09 Aug 2022

Derry's up and coming fashion designers have just days left to win the chance to chance to attend a leading trade show

MC-Fashion competition
Budding Derry fashion designers are being urged to put their brand forward by this Friday for the chance to go to the industry’s leading UK trade show next year. Eight local designers will be selected to travel to London to showcase their collections as part of Council’s ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ following a special Dragon’s Den-style ‘pitching’ event on 14 December at the Inner City Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street. The winners will have the opportunity to promote their brands to thousands of buyers, influencers, retail and trend experts at the UK’s leading fashion trade show ‘Pure London’ on 10-12 February 2019. Earlier this year Local designers Hannah Vail and Emma Kirwin won opportunity to showcase their collections at an exclusive exhibitor event in the lead up to London Fashion Week in February. They said that this year’s pitching competition, which closes for applications on Friday, offers emerging local designers an excellent opportunity to continue their journey into the world of fashion and become the brands of the future. Hannah Vail is a Derry designer whose workshop is based in the Inner City Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre. Her range consists of embroidered and printed casualwear, t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. She has a concession for her streetwear brand *han in Topshop Victoria Square, Belfast and Topshop Foyleside. Having officially launched in September 2017, Hannah also sells the *han range online across Europe. She said: “This year’s trip to London was a brilliant experience – which really helped me to talk more about my brand and meet so many people working in the fashion industry. “The whole experience not only helped to build my confidence as a designer – but also to take my brand more seriously. “The trade show itself was huge – with lots of buyers – and it was a great opportunity for me to research and browse other brands. “I’d therefore encourage local designers to enter this year’s competition – and hopefully go on to showcase their own collections at Pure London.” Wexford native and former gymnast Emma Kirwin is also based at the Inner City Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street. Her latest collection includes a range of leotards and fashionable sportswear with a 90’s streetwear edge. Emma uses comfortable fabrics in her pieces which cater for gymnasts, dancers and performers often overlooked by other sports. She said: “It was a great experience to travel as a group to the exhibitor event earlier this year – and to importantly have the support of other local designers. “It was also fantastic to showcase our creations in the run up to London Fashion Week – and there was such an amazing excitement and buzz about the whole trip! “The experience also helped me to think about my designs and to branch out more into sportswear – instead of focusing on gymnastics gear. “I’d therefore urge as many local designers as possible to apply.  Indeed, it was a wonderful opportunity most of us simply wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the pitching competition!” The deadline for applications for this year’s designer ‘pitching competition’ is this Friday 30 November 2018. For further information and to apply visit or contact Deirdre Williams on 07807795889.

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