Karen Millen OBE

Successful fashion designer Karen Millen graduated from UCA with a BA in Fashion and also received an Honorary Fellowship in 2002. Karen set up her fashion label in 1981 with her then partner Kevin Stanford. With a loan of just £100, they bought 100 metres of white cotton and began manufacturing and selling white shirts to their friends. They opened their first store in Kent in 1983, and the Karen Millen brand continued to expand throughout the Nineties until it was sold in 2004.

Since selling her business, Karen has been involved in a number of other projects including work with charities. With Sheelagh Wright, our Fashion Management course leader, Karen has worked with charity HOPEHIV to open the Gateway School of Fashion in South Africa. She’s also working with Teens Unite, which aims to improve the lives of young adults between 13 and 24 who have life-limiting illnesses. In 2008 Karen was awarded an OBE for her work.