Wednesday 17 July 2019

Home grown... Create iniative for Irish designers from Brown Thomas


'Nevermore' headpiece, €495, Michelle Kearns. Lurex dress, €1,100, Sarah Murphy, both Create
'Nevermore' headpiece, €495, Michelle Kearns. Lurex dress, €1,100, Sarah Murphy, both Create
Painted wax-cotton hunter jacket, €850; matching wax-cotton hat, €550; PU-coated shorts (not in shot), €150; all Amie Egan, Create
Quilted dress with lurex and lace details, €990, Sarah Murphy, Create
Appliqued wool jumper, €340 matching cotton and linen cullottes €220, both Pearl Reddington, Create

When I visit fashion-design departments in our third-level institutions, inevitably, at least 80pc of students say they want to be ready-to-wear designers.

But between graduation and real life, more often than not, most of them don't achieve that aim. The end result - a chronic shortage of daywear clothing designers in Ireland, and thus designer names of the future.

It's a problem that Brown Thomas, as Ireland's premier department store and one that knows Irish people like to buy Irish, has been trying to address since it first started sponsoring mentorship and design awards over twelve years ago.

It led to them founding their Create initiative, now in its eighth year, where Irish designers - working with the company's experienced buyers - develop and present unique collections to the marketplace via the luxury Dublin store. Four years ago, it led to Brown Thomas founding a mentoring programme at NCAD and sponsoring a bursary for the 'Designer to Watch' from the college's graduating year.

Brown Thomas, under the stewardship of fashion director Shelly Corkery, takes the future of Irish design very seriously indeed.

Create 2018 kicks off on July 3 and runs till mid August. This year is the largest showcase yet: 24 designers across fashion, knitwear, bags, jewellery, millinery, soft furnishings and art, will present to the public, for the first time, their new autumn/winter collections.

People can balk that we are discussing autumn in June, but now is when the international designers and brands are delivering, too. This is modern fashion.

"We are delighted that we have found some up-and-coming ready-to-wear designers this year," Shelly happily reports. Last year, the lack of clothing designers was a serious concern for the fashion director and driver of Create.

"Having people such as Fintan Mulholland, who first appeared in Create two years ago, return, stronger and better than ever, is wonderful to see," Shelly says. "Soon, I expect some of our NCAD award winners - Daniel [Roden] and Aideen [Gaynor] - to turn up at our doors with collections. Fingers crossed!"

Typical of Create, there will be unique collections, such as Faye Dinsmore's bespoke Aran knitwear; Jill & Gill's fashion-doyenne-inspired logo T-shirts; and Katie Larmour's vintage designer-scarf cushions. Current darling of the London fashion scene, Richard Quinn, will also debut his flamboyant collection.

A Create fashion coup, that.

Photography by Andrew Nuding

Styling by Darren Feeney

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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