A good cause is all the rage for fashion icon Karen Millen
KAREN Millen doesn't miss the fashion industry.
Since selling her hugely successful eponymous fashion brand in 2004 for over €60m, the tiny blonde powerhouse has been busier than ever.
As well as setting up a small interior decoration company, Room by KM, she now devotes her time to the running of her charity, Teens Unite, which helps improve the lives of young people battling serious illness.
So when a close friend, who lives in Greystones, Co Wicklow, asked Millen to help out with a similar charity in nearby Bray, she didn't pause for thought.
And so last night, Millen was in Ireland on a flying visit for a fundraising fashion show in aid of Bray Cancer Support Centre, where she was the guest of honour.
The centre gives emotional and practical help to over 5,500 people battling cancer and their families, with particular emphasis on helping children who may be frightened by the effects of the illness.
It was set up by Veronica O'Leary, herself a cancer miracle case who was given just three months to live almost 30 years ago. Ms O'Leary is now CEO of the charity.
Millen told the Irish Independent that she was "very much impressed" by the work of the Bray centre and said she hopes they can swap a few tips with her own charity.
"I think the two charities could learn from each other," she said, adding that Teens Unite had recently helped a 19-year- old, who along with his brother was fighting cancer with no parental care.
"So many people are in these situations and strugg-ling to cope."
And she said that while she enjoyed her time in the fashion industry, she does not miss it.
"In fashion I was very focused on deadlines -- you didn't look up," she said.
"But the time now is to sit back and assess what you've done in life. It's been incredible and it's nice to be able to give something back to society."
The aim of the fundraiser is to obtain a new premises with better facilities for families.
The centre was the first of its kind in the country and is now the largest cancer support centre in Ireland.