Sometimes you see an emerging designer’s work and it just floors you. This happened at the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards 2016 when I see one of Jade Reidy’s pieces. In the image above I was won over by the structure and also materials used in this piece and I so surprised when I heard it was a student that had created the piece. Jade Reidy is the very talented Sligo St. Angeles student that created this and I was delighted when she agreed to discuss her work further with an interview.
What is your first memory of Fashion?
When we used to stay over in my granny’s as kinds I would always love to play in her high heels, she had so many. She is a glamorous Gran. That’s one memory that sticks out in my mind. I also used to love the film Grease and would watch it over and over. I was in love with the fashion and the style of all the girls in their 1950’s full skirts and the iconic Pink ladies of course.
When did you know that you wanted to study fashion and become a designer?
I think I was around 16 or 17 when I really thought about wanting to study fashion design. It was my love for art that initially lead me in this direction; I loved to draw and took art classes outside of school in my leaving cert to help me prepare a portfolio for college. This is when I most took it seriously as I was aware that a good portfolio was required to apply to any of the art, design or fashion courses.
I completed a one year foundation course in Art and Design in Derry where I was introduced to fashion and textiles. From this I knew that was what I wanted to do. It definitely helped me in deciding whether to go down the art and design root or the Fashion side of things. I’m happy I choose Fashion and textile design.
Do you remember the first piece that you created?
Yeah it was a mini skirt from one of those bought pattern’s you can get, Black with a pink satin waistband, not very fashionable now, but it was a learning process more than anything, My mum’s friend used to show me how to sew, she was extremely patient and still is if I ever need to run something by her.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My Inspiration comes from many different areas like a surface texture or just a story that I develop through a sketchbook. My graduate collection that I’m working on now is based on an emotional concept and trying to recreate that feeling through a garment. It can be difficult at times but when it’s something that really interests me it’s really enjoyable.
Are there any designers that inspire you?
Last march I went to the Alexander McQueen savage beauty exhibition in the Victoria and Albert in London. It was so amazing. There was one room called the cabinet of curiosity which still sticks out in my mind as one of the most mind blowing experiences ever. I could have sat in there forever. I am so glad I got to go and see it. It was really inspiring.
Could you tell us a little about the course in St. Angela’s that you have been doing?
It’s a 3 year BA Textiles, Fashion and Design course with Business Management in a very scenic area of Sligo, and not too far from where I live. Unlike most courses we get to incorporate both fashion and textile’s throughout the course work briefs which is great as I love both. It is the only fashion course in Ireland that has business management attached to it. This is a great help and gives us a better understanding of what the market we are entering is like and how important it is to market your product right.
You must have been delighted to have featured in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards this year. Can you tell us a little about the experience and what it meant to you?
Yes, I was so thrilled to have been a part of the competition. It is a great platform for student designer to get their hard work recognised and to show others what you have been working on. Everyone from Sligo, where I’m from was so supportive and encouraging, I was proud to get that far. It also definitely opened my eyes in relation to what other fashion students around the country are doing and how high the standard is. It was a great experience, I really enjoyed all of it.
I loved your pieces from the Awards as they were so innovative, what is your favourite material to work with?
Thanks a lot. Em I don’t know really, I suppose I like to work with textured materials, something that has an interesting feel or touch to it. I think this is what can set one garment apart from another. An interesting surface quality is something that always draws my attention in anyways.
Do you think that being an ‘Irish Designer’ will give you an edge in International Markets, especially with the international success of designers such as John Roche?
Yes most definitely, Irish design has come a long way and internationally people seem to appreciate it more. There are so many talented Irish designers. John Rocha is an example of how you don’t necessarily need to go to one of the fashion capitals to run a successful international label, he is proof that it can be done from here in Ireland.
What tips would you give inspiring designers?
Save all your extra money, it is definitely costly, but so worth it when you have a finished garment(s) to be proud of.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I am hoping to be successful within the fashion industry, I am aware it is very competitive but I am determined to give it my best shot. Who knows what the future has in store.
And finally – a VERY important Irish Tea question… Barrys or Lyons? And favourite dipping biscuit? 🙂
Emmmm Barry’s, Black tea with a Fox’s Jam and cream biscuit!!
A massive thank you to Jade for doing the interview, I have no doubt that her designs will continue to grow and I am very excited to see what happens in her future!