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Averil and Amanda fly Irish flag at Italian fashion awards

TWO Dublin fashion design graduates won places in the international final of one of the world's most prestigious design competitions.

Averil Blakely and Amanda Grogan are in Italy as part of an elite group of 23 young fashion designers selected from hundreds of the best fashion graduates from around the world.

They are exhibiting their innovative creations at the Mittelmoda week-long fashion event at Gorizia.

For Ireland to have two finalists is a major coup at the event which is being judged by renowned fashion experts, trendsetting designers, and commercial chiefs from the international fashion scene.

Averil (23), from Delaford Drive, Knocklyon, said: "I couldn't believe it when my submissions were accepted. I've never wanted to do anything else. It's a fantastic opportunity."

Both Averil and Amanda completed their degrees this year at the National College of Art and Design where their lecturers have been celebrating their students selection for the elite international show.


Amanda (23), from Millview, Malahide, said: "It's great both of us were successful.

"We'll be up against the best from around the world. We'll be doing our best for Irish fashion."

Averil's five outfits were inspired by the theme of an oil rig explosion but were created before the current Gulf of Mexico disaster. "It was a challenge to take a dark subject and turn it into something beautiful," said Averil.

Amanda's designs were inspired by the work of artist Barry Le Va, who had created work using the concept of a crime scene installation.

"I'd like to promote Irish work as international fashion rather than as something crafty. It would be great to see more State encouragement for fashion graduates to stay in Ireland. It's sad so many leave Ireland," she said.

Italian fashion chief Santo Versace said the annual Mittelmoda event deserved support as it dealt with the future of the world's most promising young designers.