2016 Young Designer Winner JJ Donnelly – What happened next?
The Young Designer of the Year Award (YDOTY) is a fantastic platform for up and coming designers to showcase their designs to Irish fashion elites.
Each year the winner is recognised for their creativity and eye for fashion, and winning the award can really help grow a career in the world of fashion. But what happens after the winner is crowned?
We caught up with last year’s winner JJ Donnelly to see what she’s up to now and how she thinks the award has helped her in the past year. “The year has been great! It has really provided me with a platform to grow,” she told DublinTown.
When it comes to applying for jobs she said the award helps you stand out and “It gives you more (clout) than your graduate collection alone.”
During the process of YDOTY award, JJ was an intern with Dunnes Stores through their Design. Graduate Internship. “It is such a creatively valuable and professionally rewarding internship” adding that they were really supportive throughout YDOTY. After her internship contract expired, Dunnes were more than happy to keep JJ on, something she said “may not have happened without winning the award.”
“I am now on the buying side of operations for Carolyn Donnelly’s The Edit which I absolutely love! I switched from design to buying, I always have been fascinated by fashion and the massive supply chain behind it. I love designing but this gives a different insight into the industry. I’m really lucky to work with Carolyn, she is so experienced – all of the team I work with in Dunnes are fantastic.
“Winning has definitely made me much more confident in my ability, with opportunities that may not have happened otherwise. Fashion Editor Bairbre Power of the Irish independent wore my winning coat to London Fashion Week, I was nominated for the Irish Times 30 under 30 ones to watch, and the photographs taken by Barry McCall were given a front page spread of the Sunday Business Post Magazine.”
“I think I am much more confident than I was before. It is very easy to be self-critical when you’re a young graduate going into such a competitive industry, thinking you’re not good enough, you haven’t got the right skills and have little faith in what direction your career is going to go. “
“I would definitely recommend all young designers to apply to the competition! Being nominated alone was amazing, there was a great build up to the event in College Green. It was a fantastic night and I will remember it for the rest of my life. Dublin Fashion put on a great show with all the Irish retailers showing new season looks on the night. I am so lucky to get to go again this year and show my collection again!’
Shooting with renowned photographer Barry McCall
The winner of YDOTY gets the opportunity to do a photoshoot with renowned fashion photographer Barry McCall. When asked about her experience with Barry she said it was “amazing to say the least.”
“Barry is so talented and on the day I was very nervous as I knew all about his amazing portfolio, but he was fantastic. I brought my mum and dad along and it was a really great experience.”
“I will have these photos forever, Barry made me and my work feel really special he was open to ideas like shooting with the saddle and bridle, he definitely put his stamp on it. I don’t think my designs would have been featured in the Sunday Business Post if it wasn’t for Barry’s photos. They are amazing.” she said.
“Winning and being part of the competition makes you think about the future and your career, all the possibilities there are in the fashion industry. Ideally I would like to make a difference, a Fashion Director of a brand I’m passionate about, alternatively have my own lifestyle brand of clothing and home… I don’t think I would have that mindset if it wasn’t for the Young Designer of the Year Award,” she added.
As part of this year’s Dublin Fashion event, JJ Donnelly will showcase her full collection during the fashion extravaganza Dublin Fashion: The Collective. You can see the prize photos taken by Barry McCall on JJ’s website www.jessicajoandonnelly.com
Full details on this year’s Young Designer of the Year 12 finalists can be found here. The winner will be crowned during Dublin Fashion: The Collective on September 22 so watch this space!