Designing to win: Amherstonian competing in European fashion design contest

Jocelyn Turner
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One of Matthew Gallagher's designs

AMHERST – Matthew Gallagher started as a small town boy with big city dreams. Today, he’s in the middle of living out his dream in Milan, Italy.

Gallagher recently entered a fashion design competition, hoping some of his original designs will give him the upper hand.

“I first heard about this contest from my school, Istituto Europeo di Design,” said Gallagher in an email. “After we had graduated we received an email advertising the project, and of course, being newly graduated, it seemed like a logical decision to take part in something which could help show people my work.”

The Muuse Vogue Talents Young Vision Award is a contest for emerging fashion designers. Gallagher had to enter five images of designs he had made. The designs, he said, needed to be cohesive and part of a larger collection.

“After they close the contest, all of the different designers would have their work uploaded on the MUUSE website for the public vote,” said Gallagher. “When the voting period ends, 10 finalists will be announced and one will be selected as the winner by Sara Maino, senior editor of Vogue Italia and Vogue Talents.”

Gallagher said the contest is a great opportunity for young designers because the prize could potentially launch their career.

“Receiving a feature in Vogue Italia Talents Online, a place in the Muuse designer community, promotion as “Muuse Designer of the Month” and your own capsule collection produced and sold through Muuse is something any new designer would jump through rings for.”

For the contest, the collection Gallagher designed, he said, showcases his range and voice as a designer. As he went through the process, he said his favourite part was designing and illustrating but getting together everything wasn’t as easy as one might think.

“The actual research, pattern making, cutting and sewing of the clothes is the most time consuming and grueling. As a designer, you can have a lot of great ideas on paper but if you can’t realize the design in fabric and make them desirable for customers, you have nothing.”

Gallagher said when he stops and thinks about where he started and where he is now. Sometimes, he still can’t believe how far he has come.

“When I stop for a moment and look around, whether it is Paris, Milan or some small sea side village, I don’t think I could have ever imagined when I was a day dreaming kid in Amherst that I would be half way around the world and doing the things I’m doing,” he said. “I always fantasized I would but you have to pinch yourself from time to time when you realize, hey, you actually did it.”

Those interested in showing their support for Gallagher can visit the website and vote for him at!voguevote/all/3792-matthew-gallagher. By voting, you also have the chance to win a cocktail dressed designed by last year’s winner Heidi Paula. Voting ends 9 a.m. Atlantic time, (12 p.m. Copenhagen time) Nov. 20.

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