A DRESS influenced by ceremony and ritual has seen Limerick student Michael Stewart walk away with a top award at a prestigious fashion awards ceremony.
The 23-year-old, who is a fourth year student of Limerick School of Art and Design, was named the winner in the Student Designer of the Year 2013 category at the Fashion Innovation Awards presented by Golden Egg productions in Galway. He received a prize of â‚¬1000.
â€œItâ€™s brilliant â€“ really good,â€ said Michael of his first award in fashion.
The winning dress was a design from his fourth year collection entitled Totem.
â€œIt is a sculptural neck piece with drapery. Both the fabric and the sculpture work together on the body. It was about trying to get a relationship between the three â€“ the sculptural piece, the drapery and the body itself,â€ Michael explained.
The dress, he continued, â€œgives new proportions to the bodyâ€ and is similar to processional outfits that religious groups wear.
â€œThere are some tribal aspects as well. It is also hand painted â€“ not printed. That was important as well â€“ it is very much about hand craft. The sculptural piece was hand-crafted by me â€“ I sculpted it and then moulded it and then sanded and polished it. It is kind of like bone, antlers or tusks,â€ he added. â€œIt is not purely about designing something because you think it is pretty. Everything has 100 choices behind it. Something isnâ€™t just purely done for aesthetics, itâ€™s done for several different reasons.â€
The County Clare man â€“ he is from Kilkishen â€“ was full of praise for the organisers of the awards which are presented by Golden Egg productions and are aimed at fashion designers and fashion students from fashion colleges throughout Ireland.
â€œIt is such a good event for promoting young Irish designers. Itâ€™s also really important that itâ€™s not based in Dublin and that it was in the west of Ireland. I think it is really important that people are doing things in the west of Ireland for fashion and fashion design. I couldnâ€™t recommend entering it enough.â€
Michael plans on spending his prize money on an MA in fashion design which he is applying for next year in London.
Anne Melinn, head of fashion at Limerick School of Art and Design, said she was â€œdelightedâ€ with Michaelâ€™s fine achievement.