Saturday 24 September 2016

Meet the 11 Irish designers heading to London Fashion Week

Published 19/08/2015 | 02:30

The 'family' of designers: (left to right) Rosie O'Reilly from We Are Islanders, Chupi Sweetman-Dornan, Emma Manley, Helen Steele, Laura Kinsella, Jill de Burca, Honor Fitzsimmons, Lisa McCormack of Capulet & Montague, Maria Dorai-Raj and Natalie B. Coleman
The 'family' of designers: (left to right) Rosie O'Reilly from We Are Islanders, Chupi Sweetman-Dornan, Emma Manley, Helen Steele, Laura Kinsella, Jill de Burca, Honor Fitzsimmons, Lisa McCormack of Capulet & Montague, Maria Dorai-Raj and Natalie B. Coleman

Meet the Unfold "family" - an 11-strong collective of Irish designers heading to London next month to grow their brands and sell contemporary creativity to a powerful gathering of international buyers.

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Unfold showcases the SS16 collections of 11 designers at the Institute of Contemporary Arts for two days as part of London Fashion Week, and their skills cross womenswear, accessories, fine jewellery and millinery.

Unfold was devised as part of the Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) programme.

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of ID2015, says real commercial opportunities are emerging for developing international markets. She says that providing emerging designers with opportunities to present their work is "vital to sustaining and growing the Irish fashion sector".

She says ID2015 are looking forward to seeing opportunities unfold from their presence in London, and "building a legacy for the ongoing development of our innovative and vibrant fashion sector".

The creatives were chosen by a judging panel following a call out earlier this year. They are currently being supported by an industry mentoring panel to develop their collections for the showcase on September 18-19.

Brewer Street car park in London's Soho district was the centre of attention last February when eight Irish designers showcased at the 'In The Fold' event organised by the British Council and the British Fashion Council.

It was the first time that Ireland took part in the international showcase, and the installation was presented by Irish Design 2015 and fashion design partner, Kildare Village.

Among the designers to garner attention was Richard Malone from Wexford, who this week was selected by the prestigious Fashion East scheme to show at LFW and meet buyers in Paris the following week.

ID2015 is also partnering with London Design Festival (September 19-27 ) in presenting The Ogham Wall at the Victoria & Albert Museum, an ambitious project designed by Grafton Architects in collaboration with Graphic Relief and sponsored by Techrete.

Among the designers showing is Helen Steele, whose label was established in 2011 as a sister company to Silverhill Feathers.

Its mission statement is: "total dedication to the creation of perfection in wearable works of art" - keeping you warm in winter and cool in the summer.

Fans of the label include model Cara Delevigne, Jessie J, Eliza Doolittle, Fearne Cotton, Pixie Lott, Pixie Geldof and members of the Emirati royal family.

Irish Independent

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