Presenting at Brown Thomas Galway

Brown Thomas sponsor the Ones to Watch category of the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. The morning after the awards, I met with Niamh, visual merchandiser for Brown Thomas, to deliver several garments for their store. Following the days ahead, Brown Thomas released images of their window display on their Twitter, which included my gown.

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My gown on the window of Brown Thomas Galway

My two piece gown is featured alongside Ruth Duignan (middle) and Etain Grant (right). It is constructed of 300 individual pieces of black silk organza and is paired with a suede patchwork crop top with silver topstitching.

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My two piece gown on the window of Brown Thomas Galway

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I couldn’t resist a proud photo beside my first window display!

On March 26th, I, alongside fellow Irish designer Ruth Duignan, presented a few pieces of my Autumn/Winter 2016 collection in store. After a 5 hour journey, Eoin and I arrived in Galway. Galway is immersed in character, its intimacy laced with old stone buildings and dainty bridges that frame the River Corrib. My first destination was set, as we approached Brown Thomas, my striking gown radiated confidence and stood boldly in its enigma, even from a distance. To passers by I was possibly a very excited tourist who wanted a photograph outside a famous Irish department store, but to see my creation on such an esteemed display blurred everything else in its surroundings.

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Brown Thomas promoting the Meet the Designer event

On entering Brown Thomas, we were greeted with a sign promoting the “Meet the Designers” event. We were escorted upstairs to the first floor which revealed our garments. As well as the garment on the window, I also got to display a silver leather patchwork dress and a wool patchwork dress in the store. It was so fulfilling to have my label existing between Armani and DVF!

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Bonded knit patchwork jumper dress

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My silver leather and silk patchwork dress (right) alongside Etain Grant knitwear (left)

Hopefully this will be the first of many appearances for the Kyree Forrest label!

Kyree ♥

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Irish Fashion Innovation Awards

After a long awaited, tumultuously busy few months, the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards arrived!

Months, weeks, days and hours of fabric sourcing, designing, pattern cutting and garment construction were induced to produce my Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, of which I was to showcase 4 pieces in the “Ones To Watch” category of the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. The only category that was a non-judging category, it was sponsored by Brown Thomas and included the emerging Irish designers regarded to have great potential for the fashion industry. I was honoured to be a part of such an elite event, also referred to as the “Irish Fashion Oscars.”

 

Other categories included, Fashion Designer of the Year, Milliner of the Year, Student Designer of the Year, Accessories Designer of the Year and Jewellery Designer of the Year, all of which had an abundance of overwhelming talent and held great reverence to the skill of Irish Design.

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The Kyree Forrest collection nestled among the rails

After a 5 hour drive the previous night, I arrived at Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa, Galway, for fittings on the morning of the awards. Thankfully no alterations were needed as I forgot my pins!! A wave of anticipation resonated backstage among the designers, models and producers, who were swept adrift in the Irish sea of collections.

Adorned in my own label, I was ready for the show. Just before the first half of the show came to a close, the Ones To Watch commenced, which included a former university classmate, Fintan Mulholland and a fellow resident designer of the Fashion & Textile Design Centre, Etain Grant, both of whose knitwear collections blew me, and most likely every other audience member, away!

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Brown Thomas, the sponsor of the Ones To Watch category in the IFIA

With adrenaline flowing, heart pumping impatiently to the beat of the music and eyes dancing to the lure of the models, my collection was next! Inspired by diamonds, it would  stage a production of strong protagonists: contrasting textures, metallics and geometric patchwork shapes in materials of foiled leather, silk and wool.

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Kyree Forrest bonded knit patchwork dress with leather trims

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Kyree Forrest silk, leather and Italian viscose patchwork dress.

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Kyree Forrest foiled leather and silk patchwork dress.

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Kyree Forrest silk patchwork top and Italian viscose patchwork shorts.

My collection evoked a dark, bold edge and left a subtle trail of drama in its shadow. It confidently presented wearable, sellable clothing (which doesn’t always translate on the runway) while also being innovative and original.

It was fulfilling to share a runway with immense talent and I am beyond privileged to have been a part of this event!

Kyree ♥

A Recap of the Last Year

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My final hand in at Belfast School of Art & Design. May 2015.

2015 brought with it a year of accomplishment, adventure and new beginnings. In June, I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, followed by a long awaited interrailing trip around Europe (which I would highly recommend!!) and joined the Fashion and Textile Design Centre FTDC as a platform to launch my own label.

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Me at Lake Bled, Slovenia – my new favourite place!

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On a gondola in Venice!

From my school days, having my own label was always my main aspiration. I always thought my name was strong and suited my persona and knew I would use this as the name of my label. There aren’t too many Kyree Forrest’s about..in fact, I don’t know if there’s any!

The Past 6 months…

The past 6 months have been a rewarding mix of graft and achievements. The first event my label participated in was the Designer Showcase in the City Hotel, Derry in September. Curated by Eddie Shanahan, Chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers, the designers selected to show were each allocated a stand, in which we presented our collections to potential buyers and customers. The response to my designs was phenomenal, it was so well received and it was a chance to collect opinions and valuable market research from the attendees.

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Me at my stand at the Designer Showcase in the City Hall, Derry.

A few days later, Fashion Fest’s Gala Fashion Show launched, directed by Tracey Hall and her striking models in her esteemed agency, Style Academy. This was my first professional fashion show, I was in the very premature stages of launching my brand at this stage so it had heightened gratification to show my garments alongside established designers, including the internationally acclaimed Helen Cody.

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One of my garments in Fashion Fest’s Gala Fashion Show in St. Columb’s Hall, Derry.

The next few months were filled with business meetings, business plans and business courses. Knowing my craft is not knowing business and this needed to change. I wanted a solid foundation of knowledge to build my label on and through Enterprise NI and the Prince’s Trust; I was able to do that.

The New Year welcomed me to the news that Eddie Shanahan had selected me to showcase in the Ones To Watch category of the Irish Fashion Innovations! I was absolutely elated with this news!! Only 1 week to go before the big reveal! After such an exhilarating year in 2015, 2016 started off with a bang!

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The Irish Fashion Innovation Awards, of which I am in the “Ones to Watch” category.

The last accomplishment of the past 6 months was participating in my first business pitch for the reward of winning a grant. Mentioned earlier, as an introvert this is not something that I would be eager to do but thankfully, on the day I delivered and pitched my collection with so much authority and confidence that I was selected for the grant!

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Pitching my collection in Belfast

The past few months have been filled with designing, sourcing fabrics, business planning, pattern cutting, sewing, interviews, more business planning and the sleepless nights and all nighters will be worth it when I see my collection on the runway at the IFIA!

More exciting things are on the horizon for 2016 and I can’t wait to share when they’re in fruition!

Kyree ♥