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Kerry Fashion Week expands in style

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At the launch of Kerry Fashion Week and the KFW Irish Fashion Industry Awards in the Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin were models Fiona Griffin (wearing headpiece by Laura Kinsella and dress by Danielle Romeril); Danny Xu (wearing gown by Umit Kutluk) and Aoife Ryan (wearing dress by Helen Steele). Picture: Pawel Nowak.

At the launch of Kerry Fashion Week and the KFW Irish Fashion Industry Awards in the Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin were models Fiona Griffin (wearing headpiece by Laura Kinsella and dress by Danielle Romeril); Danny Xu (wearing gown by Umit Kutluk) and Aoife Ryan (wearing dress by Helen Steele). Picture: Pawel Nowak.

At the launch of Kerry Fashion Week in the Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin were judges for this year's KFW Irish Fashion Industry Awards were model Aoife Ryan (wearing dress by Helen Steele), womenswear designer Helen Steele; stylist and Fashion & Textile Advisor with Irish Design 15, Aisling Farinella, model  Fiona Griffin (wearing headpiece by Laura Kinsella and dress by Danielle Romeril), Fashion Editor Irish Independent and Executive Editor Weekender Magazine, Bairbre Power and model Danny Xu (wearing gown by Umit Kutluk). Picture: Pawel Nowak.

At the launch of Kerry Fashion Week in the Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin were judges for this year's KFW Irish Fashion Industry Awards were model Aoife Ryan (wearing dress by Helen Steele), womenswear designer Helen Steele; stylist and Fashion & Textile Advisor with Irish Design 15, Aisling Farinella, model Fiona Griffin (wearing headpiece by Laura Kinsella and dress by Danielle Romeril), Fashion Editor Irish Independent and Executive Editor Weekender Magazine, Bairbre Power and model Danny Xu (wearing gown by Umit Kutluk). Picture: Pawel Nowak.

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At the launch of Kerry Fashion Week and the KFW Irish Fashion Industry Awards in the Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin were models Fiona Griffin (wearing headpiece by Laura Kinsella and dress by Danielle Romeril); Danny Xu (wearing gown by Umit Kutluk) and Aoife Ryan (wearing dress by Helen Steele). Picture: Pawel Nowak.

Kerry Fashion Week is turning into a homegrown success story and has expanded fourfold from just three categories and nine designers in 2007.

Fast forward to 2015 and KFW takes place over five days with events around the county, with an industry awards ceremony at the Europe Hotel in Killarney on March 6.

Hopefuls have already applied to be considered for the 15 award categories, one of which, the Kerry Designer of the Year, is reserved strictly for local talent.

The judging panel, who will reveal the finalists next month, will award a Special Merit prize as well as the coveted KFW Irish Fashion Designer of the Year.

The title went to Helen Steele last year and the Monaghan-based designer is bringing her latest collection to Killarney in March and will show alongside Dublin couturier Umit Kutluk.

Success stories from KFW include milliner Laura Kinsella, who won the Image- sponsored 'Breakthrough Designer award' in 2014 and has since attracted the attention of Lady Gaga. The winner of the 'One to Watch' prize will show at London Fashion Week in a show-space for Irish Design 2015.

Irish Independent