LSAD create Brown Thomas window, Fashion Knitwear and Textiles second year students design in the window of Brown Thomas. Picture: Laura Cotter/ilovelimerick. Text by I love Limerick correspondent Sarah Hayes.
Fashion knitwear and textiles second year students of Limerick School of Art and Design kindly invited me to interview and take photos of their most recent exciting project. The course leader, Mairead Neill showed me behind the scenes to see the students final Spring/Summer window designs for Brown Thomas in O’Connell Street. The window was unveiled on Monday January 25 however I got an exclusive look at the designs and real insight into the production of the pieces.
The brief given to the students in September 2015 was titled “Rubbish is just art waiting to happen”, after seeing the pieces that the two teams produced this statement couldn’t be anything more than true. The class was narrowed down and divided into two teams of around 6 people, both teams finished designs were extremely versatile and intriguing to the eye. The students were overwhelmed being approached by Brown Thomas but were “excited” to start the project. Other art colleges across the country including Dublin, Galway and Cork have also taken part in this project for Brown Thomas. Anne O’Dwyer and Mary Miller from Brown Thomas Limerick who oversaw the project in Limerick informed me of the brief, as it was to show, “Things which have been abandoned and find something more in them than their intrinsic worthlessness.”
The first group focused in on a floral based design incorporating bright fluorescent colours, the team was given a colour scheme to work with by Brown Thomas which they incorporated perfectly. The materials they used were mind blowing, the list included empty seven up bottles and coloured plastic spoons! The girls spent numerous hours contemplating final designs and finishes, one student told me she would go home in the evening and rethink ideas over, she was “experimenting and creating a lot of small samples” before coming up with a final design. The group ensured me that they used their imagination to create these flower walls as it really is a one of a kind piece.
The second group decided to venture down a different route as you can see from their design, they felt the need to incorporate the main theme of their course, which is knitwear and wool! The girls used large frame works and braided bubble wrap and wool around it to create the really unique piece. Coming up with a final design was very much trial and error as they began using yoga balls but opted for the large framework for their overall finished piece. They focused in on more pink and red tones which was provided to them by Brown Thomas.
The students faced numerous difficulties with the designing the pieces, for example, the first team had one flower wall made and Brown Thomas requested them to make a second wall. The students also faced a tight deadline and were constantly under pressure but they faced these issues head on and created these amazing works of art! One of the students, Mary O’Sullivan spoke to me about the most rewarding parts of the project, “the best part of the project was the experience of working with a brand that is eponymous with luxury, sophistication and professionalism. It’s a brilliant opportunity to be able to flex our creative muscles in a visual merchandising project that opened our minds to working with a new rang of recyclable materials.”
The fashion knitwear and textiles students also felt the need to highlight the fact that this is a fantastic opportunity for LSAD and their course as it promotes art and culture for Limerick city. The art students all believe that “Limerick is really changing” as it has become a “cultural hub” for young artist like these students. The students are looking forward to future projects that promote Limerick art in such a positive manner as many of them want to work in Limerick after their degrees as “fashion knit is really kicking out in Limerick city.”
Anne O’Dwyer from Brown Thomas told me that “this is now an annual event”, LSAD Fashion Knitwear and Textiles will continue to create pieces for the Brown Thomas window in the coming years.
The students predict the up and coming trends to be bright, fluorescent and colourful for the up and coming season so make sure you get a glimpse at the art work in the Brown Thomas window for some marvelous inspiration!