A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) fashion student has utilised the skills he has learned on his degree course to launch his own graphic design business.
While studying a degree in fashion and brand promotion, 21-year-old James Garside, from Blackpool, wanted to make his personal profile more professional and decided to use his design skills to create an online start-up.
Founded after lockdown in April 2021, ‘OntrendwithJames’ offers various graphic design services to help brands create logos and business cards, branded packaging, social media content, Instagram highlight covers, price-lists designs and much more.
Since landing his first clients in May last year, James’ business has successfully grown and he now works with clients around the world in different industries, with the furthest being based in Alma, in the USA.
Most recently, James collaborated with other online companies to design decorations for a fairy-tale themed housewarming party for celebrity Molly-Mae, a social media influencer of Love Island fame.
As well as running his company, James has also written an e-book, ‘The Vault’, which aims to help other people grow their online businesses.
The former Blackpool Sixth Form pupil wanted to become self-employed to turn his passion into a career and enjoy more time with friends, partner Lewis Lowe and his family.
James said: “I hadn’t been happy in a job in a long time and I think that is so much more important than money. I came to the decision I need to be my own boss and I love my job. I never wake up hating it because I’ve developed and grown this from the ground up.”
Students in the final year of the BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion degree create a real-world fashion promotional campaign, and for his final year degree project, James produced a new campaign to promote luxury fashion house Gucci.
His project, inspired by his love for Princess Diana, involves an interactive garden party to celebrate British heritage and engage a young generation of customers.
James commented: “UCLan has shown me so many different skills but most importantly, showed me how to balance things at the most stressful point of my life. From the moment I came to UCLan, there was such a friendly atmosphere, it was a real family feeling within the whole of Victoria Building. I love the freedom this course gave me.”
Praising three of his lecturers, he added: “Sally Neale gave me the calmness and realism that life isn’t easy and people will not like your ideas but it makes you better as you can adapt. The amazing Hollie Spade knew my potential from the start and always helped me while Eve Astle gave me with the best advice that when you think you can’t do something, you can!”
James’ work is currently on display as part of UCLan’s Degree Shows, which showcases the work of final year undergraduate students from a range of creative courses.
The free show runs until Friday, June 24 at UCLan’s Preston Campus.