Fashion designers at LYIT have battled against the odds to deliver a stunning showcase which will premiere in two days' time.

The Department of Design and Creative Media at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) are delighted to announce that their 2021 end of year fashion showcase will be coming to audiences virtually on Thursday June 3rd at 7.30pm. 

The fashion event entitled “Fashion: Confined yet not restricted” showcases the diverse and unique work of 12 graduating designers from the BA(Hons) and BA Fashion with Promotion degree. 

The graduate fashion collections were created through lockdown confinement, but they certainly were not creatively restricted, the students worked from home to produce collections that presents their own singular vision, reinterpreting contemporary clothing that emanated from the impact COVID-19 has had on their lives. The impact upon how we live, work, socialise and communicate is stark in comparison to pre-COVID-19 and it is translated into each of the designer ranges.

Niamh Porter: We Still Burn Her Collection. Modelled by Claire Aherne. Photo by Anthony McGlynn

Marguerite Cowburn: The Compassion Collection. Modelled by Claire Ahern. Photo by Anthony McGlynn
Marguerite Cowburn: The Compassion Collection. Modelled by Claire Ahern. Photo by Anthony McGlynn

Talking about the event, Sharon Maxwell, fashion lecturer says: “We could have chosen to not plan a showcase, but by its very definition, fashion is about focusing on new ideas and celebrating innovative design so that’s what we set out to do, even though an event is not expected at this time. I believe that now, more than ever, we want to do everything possible to showcase the resilience, success and creativity of our graduating designers.  It would be such a shame for others not to have the opportunity to connect with the student’s work.”

Our innovative and talented fashion designers make a huge impact on our local and wider fashion industry to ensure that new ideas are explored, and contemporary visions are realised, promoting fashion within Donegal and beyond.  The new potential for entrepreneurial growth in this time of crisis is recognised by the Local Enterprise Board (LEO).  The students are so grateful for the continued support of LYIT Department of Design and Creative Media and our Local Enterprise Office in Letterkenny who also part-funded the event as part of their Strategic Action Plan for Creative Entrepreneurs 2019-2022, which aims ‘to raise the profile of successful local creative entrepreneurs’. 

Aoife Redican: Submerged collection. Modelled by Emily Hade. Photo by Anthony McGlynn
Debbie Pearson: Retro Vintage Collection. Modelled by Cibelle Venceslau. Photo by Nicol Mirga

The event is also supported by Gallagher Spar, Bruckless, Mc Nutt of Donegal and by money raised from the ‘GoFundMe’ walkathon campaign “Race to the Runway” which was organised by the fashion students.

“We are so lucky in Donegal to have a location like An Grianán Theatre who could facilitate our creative vision for the video” said Eilish Kennedy, fashion lecturer at LYIT.  

To these new designers, the globalization and power of big brands or fast fashion are at the opposite end of the fashion spectrum in terms of what they are trying to achieve.  Instead of mass market appeal and homogenisation of fashion, these creatives are focused on suggesting new concepts and tapping into a consumer desire for sustainable yet distinct statement fashion that ‘doesn’t cost the earth’.

Erin Travers. Aftermath Collection. Modellled by Claire Aherne. Photo by Nicol Mirga

With growing concern for ethical issues as seen in the campaign of ‘#who made my clothes’ and the environmental issues surrounding throwaway fast fashion, these designers are responding to this thirst for the new, the demand for sustainable and ethically sourced fashion that responds to a more distinct aesthetic and the expression of the wearer’s individuality. COVID-19 has accelerated a reflexive reaction towards ‘buying less but buying better’, a concept that is at the heart of what these designers envisage.

The virtual fashion show is part of the end of year graduate showcase celebrating the work from all disciplines in the Department of Design & Creative Media at LYIT which will take the form of a virtual showcase and a website exhibition and will be launched on the following day. 

Mc Elhinney’s Stores are sponsoring the ‘McElhinney’s Student Fashion Designer Award for both the BA(Hons) and BA Fashion with Promotion Students, the winners of which, will be announced at our launch of our End of Year Graduate Virtual showcase on Friday 4th June at 7.30 pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event which will be live here and across the LYIT social media pages on the night!