Honoured to receive Award for "Outstanding Promotion of Irish Design" at Mercedes Benz Cork Fashion Week

What a wonderful honour (and complete surprise) to receive the Mercedes Benz - Cork Fashion Week Award for "Outstanding Promotion of Irish Design" at the CFW Irish Fashion Awards in the splendid setting of Castlemartyr Resort Cork last night. Thank you to the CFW organisers Vivienne, Emer and their team for an exceptional celebration of emerging Irish fashion design talent - and also for a really fun night ! 

Emer O Mahony and Vivienne McCarthy, Directors CFW present my Award. 

Emer O Mahony and Vivienne McCarthy, Directors CFW present my Award. 

 

I am passionate about Irish Design and have actively supported the development of the Irish fashion industry since the beginning of my career - way back in the last millennium ! Through my involvement in KFW (which I co produce with Paul Ruane); Ireland Fashion Showcase New York (co-produced with Marietta Doran and supported by the Year of Irish Design) and the many designers, retailers and boutiques I showcase on the RTE Today Show, I have come to the conclusion that creatively we stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best in the business - but to survive, thrive and critically be commercially successful at home and abroad - the Industry needs a sustained, co-ordinated pro-active programme of on-going incentives and tax reliefs. 

Independently run and financed Fashion Weeks are important as they create an affordable platform for emerging talents to showcase their collections to potential buyers, the media and the public nationally (and indeed internationally via social media). There were so many exceptional emerging talents showcased at CFW last night, and the judges Sonya Lennon, AnnMarie O Connor and Heidi Higgins had a difficult task. The overall Fashion Designer award deservedly went to Zoe Redmond who showed a cohesive, creative and very wearable 'Sports luxe' collection, and I personally also loved Aisling Duff (knitwear), Hazel Comyn (modern bridal), Valerie O Shea womenswear and John Burrows (menswear). The winner of the millinery Award, Sarah Bowles, wowed with her ornate, embellished headpieces and for me, Cathy Troth and Elizabeth Christina also stood out. (Of course, the collections will not shine without a perfect palette - loved the Raphaelian Renaissance soft hair created by Michael Doyle at Peter Marks and the enchanting Games of Thrones Art Deco make up by Lola Desmond -  and all showcased to perfection by Lockdown Models). I have inserted some images below - (CREDIT STEVE SAVAGE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Fashion is an art form. It both needs and merits government support to grow and to continue to create employment within the community and for the export market. The messages communicated, and the fashion projects birthed and funded by the Year of Irish Design 2015, will have been only tokens, and their potential lost,  if meaningful support is not continued. Our most brilliant talents will emigrate and this creative energy will dissolve and our society will be Orwellian grey. Happily, (and thankfully) we don't have to leave this to Government. We have the power - as each of us can make the difference when we shop by consciously supporting Irish designers, retailers and boutiques.