Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys welcomed trade buyers from over 26 countries to Ireland’s 42nd Trade Expo ‘Showcase.’
The expo, which ran until the 23rd of January in the RDS, featured 400 Irish manufacturers, designers and craftsmen. Trade buyers from the UK, mainland Europe and the Far East attended the fair to source “new and exciting” products designed and made in Ireland.
In her opening speech, Humphreys highlighted the importance of the creative sector to the Irish economy; “Ireland has long been renowned in the field, and we must continue to capitalise on this strength – events like this help us to do just that.”
Last year’s Showcase generated over 23.9m euro in sales over the four days, an increase of 12.7% on the previous year.
Showcase is presented on behalf of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the trade show internationally through their network of 33 offices overseas, and the Local Enterprise Offices nationwide.
Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland says that the aim of the council “is to ensure our clients continue to grow, innovate and successfully compete at home and abroad and to support them in addressing the challenges and opportunities arising from Brexit while uncertainty continues in the marketplace.”
This year’s fair had some new elements.
‘Fí,’ a fashion film directed by celebrated filmmaker Perry Ogden and styled by Paula Hughes premiered at this year’s Showcase. Fí means to weave fabric or a story and was also used in old Irish in relation to closely knit communities.
‘Fí’ was commissioned by Showcase to highlight the way in which Ireland’s creative and manufacturing talent contributes to the economy while sustaining regional and rural communities.
Another new edition was “MADE/SLOW,” a special presentation of fashion, textile and homeware products, that are manufactured by small producers that combine innovative technology with traditional production methods.
The Overall Winner of the Showcase Best Product Award 2019 was “Studio Donegal,” for its handwoven tweed coat. Located in Kilcar, the woollen mill aims to maintain “the true artisan traditions of handweaving, spinning and garment making.”
Other winners included “Mourne Textiles” in the Home category, “Sam agus Nessa” for Giftware and “Emma Roberts Design” for Jewellery.
Attendees looking to network, expand their knowledge on global trends had the opportunity to participate in a retail seminar programme over the four days of the show which features international industry speakers delivering workshops and daily seminars.
By Sally Maddden
Image credit: Enterprise Ireland