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The University of Southampton

Fashion student recognised as a rising star in upReach Student Social Mobility Awards

Published: 21 December 2018
Ashwinnie Thushyanthan
Ashwinnie's upReach Student Social Mobility Award recognises resilience, determination & initiative.

Winchester School of Art (WSA) student Ashwinnie Thushyanthan has been recognised as a rising star in this year’s upReach Student Social Mobility Awards.

Ashwinnie won a Career Sector Award for Retail & Consumer Goods for her resilience, determination and initiative related to her academic, personal and career journey and how it got her where she is today. The goal of upReach is to improve access for undergraduates from low socio-economic backgrounds to gain access to top jobs. The organisation has partnered with the University of Southampton since 2014.

Currently in the final year of her BA in Fashion Marketing and Management at WSA, part of the University of Southampton, Ashwinnie joined upReach’s employability programme in March 2018. As an upReach RISE associate, she enjoys access to intensive support aimed at helping students explore their career options and develop their employability skills throughout their time at university.

Throughout her university career, Ashwinnie has completed a number of internships, part-time, working with luxury brands Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld and Roberto Cavalli as well as holding a Marketing Manager position at Kapdaa - The Offcut Company, a small sustainable start-up company.

In her spare time, Ashwinnie has also devoted significant time to volunteering as an ambassador for the WSA-hosted branch of the National Saturday Club , hosting fashion-related workshops for young teenagers. Saturday Club offers local 13–16 year olds an insight into a range of art and design topics, giving them a chance to create their own work using the facilities at WSA. The club is a completely free activity for participants and is part funded by the Widening Participation team. Workshops are delivered by WSA students and staff, as well as visiting external artists. The year culminates in an exhibition in London, where Saturday Clubs member from across the country meet to share their work and experiences.

“One of my highlights has been coordinating a new fashion brand for ASOS whilst working at IndigoCult - a fashion agency - over a 3-month period, which involved sourcing, design, branding and production,” says the 20-year-old who is originally from Surrey. “Through these varied fashion experiences I have been able to overcome barriers, whilst also developing my confidence and self-awareness within a fast-paced work environment.

“Additionally, towards the cause of social mobility, I feel very strongly that those from lower socio-economic backgrounds should have equal opportunities within their career goals, so that they can reach their best potential,” Ashwinnie continued. “As a Saturday Club Ambassador at the Winchester School of Art, I had a fantastic opportunity to make a difference within my local community working with those who would have otherwise not considered going to university and playing a pivotal role in encouraging interest within the creative industries and highlighting the endless possibilities available to them.”

The Student Social Mobility Awards recognise students who have excelled in their studies and beyond, and shown great potential to excel as they launch their careers.

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