Archive: March 2013


25 March 2013

What a week it’s been for everybody and anybody who loves the world of fashion.  Once again, Belfast FASHIONWEEK didn’t disappoint and brought us all the very latest in chic, on-trend style from local designers, boutiques and the high street not to mention the latest beauty trends from established make-up and hair professionals, creating a fabulous fashion fix making us weak at the knees!

Cathy Martin, Director of FASHIONWEEK said:  “What a great season it’s been for the team at Belfast FASHIONWEEK.  Every season, the event just seems to go from strength to strength offering something fresh and different every time.  Fashion fans can’t seem to get enough as hundreds of style spotters packed out the Ulster Museum despite the snow and freezing temperatures every night to enjoy a magnificent display of spring/summer trends.

“The catwalks were ablaze with colour as the neon trend is huge this season, we also saw lots of nudes, florals, whites and of course magnificent monochrome.   Our boutiques, local designers and high street stores really put on a show of their most fabulous collections.” 

This season, the action-packed programme included three main catwalk shows; from George at Asda, a variety of local boutiques including Blush and Jourdan from the Lisburn Road, vintage store Jacob Street and Diamond Dolls in Banbridge and designers such as Una Rodden, Grainne Maher, and Larissa Watson among others as well as the sumptuous Style Sunday event in James Street South.  

Fashion label George, which kicked off FASHIONWEEK, has been enjoying much success of late with Northern Irish stores coming out on top as the busiest department and the label certainly demonstrated why, with our Northern Irish fashionistas being wowed by its very latest trends from its Spring/Summer and High Summer collections.

Local designers and boutiques followed on Friday 22 March with a fantastic display of true style and glamour as our home grown talent proudly took to the stage and showcased their collections to the sell-out crowd.

Cathy continued: “This popular night gave our beautiful boutiques such as Blush, and Jourdan from the Lisburn Road, plus Diamond Dolls in Banbridge and Jacob Street in Belfast their moment of glory with accompanying pieces from designers Una Rodden, Grainne Maher, Larissa Watson, Rachel McKnight, Leonora Ferguson, Nor Lisa and Ruedi Maguire among others.

On Saturday 23 March it was time for our favourite high street brands to step-up to the catwalk which featured the spring/summer collections from shopping centre CastleCourt including stores Designers at Debenhams, Warehouse, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, as well as collections from French Connection, Oasis and Marks & Spencer.  The OUTLET in Banbridge showed a range of brands which included L.K Bennett, Jaeger, Armani Exchange and Bella Gifts to magnificent applause.

As if that wasn’t enough, international hair stylist and FASHIONWEEK hair sponsor, Andrew Mulvenna treated the audience to a one-off themed hair show where all the hottest styles of the ‘Past, Present and Phuture’ were presented on stage for all to admire. 

The week was brought to a stylish close with the ever popular Style Sunday at James Street South.  Over 80 glam ladies enjoyed an intimate show of fashion, beauty and style at the award-winning restaurant offering fashion fans the last opportunity for a final FASHIONWEEK fix as the schedule came to an end.

Cathy said:  “Style Sunday is an extra special event at FASHIONWEEK.  It offers a sumptuous and intimate setting for our beautiful ladies to socialise with other glam gals over a delicious three course lunch and to enjoy being privy to some top hair tips from FASHIONWEEK hair partner Andrew Mulvenna and make up tips from European make up champion Paddy McGurgan.

 She continued: “Every show at this season’s series of events was completely sold-out proving that when it comes to fashion – Northern Ireland audiences just can’t get enough.

“I am overwhelmed by the success of Belfast FASHIONWEEK – and we feel very proud to be Northern Ireland’s premiere style event.” said Cathy.

 Preparations have already begun on the autumn/winter West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK shows - for further information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto or


23 March 2013

It’s official, West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK really is a show too good to miss!  Hardcore fashion fans ventured out for their fashion fix at last night’s event despite the extreme snowy conditions and power cuts!  It seems no amount of snow can keep these hardy stylistas away.  Crowds braved the adverse weather to attend the second night of Belfast FASHIONWEEK which was the much loved boutique and designer night, demonstrating that FASHIONWEEK really is a must see event, rain hail or shine.  Revellers watched in awe as the catwalk lit up in true style and glamour as our home grown talent proudly took to the stage and showcased their collections to the dedicated crowd.


Cathy Martin, Director of FASHIONWEEK said: “The weather outside may be grim but it certainly hasn’t put a dampener on our show tonight.  It was touch and go for a while as we lost power for around half an hour, but our audience came for a show and a show is what we gave them!  The designer/boutique show is always very popular and a favourite of many as it brings so much variety, creativity and flair to the FASHIONWEEK runway and this season has been no different.  Our dedicated fans at last night’s event were treated to an array of stunning, glamorous and one-of-a-kind designs sashaying down the catwalk delighting all who set their eyes on them.”


