Student style: Limerick fashion grads make the creative cut

In Limerick School of Art and Design, they’re busy pulling clothes apart and reimagining them in a competely different ways

The inspirations behind the collections of this year’s 28 fashion graduates from LSAD are as diverse as their expression in form and fabric often crossing the boundaries of fine art and fashion. It’s not just sewing, but laser cutting, 3D printing, painting, dyeing and embroidery and other techniques that realise the ideas.

Asta Alminaite from Lithuania, for instance, whose work placement was with an haute couture house in Algeria bases her black hand embossed leathers on the body tattoos and amulets of Berber warriors while Michaela Kennedy drew inspiration from the Korean sculptor and installation artist Do-ho Suh for her bonded woven fabrics and moulded acetates.

Kennedy was this year's winner of the Student Designer of the Year Award at the Golden Egg awards in Galway and was also a finalist in TV3's Oasis Design Your Future Competition, so already she is one to watch.

In many cases like hers students looked to artists rather than fashion designers for conceptual approaches. Alanna McIntyre drew on Van Gogh's painting Starry Night for her circular forms and intricate bindings and Bridget Murphy's outfits in industrial materials handpainted with household paints referenced American abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline.


Many set sights abroad like Niamh Mannion attracted by the tribal art of Ethiopian pastoralists.

Others drew from family memories like Maeve Fitzgerald who kept her grandfather busy on research for her collection based on photos he took in the 1950s with clothes that contrasted the tidy femininity of women at home with hardwearing masculine workclothes.

Igor Brodecki from Poland expressed a sense of a rootless nomad with a collection made from found materials, hand dyed, painted and ripped – he interned in London at the Aitor Throup studio – the Argentinian designer and creative director of the rock group Kasabian.

According to course director Ann Melinn, such placements from networks built up over the past 15 years have been central to undergrad development.

Students have headed from Limerick to New York to intern with Marc Jacobs and Opening Ceremony, others to Berlin and London and even as far as Australia to Colette Dinnegan.

"I am not educating my students to work in Ireland. It's too small a country and there's nothing here for them," comments Melinn.

What impressed Richard Malone, the talented young Irish designer based in London who spent a day with the students in Limerick recently, was their independence, their craftsmanship, their lack of house style and use of enhanced technology to create their own materials.

“They are a lot less pressurised than students in Central St Martins,” he observes.

“So that frees up a lot of space to think”.

Two of this year's LSAD graduates will further their studies at the RCA in London, a particular source of pride for Melinn.

The graduate show takes place on Thursday 21 May in the LSAD Gallery in Limerick, tickets €30 each from or or contact 061 293870