Talent spotting... at the River Island NCAD bursary finals
The River Island NCAD bursary has discovered some exceptional Irish talents for the high street, including Lucy Moller, who is responsible for many top sellers. We go behind the scenes of this year's finals…
High street giant River Island has tapped into a rich vein of Irish design talent thanks to its National College of Art and Design (NCAD) bursary competition, now in its 12th year.
This week, 15 NCAD hopefuls go forward to the finals and the big 'reveal' next Wednesday. It's the competition that keeps on giving, and one that shoppers here benefit from too.
Year after year, the Irish winners have gone to London, with a €3,500 prize in pocket, to do a three-month placement at River Island's design studio. A succession of bursary winners have stayed on and designed high street favourites sold in River Island stores worldwide. Alice Doherty and Claire Lynam won in 2014 and 2013 respectively, and now work as design assistants with River Island. The 2011 winner, Clarisse Walsh, has achieved 'designer' grade while Ann-Marie Rigney (2007) is design manager and the 'senior girl' is the ultra-talented 2006 winner, Lucy Moller (pictured main), who is now River Island's design controller.
Lucy is responsible for many top-selling garments including a famous 'Chelsea Girl' cream lace dress which sent customers on shopping alert around the world. "I was in two minds about moving to London nine years ago and when I came here, I just made myself indispensable," says Lucy, who was swiftly offered a full-time job once her boss saw her drape yellow fabric on a stand. Her Chelsea Girl dress ended up in Vogue and other top publications and got more coverage than any dress ever for River Island. Lucy's personal fashion tastes are diverse and run from Alexander McQueen and urban tailoring from Helmut Lang to print queen Mary Katrantzou and Victoria Beckham. Now responsible for managing womenswear looks and cherry-picking garments and styling them for press shows, Lucy is currently working on S/S16.
If you fancy your ability to spot fashion talents of the future, Weekend invites you to peruse the entrants in this year's River Island NCAD bursary - modelled here by Rozanna Purcell - and email your choice of winner to: firstname.lastname@example.org by April 14. If your nomination matches the winner announced on Wednesday, you could be in with a chance to win a €300 shopping voucher for River Island.