Diamond Dolls from Banbridge and vintage store Jacob Street in Belfast lit up the Ulster Museum alongside chic Belfast boutiques Jourdan and Blush from the Lisburn Road. These locally owned boutiques were complemented by a whole host of talent in the form of designers Una Rodden, Grainne Maher, Ruedi Maguire of the RUEDI range, Lisa McCabe of Nor Lisa, Larrissa Watson of Goddess and Swift, Rachel McKnight, Leonora Ferguson and guest designer Alexandra Heath.  Locally owned and nationally successful jewellery store Argento also made an appearance as its wide range of chic accessories added the final touch to many of the outfits.


“The quality and elegant fashions on display were a credit to the hard working boutique stores and local designers who continue their mission to bring high-end fashion to ladies in their areas and beyond” added Cathy.


Showcasing her work was a first for Tyrone based designer, Leonora Ferguson whose sleek designs in bright, sizzling colours brought a touch of warmth to the cold March evening.  She said:  “What a fantastic show and such a compliment that so many turned out to watch it despite the treacherous conditions outside.  I’m thrilled to have taken part in Belfast FASHIONWEEK for the very first time.  I’ve always enjoyed attending the shows and have spent many a season there watching other designers showcase their work and I can’t believe that tonight it was my turn to show my pieces off to the Northern Irish audience at what has become a must-attend event for anyone working in or interested in the fashion industry.”


Regular participant and well-known designer in Northern Ireland and beyond, Una Rodden showed off more of her beautiful designs which have won her a legion of celebrity fans including Nadine Coyle, Mischa Barton and Christine Bleakley; she said:  “I love FASHIONWEEK, there’s a great buzz at the shows and not only do I very much enjoy and relish the opportunity to introduce my designs to existing and new customers, but I also love catching up with other like-minded people in the industry and witnessing first-hand the talents of our home-grown designers.  Northern Ireland has some fantastic creative talent and it’s wonderful that FASHIONWEEK provides such a great platform for both distinguished and up-and-coming designers.”


Also returning to the catwalk this season was the stunning collection Nor Lisa by up-and-coming designer Lisa McCabe, she said: “I absolutely love being a part of Belfast FASHIONWEEK.  It’s such a brilliant event for young designers and helped to put me on the map in terms of being a recognised fashion designer in Northern Ireland.  It opened up so many opportunities for me and won me a little army of fans, the reception has been truly wonderful, I’m already looking forward to next season!”


Gorgeous contemporary jewellery from Argento added an extra touch of elegance to the outfits last night.  Paula Heaney, Marketing Manager for Argento said: “We are delighted to have showcased the new spring/summer collections at tonight’s very special show.  Each designer had their own unique designs and the fun, fresh and innovative designs from Argento complemented them beautifully.  Our jewellery explores the beauty of the new season with a confectionary of jewels and a kaleidoscope of colour.   Stacks of arm candy and tasteful layered necklaces are definitely on the accessory hot list and what a joy it was to show them off at FASHIONWEEK.”

The fashion frenzy continues this morning, Saturday 23 March, at IKEA with a fashion swapping event hosted by blogger Laurina Kennedy followed by the final High Street Heaven runway show tonight at the Ulster Museum which will bring an end to the main Belfast FASHIONWEEK catwalk shows this season.  The show will ensure the event ends on a high with collections from The OUTLET, Banbridge and CastleCourt including Designers at Debenhams, GAP, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse, Internacionale, Laura Ashley, Republic, New Look, NV, Exhibit, Wallis, Burton, Blue Inc, Gino, Warehouse, Miss Glam, Quiz & Dorothy Perkins as well as some of the biggest high street brands like M&S, Oasis and French Connection – it promises to be a remarkable show of fashion.


The finale show for FASHIONWEEK Style Sunday, will follow on Sunday 24 March at James Street South restaurant. 


22 March 2013

Last night, Northern Irish fashion fans were treated to a night of catwalk glamour as West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK kicked off with a remarkable opening show from fashion label George at the event’s beautiful new venue, the UlsterMuseum. 


Following a successful year for the popular brand, with George departments across Northern Irish Asda stores coming out on top as the busiest department, George demonstrated why the label’s enjoying such success by impressing fashionistas with a showcase of the very latest trends from its Spring/Summer and High Summer collections.


Director of FASHIONWEEK Cathy Martin said:  “Last night’s show was an incredible display of stylish clothes at very affordable prices.  George’s designs and cutting edge trends have been adopted by a legion of Northern Irish followers who come back time-after-time for the quality, stylish and affordable clothing that has become synonymous with the brand.  The evening went by in a blur of stunning outfits from George’s women’s, men’s and children’s ranges all styled up with gorgeous hair by Andrew Mulvenna and make up by the Paddy McGurgan Academy. Audience members were audibly impressed as they watched over 20 stunning male, female and kiddie models decorate the runway wearing the label’s top seventy five looks.”


