On the 18th and 19th of September, ID2015 will present eleven designers in Unfold: Irish Designers Collective at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, as an official on-schedule event as part of London Fashion Week.
London Fashion Week is one of the world’s highest profile designer showcases, presenting a key opportunity to increase the profile of Irish fashion designers and develop their businesses through exposure to an international audience of media and buyers. The 11 designers unveiling their SS16 collections as part of Unfold at the ICA are: NATALIEBCOLEMAN, We Are Islanders, Manley,
Jill de Burca, Helen Steele, Honor Fitzsimons, Chupi, dorai, Laura Kinsella, Martha Lynn and Capulet & Montague.
Capulet and Montague
‘Progressing and evolving’ is how Lisa McCormack describes her jewellery label Capulet & Montague. McCormack launched her first collection in 2012 and since then has gone from strength to strength, winning the coveted Irish Fashion Innovation Award for Jewellery Designer of the Year 2015 and the inaugural Innovation Award across all categories. McCormack’s designs are characterised by simplicity of form. With modern, elegant and sleek pieces, Lisa allows the materials to speak for themselves, with clarity in their form and design. McCormack is interested in exploring the relationship between the past and the present, employing craft techniques that combine organic elements with modern aesthetics and avoiding an overt alteration of the original form. Capulet & Montague has gained a strong following among women who appreciate her acute boldness and purity of design. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, editorial shoots and features, partnered with both haute couture pieces and work from established Irish designers.
Chupi has been designing objects since she was a child; she sold her first item, a bag made from vintage Levi’s and lined with bright pink satin, at the age of 17. Her star has been on a meteoric rise ever since she was scouted by Topshop from her first year of college, the youngest designer to ever work with them. Chupi’s work in jewellery began as a hobby, born of the desire to wear pieces with the delicate, shimmering gold aesthetic she has become known for. From personal hobby, to making work for friends, to attracting the attention of the local Irish fashion community, Chupi’s pieces now garner high praise in the media from celebrities such as Marina & the Diamonds and Ruby Wax. Chupi describes her work as being made for the wearer’s ‘inner magpie’, delicate, sparkling pieces made with gold and semiprecious gems, inspired by the beauty of natural and wild things. All of Chupi’s work is made with love in Ireland.
dorai is a line of hand-crafted contemporary jewellery created by Maria Dorai-Raj in Cork, Ireland. Maria’s designs draw from a wide range of influences, from the iconic geometry of Piet Mondrian’s paintings to the strangely beautiful anatomy of the human body. Her eclectic Irish-Indian heritage is reflected in the ethos of dorai, which fuses modern design with traditional, superbly executed craftsmanship. Maria fell in love with the art of jewellery making at the Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewellery in Florence, Italy, where she learned the goldsmithing techniques she uses today. With a degree in ceramic design and a background in high fashion, she was soon chosen for an apprenticeship with an established Irish jeweller where she continued honing her skills. dorai was selected as one of four finalists for the Fashion Innovation Jewellery Designer of The Year award in 2014 and 2015 as well as being featured as part of CREATE, an exhibition of leading Irish designers at Brown Thomas, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The Helen Steele label was established in 2011 by Helen Steele and her husband Stuart Steele. The company mission statement is: "total dedication to the creation of perfection in wearable works of art", with a practical emphasis on keeping the wearer warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Steele made ripples internationally with a showing of her first collection of WART (wearable art) at London and Paris fashion weeks for Spring/Summer 2012. The reaction was hugely positive, with collections being sold to stockists on three different continents. The company has shown at the London and Paris fashion weeks every season since and continues to double its sales season after season, the collection selling out within days of reaching shop floors in Seoul, Tokyo, Cannes and Dublin. High-profile fans of the label include model Cara Delevigne, Rita Ora, Jessie J, Iggy Azelea, Eliza Doolittle, Fearne Cotton, Pixie Lott, Pixie Geldof, models Mary Charters and Jourdan Dunn, and members of the Emirati royal family. All of the brand’s clothing is produced in counties Dublin and Monaghan in Ireland.
The recent recipient of the FUTURE MAKERS Award for Innovation 2015, Honor Fitzsimon’s work balances perfectly between innovation and comfort. After graduating from a BA in Fashion Design with Knitwear at Central Saint Martins, and a series of internships at prestigious houses including Diane Von Furstenburg in New York, Fitzsimons worked as a knitwear designer for Qasimi Homme in London and Peachoo + Krejberg in Paris. Upon her return to Ireland, her collections were snapped up by the Brown Thomas (part of Selfridge’s Group) Irish Designer Initiative, in both 2013 and 2014. Fitzsimons draws her inspiration from music, art, industrial forms, the design of the ancient world and traditional textile techniques. Her work is born from a love of clothing that is both edgy and cosy, pieces you can simply ‘throw on and go’. The resulting distinctive fashion knitwear brand is marked by inventive construction, conceptual use of colour and modern luxury. Fitzsimons has received the Emerging Maker Award for Constructed Textiles from the RDS National Craft Awards and the IMAGE Magazine Breakthrough Designer 2015 at KFW Irish Fashion Industry Awards, among other awards. Collections are entirely and ethically produced in Ireland using yarns sourced in the EU.
