DCU’s ‘Life Imitates Art’ Fashion Show 2019

The Helix Theatre played host to DCU Style’s annual fashion show last Thursday, a colourful kaleidoscope of art, fashion and music.

The theme of the night was ‘Life Imitates Art’ with famous paintings serving as backdrops and inspiration for the show.

The night kicked off with a stunning dance routine to Billie Eilish’s hostage performed by two incredibly lithe athletic girls.

Fresh back from a stint at London Fashion Week, bubbly 2fm DJ and fashionista Tara Stewart was on MC duties for the night.

The Aussie native paid homage to Irish design by wearing a custom multi-coloured Helen Steele creation and called for a round of applause for her dress when she took to the stage.

Diversity was evident on the catwalk with models of different heights, shapes, sizes and colours strutting their stuff in a confident fierce manner.

The Helix resounded to the sounds of Kanye West, The Carters and Lizzo as the models sashayed down the runway.

Models wearing Oasis

With a one-year modelling contract with 1st Options up for grabs on the night, it’s no wonder they were bringing their A-game.

The deal went to Jack Deignan, a proud moment for him and his family as a fashion insider told us his mother had flown in from Hong Kong for the occasion!

Also impressing the audience were stunning five-foot powerhouse Tara Ellis Cantwell and statuesque beauty Benedicte Akambu, who previously won the 1st Options modelling contract and is now signed to them.

While high-street brands River Island, Oasis and Penneys featured in the show, the majority of the clothing was from local vintage stores and independent designers.

Rebirth of Cool and Retro Vintage

These included Tola Vintage, Dublin Vintage Factory, Rebirth of Cool, The Harlequin, Nine Crow St, White Noise, Wise Guy, Charlotte’s Love and Heartbreak Social Club.


Dublin Vintage Factory menswear

The show was a testament to the strength of Dublin’s independent fashion scene.

The attention to detail in styling, curating and casting the show was evident throughout the night.

Tailoring and formal wear from Folkster and Magee

Magee tailoring and Collar and Cuff suits were paired with Folkster’s dainty occasionwear for an elegant look with Dizzee Rascal’s Dance Wiv Me playing in the background.


Folkster occasion wear

It wasn’t all skyscraper heels as models went barefoot and let the clothes do the talking for Charlotte’s Love to the sassy sound of Lizzo’s Boys.

While The Carters’ Apeshit hyped up the already excited crowd as models showed off Selfmade’s one-of-kind painted and print designs.

Standout pieces included Folkster’s embellished jackets, a shin-length Nine Crows fur coat modelled by Benedicte Akambu, a see-through red plastic mac styled with leather look leggings also from Nine Crows, an adorable Tola Vintage red and yellow check skirt styled with a turquoise Lacoste polo shirt worn by Qichen Hu and a black Wise Guy t-shirt worn as a dress on Katie McGowan.

Benedicte Akambu in a Nine Crows coat

Dylan Bradshaw provided the hair styling and Inglot were the makeup artists on the night.

The show was sponsored by some big-name brands including Just Eat, Bank of Ireland, Broderick’s, Spin 1038 and Carter Beauty.

Some well-known faces were spotted in the audience including YouTuber Grainne Binns looking incredible in white over-the-knee boots, black mini dress and a white faux fur coat.

During the show’s interval, we got a sneak peek at some of the up-and-coming Irish talent in the Project Young Designer competition.

Project Young Designer entry
Project Young Designer entry

The designers had to come up with a concept based on the theme of the show and interpret this into their piece.

It was judged by fashion maven Ella de Guzman, owner of popular Dublin consignment store, Siopaella.

NCAD student Heather Gilroy was awarded the prize for her innovative design combining a heavy roll-neck jumper with a light white floaty skirt over lightweight trousers and runners.

Heather Gilroy’s winning design

Heather’s design was inspired by the paintings of Louise Bourgeois with motherhood being the main theme.

She designed the outfit in the hope of modernising and bringing to life the work of Bourgeois through the means of clothing.

Her design will be showcased for all to see in Siopaella’s Temple Bar store.

An honourable mention has to go to NCAD’s John Mangru’s beautiful baroque corset and skirt modelled by Anna Lattimore, inspired by his love of extravagant renaissance paintings.

He used the colours, texture and actual garment references from the outfits in the beautiful paintings.

John said he wanted the outfit to have heavenly and ethereal vibes.

This led to the choice of fabrics that were very soft and light, almost cloud-like.

Anna Lattimore modelling John Mangru’s design

He also wanted to showcase his love of beading and printed textiles on the project.

