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Daily Mail, Tuesday, June 27, 2006

From Bond-Girl-style leather knickers to fuschia pink puffball dresses, we

THE FUTURE OF
Philip Treacy, John Rocha
and Louise Kennedy fly the
flag for Irish fashion but
who will pick up the baton
for the next generation? We
meet four young designers
who are already creating a
stir and are set for the top.
CHRISSIE JOHNSON, 23, from Co.
Down, won the Persil design competition, a competition open to
final year, and recent graduate
design students, with a red and
fuschia puffball dress. She will now
work with world renowned
designer John Rocha. She says:
I ALWAYS thought that becoming a
fashion designer didnt happen to
people from round here, only to people who grew up in London or New
York, so sometimes I really cant
believe what Im doing. Especially
when I think about how I nearly
went on a very different path.
After leaving school I started

by Danielle
McGrane
studying medicine in Aberdeen but
within about six weeks I knew it wasnt for me and decided to leave. I was
still thinking about doing science,
but my parents suggested I do something I really wanted to do, so I went
for it. I was so nervous at fashion college because I thought everyone
would be better than me. But I
remember Mum saying why would
they want you if you knew it all?
At first I didnt have a clue but
after four years I finally feel like I
know what Im doing. Designing is
what I love most but when it came
to making things I was a disaster.
Luckily my tutors were always on
hand to sort me out so I dont have
any disastrous pieces in my closet.
The entry forms for the Persil competition were sent to our college
where its a really big deal. Designing for the competition is a project

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E IS lovely man, gentle


and quiet, but he knew
what he wanted and what
he was about. Its a three
month paid internship, I
couldnt believe my luck to be
working with one of Irelands top
designers. Im really looking forward to seeing how the industry
works, and I finally feel vindicated
for dropping out of medicine.
MY STYLE: For me its not about
trends, but more about having
attitude and confidence. I like to
work with colour and create
clothes with interesting shapes.
STYLE TIPS FOR AUTUMN: I think its
going to be very minimalist for the
autumn and outfits will be pared
down so remember less layers,
and simple designs.
LYNSEY MCKERNAN, 23, lives
with her family in Middletown,
Co. Armagh. She was a finalist
on the Persil Fashion Awards, .
She was also a finalist in the
University College Dublin Graduate fashion show. She will now
join Monaghan clothing designers Montex. She says:

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that they work into our final year.


I base my designs on unusual fabrics and for this collection I used
coated cottons to create a sporty
look. I used a lot of bright colours
and interesting shapes. It wasnt
overtly sexy, just a little bit of the
body was exposed in each piece.
Paul Costelloe was on the judging panel and I saw on the press
release that he praised my design.
He said my clothes could have
come from the Balenciaga collection, which is praise indeed, and
to hear it from someone in the
industry is amazing.
John Rocha came to the show on
the Saturday and on Monday
morning I got a phone call to meet
him in his studio at Ely Place. I
was really apprehensive. I spoke
with him for about half an hour
and then he and his wife asked me
would I like to work for them.

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MUM says ever since I was able to


talk Ive had a needle and thread
in my hand. My mum, her sisters
and my grandmother all made
their own clothes and my mum is
now a dressmaker. At six I was
making all my dolls clothes, using
left over fabrics from dresses my
mum used to make for me. I
remember a particular pink velour
pinafore dress Mum made for me
and I made a copy of it for my doll,
I was coordinated even then.
I progressed on to making tops
and dresses for myself, embellishing my jeans and making my own
hats and handbags. Then at the
National College of Art and Design,
I started to look at designing and
making clothes as a profession.
In final year you have to present a
collection of clothes which you
design and make yourself. People
go off the wall and do all sorts of
things, so I decided to base mine
on a trip I took to Finland.
I designed clothes for a contemporary Bond Girl, making a fur
jacket with leather knickers. It
came out last at the fashion show
and it was a show stopper.
I was a finalist in the Persil competition and was on the Late Late
Show. It was incredible to see my
clothes on a real model, and nerve
wracking but thrilling. I didnt win
the competition but Philip Treacy
was there, and said the puffballstyle dresses I showed were like
something youd see on the high
street, so I was delighted.
Its nice to hear that from a top

The new
wave:
From left,
young
designers
Melanie
Kinmonth,
Chrissie
Johnson,
Lynsey
McKernan
and Lucy
Moller
designer when youre stressed out
in college, three months from the
end of your course.
For the last five and half years
Ive been working in TopShop, to
support myself through college,
and I dream of the day my clothes
will be hanging on their rails.
I would rather design for everyday people and see my designs on
the street, not just on a catwalk.
And these days you can have so
much fun with the high street
you can experiment just as much
as with high-end fashion.
I am just about to start working
for a huge design company called
Montex for 3 months. They saw my
design on the Late Late and asked
me for an interview.
They design for high street stores
such as Dunnes Stores, Next and
Diesel Ireland, and have just set up
their own design label. Ill be working on clothes that will be in stores
up and down the country. Its my
dream job, but this is just the
beginning.
MY STYLE: Feminine and glamorous, with a retro edge. I make

clothes to make people happy and


confident when they wear them.
STYLE TIPS FOR AUTUMN: I think vintage style pieces with luxurious
items such as antique bags and
fur are going to be big.
MELANIE KINMONTH, 22 graduated last year from The Grafton
Academy and was a finalist in the
Dublin Institute of Technology student designer award. She works
for Styletex, designing for Oasis.
Melanie lives with her family in
Killiney and has set up her own
label, Hummingbird. She says:
THE highlight of my fashion
career so far was The Brown
Thomas International Fashion
Show in 2003, where I dressed
celebrities with designer clothes. I
got the opportunity through college, and it was great fun. I was in
charge of the male celebrities,
dressing a member of Westlife and
Gavin Friday.
It was great to see how a fashion
show was run. Its a mad world,
but it doesnt put me off wanting

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