Cultures come together for striking fashion showcase
Diverse cultural and familial backgrounds, articulated through both traditional craft techniques and new design processes, are to the fore of this year’s fashion collections presented by graduates of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Fashion Design degree at its annual fashion showcase today (27.05.19). For the fifth year running, 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’.
The showcase put the spotlight on the work of twenty graduating designers, who presented collections which draw heavily on their individual backgrounds. Local, national, and global cultural identities find expression through a dual approach to design and production, one which brings together vernacular skills and innovative technologies. The resulting collections transcend place, time and seasons, referencing the past while looking forward, and reflect an increasingly connected world.
NCAD unveiled the collections in a high-end fashion film, sponsored by the Doyle Collection, which was exclusively premiered at the event to an audience of fashion industry professionals. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to present their collections to leading figures from the fashion industry, talking them through their collections, presenting their lookbooks, and discussing the design and construction of individual pieces.
Speaking at today’s event, Angela O’Kelly, Head of Design for Body and Environment at NCAD, commented: “From garments passed down through generations of the same family, to traditional dress of the Philippines and Nigeria, to explorations of military, biker, GAA, and skate cultures, the references contained in this year’s graduate collections are rich and eclectic. This not only reflects today’s interconnected global community, but demonstrates the ‘à la carte’ approach to identity taken among our students, and people today more generally.
“In recent years, we have observed how graduates are engaging with heritage skills and traditional material culture. Among this year’s students, we note a particular emphasis placed on overlaying these traditional skills and fabrics and with cutting edge techniques. The result is a truly contemporary aesthetic, as evidenced through innovative fabrication and silhouettes, which are at once inventive and highly wearable.
“The collections comprise pieces that go beyond any given fashion season. Graduates have developed pieces that can be worn in different ways, depending on the weather and the occasion. Moreover, fabrics that have less harmful environmental impacts when washed or recycled have been prioritised, while techniques were chosen to guarantee the longevity of garments across generations. By transcending the seasons, they are sending out the message that less is more.”
Brown Thomas ‘Designer to Watch’ Bursary Prize Winner
This year’s winner of the Brown Thomas ‘Designer to Watch’ bursary is Heather Gilroy, who was chosen for her collection ‘Among the Flat Pink Roses’. The prize consists of a €4,000 bursary, an installation of designs in CREATE at Brown Thomas in July 2019 and a mentoring programme with the management team.
Commenting, Brown Thomas Fashion Director, Shelly Corkery said: “In such a fast paced and dynamic industry, one in which newness is highly sought after, identifying the next generation of design talent is a core part of our business. Showing great promise, this year’s NCAD students have demonstrated remarkable capability across all aspects of the design process, from concept to construction and presentation, and I have no doubt that they are at the outset of long and successful careers.
“Brown Thomas is delighted to support the NCAD graduates for a fifth year. Meeting new up-and-coming designers who are creating modern collections is always exciting and keeps us evolving and moving forward. I look forward to working with Heather in the run up to CREATE 2019 which kicks off in July.”
As part of their studies, graduates participated in NCAD’s Studio+ programme, a year between the second and final years of the BA programme, in which they gain practical industry experience through studying abroad, internships and industry placements, or by working in a design bureau on live commercial, social, community projects, and research development.
O’Kelly added: “As the fashion industry becomes more conscious of its environmental and social footprint, there is an increasing onus on designers to work conscientiously and consider the impact of their work in a more holistic and nuanced way. Through NCAD’s Studio+ programme, students develop the skill sets needed to become empathetic designers, thinkers, creative entrepreneurs and leaders. It offers a non-linear path of self-discovery, facilitating the development of emotional and social intelligence, and cross cultural skills, creating more well-rounded individuals.”
NCAD fashion showcase hosted by The Westbury
The NCAD fashion showcase 2019 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 proud to play a part in supporting NCAD and the next generation of emergent Irish design talent. Having first collaborated with NCAD five years ago, 2019 marks our third year to sponsor the production of the fashion film. Hosting this event is a highlight in our calendar, and we are delighted to see the excitement and enthusiasm from students and professionals.”
Members of the public will be able to view the students’ collections and fashion film at the NCAD Graduate Exhibition 2019, which will run from Saturday, 8th June to Sunday, 16th June 2019.
The NCAD Fashion Design class of 2019 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/.