Minister Mitchell O’Connor officially opens Showcase - Ireland’s International Creative Expo
One of Ireland’s largest trade shows welcomes 5,000+ buyers from Ireland and more than 20 countries, including the UK, North America, Germany and Japan
Over €20 million in sales orders expected as 450 Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople launch their latest collections
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D. officially opened Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo at the RDS today. One of Ireland’s largest international trade shows, Showcase welcomes over 5,000 buyers from Ireland and more than 20 countries across the globe. Sales orders in excess of €20 million are expected over the four days of the show which continues until Wednesday, 25th January.
Celebrating its 41st year in 2017, Showcase has established itself as a must-see trade event, providing retailers with opportunities to discover and stock up on the latest design-led Irish products, many of which are unique to the show. 450 Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople are unveiling their new season collections across fashion, jewellery, home and giftware at this annual fair which is run by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI).
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “Ireland’s vibrant and innovative design and craft sector plays a vital role in our economy, providing employment in every region of the country. Showcase is critical to sustaining and growing the sector by highlighting the wealth of creative talent we have in Ireland. The attendance of buyers from all over the world reflects the strong international appetite for the quality and diversity of contemporary work being produced by Ireland’s designers and makers. This annual trade fair provides Irish businesses with a unique opportunity to expand their client base, particularly in the area of exports which is vital in maximising the potential for growth and job creation across the country.”
New for Showcase 2017 is TextISLE, an initiative focusing on the creative potential of Irish textiles in fashion and homeware. TextISLE is a collaborative project that brings together designers and producers to develop exciting new products which will be unveiled at Showcase 2017. An advisory panel of six experts has worked with Showcase in selecting the work: Deirdre McQuillan, fashion editor of The Irish Times; John Redmond, Creative Director at Brown Thomas; Karen Fleming, Director of the Research Institute for Art and Design at Ulster University; Angela O’Kelly, Head of Design for Body and Environment at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin; Alanna Gallagher, interiors journalist; and Catherine Condell, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed fashion stylists.
Participating in TextISLE are renowned designers such as Peter O’Brien; Mariad Whisker; Emma Manley; and Helen Steele, along with factories such as Mourne Textiles; Magee; Molloy & Sons; Emblem Weavers; and Thomas Ferguson among others. The results of the creative collaborations are being unveiled at a vibrant and innovative presentation during the show, designed to excite and inspire the visiting buyers.
Elsewhere at Showcase, specialist curators Alanna Gallagher (Home & Gift) and Natasha Sherling (Jewellery) have made viewing the best products easier for discerning visitors by presenting an edited selection of the most interesting work to be found at the show, including nominees for the coveted Best Product Awards at Showcase 2017. Design Ireland, another exciting initiative from DCCoI for 2017, is at the heart of the show in the Main Hall and features 90 Irish brands chosen by an independent jury for their creativity, innovation and craftsmanship. All products in this dedicated area of Showcase are designed and made in Ireland.
Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, commented: “The interest from trade buyers all over the world in this annual show is a testament to the unique offering of Ireland’s design and craft sector and of Showcase itself which we are continually developing as a world-class tradeshow focused on Irish creativity and innovation. Over the four days of the fair, hundreds of Irish designers and makers have a unique opportunity to meet and do business with domestic and international buyers. Having presented previews of the trade show in Brussels, London and New York in late 2016, we anticipate a really strong event again this year, despite economic uncertainty that Brexit and other events might cause.”
Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland through their network of over 30 international offices. According to Stephen Hughes, Consumer Retail Manager, Enterprise Ireland: "Showcase provides a unique route to international markets for exporting Irish companies in the design and craft sectors. Once again, Enterprise Ireland's teams at home and abroad will deliver over 200 quality international buyers, journalists and bloggers to Showcase. The calibre of international buyers attracted to Showcase by Enterprise Ireland reflects the exceptional quality and design that Irish consumer companies have to offer on a global stage. We look forward to welcoming new and returning international buyers from markets as diverse as North America, Japan and Germany. Our objective is to help Irish consumer retail companies with global ambition to win export orders from visiting buyers, sustaining and creating jobs in every region in Ireland.”
The Local Enterprise Showcase, which fully occupies the balcony of the Main Hall at the RDS, features unique products from emerging Irish businesses supported by their Local Enterprise Offices. Kieran Comerford, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices, said: "The new-look Local Enterprise Showcase has become the latest destination for discovering design and craft talent, as more than half of the LEO-supported companies are making their Showcase debut in 2017. In this hub of creativity, buyers will meet 110 designers and craftspeople from around the country, all supported by Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities. The Local Enterprise Showcase Awards, which are being introduced this year, will serve to highlight Irish design innovation to buyers from all over the world."
For attendees wishing to expand their knowledge, an extensive retail seminar programme over the four days of the show features top international industry speakers delivering thought-provoking presentations that provide retailers with expertise, research and advice.
Showcase is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd., with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the trade show internationally through their network of offices overseas.
Showcase 2017 runs from Sunday 22nd to Wednesday 25th January and is for trade attendance only. For further details on the event or to register to attend, please visit www.showcaseireland.com.
Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo is one of the country’s largest international trade shows. The annual event is attended by over 5,000 buyers from Ireland and more than 20 countries around the world, generating sales orders of up to €20 million over the four days of the show. Showcase is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd, with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the show internationally through their network of offices overseas. More than 450 Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople exhibit at the fair, including over 100 emerging Irish businesses supported by their Local Enterprise Offices. Showcase is for trade attendance only. www.showcaseireland.com
About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has over 60 member organisations and more than 3,200 registered clients. www.dccoi.ie