by Rose Rushe
“DEBATE was heated and tempestuous,” revealed Constance Harris of the judging panel for Limerick International Fashion Student Awards as she announced the winner last night (October 23) for the 2014 competition.
Held in St Mary’s Cathedral, the catwalk ran the length under chandeliers as, from student collections from Ireland, Britain, Slovenia and Europe, Germany’s Juliane Kaatzch was named as winner.
The runner up is a Limerick School of Art and Design student, Aisling Ryan, and both women triumphed under the theme of ‘Can Fashion be Art?’
A graduate student who completed studies this year at the University of Art and Design Burg-Giebichenstein in Halle (south of Berlin), Juliane told Limerick Post that her elaborate, folksy-looking outfits were inspired by travels in South America.
“Most of the materials used are recycled. I travelled around countries in South America and watched the women working”.
In Limerick for two days, she flies back to Hamburg with a cheque for €10,000 presented by Liam Dwan of Brown Thomas Limerick and a surprise bonus of €1,000 given by Frank Lynam Design’s Larry Byrne (also judge). More significantly, she secures a year’s internship at this leading Canadian house for women’s fashion wear.
Limerick’s Aisling Ryan will enjoy a tailoring course placement, courtesy of Louise Copeland National Academy of Tailoring.
The Holman-Lee Agency was event organiser in a spectacular evening that saw prosecco and strawberries pop for guests and an impressive panel. On it were Sunday Independent’s Constance Harris, The Independent’s Bairbre Power, Brown Thomas’ Claire Breslin, Frank Lynam Design’s Larry Byrne, designer Synan O’Mahony and celebrity Valerie Campbell, accompanied by Bernard Connolly.
Whilst judges had it hot and heavy as to ‘winner takes all’, Celia treated the audience to a show of award-winning millinery.
Those invited included freelance stylist Sonja Mohlich, fresh from doing wardrobe for a movie, ‘Gaelic Curse’, and PJ Gibbons, Irish Times’ social diarist.
Prior to the riot of colours, shapes and sculpture gracing male and female models cutting through the cathedral, Sonja – working for TV3’s ‘Xposé’- gave an insight into the criteria that were to govern decisions:
“The judges are looking for a talent that could become commercial and sold at retail level. What they want is potential and something edgy – if you have an eye, you recognise it.
“It’s great that the students can get inspiration from working with international colleges,” she added. “It is great that locally placed, these students have this as a platform and can look beyond to still further their careers”.
Later, it was all aboard to an after-party in The Locke Bar, prize money, organisers, models, sponsors, panel, City of Culture personnel, bouquets and of course, certain knowledge for two emerging designers of same future made more immediate and successful.