If the set criteria for NCAD students was barnstorming grandparents, it wouldn’t seem far-fetched: the college’s BA Fashion Class of 2019 has channeled the spirit of opera-singing grandmothers and motorbike-riding grandfathers for their evocative final collections.
One of the worst ailments that could infect any fashion college is a chronic sense of “sameness”; an achingly-visible symptom in certain overseas design schools, allowing spectators to instantly tell what college these young grads have hailed from.
Operating under the ethos that personal connotations and memory-steeped concepts make for powerful collections – a theory made tangible by most, if not all, of the current industry’s movers and shakers – Aisling O’Kelly, Linda Byrne and NCAD Fashion’s remaining team have instilled sharp individualism in their charges. Bereft of the “too cool for school” insouciance occasionally found elsewhere, these budding designers are effusive in their creative output; fearless in their delicate-meets-durable fabric fusing, whilst conceptually imagining the unimagined.
Izzy O’Reilly pays homage to her bobby-pin-wearing gran and star-boxer grandad within the same silhouette, pairing “established techniques” (1940s womenswear tailoring in rich, biscuit-y shades) with “experimental construction” (inflated latex garments, their teal surface bulging like muscles under a cold-shouldered suit).
Orla Dempsey evokes the essence of WWII’s female trailblazers alongside that of her first feminist icon, her mother, to explore a woman’s masculine and feminine qualities – hand-painted and -beaded silks, staples of lingerie, are contrasted by utilitarian workwear with a twist (the clasp on one pair of overalls, for example, is fashioned from bra straps).
Sinead Power unpacks her personal passion of G.A.A to instigate dialogue on its inherent gender inequality – exploring the politics of colour by coupling forest greens, her own club colours, with panels of vivid, feminine pinks – whilst Anni Wen electrifies traditional Chinese dress through florescent lining, digitally-driven symbols and insects influenced by the National History Museum.
All shall be revealed come Monday 27th, when the Annual NCAD Fashion Show will weave its way through the Westbury – attempting to pick a solitary favourite will prove futile.
Photograph Credits: Faolán Carey