styleisle archive – November 2010

This month, I chat to new designer, Amanda Grogan about her plans for the future and winning the Milan Fashion Award!

What inired you to get into fashion design?
I wasn’t the sort of designer that was looking through old Vogues when I was a child. I was always doing art- I decorated everything I could. I was such an ambitious kid, I thought there was nothing I couldn’t make, I tried to make tables and chairs… anything you can think of I probably tried to make at some stage. I think I redecorated my room once a month. When was 16 I made a costume for a play and it all started from there. I did work experience with a fashion designer in Dublin that year too and that’s when I set my mind on fashion design. The next year I took on the design and construction of 14 Elizabethan costumes for a school play and set my eyes on getting into fashion in NCAD.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when you were studying?

Balancing life with the time demands of fashion. I spent 12 hours a day, sometimes 13 hours in the studio. I loved college though.

What has been your favourite piece you have made so far and why?

I like different pieces for different reasons but my cream cashmere dress in this collection I think titters well on the line between drama, Luxury, movement, innovation and wearablity. It flatters the body with a fresh siluette.

Do you think that shows like project catwalk are representative of what it takes to be a designer? Are they a good platform?

They certainly give people insight into the pressures of being a designer in this industry. You see so many people crumble under the pressure in these sort of shows. You may only have an half and hour left to sew a dress but you just can’t panic. I think provided the tasks on the show are not gimmicky they are a great platform because they show that if you don’t thrive under pressure then you’ll never make it as a designer.

Who would be your muse if you could choose one?

I don’t like saying a particular person but I design for those who believe design should be progressive.

Tell me about your graduate collection.
The collection is called ‘CUT SEALED CAUTERIZED’. The clinical, scattered crime scene installations of artist Barry Le Va were the main visual inspiration for the collection. The details are unusual and technological. Fabrics are cleanly cut, and sealed with liquid rubber to create a stretched layered and weighted silhouette bouncing with movement. Luxurious washed silks, fine silk tulle and stretch nettings are graphically weighted with felted wools and cashmeres and coated in clean geometric shapes with liquid rubber in black, tan, white and dark grey. Flashes of orange and bold blue processed leathers make up a quirky complementary glove collection. Rubber coated shoes with molded zips and slits complete the accessories.

Since graduating, what have you been doing to develop your career as a designer?
I won the international competition Mittelmoda the Fashion Award based in Italy in July and showed my collection at Milan Fashion Week in September. The panel of judges at the competition was made up of incredibly influential people in the fashion world such as the former chairman of Valentino, Design directors from H&M and Levis and the creative directors of Gianfranco Ferre to name afew and during fashion week I had the opportunity to show my collection Anna delo Russo- fashion Director at Large of Japanese Vogue. I have had incredible exposure so far in Ireland and abroad and so many opprtunities to work with extremely talented people have come my way so I couldn’t be happier or more grateful with the developments in my career since I graduated in June.

What Irish designers do you look up to?
Eilis Boyle because she knows what she about. She has a really stong identity as a designer. As a business model I love the label Edun, the brainchild of Ali Hewston, It has a clear purpose to encourage trade ith africa and is bridging the gap between high fashion and ethical and sustainable practices.

What are your plans for the future?
I want to design collections that surprise. I want to have an influence in progressing the world of fashion but in a wider context I want what I do to have postive reprussions in the world in general. I think BIG!