It's graduate show season again and Aisling Farinella, Fashion and Textiles Advisor to ID2015, spent an evening in at Limerick School of Art and Design for the graduate fashion show. Here's her low-down on this year's LSAD future fashion stars.
Returning this year to beautifully restored Gallery venue at LIT Clare Street campus, the LSAD fashion show presented 28 graduate collections before an excited and expectant audience. Revered Head of the Fashion Department, Anne Melinn opened the show listing accolades of the year including LSAD graduates participation in the ID2015 London Fashion Week event, In The Fold, and the Brown Thomas Create showcase. The students presented a diverse range of influences and technical skill in their collections with a strong focus on embellishment and handwork.
Three awards were given for standout collections. Jonathan Redfern’s accomplished menswear collection ‘The Hunter’ won the €2000 ECCO award for the most innovative use of fabric. Michaela Kennedy won the €2500 LIT award for the most unique cut and technical creativity, for her conceptual collectioninspired by the sculptor Do-Ho Suh. Bridget Murphy was the winner of the coveted IFIL & AIB Graduate Business Development Award worth €5,000 which includes a three month work placement with New Gen designer and LSAD graduate Danielle Romeril at her studio in London.
The award was developed by the college and AIB to address the need for students to find suitable work placement after graduating. In response to this situation faced by all graduates, president of LIT Maria Helfennar also announced the launch of the International Fashion Incubator Limerick, at the iconic Merriman House in September 2015, stating that it "will provide the space and supports to foster enterprise and creativity in the field of fashion through research and development, commercial enterprise and training for industry needs”.
Bridget's striking collection was inspired by American abstract artist Franz Kline, looking at the movement and connectivity of the artists brushstrokes and the composition and construction of the painting Delaware. Commenting on her student's achievement, Anne Melinn said; “her ability to work from 2D drawings to the reality of 3D garments was incredibly strong. She was sympathetic to the texture, fabric and finish of the art of Franz Kline.” Invited to be part of the judging panel, Danielle Romeril travelled to Limerick to meet with the class of 2015 and review their full collections before the show. What stood out most for Danielle was that the work was very much Bridgets own. “It felt new and fresh and cool, effortless, her own. She had a vision and she went for it, keeping the collection really tight with her fabric choices and colour. It had a message, it felt young and not overworked”. She's looking forward to having Bridget on her team and the new creative energy she will bring with her.
Catching up with Bridget after the show she shared some insights on her collection and time spent at LSAD.
How did you first encounter the work of artist Franz Kline and have you always had an interest in abstract art or the Art world?
I think I have always noticed his work in passing, but it wasn’t until I began researching for my final collection that I really began to appreciate it. I have always been interested in abstract art - I like that it is up to the viewer to figure out what the artist is trying to say. I also think work that is done with paint is something that everyone can relate to having experimented with these materials as a child.
Can you tell me about the process of bringing your final collection together? Was it a straight road or did it change direction as you were working on it?
From the start I was pretty set on my inspiration; artist Franz Kline. I also didn’t want something that was too conceptual, I wanted to keeps things simple. I think that once I had identified my concept it was pretty much a case of piecing everything together. Of course there were difficulties along the way but I got there eventually.
Did you intend to move to London after graduating even if you hadn't won the bursary with Danielle Romeril?
Yes I think that eventually I would have moved to London after saving up some money. It is a great city and I really enjoyed living and working there on my placement.
Would you like to set up your own label and would you be interested in basing yourself from Ireland or the UK or somewhere else?
I like the idea of setting up my own label but don’t actually know if I would do it, I would really like to get experience working with other designers first and then make a decision on my own label. I got the opportunity to intern for Marques Almeida last year, I loved working with a small team in a creative environment, because of this experience I am really looking forward to working with Danielle Romeril. But If I had to choose another designer I would love to work for Pheobe English or Louise Alsop.
How do you think your time at LSAD has shaped you going forward to work in the international fashion industry?
I have had a great experience at LSAD. The Fashion Design course covers a broad range of areas in the fashion industry leaving you with a great deal of knowledge across the industry. I have also had the privilege to complete my four years with a remarkable bunch of people: my 27 classmates. I think we have all helped each other along the way and will definitely continue to do so.