastleigh College. When I arrived, I was feeling burnt out from my A-Levels and the Foundation Diploma was a refreshing change of pace. There was never any pressure or judgement from teachers and the year taught me a lot in terms of independence – relying on myself and trusting myself – which has proved considerably valuable and helped me to this day.”

Upon completing her Foundation Diploma, Chamiah joined the London College of Fashion where she is now in her fourth and final year of her Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Development. With her clothing brand already the UK’s first sustainable womenswear brand for shorter stature women, exciting plans are in place for when she completes her degree and goes into the business full-time.

Chamiah said: “Since launching, the feedback from our customer base has been unanimously positive. However more awareness is needed in educational institutions on the importance of designing in an accessible way and I am keen to be a part of that. I am also currently working on a collection that is unisex, which will be the first step in branching the business out into men’s and children’s clothes as well.”

Matthew Anstee, Art, Design and Media Technician at Eastleigh College, said: “Chamiah’s clear vision and business acumen is evident through this exciting venture. An Art and Design Foundation Diploma cultivates independence in our learners and prepares them for higher education and beyond within creative industries. We wish her all the best as her business continues to grow into the future.”

For any further information, please contact the College at BeBetter@eastleigh.ac.uk.