Cutting loose: Fashion students stage a virtual degree show

This year, graduates of Limerick School of Art & Design are showcasing their work online

“They all have a story to tell and they want to tell that story,” says Michelle Molloy, lecturer in fashion design at Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD), of the 19 graduates this year whose virtual degree show will take place next Saturday (May 29th). This year has been a difficult one for fashion students: no industry placements; working from their bedrooms alone instead of the usual creative environment of the university campus; and a disrupted annual rite of passage that will be very different to the usual excitement of a live show.

“We worked very closely with them, meeting them every week online, but it was technically more challenging when it came to the making, though they had good pattern-cutting skills, a foundation that stood to them. They never missed a meeting. They were present and engaged – you had to keep reminding them that it was the same the world over, but they are resilient and that bit hungrier and dying to get out there. Their digital skills have come on a lot and that is another skill in their arsenal – some have been making and promoting themselves online,” Molloy explains.

The students – who hail from Irish, African, European and Asian backgrounds – are diverse in their approach and design skills, many drawing from their own heritage, culture and childhood memories. Temilolaoluwa Sadiq references his African upbringing and love of Ashanti drumming for tailoring that combines structure with movement, Paula Antal’s Eastern European origin informed her versatile, workmanlike denims, while Danial Bin Azaharan’s childhood dolls were starting points for his androgynous collection called Die on the Vine.

“It has been a reflective year and may explain why so many are looking inwards,” says Molloy. Both Shannon Tynan and Aisling Cahill’s collections were personal responses to Irish boglands and woodlands using recycled denim, tweed and linen, while the fluid lines of Róisín McNamara’s collection took their form from the curvilinear furniture of Joseph Walsh. Both Siobhan Danaher and Karen Smith focused on gender-neutral approaches, Danaher describing her garments as “controlled chaos” and Smith making use of deadstock fabrics.

Intricate detailing, heavy stitching and applique mark out Kate Ruane’s work, where ideas were generated by Beatles music and 1960s counterculture. Music again, but from the 1930s jazz culture, was a starting point for Tegan Hurley’s interpretation of the zoot suit. Rebecca Whelan’s draping and handstitching deliberately reflected the movement of sails in the wind, while Steven Cody wanted to create garments that captured the power of femininity in Irish mythology.

Viewers have an opportunity to see the BA Fashion Design graduate work more closely at LIT Limerick School of Art & Design next Saturday where a film of the collection directed by fashion designer Colin Horgan with director of photography Eilís Doherty will be presented.

Photography by Cillian Garvey and Jake Casey

Models: Sorcha McElroy and Shuhan Yann from NotAnotherAgency, Dublin

Hair by Fergus Daly and Mark Byrne at New Hair Order

Makeup by Jade Toni Kiely