Fashion Flashback Competition

This year we challenged schools to design and make a fashion piece inspired by the theme of the museum – ‘Life in Rural Ireland’.

We were really impressed by all the students who took this theme and gave it their own modern twist. The art rooms of these schools must have been very busy working on their projects. Each entry was full of creativity and innovative ideas were put to the test. From a dress with potato slices to unusual headpieces and even a necklace with hanging limbs! Well done to all the students who entered and a special thanks to the art teachers and their schools. Drum roll please! Here are the winning entries:

1st Prize

Designers: Aoife Halligan and Niamh Neyret, 2nd years students.

Davitt College, Springfield, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Art Teacher: Ciara Silke.

Davitt College 2
Davitt College 3


'For our dress we made braids out of greaseproof paper to symbolise the beautifully woven grass and straw that we saw on our visit to Turlough House. We were fascinated by the corset we saw in the Museum and this inspired the ribbon at the back of the dress.

The flowing fabric embroidered with golden leaves reminded us of the way the wind whispers to the trees on a warm Autumn morning when children would joyfully gather straw in the fields and turn these into wonderful golden masterpieces. The colour scheme was chosen to reflect these historic images.

We interpreted the foaming waves caressing the west coast on the front of the dress with a simple graphic wave like print on the upper torso area. We conveyed as much of our Irish heritage into modern day fashion as possible.

2nd Prize

Designers: 2nd year Art students.

School: Balla Secondary School, Balla, Co. Mayo.

Art Teacher: Lisa McSherry.

Head piece 1

Designed by Rachel Gaughan and produced within a group of 2nd year students namely: Rachel Gaughan,Chloe O’Brien, Amanda Conroy, Lauren Mullaney, Chloe Durkan and Rosemary Dunne.

Balla Headpiece 1

For our design we wanted to interpret the idea of hands reaching the idea of hands reaching for food into our design. We like how it interprets the desperation of the famine victims.This headpiece design was made using modelling rock. It was the best material to create the hand shape and the facial expression we wanted.

Neck piece.

Designed and produced by Chloe O’Brien and Lauren Mullaney.

Balla Hands

‘We wanted to make a ‘makeshift’ necklace which was different. People in Ireland in the Famine times didn’t have money for necklaces so this necklace represents to open and ‘begging’ hands reminiscent of Irish Famine times’.

Head piece 2

Designed by Amanda Conroy and Chloe Durkan and produced within a group of 2nd year students namely: Chloe O’Brien, Amanda Conroy, Lauren Mullaney and Chloe Durkan.

Balla Headpiece 2

‘It’s made using modelling rock and then we painted it and glued on miniature twigs to give it texture and a more natural look, just like the straw and wooden twigs and branches Irish people used in the past to build baskets and lobster baskets etc. We saw real examples of these in the museum of Country-life’.

3rd Prize

Dress with potatoes and straw.

Designer: Neasa Egan, first year student.

School: Our Lady’s Bower, Retreat Road, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Art Teacher: Ciara Henriques

Our ladies 2

‘I got the idea for the potato peels from the fact that in the Great Famine, the potato crops developed blight, resulting in a lot of starvation. I got the idea for the hay because in the National Museum of Country Life in Ireland, I saw pictures of straw woven together to make fabulous items so I decided to take my own twist on them.’

Web Design by Arekibo