Local designers Hannah Vail and Emma Kirwin are encouraging emerging designers
from throughout the North West to enter a new competition to win an opportunity to
showcase their brands to thousands of buyers, influencers, retail and trend experts
at the UK’s leading fashion trade show ‘Pure London’ on 10-12 February 2019.
Eight local designers will be selected to travel to London to showcase their
collections as part of Council’s ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ following a special
Dragon’s Den-style ‘pitching’ event on 14 December at the Inner City Trust’s Fashion
& Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street.
In January 2018, Hannah and Emma put forward their ‘perfect pitches’ to judges –
winning the opportunity to showcase their collections at an exclusive exhibitor event
in the lead up to London Fashion Week in February.
Describing the experience as ‘fantastic’ and an important ‘springboard’ in helping
them to grow their businesses, both say that this year’s pitching competition – which
closes for applications on Friday 30 November – offers emerging local designers an
excellent opportunity to continue their journey into the world of fashion and become
the brands of the future.
Hannah Vail is a Derry designer whose workshop is based in the Inner City Trust’s
Fashion & Textile Design Centre. Her range consists of embroidered and printed
casualwear, t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. She has a concession for her streetwear
brand *Han in Topshop Victoria Square, Belfast and Topshop Foyleside. Having
officially launched in September 2017, Hannah also sells the *han range online
She said: “This year’s trip to London was a brilliant experience – which really helped
me to talk more about my brand and meet so many people working in the fashion
“The whole experience not only helped to build my confidence as a designer – but
also to take my brand more seriously.
“The trade show itself was huge – with lots of buyers – and it was a great opportunity
for me to research and browse other brands.
“I’d therefore encourage local designers to enter this year’s competition – and
hopefully go on to showcase their own collections at Pure London.”
Wexford native and former gymnast Emma Kirwin is also based at the Inner City
Trust’s Fashion & Textile Design Centre on Shipquay Street. Her latest collection
includes a range of leotards and fashionable sportswear with a 90’s streetwear edge.
Emma uses comfortable fabrics in her pieces which cater for gymnasts, dancers and
performers often overlooked by other sports.
She said: “It was a great experience to travel as a group to the exhibitor event earlier
this year – and to importantly have the support of other local designers.
“It was also fantastic to showcase our creations in the run up to London Fashion
Week – and there was such an amazing excitement and buzz about the whole trip!
“The experience also helped me to think about my designs and to branch out more
into sportswear – instead of focusing on gymnastics gear.
“I’d therefore urge as many local designers as possible to apply. Indeed, it was a
wonderful opportunity most of us simply wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the
The deadline for applications for this year’s designer ‘pitching competition’ is Friday
30 November 2018. For further information and to apply visit
www.fashionanddesignhub.com or contact Deirdre Williams on 07807795889.
For further information on the ‘Designer Enterprise Programme’ contact Danielle
McNally Business Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council on 02871 253
253 or email email@example.com