‘Clothing for life’ is key theme running through sustainability-focused collections.
Longevity and durability are key features of the fashion collections presented by graduates of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Fashion Design degree at NCAD’s annual fashion showcase today (28.05.18). This is the fourth year that the event was supported by The Westbury, a Doyle Collection Hotel, which hosted the event and sponsored the production of NCAD’s fashion film, and by Brown Thomas, which offered a bursary and mentorship to one student, chosen by Brown Thomas Fashion Director, Shelly Corkery as the ‘Designer to Watch’.
At the showcase, fifteen graduating designers presented collections that transcend fashion seasons, using sustainably manufactured, organic fabrics to create high quality garments made to last a lifetime. For the second year running, NCAD revealed the innovative designs in an edgy high-end fashion film, shot in catwalk style to expose the raw detail of tailoring, stitching and embellishment.
The event afforded students with the opportunity to meet with fashion industry experts, present their lookbooks, and discuss their garments, which were produced with longevity and multi-functionality in mind. The graduate designers’ sustainable approaches and inspirations have resulted in dynamic designs that can be reconditioned and repurposed.
Speaking at today’s event, Angela O’Kelly, Head of Design for Body and Environment at NCAD, commented: “The collections presented here celebrate and promote the long lifecycle of high-quality garments and reaffirm their value as investment buys, which can be passed on to future generations. Our graduates have incorporated a socially-conscious approach to the development of their collections, an ethos which is strongly reflected throughout NCAD’s curriculum.
“At the college, we emphasise the importance of sustainably sourced materials and encourage students to reconnect with natural fabrics such as quality felts, wool, cottons and silk. Students are introduced to Irish-based mills and international suppliers of hand-produced, organic, biodegradable fabrics which retain their quality over time, and need less washing than lower grade alternatives. Production techniques also demonstrate environmental awareness, with students developing zero-waste patterns, where the cut and alignment of fabric ensures there is virtually no waste.”
Socially-conscious fashion is a hot topic, with cheap, mass-produced clothing becoming unpopular with ethically minded consumers. At the same time, the trend towards durable, long-life garments has steadily been gathering pace.
O’Kelly added: “Many adults in Ireland grew up in an age of hand-me-downs and repurposed clothing. Everyone knew how to slip-stitch a hem or top-stitch a patch, but these skills have become neglected. We are now entering an era where people in the public eye are being applauded for getting many wears out of a single item of clothing, signalling that the door is firmly closing on disposable fashion.”
As well as giving a nod to the sustainable fashion revolution that is sweeping the industry, the 2018 NCAD fashion showcase demonstrates strong multicultural influences. Graduates from mixed heritage backgrounds are fusing traditional fabrics from across the globe to enhance quality, durability and design, adding to the development of collections which transcend both seasons and culture. The students’ work features a range of items from conceptual garments to ready-to-wear, high street designs.
Brown Thomas ‘Designer to Watch’ Bursary Prize Winner
This year’s winner of the Brown Thomas ‘Designer to Watch’ bursary is Ala Sinkevich, who was chosen for her collection ‘Existential Nomad’. The prize consists of a €4,000 bursary, an installation of designs in CREATE at Brown Thomas in July 2018 and a mentoring programme with the management team.
Brown Thomas Fashion Director, Shelly Corkery commented: “Brown Thomas is delighted to support the NCAD graduates for a fourth year. Meeting new up-and-coming designers who are creating modern collections is always exciting and keeps us evolving and moving forward.
“Searching for new design talent is a huge part of our business and the NCAD students have, once again, proven beyond talented. I was particularly struck by the strong focus on responsible design and sustainable production methods, which are becoming increasingly important features in fashion houses the world over. I look forward to working with Ala in the run up to CREATE 2018 which kicks off in July.”
NCAD fashion showcase hosted by The Westbury
The NCAD fashion show 2018 was hosted by The Westbury, a Doyle Collection Hotel, which also sponsored the fashion film. Pat King, CEO of The Doyle Collection, commented: “At The Doyle Collection, we are committed to supporting NCAD and its young emerging Irish talent and are delighted to host this fantastic event today. We partnered with NCAD four years ago and 2018 marks our second year as sponsors of the college’s impressive fashion film. The collections shown today are testament to the bright future of Irish design and we wish all graduates the very best for their careers.”
Members of the public will be able to view the students’ collections and fashion film at the NCAD Graduate Exhibition 2018, which will run from Saturday, 9th June to Sunday, 17th June 2018. A new display system and fashion showroom will allow students to communicate their creative process from conception to completion in a contemporary format.
The NCAD Fashion Design class of 2018 is kindly supported by Brown Thomas; The Westbury, a Doyle Collection hotel; Toni&Guy; and Makeup Forever.
Further information about NCAD’s BA (Hons) Degree in Fashion Design is available at: http://www.ncad.ie/undergraduate/school-of-design/fashion-design/.