Maggie Jardine, Regional George Manager for Northern Ireland, commented, “Having taken part in FASHIONWEEK previously on a smaller level, we were really thrilled with our first local George catwalk event and delighted that the show took pride of place headlining Northern Ireland’s most stylish week. Following a record performance in 2012, we felt FASHIONWEEK was the perfect platform for us to recognise and celebrate the label’s incredible popularity here.  In a real coup for the brand, George’s senior team of directors and fashion buyers also jetted over to Belfast last night to lend their support and enjoy the show.”


West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK continues tomorrow as our local designers and designer boutiques from right acrossNorthern Irelandtake to the catwalk to show off their quirky, individual and high-end designs.  Look out for ever-impressive Una Rodden alongside jewellery designer Rachel McKnight and Northern Ireland’s own Argento collection as well as Larissa Watson’s Goddess & Swift range among others. 


For further information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto or

Junk Kouture Final Set to Storm Millennium Forum in Derry

08 March 2013

Junk Kouture Recycled Fashion competition in association with the European Recycling Platform (ERP) and the Bank of Ireland UK is nearing its climax on the 8th March in Derry’s Millennium Forum with its Northern Final.  The Northern finalists’ entries will be showcased on a choreographed catwalk show to a packed audience with the winning designs securing a place in the all-Ireland final at ‘The Bord Gais’ in Dublin.  The show will be sponsored by the Department of the Environment Rethink Waste NI campaign.

The Junk Kouture competition has seen thousands of teenagers’ work submitted over the past two years, with some spectacular and awe-inspiring pieces gracing the competition’s regional and national catwalks.  Sponsored by ERP, the only pan-European compliance scheme for electronic waste and battery recycling, Junk Kouture is the leading fashion and art competition for second level school students across Ireland and has a reputation, among many, as being the most creative.

The all-Ireland competition has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2010.  The competition has seen student’s work featured on the red carpet at the Royal Premiere of ‘The Hobbit’ in London, captivated audiences at pop-up trashionista fashion shows in Victoria Square among others; been accredited from the European Week for Waste Reduction Awards with a specially commissioned trophy by Alex Attwood MLA, Minister of the Environment on the Northern Ireland Executive, and received widespread media attention.

The judges for this competition include a selection of fashion and eco experts including Donegal-born, international model and prolific blogger Faye Dinsmore as well as stylist and TV presenter, Darren Kennedy, who is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s top style influencers. Darren brings his sharp fashion sense and keen eye to the judging panel while Tracy Fahey from the prestigious Limerick School of Art and Design will seek to separate the junk from the Junk Kouture. Yvonne Holmes, who is Head of Corporate Communications for ERP Ireland, chairs the judging panel and she will be watching out for the outfits that best promote sustainability, incorporate used materials effectively and of course make clever use of electronic waste in the Junk Kouture submissions.

On the evening Bank of Ireland UK Regional Manger Sean Sheehan and Scott Butler, managing director at ERP UK will be presenting twenty finalists with a golden ticket each that will grant them access to the grand final in Dublin.

Founder of Junk Kouture, Elizabeth O’Donnell had this to say about this year’s Northern Final: “I am so excited about seeing what the North has to offer this year!  Last year our Northern winner Jose Varandas’ Warrior Knight Coke Can outfit became one of the most iconic pieces from the 2012 competition.  I’ve heard on the grapevine that some of this year’s entrants have created outfits from artificial grass and orange peel- so I think everyone is in for a real treat with the show!”

Regional Manager of Bank of Ireland UK Sean Sheehan had this to say; “Bank of Ireland UK are thrilled to be involved with Junk Kouture this year in what looks set to be the most creative year yet.  We are looking forward to the showcase in the Millennium Forum and have no doubt the students will knock the socks off all other entries across Ireland!  We are truly astounded by the standard of entries and the talent that is out there and wish all the finalists the very best as they get set to unveil their creations.”

Scott Butler, managing director at ERP UK, said: “We are delighted to be kicking off the regional finals in Derry. Last year’s Northern final was a triumph and I am sure we will be blown away again by the creativity on show this year.”

