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Exclusive ‘Design Showcase’ for Derry Fashion Fest

05 November 2015

Northern Ireland’s most talented designers will be showcasing their latest pre-season collections to potential buyers next week as part of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s annual Fashion Fest extravaganza.

The ‘Design Showcase’ aimed at retailers, buyers and emerging and established designers, will take place in the City Hotel on Thursday, November 12th from 1.30pm-5pm, as part of the three-day Fashion Fest which follows the resounding success of last year’s inaugural event.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said Council was delighted to be hosting the new retailing opportunity as part of Fashion Fest 2015, with registration still open for prospective buyers.

Cllr. McCallion said: “Our exclusive 'Design Showcase’ exhibition will feature collections from a selection of NI’s most up-and-coming designers and, we are particularly delighted to be showcasing a number of our own home-grown designers from the north west, seven of whom are resident in the city’s Fashion and Textile Design Centre at Shipquay Street.

“The ‘Design Showcase’ is a fabulous opportunity for both potential retail buyers and 15 of NI’s most promising designers who came through an extensive selection process to provide an exclusive preview of their Spring/Summer 2016 collections.

“We are also thrilled to be welcoming two celebrated NI designers, Mariad Whisker and Mary Callan, who will bring a wealth of international experience to the city for this showcase event, which is one of the key highlights of the Fashion Fest programme.”

Danielle McNally, Council’s Business Officer who is leading the team co-ordinating Fashion Fest 2015, said they were delighted to be hosting the exclusive pre-season buying opportunity in association with Eddie Shanahan, chair of the Council for Irish Fashion Designers.

She said: “Eddie has a long history of success, working with iconic designers and retailers in both the Irish and International markets, and he was the main driver in the ‘Create’ project with Brown Thomas in Dublin. Designers who have been participating in Eddie’s designer residencies and mentoring programme have been invited to showcase their collections to potential retail buyers at the exhibition.”

The Derry-based designers taking part in the ‘Design Showcase’ include Audrey Doherty Millinery; and seven designers based at the city’s Fashion and Textile Design Centre  including, Nicola McLaughlin ‘The Sequin Cinderella’ – printed women’s wear  –  who showcased at the recent Belfast Fashion Week; Nicole McLaughlin – printed scarves; Kyree Forrest – edgy leather women’s wear; Miriam Stainsby – beachwear; Gemma Porter – alternative wedding dresses; Leona Cregan – high quality handwoven snoods, scarves, wraps; and Luke Barber – women’s wear and accessories.

The two NI guest designers taking part in the ‘Design Showcase’, Mariad Whisker and Mary Callan, have extensive fashion experience at home and overseas.

Belfast-born Mariad Whisker lectured in fashion in both the National College of Art and Design and the Limerick School of Art and Design before starting her own label in 1984. She has won numerous awards in Ireland and abroad. Following a move to Los Angeles in the mid- 90s, Mariad continued to produce collections for prestigious stores in the United States and Europe before returning to Dublin to set up her own studio in 2001 and, has made a triumphant return to the design scene at Brown Thomas.

Mary Callan, who is originally from and currently based in Northern Ireland, is a graduate of Central Saint Martins London, where she specialised in fashion knitwear.  She gained experienced in the industry at Chloe, John Rocha, Lainey Keogh and Knit One. In 2012, Mary was the winner of the Peroni Moda Awards, gaining an opportunity to work with Italian designer Marco de Vincenzo in Milan. Her work has been featured in Thread, Image, Tatler, Expose and Life Magazines.

Fashion Fest 2015 (November 12th - 14th November), features an exciting programme of events in Derry~Londonderry including a spectacular Gala Fashion Show, pre-season Designer Showcase, Junk Kouture Catwalks and Schools Programme, Creative Retailer Workshops, and a host of in-store and promotional events for everyone to enjoy throughout the city.

The event is expected to attract industry experts, emerging and established designers, buyers, students and fashion entrepreneurs as well as a dedicated band of fashionistas to the city for a three-day celebration of Derry~Londonderry’s position as an established fashion destination.

For more information about the ‘Design Showcase’ or details on how to register, contact [email protected] For Fashion Fest 2015 programme details, visit www.derrystrabane.com/fashionfest.

Tickets are now on sale via the website, Foyleside Shopping Centre (Customer Service) and Yellowmoon, Shipquay Street, for the finale Catwalk Fashion Show on Saturday, November 14th, priced at £20 each.