Craft and design showcase to earn €42m

THE country’s craft and fashion designers expect to earn up to €42 million at an international trade fair later this month.

The Showcase Ireland exhibition will attract more than 10,000 visitors, including 2,000 buyers from 30 countries worldwide.

“The event is very important for our exhibitors. For some of them it is the main sales opportunity of the year, particularly because of the number of overseas buyers,” organiser Gerry Murphy said.

The 600 exhibitors at the event, which runs from January 21 to 24 in Dublin’s RDS, range from major brands such as Tipperary Crystal and Avoca, down to small enterprises.

“A lot of our craft workers, such as Nicholas Mosse, would have progressed from one-person operations to becoming household names,” Mr Murphy said.

At last year’s event orders worth €42.6m were placed — a rise of a third on the previous year’s business.

Gerry Wycherley, chairman of the Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “Showcase is an important monitor of evolving trends, an essential platform for launching new products and the arena for emerging designers and small companies to introduce themselves to thousands of Irish and international buyers.”

At last year’s event, US buyers placed orders worth €5.4m, British buyers made orders of €3.7m and Northern Ireland accounted for €2.3m. German orders were worth €750,000.

More than €16.3m was spent on giftware, €12.9mon tabletop and interiors and fashion and accessories orders were worth up to €13.4m.

Knitwear designer, Joan Millar, who has exhibited at the event for 20 years and designs for Next and Burberry, said it kicked off the buying season.

Ms Millar, whose daughter Louise Knatchbull has joined her company creating children’s knitwear designs, said: “Showcase has been terrific. It has brought in a huge amount of buyers over the years from Japan, America, Canada, and Europe. We are still selling to people who come back year after year.”

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