As a graduate of Ulster University, and having friends that once studied Fashion at the university, I was ecstatic during the run up to the highly talked about event, which took place at the beautiful St Anne’s Cathedral. The wonderful Cathy Martin had kindly invited myself and my fellow NI Bloggers to share the fantastic designs showcased throughout the show. When I’m asked to describe the pieces modelled on the catwalk, I am genuinely lost for words…if I can think of some they would be “phenomenal”, “talented”, “incredible”, “creative”, and so many more positive descriptions.
Each and every students’ fashion designs stood out in their own way. On entering St Anne’s Cathedral, we were given a programme which presented us with an insight into each of the students’ inspiration behind their artwork. Although we’re currently in Summer, on the evening, we saw a lot of knitwear pieces (my favourite) created and styled in their own unique ways.
The Fashion Graduates included: Jamie Kerr, Anna McNeill, Sarah Campbell, Shannan O’Kane, Emma Benson, Abigail Walsh, Natasha McQuillan, Niamh Quinn, Amy-Lee Connon, Rachael-Ann Rafferty, Aislynn Bagnall, Melissa Elliot, Ellen Hawthorne, Leona O’Reilly, Ruth Cashel, Anna Thompson, Orla Phillips, Rachael Keys, Francesca Keaveney, Rhys Harris, Amy Cranston, Annmarie McLoughlin, Emma Morrow, Aoise Herron, Glenda Hawkes, Luisa Murray, Anthea McNeil and Rachel McDaid.
What I wore:
Choosing an outfit for the UUGFS was difficult when I thought about how unique and diverse some of the designs I would be seeing could be. In the end up I threw on a Kimono style dress from Topshop Boutique which I had picked up in the sale (down from £75 to £30 – I love a bargain). I teamed the black dress with stunning fluffy heels and an oriental print clutch (both from Primark), and subtle jewellery.
Some of the designs:
I narrowed down the three graduate designers that stood out to me and inspired me through their love and talent for fashion.
Ellen’s work was “inspired by, designed and made in Belfast”, giving me that home comfort fashion feeling. The inclusion of a much needed faux fur coat, a powerful blazer dress, as well as a cropped jumper teamed with wide legged trousers created a sense of femininity through structured profiles, adding a belt detail to show off the figure.
I was so inspired by Leona’s aim to “bridge the gap” in the fashion world. Using her own models, Leona’s designs showed strength and encouragement to be comfortable in your own body. This should prove to the media that the there should not be such a stigma when it comes to plus-sized fashion. Every BODY is beautiful.
Closing the show, Rachel’s designed pieces produced a youthful and fun feel with a knitted crop top, a long length dress with the high slit detail, and an edgy coat. Inspired by New York buildings, the simple colour scheme and effective structure of her designs made me want to visit the city even more…preferably dressed in Rachel’s gorgeous fashion designs!
The Fashion Show was an eye opener to the amount of hard work and effort that had gone into the graduates’ designs in the past three/ four years. Each of the graduates that had their work featured in the show deserve to go on and design for top fashion labels or even establish their own! The graduates have filled my heart with inspiration and even more love for fashion as art (if that was even possible). I wish each of the 28 students every success in life. I am truly amazed at the designs.
The designed pieces will be on exhibition in Ulster University, Belfast from June 2nd.