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The merits of fashion keep on getting better

'If you choose Better Fashion today you can wake up knowing that your choices make a difference tomorrow," said Rosie O'Reilly, organiser of Better Fashion Week, which kicks off in Dublin on Wednesday and runs until Sunday.

The perfect antidote to the relentless torrent of bad news, Better Fashion Week, which is in its fourth year, brings together people with a love of fashion in Ireland to help strengthen resources, revitalise spirit, make things more inclusive and promote better fashion practices; or as Ms O'Reilly puts it, "fashion that is measured by its merits, not its profit margins".

Also, Re-dress, the people in charge of putting the event together, hope it will inspire and applaud creativity and entertain its increasingly passionate following.

On Saturday, this year's star attraction -- French fashion designer and activist Andrew Crews -- will undertake a live design challenge along with 20 top creatives in what is sure to be a colourful spectacle.

Other highlights include -- 'The Art of Fashion', in which Sunday Independent Fashion Editor Constance Harris speaks to sculptural textile artist Una Burke; internationally renowned artist Helen Steele; designer-of-the-moment Simone Rocha; and TV personality and co-ordinator of the Dais project, Sonya Lennon, on the validity of fashion as an art form.

Also, Irish designer Eilis Boyle will interview Andrea Crews, stylist Aisling Farinella and designer Joanne Hynes in an unmissable industry discussion about 'The Theatre of Fashion'.

Each evening will conclude with a pop-up shop in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, which will give people the opportunity to get their hands on some of the most exciting international ethical labels. Mary Nally, who is curating the pop-up shop, said: "We will have amazing sustainable fashion labels and designers from New York, London, Japan, Paris and Ireland -- most of which have never been available in Ireland before."

For those with strong aspirations to work in the industry, the Fashion Mentoring Sessions are not to be missed. The event will give you the opportunity to sit face-to-face with Ireland's top fashion creatives, including editors, leading designers, stylists, photographers and buyers. "I took part in the mentorship talks last year and they were an exhilarating and fascinating process," explained Ms Harris.

Better Fashion Week 2011 May 18-22. For more information or to book tickets see www.betterfashionweek.com

Sunday Independent