Young emerging designers with a taste for fashion lit up Stormont’s Parliament buildings on Saturday May 4th for the ‘Unify Fashion Showcase’ which saw the collections of talented, young Northern Irish designers hit the catwalk to a packed glamorous audience with live music also provided by local up-and-coming musicians.
The chic, black tie event, which was organised by Unify Collective Fashion Studio, (a professionally fitted design studio which enables young Northern Irish designers to hone their talents) was sponsored by Aston Martin, Belfast and glamorous guests and fashionistas including Nuala Meenehan, milliner Gràinee Maher and Eve Brannon from Ulster Life and IN! magazine were all in the audience as well as MLA Basil McCrea, who had given his support to the project. BBC Radio Ulster presenter and self-confessed fashion fan, Alan Simpson, hosted the evening and all profits made from ticket sales went to Cinemagic, a charity supporting young people wishing to enter the film and television industry.
Unify studio manager and designer David Henderson said they were delighted to be given such a beautiful and historic platform to showcase the talent of local designers and musicians: “The current economic climate makes it hard for talented designers to gain employment and engage with retailers to nurture their career and, at Unify we really aim to change this.
The Unify Fashion Showcase was a fantastic collaboration of many young and established creative individuals within the fashion and music industry in Northern Ireland and provided a platform for them to proudly show off their work”.
KAM Kouture opened the show with a bang; mixing textiles and detailed embroidery to create a funky, eclectic collection playing with structure and shape with oversized capes and dropped waist lines. Barry Devine worked alongside Melanie Bond Jewellery to create an elegant evening wear collection in a palette of creams, whites and gold. David Henderson was on-trend bringing monochrome magic to the catwalk with his collection of evening dresses accessorised by Aura Handmade Jewellery. House of Hannigan created a series of pencil skirts with flashes of florals that were teamed with a dolly-mixture of millinery and head-turning hats provided by Marie Claire Millinery with pops of eye catching colours. Newry-born designer Shauna Fay’s show-stopping red dress with sheer detail on both the back and front was another highlight from the show and her bridal collection was truly outstanding.
Well-known models including former Miss Northern Ireland Finola Guinnane took to the catwalk with hair provided by Gemma Managh and make up by Kerry Anne McCourt. Guests enjoyed the musical talents of bands Go Wolf, Katie & The Carnivals and singer Rosie Carney, while DJ Jorgan McCuaig also added to the creative musical input.
As well as the emerging designers, a selection of up and coming student designers from Belfast Metropolitan College also showcased their work along with jewellery and millinery designers B’Jewelled Bridal, Melanie Bond, Aura and Marie Claire Millinery.
Joan Burney Keatings MBE, Chief Executive of Cinemagic said they are delighted to be working in partnership with an initiative that supports young creative talent, she said: “Cinemagic’s ethos is to educate, motivate and inspire young people through the creative industries. We really appreciate the effort involved in organising this event which is supporting the work of Cinemagic and enabling opportunities for young people.”
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