January was a busy time over at the RDS in Ballsbridge. From Funderland to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, the famous venue has been packed to the rafters.
Something a little more sedate, but none the less interesting, was Showcase, a celebration of all that is wonderful in Irish craft and design.
The event, backed by Enterprise Ireland, featured Irish talent in the areas of fashion, jewellery, design and gifts. NewsFour stopped off to chat to three exhibitors from Dublin, each with very different skills and products on offer.
Childrenswear designer, Cairenn Foy from Sandymount, was showcasing her line of luxury breathable garments for boys and girls from four and under. Foy, who only started designing last year, says her inspiration comes from the vintage styles of the 1930’s and 1940’s. “I loved the Shirley Temple movies growing up and especially the dresses she used to wear,” said Foy. “I started designing last March after previously working for Microsoft and Eircom. I thought worst case scenario I would have an amazing wardrobe for my kids, then showed the sketches to a few designers, who really liked them.” One year later and Foy is launching her Spring/Summer collection in seven Avoca stores and online, plus Brambles in Dundalk.
Amanda Vencatasamy and Joe Hayden of Hey Bulldog Design in East Wall utilise less luxurious materials for their products, but achieve equally impressive results. “All the material we use is reclaimed, sustainable and alternative, we’d like to make concrete sexy,” said Vencatasamy. Certainly their I Travel Light made from old bike spokes and their range of clocks made from pallet wood and concrete are eye-catching.
And continuing on the wooden theme, we spoke with Gary Byrne of Custom Wood Designs who are based in South Dublin. They design and manufacture wooden signage for a variety of businesses, as well as working with the corporate sector on branding products. “Facebook give out monthly awards to their staff and we make them,” said Byrne.
“We’ve also produced a special Game of Thrones presentation box for Guinness which held twenty four bottles of stout and was shipped to members of the production team with individually carved names”.
It certainly looks from our visit to Showcase that the Irish craft and design sector is in vibrant health.
By Paul O’Rourke