John Mangru’s design

The show closed with Kanye West’s 2005 hit Touch The Sky blaring and a shower of colourful confetti descending from the ceiling.

The grand finale



A slick professional production from start to finish – well done to the DCU Style Soc and all involved. 

This was actually the first ever fashion show I’ve ever been to, which is mad considering I eat, sleep and breathe fashion!

It was an amazing night and I loved every second of it. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.





Chupi’s 10th Anniversary

This evening I attended the 10th anniversary of Irish jewellery label Chupi.

Chupi Sweetman is one of Ireland’s most successful jewellery designers, known for her delicate pieces inspired by nature and the wild.

I love looking at the Chupi instagram account so I was dying to see the collection in real life!

The event was held upstairs in the Powerscourt centre and was decorated with gold balloons and bunting.

Chupi herself looked amazing in a flesh colour dress with white lace floral details, in the style of For Love and Lemons dresses. She also had a gorgeous gold hairpiece.

I went with a fellow jewellery fanatic Siobhan from Aquaruby so I was in good company. 🙂

We got a glass of wine first thing and browsed all the gorgeous jewellery on display.

Unfortunately, I’m still restricted by the student budget so I wasn’t buying but had a lot of fun looking. I wore a vintage shirt, black jeans and snakeskin boots to the event.

outfit at chupi launch sharp

These are some of my favourite pieces from the collection. I loved the Constellation pieces especially each representing a star sign.

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Constellation necklaces
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Chupi jewellery

I also fell in love with the Crown of Love laurel leaf earrings which can be worn as an earring or ear cuff.

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Crown of Love earrings

The farthing coin Worth your Weight in Gold earrings are amazing, a little piece of history in the palm of your hand. Available in silver, gold or rose gold.

Worth your weight in gold earrings. Pic:

Outside a girl offered to take a polaroid picture of myself, Siobhan and her friend Meabh.

The picture came out lovely and we actually drew straws over who should keep it! I won 😛

Polaroid picture!

As well as the delicate gold pieces, there were also gorgeous colourful pieces like these beautiful rings.

  alt=<colourful rings>  alt=<blue ring>

And while I normally don’t wear rings, I did fall in love with the One in Million star ring below.

 alt=<gold star ring>   alt=<mirror>

The Wild Ivy leaf earrings below were another favourite. These are cast from a real ivy leaf.

alt=<globe> alt=<gold leaf earring>  alt=<belljar>

The swan feather necklace and I Can Fly earrings below on the right are exquisite. Again these were cast using real swan feathers and are plated with rose gold.

alt=<rose gold feather earring>       alt=<gold bracelet>

We also got a lovely goody bag with a cute notebook and pencil-perfect for college! I really wanted some nice stationary for college so I was thrilled.

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Cute stationary

 It was a lovely evening and it’s always great to see Irish and independent designers doing well.Here’s to the next ten years of Chupi.

Thanks for reading, hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Don’t forget you can like my page on Facebook here and keep up to date with my blog.



Interview with Harlow & Harvey designer Sarah O’Neill

We need to pay more attention to our own fashion designers here in Ireland for the industry to prosper and below is an interview with a really talented designer Sarah O’ Neill of Harlow & Harvey.

I first came across the label Harlow & Harvey in a store called Zebra in Galway. This store (now closed) had amazing stock and I was really impressed by the Harlow & Harvey collection, amazing dresses and fringed blazers.

 Recently I contacted Sarah  for an interview about her work.

Can you tell me about yourself and how you became interested in fashion and design?

When I was a kid I wanted to be everything from a vet, to an architect, to a filmmaker. I sort of fell into studying Fashion Design, when my sister pointed out a fashion portfolio course in Galway Technical Institute, when I was at a proverbial crossroads after doing some travelling after school. I had always been making clothes and drawn towards the creative  so I suppose it just felt like kismet, you know?

From there, I went on to do a degree in Limerick School of Art & Design (hardest four years of your life!) and then launched the label. But to this day, I still want to do everything! Alongside fashion – I DJ, I present a radio show, I do some presenting work and co-run a few other creative endeavours – but they all feed in and out of each other I suppose. Creative things are like that, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Pic: Harlow&Harvey


How did you get started with your label Harlow & Harvey?


I started my label with my graduate collection, and was lucky enough that within the first year, I won a few awards (Bulmers Best Use of Fabric award at my graduate show and also ‘Design, Make, Create’ Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year’ shortly after) that both had small bursaries attached so that I could fund creating a diffusion collection and working on the label immediately out of college.

