As part of our partnership with iZest's One a Day project, we're shining a light on Irish businesses and projects that are doing things differently during the pandemic. This week, it's Project Fashion, a Dublin-based academy where kids learn the basics of dressmaking to set them up for a future in fashion
We all love to hone our kids' creative talents, and give them an outlet to express themselves, especially as we're all cooped up at home right now. But while we are all swimming in painting kits, storybooks and crafty creations, we often forget about teaching a skill that will be useful for a lifetime — dressmaking.
Project Fashion, based in Swords in Dublin, aims to equip little fashion lovers with the skills and tools to get creative with clothing. Set up by designer Paul Alexander, the project gives children's workshops and tutorials on everything from sewing to pattern making to fabrics and design. The skills kids learn at Project Fashion will last a lifetime, and may even set them up for future careers in the fashion world if they wish to carry on with their creative outlet.
Project Fashion, like all of us during this time, has had to pivot its business model and get creative in how they offer their services to the public. And now, they're hosting a brilliant competition, that could see your little sartorialist making the front cover.
IMAGE sat down with founder of Project Fashion, Paul Alexander to find out more.
What is the ethos behind Project Fashion and how did it come about?
I'm a fashion designer by trade, and when I was studying at UWE Bristol, I just felt like there were a lot of students on the course who didn't really know the basics of sewing. They were all very creative people, but they spent the whole degree course learning the basics of crafting fabrics, as well as trying to take on this intense design course as well. From that, I kept thinking 'if only there was somewhere for students to learn the basic lessons, so they can focus on becoming a creative designer when they start their college course and hit the ground running'.
I set Project Fashion up with that thought in mind, to teach kids the skills they need for a future in fashion and get them really excited about the whole idea of becoming a fashion designer.
What are some of the ways that Project Fashion offers fashion skills to kids?
Throughout school term time, we teach them the whole design process, from how to thread a sewing machine all the way up to more complex things, and it ends in a big fashion show where the students can show off their creations. We had scheduled this year's show for June, to be in aid of the Make a Wish foundation.
We also host the Young Fashion Designer of the Year awards, where we bring kids from all over the country up to take part and submit their creations to the awards. It's a way to bring a bit of glitz and glamour and excitement, as we'll have industry designers judging the designs, and a few celebrity names, like Jennifer Zamparelli, who hosts the show.
It's all about building confidence and showing kids what they can achieve with their creativity.
Tell us about the Cover Shoot competition - what are you guys looking for?
The Cover Shoot competition invites kids to use what they have at home to create a magazine cover photo — style a glamorous front cover look inspired by your own fashion icon, shoot it, and send it in for us to look at.
The lucky winner of the competition will get their cover shot published on IMAGE.ie, as well as winning a free place at our Summer Camp, where they can learn the skills to become a designer.
We're looking for entries to get creative, and to really pay attention to the details. Try to make it as professional as possible — pay attention to the light in the room, and anything that might be lying in the background. Think about what you look for when you go to the shops and see fashion magazines. We want something with the wow factor that will really excite us!
To enter the Cover Shoot competition, DM Project Fashion on Instagram (@projectfashionacademy) with your final image, child’s name and Ge and parent's contact number or post a picture with #ProjectFashionCoverShot. For more information, click here.
OneADay is asking people and businesses like Project Fashion to donate 1% of their time, platform, energy or money towards a cause. iZest see the campaign as a way to curb some of the stress and anxiety around the pandemic, and get people connecting in a new way.
How it works
If you like the sound of putting your newfound free time to good use, here's how the initiative works. If you're a business, you can register your details with iZest and let them know what your OneADay will be. It can be anything — use your imagination. Some great ways to lend your support could be:
- One Hour a Day – If you have the time, use one hour of your day to do some pro bono work for a company or charity that might need the extra help.
- One Call a Day — Give the time for one over-the-phone consultation per day with someone who needs some business guidance.
- One Shout-Out a Day — If you know a small business or someone who needs a signal boost, use your online platform to give them a shout-out.
- One Introduction a Day — Know someone who would be perfect for another company's opening? Use your connections to introduce them.
If you need the services of a company that's involved in OneADay, you can contact them directly and share your details, and why you think teaming up could help.
And if you're an individual who wants to get involved at home, that's great too. Your OneADay could be anything from posting One Workout a Day online to help other families who are cooped up at home to stay fit, or One Lesson a Day, sharing a skill with those who are looking for inspiration.
iZest are asking everyone involved to share their OneADay on their IG Stories, tagging @oneaday_ie and #oneaday_ie — they'll be reposting the efforts to keep the connections going.