Axminster woman’s riches to rags story

Lisa Fifer hopes her fight-back will be an inspiration to others

AN Axminster woman has been accepted to study at one of the world’s top design schools.

Lisa Fifer is hoping her course at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles will put her back on the road from ‘rags to riches’.

But first she needs to raise �20,000 to take up her place at the prestigious institute.

The 33-year-old former Colyton Grammar School student is planning to rebuild her fashion career after her award-winning Axminster boutique became a victim of the recession.

Marmalade, which was launched in 2005, was forced to close in June last year – but not before its innovative window designs won Lisa a national prize for visual merchandising.

“It was going swimmingly until the recession,” she told The Herald. “Then when the recession hit we suffered badly from the belt-tightening and not being a long established business.”

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Lisa lost the ladies’ clothing shop and her life savings and since then has been a struggling freelance stylist.

She continued: “With the economy nose diving, work is drying up which is why I decided to go back to school and gain a degree in fashion design and start all over again.

“I applied to FIDM because it is one of the best in the world and was amazed when I was accepted after a rigorous application process.

“The problem I now face is funding. I am not eligible for a scholarship being an international student. I cannot get student loans from the UK to study abroad and my student visa prohibits work. Basically I am left with selling everything I own and trying to drum up sponsorship to meet the costs.

“I would like to think that my story would be inspiring to all those who suffered during the recession and to young people who are wondering which path to take in the face of rising unemployment.

“You can lose everything and come back fighting.”

Now Lisa is hoping some local firm may wish to sponsor her and would like to hear from anyone who thinks they can help her raise the cash for her course.

Contact her by e mail at or through her funding website