GTI students to feature in Irish Fashion Innovation Awards

Three GTI students have been chosen to represent Galway’s vibrant student fashion scene in the upcoming Irish Fashion Innovation Awards.

Lisa Laoch, Saleha Gulzar, and Jessica Buckley, all Level 5 fashion design students at GTI, will showcase their creativity in the Student Designer Category of this prestigious event. The awards will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway on Tuesday March 24.

The Irish Fashion Innovation Awards is the only national event for fledgling designers. The awards give a platform, support, publicity, and recognition to young fashion design talent from across the country.

Jessica Buckley said she was thrilled to be a finalist. “With each outfit I create, my aim is to transform the female silhouette into something quite abstract,” she explained. “My background in sculpture is very prevalent in my designs, which are mostly inspired by early 20th century fashion. All of my work is strongly supported by current concepts as I feel that this is a fundamental aspect to any successful design. The 'Gorgeosity' collection piece for the awards is based on the film A Clockwork Orange. I found the clockwork mechanics fascinating to use as a pattern design.” You can find Jessica Buckley’s work on Facebook by searching for Jess-M-B Designs.

Twenty-six-year-old Lisa Laoch has a background in graphic design and holds a degree in visual communications. Since graduating she worked as a graphic designer for three years before deciding to move to Galway from her home town in Offaly to pursue a career in fashion. “I have always been obsessed with clothes, and always wanted to be a fashion designer, but it is only in the last year that I’ve had the confidence to go for it,” she said.

Ms Laoch said the course at GTI appealed to her as it offered a wide range of modules, from the history and theory side of fashion design to the basics of pattern drafting and construction. “It’s a fantastic feeling; now being able to take my design sketch and turn it into a reality,” she added.

“I can’t wait for the show, it will be such a great experience and I feel honoured to be a part of it.” Ms Laoch’s design explores gender identity, mixing masculine shapes with feminine details. She has a clean and fresh aesthetic, incorporating subtle details and interesting cuts into her designs.

At the moment she plans to progress to FETAC level 6 at GTI as she believes a knowledge of the fashion business will give her that all-important edge. “I would love to work as a designer for a high end brand and then possibly develop my own brand - who knows where this path will take me!”

Ms Laoch has recently started blogging, documenting her fashion design and style journey at

Saleha Gulzar is also studying fashion design at Galway Technical Institute. She is 18 years old and has always wanted to pursue a career in fashion.

Her design is based on the theme 'My Statement Piece'. “Being confident, bold, and highly creative in what you choose to wear helps you create your very own personal statement every day,” she said.

“I see myself taking steps towards building a solid career as a fashion designer in the upcoming years. I don't know how long this will take but I am willing to put in the effort and am so grateful to have the opportunity to show my design on the catwalk of the Irish Innovation Awards.”

These talented GTI fashion students’ designs can be seen alongside other student designers’ work on the night. A further opportunity to view emerging student fashion talent is the must-see GTI Fashion Fiesta, coming up later in the year.



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