Design: Irish Graduates To Watch In 2017

Róisín Pierce

Award winning National College of Art and Design graduate Róisín Pierce’s labour intensive designs are deceptively simple. The intricate, single colour pieces are sculpted using a selection of techniques that includes 3D printing and her own unique textile rolling process. Last year and aged just 22 she won the Design Council of Ireland’s ‘Pushing the Limits’ Award for her ‘radical use of textiles and unique fabric manipulation techniques’ and has already been featured in both Vogue Italia and the Saatchi Gallery. An exhibition artist as well as a designer, Pierce’s career is definitely one to follow. 

Conaill O’Dwyer 

NCAD graduate Conaill O’Dwyer’s designs excite me for two reasons; the playful use of colour and the ideology behind them. In his own words, O’Dwyer aims to ‘develop forward ways of thinking in male dress’ with ‘attitudes towards gay men and masculinity’ at the forefront of his mind. The silhouettes and materials are classic, inspired by the traditional three piece woollen suit but the end result is truly unique. Undoubtedly one to watch.

Aideen Gaynor

Aideen Gaynor’s 2016 graduate collection is one with a true story arc. Influenced by Haruki Murakami’s Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World, the collection combines elements of Victorian style and childhood memory to produce a look that is, to my eyes, the epitome of grown-up power dressing. Gaynor recently worked in costume on the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, completed several high profile internships including two with John Rocha and Simone Rocha respectively and was named “Designer to Watch” by Brown Thomas fashion director Shelly Corkery. 

Edel Traynor 

Grafton Academy graduate Edel Traynor established her label in 2015 with the aim of reducing fast fashion through the creation of forever pieces that refuse to date. Traynor combines high end materials such as leather, cotton and cashmere blends with clean, minimal lines to achieve this aesthetic and recently won a Future Maker Of The Year award.

Hannah Vail

Recent Ulster University graduate Hannah Vail incorporates sport-luxe materials and base layers to lend her feminine, pastel palette an athletic edge. There are several elements of Vail’s design that I like but particularly enjoy how her radical experiments with shape paired with a piece that resembles an old timely hair covering clashes the past and the future together in one look. She is currently a design resident at Northern Ireland’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre and has already been listed by international design directory Not Just A Label as a ‘Black Sheep Designer’, that being a designer who they recognise as ‘especially innovative, pioneering and striking in their work’.

Sinead Dunleavy

Fresh from a six month internship with demi-couture brand Marchesa in New York, current Limerick School of Art and Design student Sinead Dunleavy is not likely to be under the radar for long. Using the little known method of Mountmellick Embroidery, a floral, whitework embroidery originating from Co.Laois, Dunleavy put Irish tradition at the heart of her debut designs and it’s an approach that I hope to see again and again in the collections to come. 


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