A DESIGNER to the stars – including Oprah Winfrey – is among a who’s who of fashion personalities who have added their support to a spectacular fashion festival which takes place in Limerick next month.
Limerick International Fashion and Design Festival takes place from Tuesday, October 29 to Saturday, November 2 - one of the flagship Gathering events in Limerick this year.
The centrepiece of the festival will be The International Fashion Student Awards which will take place on the evening of Thursday, October 31 in the former Franciscan Church, Henry Street, Limerick, with a runway fashion show and awards ceremony showcasing the designs of the competing student designers from colleges and universities across Britain and Ireland along with colleges across Europe.
The overall winner of the Limerick International Fashion Student Awards will receive a €10,000 bursary plus an internship with Don O’Neill, creative director of THEIA Couture, who has agreed to be chair of the competition’s judging panel.
The Kerryman is considered one of the brightest talents in the world of haute couture having previously dressed US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
“We are thrilled to have someone of the calibre as Don O’Neill getting behind this event,” said Celia Holman Lee who is organising the festival.
“Our own Synan O’Mahony is also involved in the festival which is a unique opportunity for people working in all aspects of the fashion industry in Limerick to come together and show the world why we are such a force in terms of fashion.
“The Brown Thomas Group has come on board as the main sponsor of the winners’ prize bursary and we are delighted to be working with them on all aspects of the competition.”
Invitations have been issued to fashion colleges in Ireland, Britain, Europe, the USA, Asia and the Middle East, with acceptances already received from colleges and universities in Britain and Ireland along with colleges from across Europe.
Interest in taking part has been expressed from colleges in France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, India and the USA.
Other events taking place over the five day festival include Limerick Style - a morning coffee fashion presentation highlighting Limerick as a shopping destination; Fashion Fusion - a dinner and fashion show in association with Bóthar and Masterchefs Hospitality; and the Sybil Connelly Exhibition at the Hunt Museum.
Speaking at the launch of the festival in City Hall this week, Synan O’Mahony a native of Merval Park in the city, said he was “absolutely thrilled” to be taking part in the festival. “I have read through the brief that Celia sent me and it’s very exciting – I love coming home anyway,” he said while lacing up the bodice on one of his autumn/winter creations – a hand-made couture two-piece in electric blue and Cadbury’s purple.
“The programme is spectacular,” he continued. “I’m involved in one of the shows which is very exciting. When you see something like this and there is a competition involved which is open for people not just from Ireland but from all over the world - it’s very exciting to see the talent that is out there.”