The ARC fashion show focuses on the brilliance and resilience of Irish designers

The tenacity of Irish fashion designers to adapt in the face of the changing retail landscape comes into focus tonight in Dublin.

reland does not have its own fashion week, but the ARC runway show, taking place at the RDS, will shine a spotlight on the industry’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic after two very tough and challenging years for the creative industries.

Designers have faced shifting consumer demand, a new emphasis on comfort and relaxed silhouettes, a race for customer e-commerce access and the added headaches of Brexit – including supply chain issues and difficulties sourcing fabrics.

The annual ARC show is a major fundraiser for the charity which provides cancer support services, but this year the fashion event takes on an additional perspective as it spotlights the resilience of established and emerging designers and the ‘green card’ in business.

“The ARC show comes as consumers emerging from pandemic restrictions are declaring a serious preference for Irish designed and Irish made products,” said Eddie Shanahan, retail consultant and founder of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers (CIFD).

Then there are the sustainable credentials of Irish designers working on small production runs, seasonal collections, upcycling dead stock and using renewable natural fabrics such as wool, linen and silk.

A total of 26 designers are showing 150 looks in the clothing, hats, swimwear, jewelery and shoes categories.


Sophie Anderton models a Caroline Duffy scarf. Photo: Kaz Balinski

During lockdown, printed textiles artist and designer Caroline Duffy, from Dundalk, Co Louth, broadened her focus to include printing her artwork on silk twill scarves. They were started by former supermodel Sophie Anderton. Next week Ms Duffy will launch a new range of silk dresses at RDS.

Ms. Anderton was a great supporter of ARC. Following her marriage to Kazimierz ‘Kaz’ Balinski-Jundzill in Co Wicklow last summer, she donated her Helen Cody dress to be auctioned off for the charity – of which Ms Cody is an ambassador.

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After two years of canceled shows, organizers hope this show will reach the €500,000 goal. The line-up includes some of the most established names alongside the most exciting newcomers.

27-year-old Lia Cowan from Dublin has landed quite a coup when she gave away her ‘Assemblé’, ballet-inspired modular suits, to actress Nicola Coughlan, who has worn them for years Bridgeton promotional tour.

Heidi Higgins, from Portlaoise, Co Laois, ran her business exclusively online and launched a new line of ‘mini me’ dresses for mother and daughter during lockdown.

At 25, Gabrielle Malone typifies the “can do” philosophy. She returned from New York at the start of the pandemic, handknitted in her garden shed studio in Co Kildare, and her Wave cardigan ended up in Carrie Bradshaw’s closet at HBO Sex and the City reboot.

Twelve professional models are joined by four “ARC Angels” who are users of the ARC service. Niamh Daniels from Galway has designed special looks for her.

https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/fashion-news/spotlight-at-arc-fashion-show-will-be-on-brilliance-and-resilience-of-irish-designers-41572198.html The ARC fashion show focuses on the brilliance and resilience of Irish designers

Fry Electronics Team

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