Two up and coming Donegal designers have dived head first into the NYC fashion scene, and are loving every New York minute.
It was only last November that Niamh Porter and Lauren Doyle graduated in Fashion and Promotion at LYIT. Now, they are making their mark in internships and at the heart of fashion week.
Not many young designers can say they’ve worked on clothing for Michelle Obama, but that’s exactly what Niamh Porter did on her very first day with Romeo Hunte.
Niamh, from Raphoe, had started an internship with the brand on New Year’s Eve when she was handed a jacket to sew. Little did she know that the blazer was a custom piece for the former First Lady of America.
“I knew that Romeo had made a jacket for Michelle Obama before, and it was so exciting to take care of this one and to see her wearing it later. I still have the sketches for it from the very start,” Niamh told DW.
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As Romeo Hunte is a rising name in the industry, Niamh gets the opportunity to work directly with the Brooklyn designer and benefit from unparalleled hands-on experience.
She said, “Going into the internship, I never thought I’d get to meet the designer, let alone work with them. I do fashion illustrations and flat drawings and we work together on putting together the interpretations for many designs.”
Meanwhile, Buncrana creative Lauren Doyle was starting out in Tom Cody Designs on the West Side. The textile design company gave her great opportunities to work in prints and styling.
“The people I work for are brilliant, there are over 20 designers and I love working on styling the prints,” Lauren said.
Niamh and Lauren both had the chance to work together during the most exciting event of the year – New York Fashion Week.
Lauren volunteered to join Niamh at Romeo Hunte’s show, where they worked behind the scenes to style models for the runway.
For Niamh, the show was a celebration of weeks of hard work.
She said: “I would do some of the fashion sketches and it was amazing to see the clothes being made and then on the models.”
“Fashion week was so crazy. We were still sewing crystals onto jacket the night before the show but everything went together so well on the day.”
Having established their own brands during their studies in Donegal, Lauren and Niamh are both hungry for experience and contacts in New York.
Lauren said: “There are so many opportunities here. It’s a hard industry to get into, but everyone knows everyone and as long as you go to events and get networking you can find a way in. It’s unbelievable, you never know who you could be talking to.
“I’m out to get as much experience as I can, and if I get the chance to stay longer I definitely would. I feel like I’ve learned so much already. Then when I come home I can set up my businesses and get it off the ground,” she said.
Niamh, who is currently working on Met Gala designs at Romeo Hunte, is also loving the work, the vibrant events and inspiration all around in the fashion district.
She said: “I wouldn’t change a thing. I want to get as much experience as possible. The good thing about Romeo is the brand is so new and I’m seeing the start-up grow too. This will show me how it’s done.”