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New programme launched for local designers

27 September 2017

Emerging talents in the design and textile industry are set to benefit from a new programme being delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council working in conjunction with the Fashion and Textile Design Hub.

The Designer Business Start Up scheme takes its inspiration from the renowned Fashion Enter London (FEL) programme led by fashion industry specialist Jenny Holloway. The programme is a not for profit, social enterprise, which strives to provide a centre of excellence for learning and support the development of skills within the fashion and textiles industry.

Derry has a long history in the textile trade where the shirt industry played a major role in the local economy, at one point employing 10,000 people in more than 30 shirt factories across the city until its decline by the end of the 20th century.
But there is still a strong legacy in textiles here, and the Fashion and Textile Design Hub since opening in Shipquay Street, has provided a centre for the creative industries to thrive. Council’s Business Development team has been working closely with the staff at the hub to identify effective ways to support the growth of the Fashion Textile, Design and Manufacturing sector within the Council area.

Business Development Manager with Council, Louise Breslin, explained. “Having worked with the hub on a number of events such as Fashion Fest, we wanted to explore ways of promoting job creation and supporting new enterprises in this area.
“The result is a bespoke Designer Business Start Up Programme, a collaborative scheme drawing on the expertise of industry specialist Jenny Holloway and the highly successful Fashion Enter London (FEL) Programme.

“The aim of the programme is to provide specially tailored business support packages which will equip local designers with the essential knowledge and tools they need to develop their business infrastructure and growth strategies.”

The programme will comprise of a series of workshops led by industry experts covering topics including business planning, finance, accountancy, legal, range planning, costing and pricing, production, sales strategies, marketing and PR.

Business Development Manager with the Fashion and Textile Design Hub, Deirdre Williams, said they were delighted to be working with Jenny Holloway and her team. “This is a fantastic opportunity, FEL offers an excellent model on which to base our own programme and Jenny has been extremely supportive of what we are doing here at the hub to assist local designers.

“We look forward to engaging with new emerging talent and to assisting them in establishing a profile and getting a foothold in the fashion industry.”

To kickstart the Designer Business Start Up programme up and coming designers are being asked to put their Perfect Pitch to the team to be in with a chance to win a range of prizes including 1:1 Specialist Support from the team at FEL, the opportunity to showcase products at an exclusive FEL exhibition taking place during London Fashion Week, and free membership of the Fashion & Design Hub, Shipquay Street.

Applicants must be relatively new to the industry and demonstrate drive and entrepreneurial flair to match their creative talent and potential for growth, they must also reside or have a business established within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.
The Application process will open on 29th September and closes on 31st October and shortlisted designers must be available for a pitch on 14th November. For an application form and to apply please contact [email protected].

Fashion fans can also look forward to the city’s annual celebration of couture as Fashion Fest 2017 gets underway next month. Now in its fourth year the event aims to provide established and emerging designers, fashion and beauty traders, students and fashion entrepreneurs with a platform to promote their products and showcase their services. Fashion Fest the show is taking place at the Guildhall on Saturday 14th October 2017, showcasing the 2017/18 Bridal Collection by Jenny Packham along with the leading names in Irish Design - a night not to be missed.

For further information and for tickets go to www.derrystrabane.com/fashionfest.
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