Unify Showcase

GORDON DONALDSON: EMMA LAVERY (ME)) Last night was a special experience for me, and one I won’t forget. For the first time I felt what it was like to show my very own creations at a fashion showcase. It seems like an understatement to call this classic event just a fashion show, in every aspect to say the least, it was truly stunning!

The formal setting of Stormont Parliament Buildings set a scene of class and pride which fitted the evening perfectly. The grand Stormont building standing proudly at the top of the pathway, perfectly resembled the established designer pieces beautifully gracing the stately staircase, causing a picturesque display of the latest fashions.

Unify Collective Studios organised the spectacular event showcasing A/W collections by: Shauna Fay, Barry Devine, Kam Kouture by Kiera Anne Marie Phillips and Unify studio manager and fashion designer David Henderson along with jewelry designers B’Jewelled Bridal, Melanie Bond and Aura handmade jewelery and crafts. Helping back stage was an absolute pleasure, getting to meet the personalities behind the talent was particularly exciting, as a fashion student it is always inspiring talking to people who have made it in the industry when you are just starting out. It is especially uplifting hearing that some of the designers such as Shauna Fay are graduates of the Fashion Management degree I am currently studying, as well as recent graduate Barry Devine who both, are at a height of success already. This gave me insight and hope for my own future knowing where my course can lead to and knowing that Unify, a supportive business for emerging fashion designers exists after graduation.

“Unify is a business formed to facilitate designers in advancing their careers as a part of a collective”

Unify proved their determination to support young designers by dedicating part of the show to students of the Belfast Metropolitan College. Students from second year Fashion Management BSc Hons: Laurence Fay, Gordon Donaldson, Deborah Berne and myself Emma Lavery: from first year Fashion Management: Nicole Mc Kenna, Jane Cordoner, Aine Doherty, Deirdre Killyleagh: and from Btech Neil Coogan, Jolene Doherty, Elisha Milligan all showcased designs, confirming the high standard of talent from all course levels at BMC. There was immense variation in styles that came from the students embracing their ability to use initiative and imagination, ranging from: formal wear, bridal and casual day wear.

“Cinemagic is an award-winning organisation that uses the magic of film and all forms of moving image to entertain, educate motivate and inspire young people”

The fact that the designers of Unify shared the experience of showcasing their high-end collections with students, justifies the aims of the business, to enhance the careers of designers starting out in the industry. Additionally, profits from the event are going to Cinemagic to help young people interested in the film industry, allowing Unify to provide a platform beyond their niche. From a student perspective it was an impassable opportunity both working back stage and showing pieces. Letting students help out backstage is great for the CV, helping boost a potential career in fashion. It was added pressure for both designers and students not only impressing the audience but lecturer Pat Dickson, course co-ordinator Grainne Mc Gowan and Curriculum Area Manager for Fashion and the Arts Frances Smyth from Belfast Metropolitan College were mingling in among the crowd. I think I can speak for them and the audience in saying the show and everyone involved managed to completely surpassed expectation in delivering a majestic evening of entertainment and fashion.

[ I would just like to mention the students working backstage: Kerry Smyth, Nicole Barr, Kelly Hyland and myself Emma Lavery from second year Fashion Management, and Breda Catney Btec along with volunteers from St Louises Comprehensive College through Cinemagic Charity. Kerrie from Our Events NI had backstage blissfully organised while keeping a fun bubbly atmosphere, kindly welcoming us students and keeping everything in order. Everyone loved how their outfits were perfectly matched to suit each lovely model. The show was hosted by Alan Simpson, and supported by: Aston Martin Belfast, Basil McCrea MLA, Parliament buildings Stormont, Design by CO-Net, Urban Fox Ltd, Charity Cinemagic ]

To check out more on Unify and individual designer profiles: http://unifyni.com/
To get more information on Cinemagic: http://www.cinemagic.org.uk/default.aspx
To explore opportunities at Belfast Metropolitan College: http://www.belfastmet.ac.uk/

(Photos of my Pop Art pieces were taken by Gordon Donaldson in the audience, the rest were quickly snapped from the balcony between walks as I was working backstage)

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