YOUNG fashion entrepreneurs want to inspire others to follow their dreams after being short-listed for a prestigious national award.
Ashley-Rae Tapping and business partner Abi Fashesin, both 24, were chosen ahead of 4,000 nominees to be in with a chance of winning a coveted Spirit of London Award.
They launched their brand LOUD Culture a year ago and specialise in fusing traditional African design with contemporary styles.
Now they have been chosen as role models for teenagers by the Damilola Taylor Trust, which runs the awards, and will meet Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street later this month.
Miss Tapping, of Higham Station Avenue in Chingford, said: "I'm so happy.
"It was a shock when I got the email saying we’d made the short-list because I knew nothing about it – my sister had nominated us.
"But talking to young people and inspiring them to follow their dreams will be terrific."
Despite being produced by hand, their clothes have been worn by celebrities including pop star Diana Vickers on the cover of More magazine.
"We’ve come so far in a short time," said Miss Fashesin, a fashion textiles student from Islington studying at Middlesex University.
"We’ve used social media like Twitter and Facebook to contact celebrities and magazines and that’s how it’s really taken off."
Their online store, loud-culture.com, now sells around 10 to 20 items per week and Miss Tapping said they are already passing on their business knowledge to young people trying to break into the industry.
"They email us all the time asking for advice and we invite them to come with us when we work so they can see how it’s done," she added.
"You don’t need a lot of money, just determination and working with someone you get on well with."
They will find out whether they have won the award at the awards ceremony at the O2 Arena on December 10.
And they hope to use the upcoming meeting with the prime minister to further develop their careers.
"I’ll see if his wife will wear any of our clothes," Miss Tapping said.