Derry Irish linen specialist Amy and Game of Thrones designer Alan ready for national stage
Two local designers are relishing the opportunity to showcase their work on the national stage next week.
Amy Gault and Alan Creswell are part of a team of eight designers who have been selected to take part in ‘Showcase Ireland’ at the RDS in Dublin from Sunday until Wednesday.
The annual event is an opportunity for brands to network with other creatives in the industry, while displaying their work to thousands of visitors. There will also be daily seminars and fashion shows across the four days.
Amy and Alan are both part of the Inner City Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre and, in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council, they were selected to take part in next week’s event after a pitching process.
Amy’s company ‘Amy Gault Designs’ is a homeware and interiors brand inspired by the world of colour, with a passion for print design that is driven by a love for Irish Linen. A graduate of the University of Wolverhampton, she admitted she was delighted to get the opportunity to take part in ‘Showcase Ireland’.
“After graduating I was over the moon to see that the Fashion & Textile Design Centre was doing a Designer Enterprise Programme, which I have found invaluable in my progress towards my own brand,” explained Amy.
“I was so excited when I was told after the pitch that I would have chance to showcase my collection at Showcase Ireland. When I was graduating I never pictured myself here today with my own brand and the chance to show it off in Dublin!
“Events like this are a vocal point for the industry, giving companies the opportunity to meet designers who they may not normally come into contact with, so it’s a great honour to attend these events and show off the talent there is in Derry,” insisted Amy.
“The Fashion & Design Centre, which is overseen by Deirdre Williams, is a great place for the likes of myself and others to share ideas. I have, with the help of Deirdre and others, been able to gain valuable experience which hopefully will lead to employment for myself through my designs jobs in the Derry area.”
‘Alan Creswell Designs’ was created by print designer Alan who has previously received industry recognition after showcasing at the ‘New Designers’ event in London in 2017. Alan is admired for his hand drawn elements and bold use of colour, and has also worked as a costume designer on world-renowned show Game of Thrones.
“I’m a print designer and graduated two or three years ago so I’ve just been building my profile since then. I went to London for a while and I’ve also showcased my work at events there,” Alan said. “I came back home and was working on Game of Thrones as a costume designer which was obviously an incredible experience.
“Since August I have been back in Derry and it’s given me some time to focus on my scarves and how I can develop that side of my brand. I’m finding a balance with the costume design as well, and because I’ve made connections now in Belfast and Derry, and further afield, I have been able to grow massively from when I started out.
“Deirdre has helped me out a lot and I’ve been selling my scarves in the Made Here shop which has also been a great learning curve. I’m artistic but not really business minded, so it helps me in terms of price ranges, meeting clients - things that are invaluable experience. You’re constantly learning, and being involved in the Showcase event is another chance for me to do that.”
Alan explained that he was also delighted to be selected to travel to Dublin, and he is excited about the opportunities ahead.
“I can’t wait for the event. I’ve been involved in others in London when it’s been more fashion buyers, but this one is great because it’s designers from all around – fashion, jewellery, home and giftware.
Of course it’s important to be getting orders, but it’s also great to be making those connections,” he insisted. “In turn, people are looking at my Instagram and social media pages and they can see what I’m doing. It builds credibility and a platform to keep the brand growing.
“We’ve all been buzzing in the Hub leading up to it, adding the finishing touches and getting organised. There’s no competition, we all just work as a group to support one another, and then you’re meeting people from neighbouring areas like Donegal.
“It’s the same as any job, it’s just as much about who you know as it is what you know, and it just takes that one person to believe in you. I’ve had so many random emails and opportunities from people who have just heard about me through word of mouth.”
The full list of brands taking part are: Amy Gault Designs; Alan Creswell Designs; Grace Loves Embellishments (Cara Sweeney); Celtic Irish Art (Siobhan Corr); Bridie Mullin Irish Linen; Piece Makers (Joanne Doherty); Natasha Duddy Glass Designs and Valerie Taylor Hand Woven In Ireland.
The competition was part of the Fashion & Textile Design Centre’s ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ which supports emerging designers and helps to take them commercially to market.
The programme collaborates with Derry City and Strabane District Council and Invest NI to draw on the expertise of industry experts, ensuring that local designers are empowered and provided with essential skills training, knowledge and the tools to develop their businesses effectively and efficiently.
For further information on the ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ contact Deirdre Williams on 07807795889 or email [email protected] and for business support, contact Tara Nicholas Business Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council on 02871 253 253 or email [email protected]
For more information on Showcase Ireland visit https://www.showcaseireland.com/.