Coventry graduate teams up with wild cats' charity for feline clothing collection

University news / Alumni news

Thursday 05 June 2014

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A fashion graduate from Coventry University’s School of Art and Design has launched a new clothing range to help raise funds for a conservation charity dedicated to protecting big cats in the wild.

Claire Maley, 25, who graduated with first class honours in 2011 and who now has her own sports clothing brand, has teamed up with Australian charity Karma Cats to produce a five piece summer collection of tee shirts, dresses and swimsuits.

Incorporating vivid animal prints from the charity’s wildlife photographer Steph Lauren, every item in the collection has been designed and hand sewn by Claire herself from her base in Milton Keynes.

Now on sale, with prices ranging from £27 to £75, Claire’s new collection makes for perfect summer wear. What’s more, anyone buying from this collection will be aiding conservation efforts as 11% of the profits from each purchase go to Karma Cats to aid them in their quest to save wild cats from poachers and others who might destroy their natural habitat.

Claire, who as a student received a commendation from the Royal Society of Arts for her use of digital print technology, was accepted onto the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme last year.  She has been working with her mentor from the programme to establish her own fashion label – CM – specialising in digital print designs.

With support from the Prince’s Trust to market her label and having secured a strong online presence, Claire’s bespoke designs have proved hugely popular with orders coming in from across the globe. One of her customers happened to be Karma Cats photographer Steph Lauren who ordered a personalised outfit using one of her own images.

In search of ideas to raise funds for anti-poaching patrols in Sumatra and having been impressed with the high quality of Claire’s work, Steph got back in touch with her to ask if she was interested in working up some designs for Karma Cats. Claire was delighted to join forces with the charity and thus the partnership was born. 

Talking about her business and her collaboration with Karma Cats, Claire said:

I’ve come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. I knew so little about the industry before I enrolled on the fashion course at Coventry University so to have my own business now and to be working with a charity on the other side of the world is phenomenal and it says a lot about the quality of the course I was on.

I was really flattered that Steph asked me to work with Karma Cats on this initiative. It’s always nice to know that people like my designs but I’m also really happy that my work is now helping to support a really good cause.

As well as purchasing a unique product that will brighten up their wardrobe for the summer, anyone buying from my latest collection will be helping conservation efforts to protect big cats in their natural habitat.

Ann Muirhead, head of fashion at Coventry University, said:

We’re always pleased to see our graduates succeed and Claire has done fantastically well both to set up on her own and to secure backing for her business from The Prince’s Trust. Her collaboration with Karma Cats is further testimony to her talents - and to her social conscience.

CM and the Karma Cats collection
CM was launched in Sep 2012 and has since gained the support of the Princes Trust young enterprise scheme. CM’s Karma Cats collection is now on sale with prices ranging from £27 to £75. All items in the collection are made in the UK.

Karma Cats
Karma Cats is a not for profit organisation dedicated to protecting big cats and all species sharing their habitat in the wild. It raises funds to: help support conservation programs and anti-poaching patrols; help track and prosecute poachers; lobby governments to stop habitat destruction; and deliver education programs.