TWO fashion graduates turned entrepreneurs are growing their Japanese inspired venture after acquiring studio space and launching into the e-commerce market.

Ruth Gibbs and Natalie Herbert, who met at the University of Huddersfield, now run Meiji Designs, specialising in hand-dyed and hand-printed silk blend scarves and pocket squares.

After moving into studio space in Acomb, the designers have now expanded the venture with the extra space enabling them to attract online consumers through a new website, which includes an online shop and bespoke customer design service.

Their designs are inspired by Japanese techniques, with Miss Gibbs and Miss Herbert wanting to keep the native and traditional dyeing and printing processes alive.

Both aged 25, the duo graduated in 2013, with degrees in Fashion Design with Marketing and Costume Design with Textiles. After graduation, they decided to relocate to York,Miss Herbert's hometown, to build the brand.

The company has since appeared in Vogue, GQ and Elle magazines, with an interview most recently in fashion and lifestyle magazine House of Coco.

The designers also had the opportunity to present the University of Hudderfield's Chancellor, HRH The Duke of York, with a gift when he toured The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre housed at the University, and later named Meiji as one of his Entrepreneurs of the Week.

Miss Gibbs said: "We gave him a matching scarf and pocket square set and told him he could give the scarf to one of his daughters.

"It was a great opportunity to meet him and we felt privileged to be able to give him a gift that we had made."

The business was started up with help from the University of Huddersfield's Enterprise Team, which assists enterprising students and recent graduates, like Miss Gibbs and Miss Herbert, to develop their business ideas through one-to-one meetings with their business advisors, a series of business skills events and where appropriate, access to proof of concept funding.

While Miss Gibbs and Miss Herbert are both still working in separate full-time jobs at the moment, they hope that the growth of company will continue and in the future reach a global consumer base.

Miss Herbert said: "We would like to have a wider product range and build a Meiji Designs empire, and in turn, create lots of jobs for some beautifully creative people in the Yorkshire area."