Saturday 10 December 2016

The white road: The Persil Irish Fashion Awards 2010 with Marks & Spencer finalists

Photography by Barry McCall Fashion edited by Constance Harris

Published 04/04/2010 | 05:00

Vraja Lila Blake, final year, National College of Art and Design. Vraja completed an internship with British fashion designer Pam Hogg
Vraja Lila Blake, final year, National College of Art and Design. Vraja completed an internship with British fashion designer Pam Hogg
Aoife Hassett, final year, Limerick School of Art and Design. Aoife completed an internship with Avsh Alom Gur, then creative director for fashion label Ossie Clark. Tulle veiling, €8.50 per metre, Murphy Sheehy.
Julia Doherty, final year, National College of Art and Design. Julia completed internships with Louis Copeland and British fashion label Preen. T-bar shoes, €40; ankle socks, €7 for a pack of two, both Marks & Spencer; Brocade top hat with netting, Linda McKay, to order.
Olivia ni Mhoildhia, final year, National College of Art and Design. Olivia completed an internship with British fashion designer Richard Nicoll. Headpiece, Linda Gruet.
Lynne Grey, final year, Limerick School of Art & Design. Lynne completed an internship in New York with up-and-coming fashion label Bland. Patent sandals, €40, Marks & Spencer. Hat and veil made from buttons and tulle, A Rubanesque.
Charlotte Gallagher, final year, National College of Art and Design. Charlotte completed an internship with renowned fashion-show producer Leslie Goring in the run-up to and during London Fashion Week. T-bar shoes, €40; ankle socks, €7 for pack of two, both Marks & Spencer. Satin headpiece, Michael Leong.
Sile O'Shea, final year, National College of Art and Design. Sile completed an internship with London-based fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic.
Amanda Grogan, final year, National College of Art and Design. Amanda completed internships with Irish designer Ellis Boyle and international designer Christopher Kane. Shoes, €40, Marks & Spencer. Polka-dot net worn as headpiece, stylist's own

The buzzword around the world right now is creativity. Countries which are short of cash and raw materials know that marketing their educated and talented people is essential in order to maintain significance on a global stage.

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We in Ireland have always known this. Whether our current Government will protect and improve our education system -- and so our place in the world -- is a truly important issue. During the last recession, colleges such as NCAD, LSAD and the Grafton Academy honed their skills to make their students equal to, if not better than, their counterparts in schools in the UK and beyond. The creation of competitions to get students thinking commercially as well as creatively has been an important part of students' development, challenging them to think and create in a way that's different to their usual approach, to communicate to people who are not teachers, and to come up with exciting, workable concepts attractive to a corporate client.

The Persil Irish Fashion Awards 2010 with Marks & Spencer, now in its 11th year, has become such a valuable resource that colleges have incorporated the competition into their curriculum. Persil lays down firm rules. This year, the designs must be white and be relevant to summer 2010. Garments must be practical and machine washable. That may seem obvious, but many designers become so obsessed with the aesthetic that they forget clothes are for wearing and then washing to be worn again! On our pages today are the eight finalists, each of whom was invited to make one of two designs they entered. The winner will be announced next Sunday, April 11, at the Xpose Live event.

The judges this year are designer Peter O'Brien; Marketing Manager of Marks & Spencer (Ireland) Carmel Breheny; and Glenda Gilson of Xpose. All those involved say that this year the talent is impressive. Catherine Condell, who has been involved with the Persil competition since its inception, says this year's designs are the best yet.

The Persil Irish Fashion Award with Marks & Spencer is worth a whopping €10,000. That's enough to clear studying debts, or bankroll further education at Central St Martins in London, or produce a first collection upon leaving college. It is pennies from heaven for these youngsters to have the opportunity.

It is also heartening, in these sponsorship-straitened times, to hear Dermot Walsh, Persil's Marketing Manager, reiterate the company's commitment to the students and the awards. Now let's hear it from our Government.

Sunday Independent

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