A high profile exhibition to celebrate the year of Irish design across the island of Ireland has opened in The Playhouse.
Brought to the city through Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Craft Development Programme ‘Second Skin’ will be on display until Thursday July 16.
Mayor, Cllr. Elisha McCallion, said Derry would have a natural affinity with the exhibition, given the city’s historic links with the clothing manufacturing industry.
Cllr. McCallion said: “The role played by Derry’s shirt factories in the life of the city over many decades, has left a lasting legacy which is being fostered by our vibrant local craft and design sector.
“It is a huge coup for Council’s Craft Development Programme to have secured the ‘Second Skin’ exhibition, given that Derry is its only Northern Ireland venue, and I would encourage people both locally and across the island of Ireland and beyond to visit Derry to view this impressive body of work.”
Deirdre Harte, Council’s Craft Development Officer, said she was delighted to welcome ‘Second Skin’, one of the core exhibitions in the Irish Design 2015 touring programme that highlights the calibre of Irish design across a broad range of disciplines.
“’Second Skin’ first opened in the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, in November 2014 and is now touring as part of the year of Irish Design 2015 programme. It was previously on exhibition in City Hall, London, during March and we are honoured to be hosting ‘Second Skin’ at The Playhouse until Thursday July 16.
“This is a golden opportunity for people from across the country to come and see the exhibition here, especially as this is its only venue in Northern Ireland which puts Derry~Londonderry firmly on the map as a premier craft and fashion destination. The Fashion & Textile Design Centre will also be running workshops to link to and complement the exhibition.”
‘Second Skin’ posed a challenge to four Irish fashion labels - Jennifer Rothwell, Joanne Hynes, NATALIEBCOLEMAN and Lennon Courtney - to design, source and produce a garment or range of clothing on the island of Ireland and to document the opportunities and challenges in doing so.
The designers collaborated with and were supported third level institutes, organisations and producers in Dublin, Donegal, Derry, Kilkenny and Wicklow.
In Derry, Irish fashion designer Jennifer Rothwell, a previous guest judge on Norway’s ‘Next Top Model’, collaborated with the North West Regional College – making use of their digital print facility – to help create a stunning range inspired by Harry Clarke’s iconic stained glass windows and artwork.
Louise Allen, Curator and Head of Innovation & Development Programmes, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), said: “Second Skin will help to create a dialogue and raise further awareness in order to empower people to make conscious and informed choices; choices that support and foster pride in our indigenous and internationally recognised fashion designers.
“It is my ambition that the dialogues and conversations supported by research currently being undertaken into manufacturing and production on the island of Ireland will provide a very real foundation for future investment in the sector and in the fashion industry.”
Niall McCaughan, Chief Executive of The Playhouse said: “The Playhouse is delighted to welcome this prestigious exhibition of exquisite work to our building, and more importantly to the city, particularly in the Year of Irish Design 2015 by DCCoI.
“Since the building was refurbished in 2009, our Plaza exhibition space has been very busy, but this exhibition in particular, is one of the biggest which we have hosted.
“We are honoured to be the only Northern Ireland venue on of this tour, which has included the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny, and the city of London”.