Young contestants have big designs for fashion awards

MORE than 200 young fashion designers are hoping to cut a dash in this year’s hotly contested Persil Irish Fashion Awards.

Now in its 9th year, the competition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students ready to take the fashion world by storm.

Persil have once again teamed up with celebrated Irish fashion designer Paul Costelloe to launch the prestigious contest.

The panel of judges also includes Irish fashion designer, Joanne Hynes and Dunnes Stores head of fashion, Dermot Colgan.

There is a first prize of €10,000, the winning outfit will be manufactured and sold through selected Dunnes Stores nationwide.

The brief for this year’s competition was to create a size 12 woman’s outfit for the spring/summer season with the style inspired by the 1980s.

In encompassing a 1980’s silhouette with a 2008 twist, students will no doubt be hugely influenced by Cyndi Lauper, whose punk-meets-hippie-chick fashion sense stirred up as much talk as her music.

Other famous singers to influence the world of fashion at the time were Blondie and Madonna.

Designs will be assessed on criteria such as workmanship, design skills and potential to develop a career in fashion.

The judges are also looking for individuality and an understanding of today’s fabrics and current fabric developments in relation to machine washing.

The eight finalists will be announced at the end of the month and the grand final will take place on the Late Late Show in April.

Dunnes Stores will also be providing nationwide displays of the finalists’ outfits in their stores next May.

Mr Colgan said they were delighted to be associated with such a prestigious competition for up-and-coming young designers.

“As an Irish company we have supported Irish suppliers and manufacturers over the years and now, through our association with this competition, we can also give our support to the many young and extremely talented students who will be taking their first steps into the fashion industry,” he said.

Arlene Hopkins a final-year National College of Art & Design fashion student from Virginia, Co Cavan, won last year’s top award.

Mr Costelloe said her outfit was incredibly well-assembled.

“Our final decision was based on overall creativity and how the garment was put together. It was a really challenging feat, and Arlene achieved it 100%,” he said.

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