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Sustainable Fashion Show at British Embassy in Dublin spotlights future of Irish design

  • Industry leaders from Primark Cares, Brown Thomas, M&S and the Council of Irish Fashion designers, as well as His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner attended the show
  • Final year students from Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) premiered sustainable designs on the catwalk
  • Show coincided with London Fashion Week to celebrate UK-Irish collaboration on sustainable fashion

Pictured is a design by student Declan Weddell.

As London Fashion Week was underway in England’s capital, 24 budding Irish student designers showcased sustainable pieces at the British Embassy in Dublin. With garments made using sustainable practices, the show celebrated the future of environmentally conscious textile industries in the UK and Ireland.

On Wednesday, February 22, final year students taking part in Limerick School of Art and Design’s (LSAD) TUS Conscious Clothing project showcased their sustainable designs at the British Embassy in Dublin to a panel and audience of industry leaders.

As part of the event, a panel discussion explored different aspects of sustainability in UK and Irish fashion, from small-scale creators to major retailers. The panel was made up of Debra Drake, a finalist on the Great British Sewing Bee, Lynne Walker, Director of Primark Cares (Primark’s first sustainability campaign) and Chris Barton, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner.

Attending the event were Eddie Shanahan, Chair of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers; Diana Geraghty, Head of Sustainability, Brown Thomas; President of TUS, Professor Vincent Cunnane; Deirdre Lane, Founder of Shamrock Spring – a circular economy club in Kildare, and Irish fashion designers Celia Holman Lee. Designer Colin Horgan, a graduate of LSAD TUS also attended the event. Colin’s designs have been worn by artists including Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, Kehlani, Tolu Makay, Chaelin CL, Brooke Candy, Tierra Whack, Ashnikko and Mabel.

British Ambassador to Ireland, Paul Johnston, said“This event is a fantastic opportunity for us to mark London Fashion Week in Dublin by celebrating the innovation and creativity in the sustainable fashion industries in the UK and Ireland. It’s great to have representatives from top retailers including M&S and Primark, involved. Both companies are signatories of the UK Government’s Textiles 2030 programme, which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of new products by 50%, and the water footprint by 30%. We hope the Irish students will draw inspiration from the event and contribute to ever closer UK-Ireland cooperation on sustainability. The students showcasing their designs included: Isobel Archer, Mary Black, Emma Byrne, Austin Collins, Anna Dwan, Roisin Gordon, Aisling Guo, Anita Guring, Roisin Heffernan, Jessica Heneghan, Orlagh Henry, Marie Keave, Ezra LePoidevin, Niamh McGovern, Anna Morrisons, Ayesha Mulvihill, Alexandra O’Donovan, Caitlin O’Sullivan, Holly Quinn, Emily Sherlock, Rebeca Toal and Chloe Wade Hackett.”

Pictured is student Ezra LePoidevin after being announced the overall winner. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

President of TUS, Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “LSAD, TUS graduates have influenced international fashion for generations, drawing on the skills learnt and talents harnessed in our world-renowned school of art and design. The sustainable designs of our fourth-year students on display here, showcase their undeniable talent and skill, as well as their commitment to a more sustainable future. LSAD is proud to fly the flag for new Irish fashion and continue to build on our strong working relationship with our nearest neighbours. Tonight’s event not only showcases emerging Irish design talent, but is a celebration of the strong relationship between Ireland and the UK in this area.”

The event comes at a time when sustainability in the fashion industry is high on the agenda. Through the landmark Environment Act 2021, the UK Government has set a legally binding target to ensure that residual waste (excluding major mineral wastes) in England does not exceed 287 kg per person by 2042. This is equivalent to a 50% reduction from 2019 levels. Over the previous five years, UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) has funded significant activities to address the Sustainable Fashion agenda. This includes; The Textile Circularity Centre, a UK Fashion and Textiles data platform and parts of Future Fashion Factory. This issue has since become a priority for UKRI, and they announced a £15m Circular Fashion Programme late last year. The initial two-year programme incorporates a new ‘Sorting and Recycling Demonstrator, a dedicated Innovation Network, and a holistic Enabling Research Activity.

Pictured is overall winner Ezra LePoidevin with one of her designs. PHOTO: Mark Stedman