The 21-year-old from Lurgan blew us away with her collection at the end-of-year University of Ulster in Belfast fashion show this summer.
Looking every inch like it truly belonged on the catwalk, her use of bright colour and quirky motifs, added to her fluid lines and attention to detail, had us looking at knitwear in a whole new light.
“In my final year at uni I was able to really put my own stamp on my work. For the end-of-year collection I was inspired by a holiday to the Caribbean, so I used bold colour and mixed reds, yellows and greens with solid black and whites.”
With the vivacity of Pucci and styling that would fit in at Missoni, plus a freshness all of her own and a brilliant eye for fashion, Sinéad’s knitted bikinis, swimwear and accessories brought something new to knitwear that we’d never seen before. “The last thing you want is to be the same as anyone else,” says Sinéad. And with her bathingwear, in colourful stripes or with palm tree motifs, macramé work and other creative nods to the Caribbean, she has certainly made this style her own.
We loved her work so much we even used it in our fashion shoot at Pickie Park, Bangor, bringing some of the brights of the Caribbean to north Down.
You can hear Sinéad’s passion for her craft in her voice as she talks about her methods and influences.
“I used a lot of natural materials such as bamboo and linen because in the Caribbean you’re outside all the time and there’s a very organic feel to life there. The prints were my own, based on my drawings and I moulded it into my own style.”
After graduating with a 2:1, Sinéad moved back home to Lurgan and landed a job in Brown Sugar boutique, Moira.
“I love working in fashion and seeing the latest collections from designer names,” she says. But she hasn’t forgotten about her own designs, and with her savings she plans to buy more knitting equipment and create more bespoke knitwear.
“It costs so much in terms of equipment and yarns, which can be so expensive, but I don’t like to settle, so I use good quality yarns, such as bamboo. I’ve already bought a knitting machine but I’m saving up to buy more equipment, so nothing will hold me back then. I love CAD work and I still have a passion for fine art and I love to draw, so in creating my own designs and prints I get the best of both worlds.
“Ideally, I would love to set up on my own supplying my pieces to small boutiques. I’d like local people to see it and buy it because, personally, I love to buy fashion and knitwear pieces from people I know, including designers I went to uni with. I’d rather give my money to local people than buy something off the internet and I hope other people feel the same as I do.”
Although inspired by design houses including Kenzo, Missoni and Sandra Backlund, Sinéad can also be hit by the creative urge just walking down the street or when on holiday. “I like to see how other designers work but I don’t take things from it. It’s just nice to see how they explore their craft, even down to how or where they place a button.”
At the minute, Sinéad is working on one-off pieces and plans to do more over Christmas. “I need to be doing something all the time, that’s just the way I work. If I want to do something I have to do it right away, which is why I love the speed of a knitting machine and the creativity it allows me.”
Check out our fashion shoot ‘Pick ‘N’ Mix’ featuring Sinéad’s graduate collection – click here.
*For commissions, you can contact Sinéad Crilly via Facebook at www.facebook.com/sinead.crilly or phone 07951610396.
Pink ‘n’ Mix shoot by Jessica Weber, Catwalk shots by Kelly McAllister