It’s been another exciting 12 months at the University of Sunderland. From the opening of the new School of Medicine, to the announcement of the first ever University Enterprise Zone. Here we take a look back at just some of the student success stories – and forward to a happy and successful 2020.

University of Sunderland student, Matthew Maltas, is making a big impact in the fashion world.

The North East designer is currently in his final year studying Fashion, Design and Promotion at the University.

The 21-year-old has recently caught the eye of Sunderland-based fashion company, Port Independent, who have gone on to add his range of uber-cool T-shirts to their clothing line.

Having attended St Aidan’s Catholic Academy in the city, Matthew hopes to one day to work for an international clothing company like Levi’s.

Matthew explained: “It’s great to be involved with Port Independent, they are a local company so to be joining them as they grow is very exciting.

“A University placement has now evolved into a collaboration between designer and the company. The artwork itself is based on photography taken all across Sunderland, making this a home grown collaboration.”

Rifah Tasnim has transformed into a beauty superstar after helping turn an ethical skincare company into a global success story, adored by A-list celebrities such as Perrie Edwards and Beyoncé.

This all came about during a successful sandwich year on the University’s Cosmetic Science programme. Rifah was given a unique opportunity when she volunteered for a placement with Donna McCann-Turner and her daughter Kim Cattin, to help expand their innovative Soapbrows product.

Donna and Kim founded West Barn Co in 2016, after Kim had worked as a make-up artist on an exclusive photoshoot.

Her passion was ignited, and Kim wanted to try something a little different to the groomed brow look that was trending on Instagram.

Soapbrows was born and the product instantly won fans from all over the globe, including some of showbiz’s most famous ladies. Fast forward 12 months and Rifah has seen West Barn Co flourish from a dedicated small team into a vibrant multi-dimensional task force and a brand new business headquarters in Durham.

After moving into a much bigger premise in Durham, Rifah and the team began selling their products to more than 100 countries worldwide.

This fantastic opportunity has now allowed Rifah to gain a full-time role with West Barn Co once she graduates next summer.

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