Jane Leavey is the Programme Director for Fashion Design at Griffith College Dublin. Over the past ten years, she has played a key role in the development of the College’s Fashion Degree. The Griffith fashion degree has built a leading reputation in the industry for creative fashion design graduates with strong technology and business skills. The calibre of the fashion students’ work has resulted in numerous prestigious design awards and exhibitions, TV appearances on RTE and TV3 and features in press and glossy magazine publications. Through her role, Jane has been creative director of many fashion shows, exhibitions, editorial and video shoots and has made a number of appearances on Xposé.
Jane’s career as a fashion designer began in London; her next stop was Milan where she spent four years designing for global brands. Her work involved sourcing at the international fabric and yarn fairs including Interstoff Asia, Première Vision, Idea Como, Moda-In and Pitti Filati Florence. Throughout her career, she has worked in many of the leading centres of design and manufacturing. She spent several years designing for Mexx International working between their European Design Centre in The Netherlands and their International Headquarters in Hong Kong. Jane developed particular expertise in creating new product lines and brand development.
On her return to Ireland, Jane worked as a consultant designer with Irish brands advising on design, product development and overseas manufacturing. This extensive industry experience and knowledge of education in the field of fashion design lead to her current role in education. Her own art and design education began at IADT, then graduating from the University of Ulster with a BA Hons Degree in Textile & Fashion Design and Diploma in Industrial Studies, before completing her Masters in Design and Digital Media at the D.I.T.
Dr. Tracy Fahey is Head of Department in Fine Art and Head of Centre of Postgraduate Studies in Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT. She has previously worked as Head of Department of Humanities, IT Carlow and Head of Faculty of Design, Griffith College Dublin. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Limerick Printmakers, and is a member of the advisory boards of the Centre for Research in Popular Culture, AUT, Auckland and the Centre for Studies in Otherness, Denmark. She is a former Past President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland and a former Board member of the Hunt Museum Limerick, Design Ireland, and the Institute of Design and Disability. In 2013 she established the LSAD research centre ACADEMY where she acts as Director.
Her research passion is the Gothic, and her favourite designers are Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh. She is currently working on a book on contemporary Irish Folk Gothic for University of Wales Press. She has published extensively on Gothic art in collections by Palgrave, Routledge, Peter Lang, Manchester University Press, McParland and Rowman and Littlefield. She has also published in the areas of medical Gothic, transgressive art, contemporary Gothic art, design education, pedagogy, contemporary design practice and the history of sustainable design.
In 2010 she founded the collaborative fine art practice, Gothicise, who work on site-specific projects related to ideas of site, traces and narrative. She also writes short fiction that focuses on folklore and the uncanny and published in thirteen UK and US anthologies. Her collection, The Unheimlich Manoeuvre was published in 2016.
Rhys Ellis is a womenswear designer that launched his fashion label in 2016. He studied a BA in Fashion Design at Birmingham City University and Politecnico di Milano. Rhys stayed in Milan to train with Bespoke Tailor Guiltiero Fornetti, ex tailor to both Versace, Byblos and Armani.
After gaining invaluable experience in traditional Bespoke Tailoring, Rhys Ellis moved to London for a short period where he worked for womenswear designer Jean Pierre Braganza before moving to Amsterdam to work with Couture Designer Iris Van Herpen. Rhys Ellis worked on garments and patterns for the ‘Transforming Fashion’ Exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Le Bord des Mondes Exhibition at Palais de Tokyo, Paris and ‘Manus X Machina’ Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum in New York. Alongside exhibition garments, he worked on Ready-to-wear collections and shoes which were showcased during Paris Fashion Week.
Aside from working on garments for Iris Van Herpen, Rhys Ellis has assisted in many photoshoots with numerous well known designers; The New York Times photoshoot in Paris with German Fashion Photographer Juergen Teller, Bart Oomes photoshoot for Iris Van Herpens’ New Book and Press shoots with Fashion Photographers Warren du preez and Nick Thornton-Jones to name a few.
The contrasting experience between traditional tailoring and innovative design has drawn Rhys Ellis’ attention to the importance of fashion forward design and attention to detail.
Romy is a past pupil of Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone and is currently in her second year of studying Architecture at the Dublin School of Architecture. Romy has a passion for creativity, and has always wanted to pursue a career in design. She credits studying art and design throughout school and her involvement in Junk Kouture for inspiring this career choice.
Romy competed in the 2013 competition, along with her two friends Grace Fitzpatrick and Emily Mannion, they created ‘Banana Belle’ – a dress made completely out of dried banana skins and copper wire. The dress was inspired by the girl’s desire to not only use a recyclable material but one that was biodegradable. Their main aim was to make the material something that could be wearable. They used different methods such as crocheting, weaving and stitching to achieve the end result. “Banana Belle” came in 2nd place in the Western Region of the competition, and won the Bank of Ireland Glamour Prize – which saw Romy walk the red carpet at the premiere of Nelson Mandela’s “A Long Walk to Freedom” in Leicester Square, London.
As a student judge in this year’s competition Romy says “I am incredibly excited to be on the judging panel at this year’s Northern Regional Final. I will be looking out for those who have taken a risk in choosing their material and also how they worked with their chosen material. The designs that will really stand out to me will be those who enjoy themselves whilst performing on stage – Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture is a competition, but it is not all about winning, it’s about having fun and showing off your creativity in the best way you know how. I would highly recommend participating in Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture to any secondary school student, it was one of the best memories I have from school and it’s a great way to harness your creativity and use it in a fun and memorable way”
Femi Akinrinde is a 19-year-old past student of Malahide Community School, Dublin, and is currently in her second year of studying a BA Honours in Fashion Design at Limerick School of Art and Design.
Femi has competed in the Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture competition twice previously – in 2013 and 2014. In 2014, she was chosen as the Bank of Ireland Glamour prize winner with her design ’Lost in Translation’. Femi made the dress along with her friend Tara Collins from old books and dictionaries – they got the inspiration from the Victorian era of elegance and detail. The entire dress was covered in decorative quilled pages that were dipped in varnish to give it a vintage golden colour.
Winning the glamour prize meant that Femi got to travel to London to attend and walk the red carpet at the Royal Film Premiere of ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’. Femi says, “It was an amazing opportunity that I’ll never forget it.”
Femi commented, “This competition was the reason why I chose to pursue fashion at 3rd level, it gave me the confidence and push I needed to apply to LSAD. I would defiantly encourage any student that is interested in art and design to compete in Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture as it’s a fun and exciting way to show off your creativity and make something you can be really proud of. As this year’s southern regional student Judge I will be looking out for designs that use material in new and innovative ways through manipulation and smart a design. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!”