The potential for the future growth of the Irish fashion manufacturing industry is being highlighted in a new exhibition, called Second Skin, which launched in London last night (March 16) in a bid to boost awareness of the country’s capabilities and improve its export potential.
The exhibition, showing at City Hall until March 25, is part of the Irish Design 2015 touring programme which is seeking to showcase the strength of the sector and was opened on Monday evening by Daniel Mulhall, the Irish Ambassador to Great Britain.
For the exhibition, four Irish fashion designers – Jennifer Rothwell, Joanne Hynes, Natalie Coleman and Sonya Lennon – were challenged to design, source and produce a garment or range of clothing in Ireland and to document the opportunities and challenges in doing so. The final garments produced, which included silk dresses and wool ponchos, were on display at City Hall alongside details of the processes entrants went through to make them.
Louise Allen, curator of the exhibition and head of international programmes for Irish Design 2015, told Drapers: “It’s hard to compete with price points of other international countries but it’s also hard to maintain quality control when you’re producing overseas. So Second Skin challenged these designers to realise the range of clothing on the island of Ireland, and where they could not procure a certain service, to document why. We are using the findings from their experience and also a report that we are commissioning on making and producing in Ireland to try and bring a level of production and manufacturing back into the country.”