ROUND the clock preparations are taking place ahead of the Mallow College of Design and Tailoring 2017 show which takes place at the end of the month.
The college, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, has earned itself a stellar reputation throughout Europe for training world class design students.
Testament to that is that several of their past pupils have worked with the likes of internationally famed designers such as Don O’Neill and Umit Kutlik while they’ve also had the honour of having a student qualify for the highly regarded Frankfurt Style Award for the past three years.
Jess Lucas is one of three highly regarded tutors at the college which offers part time courses in fashion design, pattern drafting, dress making and millinery She trained herself at the college and also studied textiles at Colaiste Stiofain Naofa in the city and sculpture in NCA.D She explained that their courses suit people of all ages and from all walks of life – including those looking to change direction or qualification.
And her advice to anyone considering taking the plunge and joining them is that there’s a level for everyone – and it’s not as difficult as you might think.
“Some people do go further than others but everyone finds a way to make a living from what they learn here,” she said.
The college has 100 part time students and the end of year show which takes place in the Clayton Hotel, Silversprings on May 26 is ‘their moment’ Jess says.
“Often times they don’t realise what they have achieved during their two nights every week, they’re too close to it and this is their chance to see it at the show.” Among those taking part on the night are final year fashion design Rita Zachar, Tara Woulf and Nuala McCarthy.
All arrived at the course via very different routes but all agree the support from their tutors has been tremendous and that while the work load was heavy, the pay back was just as big.
Rita is originally from Hungary and living in Ireland for nine years.
“I completed my studies as a business and financial administrator and am also a qualified Swedish masseur. After completing an art, craft and design course I held my first exhibition in Kenmare but I knew that my spectrum of creativity needed to be brought further, so I decided to approach my childhood dream of being a fashion designer. I was delighted to find a fashion design course at Mallow College of Design and Tailoring (MCDT). They have the options of going in one full day or two evenings a week. Our teachers Mary Cashman, Sue Pierce and Jess Lucas are great mentors and always given us professional advices in every stage of our learning process.” Since she started in Mallow in 2014 her achievements have been impressive to say the least and include: DCU St; tyle Project Young Designer 2015 – semi finalist , MCDT Fashion Show 2016 – Award for best overall collection among 2nd year students; DCU Style Project Young Designer 2016- semi finalisWinner of The One to Watch Award at the Tia Maria Hi Style Awards 2016 and DCU Style Project Young Designer 2017 – finalist.
“I also make hats that I like to wear on special occasions like ladies days. After finishing my final year I am planning to apply for masters in fashion at Central Saint Martins. I am also setting up my own business, ZachARTrend where I'll custom make special occasion couture and printed scarves based on my paintings.” Tara Woulfe grew up near Doneraile and later moved to France with her. She studied History of Art and French literature in UCC and Bordeaux.
“I came to Ireland in late 2013 with just a carryon bag for a few weeks to see about getting work. My aunt saw flyer for MCDT -I was hesitant initially as fashion seemed frivolous but the teachers were great and I immediately adored dressmaking and design.
“I had always liked playing with paper dolls, knitting etc but had never even switched on a sewing machine before I started. I won an award for evening wear in first year - that and seeing what I made on the runway gave me a huge confidence boost when I really needed it.
Last year I got into the final of the DCU Project Young Designer competition. It was won by Ntando Thembani - also from MCDT!
“The whole theme of my final collection is having permission to be happy. Other years I wanted the women wearing my designs to look beautiful and strong. This year I feel its ok to just be happy and have fun.
While studying at MCDT I worked for a while in Baltydaniel NS teaching art and French. Since last September I’ve been working at Moda, boutique in Mallow.
Owner, Aoife Myler, also did the course in MCDT. It’s a great inspiration to see how well she’s done – it helps me realise that fashion is not frivolous after all!” Nuala McCarthy is from Lixnaw in Co. Kerry. After finishing secondary school she qualified as an Interior Designer before pursuing her dream of becoming a fashion designer at MCDT.
“The fashion design course in Mallow College of Design and Tailoring, has been thoroughly enjoyable and challenging few years. The course has given me plenty of hands-on experience and practical skills to prepare me to pursue a career as a designer.
“My designs are aimed at the modern woman; who appreciates well made tailored pieces but also wants to be unique. I design and produced one off pieces for wedding guests, for bridal parties and customers’ attending Black Tie events. After completing my studies in Mallow college of Design and Tailoring I wish to create my own fashion label, Nuala McCarthy Designs.” Her awards are lengthy and impressive and include being a finalist in the DCU Project Young Designer 2017.
“This competition is run in conjunction with DCU Fashion show and is the event that every student designer in the country wants to showcase their designs at. It gives you the opportunity for your design to be seen by leading industry experts,” she said.
*Fashion Show 2017 takes place at Clayton Hotel, Silversprings Hotel, 8pm on Friday May 26 – tickets available on the door on the night