Jill de Burca
Jill de Búrca has worked in the UK for over five years as a sought-after Embroidery and Embellishment Designer, selling her work to a wide range of international designers, including Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, BCBGMAXAZRIA, JCrew, Topshop, and Thurley. An NCAD graduate who studied textiles and specialized in embroidery, de Burca moved to Brighton upon completing her degree to further refine and develop her sensibilities and skills, training with Larch Rose and Jenny King, master embroiderer. Jill moved back to her native Dublin in 2014 and has since launched her own label. Her pieces are crafted by hand, using intricate embroidery stitched with an antique Singer embroidery machine, and hand embellishment. Digital silk printing and imaginative fabric combinations are key elements throughout the collections. Even with this meticulous level of detail the clothes remain eminently wearable, with a sports luxe edge. Recently she won Irish Designer of the Year 2015 at the Irish Innovation awards in Galway as well as the Ones to Watch category at Kerry Fashion Week 2015. Jill was also one of the featured designers in CREATE 2015 at luxury Irish department store Brown Thomas.
Milliner Laura Kinsella graduated with an honours degree in 2008 from the award-winning Limerick School of Art & Design, going on to hone her skills around the world, including under designer Alejandra Quesada in Mexico City. Kinsella subsequently returned to Ireland where she began to develop her millinery skills under several Irish milliners, alongside a stint interning in London with Philip Treacy. She launched her first bespoke range in 2013, a selection of exquisite and abstract hats, headpieces and accessories made using traditional techniques in her Dublin-based studio. Throughout 2014 Laura collaborated with Irish designer Danielle Romeril on her Spring/Summer 2014 and 2015 collections, the latter being presented at London Fashion Week to much acclaim. Early 2014 saw Laura crowned IMAGE magazine’s Breakthrough Designer of the Year at Kerry Fashion Week, while her ‘Sora’ headpiece was named ‘Most Creative Hat’ by judges Angela Scanlon and Philip Treacy at the RDS horse show.
Manley was founded in 2010 by designer Emma Manley. After graduating, Emma honed her craft at VPL in New York and Alexander McQueen in London. From this strong base, she was eager to progress and curate a new and relevant fashion offering for the womenswear arena. Fusing her skill for tailoring with her love for luxe streetwear and embellishment, the result is a label composed of contemporary separates and alternative evening wear, with a distinctive edgy femininity. Delicate structures are juxtaposed with strong, contemporary silhouettes, creating an aesthetic that is both hard and soft, powerful and preciously delicate at once. Quality of fabric and quality in production are at the core of all Manley products. Materials are sourced from the world's finest luxury houses and innovative manufacturing methods such as laser cutting are fused with more traditional skills, including hand-sewn and embellished detailing.
Winner of the 2013 Milliner of Year award at the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards, Martha Lynn studied under Aileen Keogan at the Grafton Academy in Dublin after obtaining a degree in Fine Art Sculpture. Lynn then went on to intern with Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones in London in 2010, before returning to Dublin to set up her own label. Following the successful 2013 run of CREATE at Brown Thomas (BT), in which Lynn was featured, the designer was invited to mount a pop-up store in BT’s Dublin and Galway outlets for three months in 2014. Lynn’s millinery has an innovative feel, making use of contemporary materials such as vinyl and perspex with a reduced structure of colour. She includes touches of understated elegance and playfulness, combining traditional millinery skills with modern silhouettes, bold contrasts and clean lines. Lynn was shortlisted for Tatler Business Women of the Year Ireland 2013, shortlisted for Young Business Woman of the Year, IMAGE magazine 2011, and Listed in the Top 100 Most Inspirational Women in IMAGE magazine, 2011.
Winner of the Golden Egg Innovation Award for Designer of the Year 2012, NATALIEBCOLEMAN studied fashion at Limerick School of Art & Design and on the MA course at Central St. Martins in London. She spent time developing her sensibility by working in industry for fashion labels such as threeASFOUR in New York and Ragna Frodadottir in Iceland, before establishing her own womenswear label in 2011, gaining the attention of influential fashion blogger Susie Bubble along the way, who wrote about her first collection. With an interest in strong narratives and quirky romance, Coleman creates looks that are beautiful and feminine, contemporary and flirtatious, with special attention to finish, fabric and detail. Her work has been shown at Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam Fashion Weeks as an invited guest, as well as during Milan, New York and Paris Fashion Weeks. Coleman has been awarded The National Designer of the Year 2012 by IMAGE Magazine at KFW and The Future Maker Award 2012 from the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. She is currently a Microsoft Ambassador in Ireland and was runner up in The IMAGE Magazine Women in Business Creative Category 2013.
We Are Islanders
With a keen interest in sustainability in fashion, Rosie O'Reilly is creative director of the We Are Islanders art/fashion house. O’Reilly works as a visual artist, maker and designer, exhibiting work both in Dublin and beyond. Her inspiration always comes from process, not plan, and her goal is always better practice. We Are Islanders is a contemporary design label that combines heritage and craft with innovative technologies to bring high-quality and sustainable clothing manufacturing to Ireland. With We Are Islanders, O’Reilly recognizes the international market opportunity for an Irish heritage brand with a core commitment to innovation, authenticity and sustainability. O’Reilly is also co-founder of Re-dress, Ireland's sustainable fashion body.
