Dean graduated from Ulster University with a first-class honours degree in textile and fashion design and embarked on a career as a designer within the fashion and textile industry working in Ireland, the UK and Italy, notably for the prestigious silk manufacturer Mantero Seta SpA in Como. Professional experience has provided a wide network of international fashion and textile expertise and contacts.
Dean has created both menswear and womenswear garment designs, as well as creating fabric and accessory designs for a number of internationally renowned fashion houses. He has an already established working relationship and a variety of projects focused on embedding and promoting sustainable practices and a move towards circularity in the textile and fashion industries, including Industry led projects for students with Alex Begg and Oxfam.
His industry background at Mantero Seta SpA (Como, Italy) additionally saw him create design solutions using silk waste well before the international drive for sustainability and climate action. He is keen to see these approaches further developed and extended to the students, the wider community of existing and new indigenous makers, and businesses who will all benefit from the productive use of waste.
Dean’s current PhD research examines the continued role of hand skills in luxury fashion, and has focused this investigation into the complex supply systems supporting haute couture production, illustrating the continued relevance of hand skills in the contemporary global fashion structure employing the voices of the creators to best tell their story.
This connectivity between academic research and industry expertise is something he believes strongly is necessary for the evolution and future success of textile and fashion higher education.
Dean is the Ulster University representative for FACE (Fashion academics Creating Equality) and leads the action group for radical curriculum decolonisation action on modules as well as being champion for Athena Swan leading the Belfast School of Art application for accreditation.