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Isabelle Pennington-Edmead being presented with her award by actress Sienna Miller (right) and Kings Foundation trustee Dame Susan Bruce

Isabelle Pennington-Edmead with Sienna Miller and Kings Foundation trustee Dame Susan Bruce

Textiles graduate receives royal award for her ethical womenswear brand

3 July 2024

Prize presented by actress Sienna Miller at ceremony hosted by King Charles

A Manchester Met textiles graduate has received royal and celebrity praise for her successful fashion label that champions sustainability and regeneration. 

Isabelle Pennington-Edmead was presented with a King’s Foundation Young Entrepreneur Award by actress Sienna Miller at a star-studded ceremony at St James’s Palace attended by Naomi Campbell, Rod Stewart and David Beckham, as well as King Charles himself. 

Praised for her ‘focus on sustainable fashion, place-based approach to design and supporting her local community’, Pennington-Edmead impressed the King’s Foundation judges with her entrepreneurial skills. 

Explaining why she deserved the award, they said: “Her brand has been thriving, is continuing to grow, and is a wonderful example of not only her skill and dedication but of the impact that programmes such as the Modern Artisan programme can have in progressing careers within the sector.” 

Graduate meeting King Charles
Isabelle Pennington-Edmead meeting King Charles at the Kings Foundation Awards ceremony

Pennington-Edmead, who graduated in 2019 from MA Textiles for Fashion at Manchester Met’s Manchester School of Art, is a graduate of The Kings Foundation’s Modern Artisan Programme, run in partnership with online retailer YOOX NET-A-PORTER. 

The programme champions sustainability and prepares trainees with the skills and confidence needed to gain employment in the fashion and textile industry, or start their own business.  

Speaking about her award, she said: “Being recognised by such a prestigious award, especially alongside so many amazing nominees and winners, is an honour. It underscores the importance of my commitment to ethical fashion and motivates me to continue pushing boundaries in the industry.  

“This recognition will undoubtedly help my brand grow and reach a wider audience, reinforcing my mission to create sustainable and ethically made womenswear.” 

The King’s Foundation’s Young Entrepreneur Award is awarded to an alumni of the Modern Artisan Programme who has developed and grown their business.  

Textiles graduate with King Charles
Pennington-Edmead with King Charles and celebrities at the awards ceremony

Pennington-Edmead founded her eponymous brand in February 2023 specialising in colourful printed womenswear made in a sustainability-minded way. 

She received support from the University’s business incubation space Innospace to kickstart her business, as well as grants from Santander Universities UK which helped her to purchase her first commercial sewing machine to get her started.

Earlier this year she was named in Drapers’ ’30 under 30’ chart which celebrates the rising stars of fashion and she will be launching an exclusive womenswear collection with ASOS this summer. 

Rachel Kelly, Specialist Postgraduate Lead at Manchester School of Art at Manchester Met, added: “We’re thrilled to see Isabelle winning such a prestigious award for her sustainable fashion brand which is continuing to grow and going from strength to strength.  

“While undertaking her MA at Manchester Met, Isabelle raised questions about her own role as a woman and how small sustainable enterprise development can make positive changes in the fashion industry.  

“It’s fantastic to see her business being recognised for its focus on sustainability, place-based approach to design, and supporting her local community which is testament to the hard work and dedication she has put into her business. We’re excited the see what’s in store for Isabelle in the future.” 

Textile graduate's designs
Pennington-Edmead's designs worn by models

The King’s Foundation celebrates achievements in education, wellbeing, and regeneration projects across the UK, inspired by the monarch’s commitment to nature. The awards ceremony was attended by 250 guests including nominees, their families and guests, celebrity ambassadors and notable supporters and friends of the Foundation. Ambassadors who attended the event included David Beckham, Alan Titchmarsh, Sarah Beeny and Naomi Campbell. 

Manchester Met is celebrating its 200th year anniversary in 2024, and this month is looking at how creative excellence has been championed across two centuries – and continues to shape the industry today.