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Home / Fashion / Interview: Kate O’Doherty

Interview: Kate O’Doherty

Budding fashion designer and LSAD student Kate O’Doherty has made headlines in the Irish fashion industry already. She told TLM about why she decided to study fashion, what she hopes to do after she graduates, and what it was like being shortlisted for the Young Designer of the Year awards earlier this year.

When it came to deciding to study art and fashion in college, Kate explained that art was a lifelong passion for her. She says that she “fell in love with art from a very young age and was inspired and guided by my secondary school art teacher to continue studying art”.

Kate’s flair for art runs in her family. She tells about how her dad is a talented upholster. However, she says that it wasn’t until she was actually in college that she decided to pursue fashion. Her decision to study fashion “was influenced by my interest in working with my hands and transforming art into real three-dimensional pieces”.

“Fashion designers face huge pressure in today’s industry, the same can be said for fashion students particularly in regards to the rigorous work ethic and creative thinking” she said in regards to her studies. “The course was surprisingly very hands on and I learned how to design and make clothes which is something I previously knew nothing about”, she continued. Kate explained that her approach to design evolved alongside her technical abilities while studying fashion in LSAD. This allowed her to “push the boundaries of my drafting and technical skills which in turn opened up doorways for my design and where I could bring it.”

After her time in college she “would like to think of myself now as a fully capable seamstress”. The designer seems to have perfected the craft of taking ideas and making them into real life garments. “This area of study was very useful for what I wanted to do with my own designs”, she continued.
After college Kate hopes to stay in Ireland within the fashion industry. “I am a dedicated fashion designer and excited about what I have to offer the fashion industry” she concluded.

Kate’s talent was commended in September when she was a nominee for the Young Designer of the Year 2017 at the Dublin Fashion Festival.
The piece Kate submit to the Young Designer of the Year was from her final collection titled “A Collective Consciousness”. The graduate collection is in response to “the natural landscape and our role within it in modern society”, according to the designer. “The concept behind the collection is to explore the connection between the human body and our detachment from the natural environment. I aim to capture the tension between humans need to ultimately control and our basic human instinct to connect with our natural environment”, she explained.

She described how she created a sense of connectedness with nature by using fluid lines merged with contrasting forms. “My theme worked with the tension and fusion between manmade fibres and synthetic fibres”, she said. The designer said that this opened up a lot of options as to what she could work with. “The fabrics I chose to work with helped with creating the atmosphere I wanted to achieve. This led to the fusing of transparent PVC’s with 100% cottons, wadding silk satins, quilting silk velvets and pairing them with Tyvek”, she continued.

The designer used obscured shapes and moulded forms to challenge traditional notions of what it means to be human when putting together the design.

In the collection Kate seeks to explore the conflicting relationships between humans and the natural landscape, through the use of both manmade and natural fabrics. She also aimed to “incorporate the fusion of both body and nature to become one, through the use of innovative fabrics and creative drafting”. The concept Kate was trying to portray is clear in her Young Designer of the Year piece as we see pure white contrasted with sheer yellow, as well as more varying textures from feather-like features to a more manmade yellow material.

Although the designer didn’t’ win, she was very humbled to have been a part of the fashion festival. “ Being one of the twelve finalists was an amazing opportunity for my future plans in the fashion industry”, she said. However, earlier this year Kate won Student Designer of the Year at the Fashion Innovation Awards.

“To get the opportunity to grace the catwalk with one of my pieces at the Dublin Fashion Festival again was a great experience and opportunity”, she continued. Despite the title of Young Designer of the year 2017 going to another student, the loss isn’t going to dampen Kate’s success so far, as she was awarded the Student Designer of the Year earlier in 2017.

Kate is graduating from Limerick School of Art and Design this coming November with a B.A (hons) in Fashion Design.

Article by: Aisling O’Connor
Photography by: Johnny Horne


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