At the time, Olivia Breene was opening a new boutique in Galway (Zebra where I spotted the label first) and she was a great champion of the label from the off, so I stocked with her there initially, and then in London with Rag & Magpie, and now in Dublin with Frock&Fabulous and also via my website ( 

Pic: Harlow&Harvey

What’s your favourite part of conceptualizing a design?

The creative process that sees a collection of garments born out of an initial theme is a weird and beautiful thing. It is messy, strange, creative and like an exhalation of ideas which is somehow cathartic so I think that might be my favourite part, creating some sense and order out of the chaos of a theme.

Do you prefer making the clothes or sketching the design and what’s involved in creating a design from a sketch/idea to a finished wearable piece?

 Harlow & Harvey is all about strong, identifiable silhouettes and mathematical detailing, in the form of my trademark fringing. I love the dichotomy that is created by the incredibly delicate wisps of hand laid fringe, and the architectural strength that they take on when laid within sexy cut-outs within the garments.


Pic: Harlow&Harvey

The label is definitely all about the subtle juxtapositions of strength and fragility, and balancing what is revealed and concealed – so I suppose that creating and finishing the actual pieces is my favourite bit of the process – seeing it through from a vague notion to a finished garment is extremely satisfying to my mathematical mind, but the creative outlet of then shooting press for the garments is amazing too!


What are your favourite prints/fabrics/colours to work with and why?

I absolutely love tactile fabrics – so much of the beauty of garments is about the feel and touch of the fabric – it is a multi sensory thing. I love bright colours – reds and purples and vivid blues as you can see in some of my collections – but also I love the simplicity of clean whites and taupes and clean, beautiful prints.

I’m often drawn to animal print for its natural reference, otherwise it tends towards geometrics. I’m not really too tied to any one palette – changing things up keeps things fresh.

Pic: Harlow& Harvey


Do you think there are many opportunities to work as a womenswear designer or any kind of fashion designer in Ireland?

Yes, of course. I think that now more than ever designers need to work smart though. Because I have always worked Harlow&Harvey as a bespoke label – as in each piece is made to order, giving the client the choice of design, adjustments, fabrication and detailing – I am in the situation where I am in complete control of the label.

Every piece is hand crafted here in Ireland by myself and so I work up garments to order. Things have definitely been affected by the recession but also new opportunities have arisen, for example, Harlow&Harvey now stocks with beautiful rentals boutiques as well – such as Frock & Fabulous in Dundrum, this business model didn’t really exist pre-recession, but now you can rent Harlow&Harvey for events as well as buy.


Pic: Harlow&Harvey

As well as this, I have created an exclusive Harlow&Harvey for Frock&Fabulous range, which is a series of long gowns with the trademark H&H fringing as detailing. They’re beautiful. You need to be a bit clever, but there is always the opportunity to make the situation work for you.


Do you have any advice for aspiring womenswear designers?

Be bolshy. Fashion is about the hustle, you really have to pursue what you want, and make it happen. 


What is most rewarding and what is most challenging about working as a designer? 

 The multi faceted nature of Fashion is amazing and one of my favourite things about the industry. Fashion is all things. It is about beauty and creativity and whimsy – which appeals to my creative side, but also about mathematics and geometry and precision – which satisfies my nerdy side.


Pic: Harlow&Harvey

The fact that I get to make beautiful things for people who cherish them is pretty amazing. The most challenging thing for me is trying to find the time to manage all sides of the business – design, pattern drafting, making, marketing, meetings etc – the list is endless at all times so it takes stamina !

What are your aims for the future?

That’s a sort of two-fold answer – Harlow & Harvey is currently moving obliquely to concentrate on bespoke wedding & event commissions – some initial (wedding dress) designs are in the works as we speak which is super exciting, and I see Harlow&Harvey filling the void for modern brides that love the idea and romance of a traditional dress but are looking for a modern, strong, individualistic & beautiful silhouettes with intricate detailing – such as my trademark fringing. For more information people can contact me directly via my website, but I also hope to be collaborating with a select few boutiques to offer this bespoke design service.

In a complete contrast, in conjunction with another project that I am working on, the label will be doing a line of printed garments, which is still in the initial stages, but that we’re really excited about! It’s an inspiring time to be in fashion. 



Hope you enjoyed the interview and these gorgeous designs!  I’m off to Kings of Leon at the Tennents Vital Festival in Belfast and going to Eminem next week so look forward to posts on these.

Thanks as always for dropping by and don’t forget  don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.