The selection of these 11 designers across womenswear, accessories, fine jewellery and millinery was chosen by a judging panel consisting following a call out earlier this year with over 40 applications. The designers took part in two mentoring days in Dublin with fashion industry experts. More information on the judging panel and the mentors is below.
Lorraine Bowen specializes in providing training and mentoring support to creative start-ups and established SMEs. Lorraine founded and managed a textile design and manufacturing company for 10 years supplying high end hand crafted fashion accessories to the fashion and corporate gift markets in Ireland and for export markets, and has collaborated extensively with leading Irish fashion designers on the design and production of accessories for their ranges. In collaboration with Arnotts, Lorraine developed a commercially successful brand of interior products retailing across five of the stores departments. She holds a BDES degree in Printed Textile Design from NCAD and an MA in Professional Design Practice DIT.
Aileen Carville is an accomplished Fashion PR and Commercial Sales professional. With a career spanning over 18 years Aileen has worked for some of the most creative and influential designers both in Ireland and the UK, including John Rocha and Simone Rocha, Aileen has collaborated closely with international fashion organisations including the British Fashion Council for London Fashion Week and established luxury design exhibitions Tranoi, Paris and Pitti Uomo, Florence. Over the past three years Aileen has worked on a digital media platform blending traditional PR and Communications with Digital Content, Design, Strategy and Social Media.
Unfold mentor and applicant judge
Shelly Corkery is the Fashion Director of the Brown Thomas Group. With over 25 years experience in the retail industry, Shelly has been with Brown Thomas for fifteen years, having spent ten years with the Design Centre in the Powerscourt Townhouse prior to this. Always passionate about Irish design, in 2011 Shelly led the launch of the Brown Thomas CREATE initiative with the primary aim of supporting the best of Irish talent and taking them out of the studio and onto the shop floor. Over the past five years, CREATE has been a platform for establishing some of Ireland’s leading designers.
Unfold mentor and applicant judge
Aisling Farinella is Fashion and Textile Advisor to Irish Design 2015 and has worked as a freelance fashion stylist for over ten years. With a Masters in Film Studies she is self-taught in fashion gaining her experience in Dublin, London and New York and works in both creative and commercial fields. Aisling's aesthetic is fresh, confident and understated. Aisling also acts as a consultant, creative director and producer on projects ranging from fashion shows to fashion exhibitions and installations. She is founder of The Loft Market (2005), a retail space for young designers and was a partner of Circus Store Boutique from 2007 to 2010. Aisling is editor and co-founder of Thread magazine, a new print fashion publication initiated in 2011.
Unfold mentor and applicant judge
Constance Harris is Fashion Editor of the Sunday Independent and LIFE magazine, Ireland’s largest selling newspaper. Her early background in film and television production, as well as fashion styling, led to her discerning eye for design, respect for the market place and readers, and a true love of fashion editorial with content narrative.
Kieran Kilgallon has a BA in Fashion Design from the Limerick School of Art and Design and spent four years as assistant stylist Aisling Farinellas before branching out on his own. He has worked as stylist for NewGen designer Danielle Romeril, as junior editor at Thread Magazine and has had editorial work featured in national and international publications including Purple Magazine, The Last Magazine and Hunger Magazine.
Unfold applicant judge
Currently Acting CEO, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Brian is an Industrial Design graduate from the NCAD and holds a first class honours MBA from the University of Limerick. He has worked internationally in senior design and marketing positions with leading brands Krups, Rubbermaid and Waterford Crystal.
Unfold applicant judge
Alex Milton is Programme Director for Irish Design 2015. As a designer, curator, author, researcher and educator, Alex Milton has promoted a critical, provocative and entrepreneurial approach to design. He is a visiting professor at Manchester School of Art, Aston University and the National College of Art and Design, Ireland and he has taught at institutions across the globe including Central Saint Martins, Edinburgh College of Art and the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, with his students winning dozens of international awards. His own creative work has been exhibited at numerous international venues including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, 100% Design London and the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts, Lausanne.
Unfold at LFW 2015 is one of a number of events in London this September as part of the Irish Design 2015 programme. ID2015 is partnering with London Design Festival (19th – 27th September) in presenting The Ogham Wall at the V&A, an ambitious landmark project designed by Grafton Architects in collaboration with Graphic Relief and sponsored by Techrete. The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland will participate once again at Tent London, presenting an exhibition entitled Ó, meaning 'from' in the Irish language, which will feature beautifully designed products in stone, glass, ceramics, wood and textiles from over 20 designers.
During LDF, ID2015 will also launch The Souvenir Project, a collection of contemporary souvenirs that explores the local context, championing creative collaborations between Irish designers and makers, a project specially commissioned by ID2015 and curated by Jonathan Legge, Makers & Brothers which will be dual sited at Rochelle School and at Tent London as part of Ó.
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