Emily Maree discusses Tilda Swinton, trendsetting, LSAD and the National Tailoring Academy with new graduate designer Alison McEvoy
When did you first decide you wanted to get into Fashion Design?
I come from a design household – my parents have a kitchen design business so I was always making things as a child. I would make little tissue dresses for my dolls and teddies. Art college was always on the cards for me – although I thought I would do a degree in Painting rather than a Fashion degree. I still paint my own illustrations though.
Who would you most love to see wearing your designs?
Tilda Swinton, Selma Blair, Winona Ryder. Interesting, mysterious, different kind of women.
Who is the Alison McEvoy woman? Who is your target market?
I personally don’t like trends. I wear what I love. I don’t think my customer is a trend follower either. I hate the idea of looking the same as somebody else. Fashion has become too trendy in that sense. There’s nothing better than seeing someone walk down the street in something different. You can tell there is a story behind each garment. It affords the wearer a confidence and of course this can only be positive for the designer he or she may be wearing. My target market is anyone who adores what I create.
Who are your main influences? What national and international designers do you look up to?
I like designers who don’t play it safe. I like a little bit of drama – Simone Rocha, J.W. Anderson, Christopher Kane, Spon Diogo, palmer//harding, Adam Andrascik (I interned with him in London) and Osman (I was a dresser a few years ago at LFW for his show and got to meet him!).
When did you make the decision to go to the National Tailoring Academy?
I completed my Degree in Fashion Design in LSAD in 2013. In the run up to my end-of-year show I spotted lots of posters advertising the Tailoring Academy and I thought it was really interesting and an obvious next step for me.
What do you feel was the most important things you learnt at the National Tailoring Academy?
The most important thing I’ve learned throughout my degree and postgrad is to be happy with your own work. No one else will like it if you aren’t 100% about it. What other people think about your work isn’t that important as long as you are happy with what you create. I never set out to clothe the masses so I’m well aware my style isn’t for everyone. I’m happy with that. As long as the customer feels a connection with my garments, their response to a compliment when wearing them will do the selling for me. Also another important thing is- Sometimes the first thing you come up with is the best so stick with it! Other times the best idea with come out last but the journey there will shape it.
What inspired your postgraduate collection?
My collection is based on my own abilities, capabilities and even more so when ideas can’t come out or aren’t allowed to come out. The collection contains many layers and manipulations to show this concept. I gathered, pleated and flared fabrics for this. Keeping ideas in until they come bursting out, but I have controlled this through tailoring and forced them through pockets.
I like using traditional techniques in a subversive way. I used pocket techniques as concept rather than function to display how all of the volume pours out from the form underneath. The peach cotton and silk mix bursts from the jetted pockets in the men’s shirting, as seen at the elbows, almost as if the movement of the arm ripped the sleeve to let the peach cotton burst free.
How did it feel knowing that your postgraduate collection was seen by so many influential people in the Irish fashion industry?
It felt amazing! It was so exciting seeing all the tweets about my work! As it was an invite-only event it meant that the audience comprised of Irish fashion industry people, bloggers and stylists. The show itself was great, my good friend Tanya from Style-Ikon.com even took the time to personally deliver the amazing pony skin shoes my models Devon and Sarah were wearing for the show. It was great that they all got to see what myself, Caroline and Fionn produced at the end of our course in the National Tailoring Academy.
What has been your career defining moment so far?
I applied for an International Student Fashion Design Award in China last year. I got through and the finals were held in Wuhan, China! That was so exciting! I travelled on my own from Ireland – 27 hours – on an all-expenses paid trip to Wuhan. I was there for a week and met some amazing people. My advice to everyone is to enter every competition, you never know what could happen!
What does the future hold for the Alison McEvoy Brand?
Now that my course in the National Tailoring Academy is finished, I will be going on a paid internship with tailoring production company, Berwin & Berwin, first in their headquarters in Leeds and then in their factory in Hungary. And who knows what 2015 might bring! Only good things I hope!