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “It is appropriate that Junk Kouture’s regional final is taking place during Climate Week.”
“It helps my Department’s Rethink Waste programme to promote a sustainable and resource efficient society as one of the many initiatives being developed for young people, to change attitudes and seek a more sustainable future.
“Junk Kouture’s aim, of educating people to the importance of recycling and reusing waste for the good of the planet, is dramatically demonstrated at the catwalk fashions on show at the City of Derry finals.”
Continuing Mr Attwood added:  “By being dynamic, innovative and ‘Rethinking Waste’ in such ways, Junk Kouture is doing its part for the future of our planet. By playing its own role in the country’s biggest climate change campaign, Climate Week, it is inspiring a new wave of action to create a sustainable future”.
“It is pushing the impact of our collective actions on the climate and environment a little bit more to the forefront of young peoples’ awareness. Good luck to all tonight’s competitors – all of whom will be so impressive on the catwalk – as they all vie for a place at the grand final.”

The Northern Final is taking place in The Millennium Forum in Derry at 7pm on 8th March; tickets are £15 per person.  For further information, please log on to or visit the Facebook page at: 

Northern Ireland's 'Material Girl' celebrates new premises for Roycroft Interiors  

06 March 2013

Ruth Coates from Lisburn-based interiors business, Roycroft Interiors, has something to shout about.  Having started her career over 13 years ago making curtains from her sun room, Ruth has gone from a handful of clients and 2am deadlines to managing a dedicated team in sophisticated new premises where business has continued to buck the trend and grows from strength to strength.

Ruth has become an established interior stylist in her own right having worked for a host of leading companies as well as acclaimed interior designers. Self-taught, Ruth’s love for her craft is fantastically reflected in the studio’s extensive collection of 40 different fabric houses and a mesmerising library of stunning sample books. So unique is this offering that when combined with Roycroft Interiors’ unique on-site manufacturing, this company is an out-and-out gem, streets ahead of the competition and already gaining presence in Scotland, England and even as far afield as Spain. At home, Ruth’s designs are often found gracing the pages of Northern Ireland’s top glossy social and interior magazines.

From elegant curtains and blackout baby blinds for new parents, to bespoke headboards and customised mini chaises, Roycroft Interiors caters from lounge to bedroom and everything in-between. And with an in-house fitter, the finishing touches can also be left in the hands of the experts. For those who like to hold on to a favourite design, Roycroft offers chair and suite re-coverings too.

Ruth comments: “We have a really hands-on approach at Roycroft and live and breathe fabric to offer our customers the most tailored solutions for their needs. We can work with any budget and it’s never a stumbling block as we really do cater for everyone. I enjoy getting creative with my clients when I am called out to homes to consult on a new look. I simply love what I do.”

To celebrate Roycroft Interiors’ success, the Studio will be hosting an open evening for customers old and new on Wednesday 06 March 2013 from 7-9pm at its Lisburn premises. With a complimentary drinks reception, canapés and entertainment from local musician Steven Johns, guests attending the event will also be able to avail of an exclusive collection of 150 cushions especially commissioned for the evening only. Featuring fabrics worth up to £180, these cushions will range in price from £15 to £45 with 10% going to breast cancer charity, Pretty ‘n’ Pink. Also in aid of Pretty ‘n’ Pink, guests will have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win a chic, mini pink chaise.

Visit the Roycroft Interiors Studio at 29 Crescent Business Park, Enterprise Crescent, Ballinderry Road, Lisburn, BT28 2GN 

T: +44 (0) 28 9266 9595  E:  W:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                F:

Chinese State Circus announce all Ireland tour

04 March 2013

Belfast is no stranger to playing host to some of the biggest and best events in the UK and Europe and this spring will be no different as it has just been announced that the city will welcome back another fantastic production in the form of the incomparable Chinese State Circus™.

China’s greatest circus will take to Belfast Waterfront’s stage on Sunday 14 April with their UK premiere ‘Yin Yang’, marking the beginning of a 12 date theatre tour across Ireland.

This unique extravaganza showcases only the best in entertainment; witness acrobats defying gravity as the ancient discipline ‘Icarian Games’ returns to centre stage. An act rarely seen in circus arts, steeped in tradition, this remarkable display of human juggling where the human body becomes catapult and catcher in an elaborate, explosive and highly choreographed presentation of power, poise and agility.

The show features traditional Chinese acts with the amazing legendary ‘Bicycle Act’ which will keep the audience on the edge of their seats as 12 artistes manoeuvre onto a single bicycle.

Witness the unpredictable and exhilarating twists of foot juggling with drums, the famous swinging poles, the sensational contortionist and the dynamic hoop divers with their amazing somersaults, leaps and jumps which all go towards completing this action packed programme.

Suitable for an audience of all ages, with evocative sets, soaring musical score and extravagant new costumes this will entertain the entire family long after the final curtain falls!

Don’t miss this stunning production that features the most daring, breath-taking and thrilling artistes to come to our shores.

Take a new look at the world’s greatest circus!

For more information or to book tickets contact Belfast Waterfront Hall on 90334455 or visit

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