Archive: February 2009

FASHIONWEEK Master Classes

25 February 2009

The annual Belfast City Council Fashion Master Classes will return once again during this season's West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK. Famed for bringing some of the most respected minds and players from the fashion and retail industries, the Master Classes are one of the main attractions during the spring/summer events each year.

This year, organisers have invited more of the industry's most respected personalities and those who can help pave the way into a career, or indeed how to further your career in the fashion industry. This year the Master Classes welcome Dr Frances Corner, Head of School at the London College of Fashion; Daisy De Villeneuve, a celebrated London-based designer and illustrator; Rob Jones, E-Commerce Manager at Harvey Nichols and Paul Costelloe, a highly respected fashion designer. Closer to home, Donald McFetridge, Head of Retail Studies at the University of Ulster who has had a big say on the retail sector of Northern Ireland will be talking guests through the current retail climate and will be imparting wisdom on how retailers can strive during these difficult times, while local business man and  British Hairdressing Hall of Fame Member Paul Stafford will also be speaking on how to lift a stylish start-up off the ground, how to market it properly and how the power of PR can really get it places. Finally Amanda Spratt, designer and head of buying at one of Ireland's greatest business ventures, Avoca, will be explaining what retailers look for when buying new design or craft products as well as explaining the ethos behind her brand.

Previous speakers have included designer Gareth Pugh, who is rumoured to be joining Christian Dior this season and the BBC's Queen of Shops, Mary Portas as well as the founder of Ultimo Bras, Michelle Mone, whose moving story of how she made it to where she is today had the room in stitches one minute, and in tears the next. Alongside these famous ladies, the best minds in fashion journalism and design also spoke, including Sive O'Brien, Fashion Editor at Image Magazine; Bairbre Power, Editor of the Irish Independent Weekend Magazine, and Peter O'Brien, an esteemed Irish Designer who scratched the itch of all budding designers in the room with his flair and passion for the design of clothing.

The BCC Fashion Master Classes will take place at Queen's Film Theatre (QFT) at University Square on Friday 13 March, registration will start at 9am. To secure your place at the Master Classes, email for an application form.

The Cutest Things in Your Kitchen

02 February 2009

With an overwhelming trend to all things homely, the latest tea cosies from Ulster Weavers on are causing quite a stir among the nation's tea drinkers.

Chocolate polka dot piggies, flowery pussy cats and honeycomb bumble bees are proving popular beyond their key duty of keeping pots of tea warm, as the playful designs will also amuse adults and kids alike.

The funky shapes and fun colours sit just as well in contemporary kitchens as traditional ones and come with matching egg warmers and delicious waffle weave tea towels with perfectly matching (and very cute) embroidery. And with prices from just £4.99, they are an excellent idea for alternative gifts or just for fun. Available now on and from 15 March.

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