Ulster University Belfast School of Art Grads in the Spotlight on new BBC One Fashion Challenge Series

1 October 2021

Ulster University Belfast School of Art Grads in the Spotlight on new BBC One Fashion Challenge Series Presenter Claire with contestants Samanta Radek, Matthew Tanner, Thomas Irwin and Christine Boyle

A passion for fashion combined with inspiration from Ulster’s rich textiles history is the theme for the new four-part series, A Stitch Through Time, made by DoubleBand Films with funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund.

Hosted by Claire McCollum, four promising local designers - all of them Ulster University graduates - go head-to-head each week to see whose creations best represent the heritage and influence of the Ulster-Scots pioneers that helped shape the global textiles industry.

Vying to win the votes of the judges – top designers Una Rodden and Katie Larmour – and be crowned winner of A Stitch Through Time are: Christine Boyle, 46, originally from Portadown now living in Belfast, who worked as a hosier before starting her own sewing school inspired by the skills passed on to her by her mum. Thomas Irwin, 21, from Kilrea, a Textile Art, Design and Fashion graduate from Ulster University who was our Graduate in Residence last year and now specialises in sustainable fashion for men. Samanta Radek, 23, originally from Poland now living in Belfast, who has just graduated from the Textile Art, Design and Fashion course at Ulster University and Matthew Tanner, 25, from Castlerock, who graduated in 2018 and currently works in retail for a luxury retailer and designs womenswear.

Through technical and design-led challenges, the four fashionistas will be required to use all of their skills and creativity to recreate and then put their own take on iconic garments and materials including the Dungiven Costume, the Ulster Tartan, the classic relaxed shirt and the Ulster Coat.

Also each week, host Claire will be joined by author and textile historian Bruce Clark, a descendent of one of Ulster’s great linen families, to reveal the fascinating history behind the design challenges and the outfits.

Week one looks back to Londonderry’s great shirt making industry which employed thousands of women in the 19th and 20th century and produced some of the finest shirts in the world.

The first design challenge for the competitors is to create a classic Ulster garment – the relaxed shirt – in just three hours, before they get to show off their creativity and design their own outfit inspired by the shirt makers of the past.

Tune in to BBC One Northern Ireland to watch A Stitch Through Time, which begins Wednesday 6 October at 7.30pm.


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