Designers put on a show for the exporters

IF our future depends on exports, then designers are trying to get in on the act.

With the RDS providing the shop window, some of our best and brightest displayed their latest creations at an exclusive show last night.

Model and broadcaster Sonia Reynolds, who directed and produced the inaugural Showcase Fashion 2012, said it was aimed at driving exports from the Irish fashion sector.

The event displayed about 250 pieces from 60 designers including John Rocha, Paul Costello, Tim Ryan, Joanne Hynes, Roisín Gartland, Eilis Boyle and Louise Kennedy.

Also featured was the work of up and coming designers such as Heather Finn, Susannagh Grogan and Jennifer Rothwell.

“We wanted to wow exclusive trade buyers in a fresh, innovative way and to reflect the excitement and creativity of the sector which holds significant international potential,” said Ms Reynolds.

The show presented different looks, mixing classic Irish designs with contemporary, unique accessories. “It married the old with the new, tracing our past and lighting up our future,” she said.

“There was terrific support for the event that has taken months of preparation and I was absolutely thrilled to be involved in it.”

The fashion show is part of Showcase 2012, Ireland’s Creative Expo — a trade show featuring 350 of the country’s leading designers, manufacturers and crafts people. Sales orders exceeding €20 million are expected over the four-day event.

More than 5,500 retail buyers from Ireland and over 17 countries around the world including Britain, the US and Japan are expected to attend.

The trade only event, now in its 36th year, is taking place in the main hall of the RDS and was opened yesterday by President Michael D Higgins.

Chief executive of the Crafts Council of Ireland, Karen Hennessy, pointed out that almost 6,000 people are employed in the craft sector, which is worth almost €500m to the economy.

“Showcase is a crucial trading opportunity for Irish designers and makers and is critical to our strategy for increasing exports and for maintaining and growing jobs,” Ms Hennessy said.

“The demand for authentic, unique, high-quality Irish products is reflected in the fact that pre-show buyer registrations for Showcase 2012 are up over 70% compared to last year and today we have been welcoming buyers arriving from as far away as Japan and Canada.”

The Crafts Council of Ireland is the main driver behind Showcase and the event is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.

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