News and events

Designer draws funding

09 November 2012

Rachel Atkinson

Graduate is first in the country to receive specialist loan for bespoke fashion business

An astute University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate has become the first young person in the country to benefit from a new government-backed scheme to help her bespoke fashion business.

Elena Mingas, who graduated with a first class honours degree in Digital Fashion Design in 2011, has been given financial backing after launching her company in September.

The 25-year-old has founded Tangle Dress Design in Bury after realising women wanted more than what the traditional high street has to offer.

Elena, who also completed an Art and Fashion Foundation Diploma at UCLan, said: “I saw a gap in the market. Women are fed up of wearing clothes that don’t fit properly or turning up at an event in the same outfit as another.

“I want to be a fashion-forward designer who focuses on trends and styles”

“I want to be a fashion-forward designer who focuses on trends and styles. My business is all about original design, quality craftsmanship and making unique, tailor made luxury affordable when it comes to outfits for weddings, birthdays, proms and other special occasions.

“I give a free consultation to discuss style, desires, current trends, occasion and, most importantly, body shape. After taking everything into consideration I design them a fashion-forward aesthetic, and not simply an evening dress that has been done numerous times before.”

Tangle, Elena's shop in Bury

During her studies, Elena was nominated for the Karen Millen Portfolio Award at Graduate Fashion Week and won UCLan’s Creative Focus Award (Best in Show).

After graduating she landed to a job in Dubai where she headed styling, visual merchandising and buying as well as designing and selling her own garments at one of the glamorous city’s exclusive boutiques. It was here she gained the hunger for creating her own business.

The designer, who hails from Blackpool, said: “I spent six months doing market research, analysing my competitors, shaping my business plan and working on my finances. I then saw the advert for the government loan and thought I should give it a go.”

“I was told it was my drive and desire that impressed the loan manager which made me happy”

She beat off stiff competition from more than 2,000 applicants to be picked as the first young entrepreneur in the country and was awarded a UK Start-Up loan of £2,500.

“I started the shop with my own personal savings. I worked two jobs while I was at UCLan and I saved a lot when I was in Dubai. This loan meant I didn’t need to panic about rent deposit or cash flow. It put me in the position to begin trading comfortably and gave me a bit of breathing space.

“I was told it was my drive and desire that impressed the loan manager which made me happy. To be the first person in the country to receive this award is just amazing.”

She added: “Within the next 10 years I want five shops around the country and the name of Tangle to be known as the go-to place for bespoke evening wear.”