Irish heritage and handcraft take centre stage at NCAD fashion showcase
Irish heritage, featuring a mix of techniques combining knitting, crocheting and embroidery with laser-cutting and latex-moulding, is a key theme of the collections presented today by graduates of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Fashion Design degree at this year’s annual NCAD fashion showcase. For the third year running, the event is supported by The Westbury, a Doyle Collection Hotel and by Brown Thomas, offering a bursary and mentorship to two students, chosen by Brown Thomas Fashion Director Shelly Corkery as the ‘Designers to Watch’.
In a break with the traditional catwalk show, the students’ work was showcased with the exclusive screening of a high-end fashion film, followed by an exhibition of their collections and lookbooks in a pop-up showroom, allowing guests to peruse the garments and talk to the students about their approaches and inspirations.
Speaking at today’s event, Angela O’Kelly, Head of Design for Body and Environment at NCAD, commented: “We are very excited about this year’s move away from the concept of a traditional catwalk show in favour of a more innovative approach that entails the screening of a professional, high-end fashion film and a pop-up fashion showroom. This move is a reflection of what is happening at international fashion events around the world, and enables industry to take a closer look at the quality and finish of the garments, and to speak to the students about their motivations.
“For the collections presented today, the students have drawn inspiration from the Irish vernacular, designing their collections with a focus on Irish handcraft and heritage embellishments. With themes ranging from childhood memories, Irish landscapes and traditions to gender ideation and mathematics and geometry, this year’s graduates have created a highly versatile and very exciting body of work.”
The high-quality, creative collections showcased today are reflective of the work experience gathered by the students. The graduating class of 2017 has undertaken internships in studios and companies as diverse as John and Simone Rocha, Proenza Schouler, Ryan Lo and the Abbey Theatre’s costume department.
O’Kelly continued: “Making our fashion students ‘fit for business’, while nurturing creativity, is a big focus of NCAD’s Fashion Design degree, and we place significant emphasis on developing collaborations with industry partners and exposing our students to the realities of the fashion business. Our long-standing association with Brown Thomas, which includes our Brown Thomas ‘Designer to Watch’ bursary, is an excellent example of this.”
Eighteen graduating designers showcased their work at the NCAD Fashion Show, ranging from highly conceptual garments to ready-to-wear, high-street designs. Highlights of this year’s event include the work of:
- Rachel Blanckensee, whose gender neutral collection is driven by the concept of solving creative problems with logical solutions. Mathematics and geometry inspired the garment engineering and allowed for a multifunctional approach. The focus of this collection is on construction by breaking social construct, and pushing what clothes can be.
- Colin Burke, whose directional, contemporary collection is fed by an emotional charge expressed through the close bond shared with his Granny, Maureen. Using her cherished possessions as a starting point, crocheted broached daffodils are layered with print. Silhouette considers the re-invention of a Connemara shawl through the deconstruction of a farmer’s jacket.
- Sive Mishka Rooney, whose unisex collection of leisurewear has been inspired by treasured memories of horse riding as a child. Cut and construction elements from equestrian sources combined with references to vintage sportswear are the main drivers underpinning Sive’s work.
Brown Thomas ‘Designer to Watch’ Bursary Prize Winners
This year’s Brown Thomas ‘Designer to Watch’ bursary was split between two students. The first prize of €3,000 was awarded to Laoise Carey, who was chosen for the collection ‘Eidolon’. Colin Burke was awarded €1,000 as runner-up for his collection ‘Born in 32’. For both students, the prize includes an installation of designs in CREATE at Brown Thomas in July 2017 and also a mentoring programme with the management team.
Brown Thomas Fashion Director, Shelly Corkery commented: “Brown Thomas are delighted to support the NCAD graduates for a third year. Meeting new up-and-coming designers and modern collections with a fresh perspective 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 proven beyond talented year on year. I look forward to seeing the exciting new format of the show this year and working with the chosen designers for CREATE 2017 which kicks off in July.”
NCAD fashion showcase supported by The Westbury
The NCAD fashion show 2017 is also supported by The Westbury, a Doyle Collection hotel, which sponsored the fashion film. Pat King, CEO of The Doyle Collection, commented: “At The Doyle Collection we are committed to supporting NCAD and their young emerging Irish talent. Last year, we transformed the car-park of The Westbury into a cutting-edge catwalk in Dublin’s metropolitan heart – a first for the city. This year we are bringing tech and fashion together and are excited to be co-sponsoring NCAD’s fashion film which has been hailed as a progressive approach to video by the fashion world. We see this new innovative approach as a contemporary way of presenting fashion to the next generation”.
The annual NCAD fashion show is one aspect of NCAD’s Season of Exhibitions, which runs from May until July. The work of graduating students from NCAD’s four schools of Fine Art, Design, Education and Visual Culture will be displayed at the NCAD 2017 Show from Saturday, 10th to Sunday, 18th July. The season will close with the annual CEAD exhibition, which will run from Thursday, 29th June to Thursday, 6th July.
The NCAD Fashion Showcase 2017 is kindly sponsored by Brown Thomas and The Westbury, a Doyle Collection hotel.
Further information about NCAD’s BA (Hons) Degree in Fashion Design is available at: http://www.ncad.ie/undergraduate/school-of-design/fashion-design/.