Local designers to showcase during London Fashion Week

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Ten ‘up and coming’ local designers will get a unique opportunity to showcase their collections to an audience of global fashion experts and international press at an exclusive exhibitor event during London Fashion Week next month.

The ten local designers who have been selected to travel to London in mid-February follows a special ‘pitching’ event held last week at the Fashion & Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street.

A total of 13 designers put forward their ‘perfect pitch’ to judges – including John Paul Doherty of John Paul Couture and industry specialist Jenny Holloway, CEO of renowned Fashion Enter London (FEL).

Derry City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with the Fashion & Textile Design Centre and Fashion Enter London held the ‘pitching’ competition as part of the Designer Business Start Up Programme – which supports emerging designers and helps to take them commercially to market through a series of workshops led by industry experts.

The bespoke scheme – which is also sponsored by Invest NI – draws on the expertise of Jenny Holloway to disseminate ‘best practice’ – ensuring local designers are empowered and provided with essential skills training, knowledge and the tools to develop their businesses effectively and efficiently.

Five of the ten local designers selected to go on to the next stage of the competition – and who will travel to London – have been tipped as ‘stars’ and ‘commercially-ready’. The other five local designers – who will also be joining the ‘best practice’ trip to London have been tipped as ‘ones to watch’ and will receive further mentoring focusing on specific pieces to become commercial.

The ten designers are; Andrew McAllister, Emma Kirwan, Alan Creswell, Agne Nazebetauskaite, Orla Philips,

Hannah Vail, Nicole Scott, Emma Curtis, Joanne Doherty, and Edele O’Kane.

Helen Quigley, Chief Executive of the Inner City Trust, said that the opportunity being created for our local designers is the culmination of the partnership working that has taken place in the Fashion & Textile Design Centre over the last number of years. This work has combined significant support from the team at the Inner City Trust, Derry City & Strabane District Council, Invest NI and Fashion Enter, and represents a commitment in presenting our local talent in a global setting.

Danielle McNally, Business Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “I am delighted that the ten winners will be able to avail of this incredible opportunity – and will benefit from the hands-on experience, technical training and professional mentoring from Fashion Enter London.

“Council is delighted to be working with the renowned Fashion Enter team on this fantastic initiative, providing unique opportunities for our emerging designers to work with leading industry experts to commercialise their design talents.

“We have a wealth of local design talent, and ultimately this programme will provide the tools and the opportunities required to support designers in making their fashion or textile business a reality.”

“Indeed, this programme aims to give emerging local designers an invaluable profile boost by presenting them to an international audience during one of the most important weeks of the fashion calendar.”

Deirdre Williams, Business Development Manager with the Fashion and Textile Design Centre and Inner City Trust, added: “I would like to pay tribute to the strength and diversity of all the local designers who took part in the ‘pitching’ event.

“I was hugely impressed by the diversity and innovation of the local designers who are such creative and talented people representing both quality and variety in the fashion and textiles sector.

“It is clear from the outstanding talent displayed at the pitching sessions that our region – as in the past with our world famous shirt industry heritage – is continuing to produce young and emerging talent whose imagination and quality of design is key to a successful future in the global fashion industry.

“This will be a fantastic opportunity for the winning designers from the Derry & Strabane district to showcase their Autumn/Winter 2018 collections during London Fashion Week at the Fashion Enter premises in London.

“It will also provide opportunities for the ten local designers to engage with the UK fashion industry and build international connections.

“I am therefore delighted that they will avail of this unique opportunity to present their collections outside of local markets to an international audience.”