Cultures from across the globe inspire east London fashion brand Why So Serious.

But founder Terri Finnegan is looking closer to home for her latest project – winning the support of entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

The Virgin Media Business arm of his empire has launched #Voom Pitch to Rich 2015 and the 24-year-old is hoping to be one of 10 winners to secure a share of £1million in advertising campaigns, mentoring and investment.

Why So Serious is a nominee in the Grow category and will now rely on a public vote to progress to next month’s shortlist.

Terri said: “What this is offering isn’t the typical ‘here’s £1million in cash’, it’s a marketing campaign, and I know it sounds strange – because if you’re a business you want money – but this is what Virgin is best at. That will be more valuable to me than anything else.”

University of East London graduate Terri qualified with a degree in fashion design with marketing in 2012.

Former UEL graduate Terri Finnegan's collections

She juggled a variety of jobs with five internships in clothing brands and fashion PR houses before setting up on her own.

She secured support from UEL’s Centre of Excellence for Women (CEWE) to create the label in 2013.

A focus on culture and tradition underpins the designs.

“I get frustrated when I go shopping and there’s nothing interesting about the clothes,” said Terri.

“You don’t know where it has been made or how and there’s no responsibility for people to give back to these cultures. People take inspiration then walk away, they leave and just don’t look back.

“Why So Serious is a luxury clothes collection influenced by cultures and politics from around the world. I’m not a big fan of prints so the influence is more in the way they make things – the craft.

“My first project was based on Haitian clothing, so I made grass skirts and a small percentage of the profits went to the country.”

Go to or to vote.