Irish Fashion Innovation Award Designers Showcase at CREATE 2019

Colin Burke
Brown Thomas has just launched CREATE 2019, the annual showcase that shines a light on Ireland’s most exciting and up-and-coming design talent. 

This year’s CREATE presents 33 designers across ready-to-wear, jewellery, accessories, millinery, handbags, homewares and food artisans. A number of former Irish Fashion Innovation Award winners and finalists will take place in this year’s showcase.

Winner of ‘2019 Fashion Designer of the Year’ at this year’s Irish Fashion Innovation Awards, womenswear designer Katie Ann McGuigan makes her highly anticipated debut to CREATE; her previous work credentials include McQ and Marc Jacobs. Inspired by the Bosozoku biker subculture of Japan; Katie’s collection is heavy on print and texture across a palette of lilac, mint, ochre, navy and jade. The designer fuses heavy leathers and light, breezy organzas into a flow of box and inverted pleats. Katie features layered knits, floaty tulle dresses, panelled skirts; prints throughout are roses, ginghams and tyre marks.

Katie Ann McGuigan

Galway based Irish designer and former IFIA winner, Colin Burke previously exhibited his graduate collection when he was the Brown Thomas Designer to Watch runner-up at the NCAD Graduate Fashion Show in 2017. Colin’s experiments beautifully with crochet techniques to create an exquisite collection of contemporary knit sweaters in modern silhouettes.

Joining the ready-to-wear line-up is Helen Hayes, who showcased her collection at this year’s IFIA’s in Galway. Her designs are beautifully tailored, elegant with a contemporary edge and have an exquisite tactile quality.

Four Threads by Alanagh Clegg returns to CREATE with a collection of timeless collectables designed to create a modular wardrobe to transcend each season. Using ‘perfectly imperfect’ fabrics from handwoven cotton to local Irish linen, each garment made tells a story of craftsmanship and tradition. Alanagh was shortlisted as a finalist in the fashion category of this year’s Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. 

Éadach, a range of limited edition prints from stylist and illustrator Sara O’Neill, returns to CREATE. Sara’s designs were featured in ‘The Perfect 10’ at the 2019 Irish Fashion Innovation Awards in Galway. Sara has reimagined her most popular print, ‘The Pirate Queen Sunset’ into a sweeping, swirling crepe de chine cape. Sara will also debut a brand new wild print of black horses and thorny dark roses, ‘The Roisin Dubh Toile’.

The Roisin Dubh Sara O'Neill

Former IFIA Accessory finalists, The Tweed Project return to CREATE with scarves, wraps and interiors including blankets and cushions in gorgeous bright blues. Committed to the West of Ireland for inspiration and production, the designer duo Triona Lillis and Aoibheann McNamara work solely with indigenous fabrics, adding texture and subverting tradition.

The Tweed Project

2011 Irish Fashion Innovation Awards winner, Úna Burke will present her latest collection of belts, bags and corsets in her distinct signature style. Timeless, elegant, considered and sculptural, her avant-garde design has developed a strong celebrity following all over the world including Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Madonna and featured on television’s Star Trek Discovery.

2019 IFIA ‘Jewellery Designer of the Year’ Emer Roberts Design will showcase unique pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets made in sterling silver, 9 and 18-carat gold, called ‘Wearable Biology’, inspired by the mammal species, the rat. The edgy and elegant brand focuses on the tail and lower jaw; the designs are edgy in subject matter yet elegant in execution. With its distinctive and authentic texture, the tail translates beautifully in silver and gold, making for an elegant and interesting paradox. An extension of ‘Wearable Biology’, the ‘Jaw’ collection is inspired by the elegant and organic patterns of the Art Nouveau aesthetic.

2018 IFIA ‘Jewellery Designer of the Year’ Helena Malone will showcase her new ‘Pure’ collection designed with minimal clean lines and texture with touches of colour using natural Madagascan sapphires and granulation in 18ct gold. 

A hugely successfully former CREATE designer and one of the designers featured in ‘The Perfect 10’ at this year’s Irish Fashion Innovation Awards, Bláithín Ennis returns with her striking cutting-edge handmade jewellery. Bláithin’s pieces incorporate innovative, exclusive techniques, using fine nylon braiding as her primary aesthetic and combine a mixture of robust metals and delicate, sparkling crystal. 

A finalist in the Millinery category of the 2019 Irish Fashion Innovation Awards,  Aoife Harrison creates stunning hats and headpieces for every occasion, her classically beautiful pieces have a modern twist to ensure standout style. Aoife expertly combines sparkling detail with delicate fabrics and intricate beading to create a timeless collection.

2019 IFIA ‘Millinery Designer of the Year’, Ashleigh Myles will present her collection, ‘An Awen’ – The Art of Cable Ties. Finding inspiration in the ordinary from raw materials like cable ties, Ashleigh transforms them into stunning wearable art form.

2018 IFIA ‘Millinery Designer of the Year’, Leonora Ferguson pieces are carefully woven by hand from lengths of wire into traditional lace knots before being transformed into wearable sculptural forms. Leonora introduces a sustainable vegan leather alternative Piñatex® to her latest collection entitled ‘Windows’. Leonora draws inspiration from the East, particularly woodblock prints of Samurai. Contrasting a sense of movement with stillness, the pieces explore the layers of pattern in the clothing and shapes and textures in the armour. 

Previous CREATE designer and 2019 IFIA Millinery finalistThe Season Hats will present an elegant collection featuring photocopier black and ballpoint blue headpieces contrasted with bold stripes of highlighter pink. Recognised as industry innovators for their fabric headpieces constructed to be foldable, The Season Hats has a unique style, offering contemporary refinement combined with wearability.

Michelle Kearns’ third collection for CREATE is entitled ‘Delicate Punch’, a celebration of the beautiful contradiction of the modern woman – the strong with the soft, bold femininity and the motherly ‘boss’ lady. Handmade leather and suede roses will be the constant thread throughout the collection. Sculpted wire thorns, draped tulle and intricate beading will also feature. Her designs feature in the Irish design inspired cover on the July/August double issue of GALWAYnow magazine.


After debuting in CREATE in 2013, former IFIA finalist Lucy Nagle has since become an established designer at Brown Thomas stocking her collections across all stores. Lucy’s elegant casual wear is made from the finest cashmere and wool fabrics from Inner Mongolia; Lucy has created an exclusive capsule knitwear collection for this year.

Originally from Connemara, Irish designer Alison Conneely presents a capsule collection of handcrafted garments of silk and woven wool where contemporary structured form is interspersed with subtle textured panels. Inspired by a visit to The Skelligs, a former monastic settlement – the collection mirrors a humble, serene and graceful mood. 

Now in its 9th year, CREATE is Brown Thomas’ ongoing commitment to nurturing and uncovering Ireland’s brightest new talent. Not only does it offer designers coveted retail space to gain commercial experience in a leading luxury store, the initiative also gives emerging designers the unique opportunity to learn invaluable expertise and insight from Brown Thomas and what it takes to develop collections to make it to retail level. Check out the full list of designers showcasing right here: CREATE 2019

Brown Thomas Fashion Director, Shelly Corkery comments: “The annual CREATE showcase marks an exciting time at Brown Thomas where we showcase the incredible talent coming out of Ireland today. It’s a chance to embrace Irish design and show that Ireland is producing international talent. These designers are the future of Irish fashion and we are proud to support by offering a retail platform to showcase their beautiful collections.”  

CREATE 2019 takes place in Brown Thomas Dublin for six weeks from 2nd July.


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