Fashionweek's boutique biz

Published Friday, 19 October 2012
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This autumn's Belfast Fashionweek features more up-and-coming designers than ever before, but Una Rodden says she's not afraid of the competition.

The Belfast-based designer displayed her pieces on Thursday, when designer boutiques graced the catwalk at the Europa Fashionweek centre.

From voluminous skirts of rich brocade to host Zoe Salmon's elegant jumpsuit edged in gold chain, Una said she used reams of luxurious fabrics when creating her pieces.

"We've got a lot of black and gold embellishment, and padded fabrics this season; we've gone for a lot more structure also. Dresses with sleeves is a must and then a sneak preview at some of the new greens and pale pastel tones that are coming through for the winter and definitely for spring summer next year," she explained.

Fashion is a serious business for Una, but in these difficult economic times, when people have less cash to hand and the call of inexpensive retailers becomes increasingly loud, she said she has noticed a change in demand at her unique business.

"I think the more niche companies are performing as well as they used to if not a bit better.

I think that Belfast was definitely behind but now I think we are crawling ever so quicker to compete with some of the bigger cities now.

Una Rodden

"These days people are looking for quality over quantity and I think they're willing to invest a bit more in more expensive, good quality fabrics that will last longer, as opposed to the throw away trend that was around in the last five or six years."

Una's pieces joined outfits from exclusive boutiques across Northern Ireland on Thursday's show, but her creations will grace the catwalks of Belfast Fashionweek once again, during the NI designer show on Saturday.

There Una Rodden Couture will be on show alongside Fashionweek favourite Grainne Maher, Mary Callan, Ruedi Maguire, the designers from Unify studios, and many others.

For Una, rather than competition, it's a chance to embrace the growing fashion industry in Northern Ireland and connect with young designers.

"I'm excited to see what they've got," she explained, "and I think it can only be good for the fashion scene in Belfast. The more the merrier - the more people here, the more the standard will rise and more respect Belfast will get for fashion."

© UTV News
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Sara Neill
Sara Neill

Sara Neill joined UTV's Webteam as an online journalist in 2011, previously having worked for radio and print outlets.

She has covered a range of topics, from the Saville Report to the Royal Wedding or new sounds on Northern Ireland's music scene and fashion shows.

In her spare time, she likes to read poetry and 1960s American literature and blog about all things makeup, hair and beauty.

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