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