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11th Mar 2016

A Celebration Of Irish Design At The Fashion Innovation Awards

Last night marked the seventh birthday of the Galway-based event.

Timeless leather accessories, show-stopping dresses and digital printed swimwear were just some of the highlights from last night’s Fashion Innovation Awards.

There was quite literally a piece to suit every taste from the trendy leather backpacks courtesy of Kinsale Leather to the statement dresses showcased by student designer, Colin Burke.

Student Fashion Designer – Colin Burke

This year marked the seventh Fashion Innovation Awards and an estimated 500 guests were in attendance at Galway’s Radisson Blu Hotel to celebrate some of Ireland’s style success stories.

As fashion mavens know, the FIA awards feature up and coming talent from Irish colleges including NCAD, LSAD, University of Ulster, Galway Technical Institute, Griffith College with designs from St Angela’s in Sligo taking to the FIA stage for the first time.

The show included some stand-out moments and the presentation of a monochromatic themed collection from Mairead Whisker was truly stunning.

A photo posted by (@herdotie) on

Special guest Heidi Higgins showed some of her feminine elegant wares and the Ones to Watch category, sponsored by Brown Thomas, was another highlight.

Etain Grant’s Art Deco inspired beachwear had the audience dreaming of the next flight out of Ireland and Kyree Forest’s talent for combining texture and shapes wowed guests.

Colin Burke’s stunning fashion-forward creations earned him the Student Fashion Designer of the Year while Dee Mangan was a worthy winner of Accessory Designer of the Year.

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Accessory Designer of the Year – Dee Mangan

Emma Bourke was named Jewellery Designer of the Year and Elaine Keogh was chosen as Milliner of the Year.

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Emma Bourke – Jewellery Designer of the Year

Elaine Keogh – Milliner of the Year

Last but not least, Carla Johnson, of luxury swimwear brand MONA Swims, came out on top in two of the night’s most covetable categories.

Carla is this year’s Irish Fashion Designer as decreed by the Fashion Innovation judges and she was also awarded the sought-after title of Most Innovative Designer.

ÊFashion Designer of the Year and ÊOverall Innovation Award is Dubliner Carla Johnson aka "MONA SWIMS" who won the Overall Innovation Award at the Irish Fashion Innovation awards in the Radisson Blu Galway. Photo:Andrew Downes, xposure.
Carla Johnson – Overall Fashion Designer & Most Innovative

The Irish fashion industry is thriving and the amount of young designers emerging with stunning collections is proof of this.

Until next year!

Images via Andrew Downes