As mentioned in this post, the Textiles and Fashion Design students at St. Angela’s College in Sligo are holding their Graduate Showcase Exhibition tomorrow and I have been lucky enough to get to feature the graduating designers today on the blog. Here is my interview with the very talented Saoirse O Reilly whose colour palette I love and the beautiful cuts.
What made you decide to take design as a serious career path?
As a child I’ve always been around art and design so it’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. My mother is an artist and my grandmother was a fashion designer and had her own clothing factory producing her own designs so it’s something I grew up with so it felt natural that I would follow in their footsteps. Fashion and clothing is something I’ve always loved, even from a young age I loved designing and I used to make little paper dolls and make paper clothing for them.
I decided to choose fashion design as a career as I wanted to do something I loved rather than go into a field simply to get a career. It’s true that if you love what you do then you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m still young and don’t know if fashion design is something I want for a career but whether becoming a fashion designer works out for me or not at least I always know that I’m able to turn my ideas into reality and have the possibility to make people happy and excited about clothing, because clothes have the ability to do amazing things to how you feel about yourself and how others see you.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere you look. All you need to do is have an idea and just continue it on and investigate it as much as you can and wonderful things will come from it. I believe clothes should be fun and exciting so I love to play around with colours and patterns in the clothes I make and wear.
Since you are just about to graduate, what advice would you have for people thinking of studying art and design? Some tips that you wish someone had told you?
Just do the work as it comes. Don’t be lazy when it comes to the work, you’ll only regret not trying your hardest. Try to focus on why you’re passionate about art or design rather than get bogged down in the work. You chose this course for a reason. Believe you can create wonderful things and it will be true.
Can you please tell us a bit about your graduation showcase collection
For my graduate collection I created a gender neutral collection entitled ‘History Ungendered‘. I believe everyone should have the freedom to wear what they like and dress in a way which is individual to them and not feel pressured into wearing clothing simply because it is reflective of their gender so I attempted to challenge gender barriers with my collection. The concept behind my collection is ‘Bringing the Old into the New‘; I took inspiration from the clothing of Ireland’s past, when there were definite gender codes people were expected to follow, and recreated them to create a fresh and contemporary collection which feels new and exciting and is representative of today’s society but also manages to stay true to the traditional culture of clothing in Ireland.
The fabric used in my collection is all upcycled resulting in a collection which is environmentally sustainable, each piece of fabric I used has it’s own story. I used old curtains donated from friends and family, 30 year old silk my Mum got while she was travelling in Hong Kong, 60 year old fabric left over from when my grandmother had her own clothing factory and tweed cut offs which was sourced from the Foxford Wollen Mills. I strongly believe in the approach people had to clothing in the past, when clothing wasn’t thought of as disposable, so I tried to challenge the ‘fast fashion’ trend seen today by attempting to create a timeless collection which is an exciting mix of fabric combinations, colours and shapes.
What are your plans for the future – is there an area of fashion / design that most interests you?
I have no immediate plans to pursue a career. At the moment I’m just focusing on gaining life experience and travel and see the world, that way I bring bring all of those experiences and use them as inspiration for my designs. I’m excited to just have freedom in what I make and design without the limitations of college and following briefs. I’m just going to focus on finding myself as a designer and what style works best for me. When I’m ready to settle down in a job I’ll know and will go from there.
A massive thank you to Saoirse for being featured and I cannot wait to see her pieces tomorrow evening!