Young fashion designer who refuses to sacrifice comfort for style wins prestigious Brown Thomas scholarship of 4,000 euros

Rebecca McCabe’s research on how our relationship with formal wear has changed as a result of the pandemic has earned her one of the most valuable student awards of the year.

The 22-year-old from Rochfortbridge in Co Westmeath has received a prestigious 4,000-euro NCAD Brown Thomas ‘Looking Designer’ scholarship that identifies future mentors and mentors them.

The post-pandemic state of fashion reveals a constant desire for casualization. Rebecca has researched a hybrid, with glam sportswear that offers maximum use, where comfort is key.

“During the pandemic, I noticed how people react to and interact with their clothes, and that people were no longer willing to sacrifice comfort for style,” Rebecca says.
Her ‘Pookie’ collection explores streetwear with elevated textures that can be worn at a big event as well. Playing with textures, she explored couples, mixing clothes with casual ones, such as lycra and leather.

“It’s the idea that they are able to cross out and create a much more transitional wardrobe, which is very important so that you can get the most out of your pieces and be able to dress them up and down,” Rebecca said.

I don’t even think we’re formally leaving behind, I think we’re creating a new hybrid between formal dress and a more casual way of dressing and what’s really coming is comfort. It’s something people want to keep and still look pretty glamorous. I think it leaves us with this new an area we can fill with clothes.
“Now it’s so acceptable to wear sneakers with a dress, while it may not have been a few years ago. It’s great because if you’re comfortable, you’ll feel much happier inside and you’ll be much safer when you wear them. Clothes,” Rebecca said.

The final year student of fashion design in NCAD’s graduate collection was praised by the jury for his creativity and innovation and smart use of materials.

Rebecca created her own paper-effect fabric by joining three layers including cut silk, vile and orange waterproof PU fabric that acts as the lining of her coat.

The silhouettes are oversized, and the two layers have a laser cut and have a macrame knot technique as a form of connecting the garment.

They are paired with two lycra looks, including a creamy bodysuit dress with mesh panels and a print she created with machine embroidery and a dark blue lycra jumpsuit with a custom print.

“I think they are quite adaptable pieces. I think the element of embroidery added to the lower part of the cream dress made of lycra brings more formal clothes and that you can wear it with heels or with sneakers from day to day.

Exploring how our relationship with formal wear has changed, Rebecca says: “I think people have found a really good balance between leisure and more formal wear and it has become more acceptable to wear more casual clothes at festive events.

You could see it at the MET Gala and a lot of shows on the track that sport is becoming a much more popular option and I thought it could be a new downhill route. “

Typical of the comfort trend on the red carpet, the “gorgeous” outfit she wore to the 2021 Met Gala look worn by Emma Emhoff.

The high-quality model, a graduate fashion woman and submissive daughter of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, wore with Stella McCartney red fishnet bodysuits and matching pants and adidas from Stella McCartney tracksuit at an event on ‘In America: A Fashion Lexicon’.

The Brown Thomas scholarship offers 4,000 euros in cash, mentoring by the CEO, as well as a place next month on the CREATE show at the Grafton Street store. Customers can see Rebecca’s oversized pieces with a knotted rope threaded through holes she hand-punched in her coat and jacket using a drill and hammer.

Shelly Corkery, director of fashion shopping, Brown Thomas Arnotts, praised Rebecca’s collection as “absolutely outstanding”.

“There were extraordinary details in her collection that created such a wonderful contrast. I loved the way Rebecca put it all together, especially when she expressed her sense of color with her macrame on her skin as well as her oversized coat which is ultra fashionable and very diverse. ”

Previous winners of this ‘Designer to Watch’ scholarship included Laoise Carey of Co Tipperary who won in 2017 and now has her one eponymous label dedicated to sustainability in fashion, using everything from old linen curtains to lace handkerchiefs.

The 2020 winner, Una Curran, impressed with her collection inspired by bird flight patterns and the idea of ​​modern surveillance, while Aideen Gaynor won in 2016 with a collection inspired by Haruki Murakami’s novel, The End of the World.

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