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Designer Start Up Programme


 Derry design Collective to showcase at London fashion week

Ten ‘up and coming’ local designers have been appointed an 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.

Now known as the 'Derry Design Collective'  the ten have successfully progressed to the next stage in the Designer Business Start Up Programme and are set to travel to London mid-February during London Fashion Week to explore commercial opportunities..



The bespoke scheme designed by Derry City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with the Fashion & Textile Design Centre and Fashion Enter, London with sponsorship by Invest NI draws on the expertise of industry expert Jenny Holloway to disseminate ‘best practice’ –  ensuing local designers are empowered and provided with essential skills training, knowledge and the tools to develop their businesses effectively and efficiently.   This programme has been designed to support ‘up and coming’ designers, taking them commercially to market through a series of workshops led by industry experts, covering topics including:

  • The design process, fabric sourcing and product development
  • Sourcing the right manufacturer
  • Legal and finance
  • The sampling and production process
  • What makes a successful brand
  • PR, marketing and branding

The selected designers will now benefit from the following:

  • 1:1 Specialist Support from the team at Fashion Enter London,
  • The opportunity to showcase products at an exclusive FEL exhibition taking place during London Fashion Week
  • Free membership of the Fashion & Design Hub, Shipquay Street.
  • Designers with the ability to demonstrate creative talent and scale may have the opportunity to retail their collections at an elite Box Park development in London.


Selected Designers  

Andrew Mc Allister

Pedraza London

Andrew is a fashion graduate with a focus on creating beautifully crafted menswear pieces. Specialising in the use of Irish Tweed and Irish Linen he draws upon inspiration from his childhood where growing up near the wild Atlantic coast of Ireland, has influenced his colour palette and textures of the fabric he currently works with. 

Emma Kirwan

Empire Clothing & Leotards

Emma grew up competing for Ireland on the National Acrobatic Gymnastics squad, and graduated with a degree in Fashion design. She spent five years traveling Canada and Australia, and since returning home, has decided to combine her two passions; gymnastics and fashion. Her Autumn-Winter 2018/19 collection will feature fashionable sportswear with a 90’s streetwear edge, each outfit accompanied with matching leotards and crop tops catering for gymnasts, dancers and performers often overlooked by other sportswear designers.

She will provide a bespoke leotard service, whereby performers and groups can get unique one-off pieces, and will also design and provide club leotards and apparel to meet the needs of specific gymnastics or dance clubs.

 Alan Creswell

Alan Creswell Designs 

A recent graduate from the Ulster University, Belfast, Alan is an up and coming print designer widely admired for his hand drawn elements and bold use of colour. Animated with birds and eclectic elements, Alan showcases his passion for traditional design with a contemporary twist. 

Receiving Industry recognition and several placement offers after showcasing at New Designers in London 2017, Alan is now launching his new range of weird and wonderful designs, mastering a quirky high end look for that customer wanting something unique. 


Dream, design create.

Agne Nazebetauskaite is a luxury knitwear designer infusing the knitting concepts from the past, present and the future. Agne spent all her childhood watching her grandmother knit, wearing her handmade garments while learning the techniques. Her passion for textiles grew with her desire to connect the memories, and a contemporary vision to transform to luxury knitwear.

The Luxury Kilpos & Poms (Loops and Pompoms) are inspired by the ever-changing moods of people transitioning from one season to another, a collection of capricious chunky hats, scarves and cardigans. It incorporates the trending colours of the season, blush and burgundy, staying loyal to the old-time favourites of antique and mustard yellow. Only natural, quality merino wool is used making this collection.

Orla Phillips

Orla Phillips Designs

Recent Fashion & textile Graduate Orla Phillips is a luxury knitwear designer. Orla takes Inspiration from the world around her, from industrialized cityscapes to the exotic hidden beauty found within nature. Her designs are characterised by bold silhouettes and rich colours complimented by minimalistic patterns and playful textures, all of which play a significant role in the creation of her work. 


Hannah VAil


Han* is a unisex streetwear brand exploring fun yet minimal design. Launched in September 2017 by Fashion and Textiles graduate, the range consists of embroidered and printed casualwear in the form of t-shirts, sweats, hats. All designs have been developed from original and abstract illustrations. Han* has had success appearing as a Pop-Up on the high street as well as an online shop www.hanclothing.co.uk

Nicole Scott

Aerith & Elora

Nicole Scott is a 26year old resident designer at the FTDC in Shipquay Street. Having graduated from the University of Ulster with a degree in Graphic Design in July,  Nicole is now focusing on developing her own children’s lifestyle brand ‘Aerith & Elora’ named after her 2 daughters. Nicole’s debut collection, set to be displayed in February, draws on inspiration from classic children’s fairytales which will appeal to the typical princess loving little girl, while also stirring up a sense of nostalgia for the parents who will purchase them. 


 Emma Curtis

EmMarie by Emma Curtis

Emma is an Irish award-winning fashion and textile designer who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fashion and Textile design with business management. Emma gets all her inspiration through nature and uses luxury fabrics sourced from all around the world, some of which include Italian leather, faux fur and satins. 

She showed her first collection - SS17 during London Fashion Week with House of Ikons just 4 months after finishing college. Emma returned again to London in February 2017 with her Autumn Winter 17/18 collection. 

Emma is a resident Designer at The Fashion and Textile Design centre in Derry, specialising in bespoke made to measure garments and currently working on her Autumn Winter 18/19 womenswear collection. 


Joanne Doherty

Joanne's new jewellery and accessory range uses the latest in laser technology to create contemporary Celtic designs inspired from the 'Book of Kells'. Using bright colours and beautiful fabrics, such as leather, silk, linen and felt, she brings these iconic images up to date using the precision of the laser cut and engraving technology, combining mixed materials such as leather, wood and acrylics.

This is an exciting new fashion line for Joanne, who has been perfecting her craft with her laser business Piece Makers for the last 5 years where she primarily uses sustainable wood to celebrate peace and showcase the beauty of Ireland, North and South. She believes now more than ever is a perfect time to celebrate and combine design and technology to making something unique, special, authentic and wearable.

Edele O'Kane

​By Edele

​Edele is a Fashion & Textiles graduate from Ulster University whose main passion lies in textiles and print design. Currently, she is a member of the Fashion and Textile Design Centre in Derry, where she is focusing on applying unique prints to a capsule AW18 collection of day-to-evening ladies wear.

Her design style is a combination of line drawings and monochrome paintings, inspired by the darkness and shadows of Woodland Wonder.  Edele likes to work with hand painted placement designs and repeat patterns to create texture and detail her colour palette reflectin signature style of black and ivory with occasional highlights of colour. Create garments that are both bold illustrations and pattern based.

**Please note the application process has now closed for the pitching sessions, however the Workshops are still running throughout 2018 and FREE to attend.  For more information on click here. **


For more information on the designers profiled, please contact Deirdre Williams, Fashion Design & Textile Center on [email protected] or on mobile: 07807795889