Forward Fashion: Local Designers of Tomorrow

There is always a certain excitement and buzz around a catwalk show, from the moment the spotlight dips onto the catwalk and the beat of the music kicks in. However, when the future faces of fashion are waiting in the wings, ready to launch their fashion careers before your eyes, it is nothing short of inspiring.

On Friday 19 May, this year’s University of Ulster fashion graduates took the the catwalk, showcasing their creative minds and flair for design, taking influences from every walk of life, from the culture of Africa and Irish mythology to a theme of tropical fish.

Whilst it is always fascinating to see these designs on the catwalk, what truly elevated this show was the fact that, contrary to my expectations, every item on the catwalk was incredibly wearable and would not look out of place on the streets of Belfast, whilst still taking a fashion forward approach.

Student Melissa Elliott walked away with the title of ‘One To Watch’, with a gorgeous range of chunky woolen designs inspired by the art of people watching.


Naturally, such an innovative and diverse show deserves an equally striking location, and there was none better than the exquisite backdrop of St Anne’s Cathedral. The high ceilings, romantic arches and rich stained-glass windows showcased the creative fair of the Ulster University’s students to perfection.

Course Director of Ulster University’s Textile Art, Design and Fashion degree, Alison Gault, said: “Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art is helping to nurture and develop the fashion world’s next generation of talent. Our students’ show, which has become one of the premier graduate shows nationally, demonstrates the unrivalled skills, creativity and diversity of Ulster University’s student body and helps to put Northern Ireland firmly on the fashion map.”

Belfast Fashion Week’s signature ‘Local Designers’ catwalk show is living proof that Belfast has no shortage of home grown design talent, and from what I saw that evening, it will not be long before these designers appear among these ranks of our exceptional local fashion scene and beyond.

The graduates’ final pieces will be on exhibition at Ulster University Belfast from 2 June.

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