Two Walsall students with designs on a career in fashion met an award-winning designer this week, thanks to a team-up between whg and social platform Slenky.

Birmingham-born designer Stephen Arthur shot to fame aged only 22 after winning a national design competition which saw him featured on This Morning – and have his winning dress stocked in John Lewis stores. He went on to launch his own label and has designed garments for the likes of Azealia Banks, J Cole, Ella Eyre, Kanye West, Sean Paul and many other international acts.

Walsall College students Sahara Harvey,18, and Happi Bryce-Randall,17, won a Slenky slot which saw them attend Stephen’s exclusive event at Marco Pierre White’s ‘The Cube’ restaurant in Birmingham.

The teenagers got the chance to meet Stephen and discuss his tips on making it in the world of fashion, as well as enjoying seeing his exclusive concept collection and meeting top fashion investors.

Sahara, who is studying towards a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Fashion, said: “Since a very young age I have been interested in fashion and am hoping to complete my degree in women’s wear design.

“Attending this event was not only interesting but inspirational too; meeting Stephen and seeing his success has made me all the more determined to have a career in the industry.”

The opportunity for the pair follows a partnership between leading housing provider whg and Slenky to launch the careers of young people in the Midlands and raise aspiration in the region.

Through Slenky young people get ‘shots’, ranging from work experience placements, internships and apprenticeships to opportunities to get in amongst the guts of key sectors and businesses – finding out how their talents and passions might fit in the future.

A central hub to connect talented young people directly with, amongst others, the fashion, technology, arts, creative and music industries will launch later this year.

Carole Wildman, whg’s Corporate Director – Growth, said: “We are delighted to have been able to offer local students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By investing in Slenky and launching the first geographic hub we will be able to bring such inspiring chances to even more young people across the Midlands.

“Thank you to Stephen for offering his time.”

Following their exclusive meeting, Sahara and Happi are now hoping to visit Stephen’s studio in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and gain even more insight into a career in the fashion industry.