Chance for Derry designers to bring their work to the world

Fri, 22/11/2019 - 14:03 -- Editor

Derry City & Strabane District Council and the Fashion & Textile Design Centre are encouraging local designers to enter a competition to win an opportunity to showcase their brands to thousands of buyers, influencers, retail and trend experts at Ireland’s leading fashion tradeshow ‘Showcase Ireland’ at the RDS Dublin on 19-22 January 2020.

Eight local designers will be selected to travel to Dublin to showcase their collections following a special Dragon’s Den-style ‘pitching’ event on 17 December at the Inner City Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street.

The ‘pitching’ competition is part of the Fashion and 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 and ensuring that local designers are empowered and provided with essential skills training, knowledge and the tools to develop their businesses effectively and efficiently.

Speaking ahead of the special ‘pitching’ competition, Deirdre Williams, Business Development Manager with the Inner City Trust’s Fashion and Textile Design Centre said she was delighted to be working with Derry City and Strabane District Council and Invest NI to offer this unique opportunity to local designers to showcase their collections to thousands of buyers at Showcase Ireland.

“Showcase Ireland is an exclusive exhibitor event and Ireland’s largest fashion trade show for trendsetting brands and designers from around the world (change to: attracts buyers from around the world). It is one of the most important trade show on the Irish calendar with over 450 exhibitors in one location,  with an estimated value of  €25.1 million over a four day period in sales and orders. Our ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ aims to provide the tools and opportunities required to support local designers in making their fashion or textile business a reality.

“It also aims to give designers an invaluable profile boost by presenting them to an international audience such as Showcase Ireland. I would therefore encourage local designers from throughout the city and district to enter the competition and put forward their ‘perfect pitch’ to the judges!”

Tara Nicholas, business officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council said the pitching competition was a fantastic way of showcasing local skills and talent in the fashion and textile design industry and promoting entrepreneurship.

She said: “Showcase Ireland is an eclectic mix of emerging designers and established brands and the ideal location for local designers to showcase their collections to thousands of top retailers. It is attended by thousands of buyers every season and sourcing from hundreds of brands, our winning designers will be in a prime position to sell to – and forge relationships with – independent boutiques, multiples, department stores and online stores. Importantly, our region – as in the past with our world famous shirt industry heritage – continues to produce young and emerging talent whose imagination and quality of design is key to a successful future in the global fashion industry.”

Bridie Mullin who was successful in the competition last year to showcase her unique textile designs at Pure in London, said it was a fantastic opportunity and something other local designers should aspire to. Encouraging local up and coming designers to get involved said “Last year’s trip to London was a brilliant experience – it really helped me to talk more about my brand and meet so many people working in the fashion industry.

“The whole experience not only helped to build my confidence as a designer – but also to take my brand more seriously. “The trade show itself was huge – with lots of buyers – and it was a great opportunity for me to research and browse other brands. I would really encourage local designers to enter the competition and hopefully get a chance to showcase their own collections at Showcase Ireland.”

Bridie said key to the success of the event was the support provided by the Fashion and Design Hub throughout the process.

“It really helps to have the support and mentoring from Deirdre and all the team at the Fashion Hub, not only does it help get you sale ready but it helps give you confidence and a better understanding of what is involved and ensures you are fully prepared to take your designs to market.”

The deadline for applications to the special ‘pitching’ event is Friday next 29 November. For further information and to apply visit www.fashionanddesignhub.com or contact Deirdre Williams on 07807795889.

For further information on the ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ contact Tara Nicholas Business Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council on 02871 253 253 or email tara.nicholas@derrystrabane.com