Fashion Tips and Trends


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2018 Trending Looks

Design Houses Lead the Way 
Fashion Moves Forward in 2018

The question on everyone’s mind after the World Championship season is “What are the newest trends?” IDM checks in with many of the world’s top design houses to get their take on 2018 and beyond.


Taylor Dresses  

#Taylored Facebook: @Taylordresses Instagram: @taylordressesbelfast

Niamh Taylor of Taylor dresses has certainly made her mark in the Irish Dance fashion world since joining her family owned business. “Over the course of this year, we have released the collar, the cape, the jacket and the bolero and as we head into our next dance season, we at Taylor Dresses have been working hard on trying to perfect each design that leaves our shop,” shares Niamh. 

Moving into the Fall of 2018 and Spring of 2019 Taylor’s focus will center again on the sleeves and what they can do to make their unique style mark in that area. Niamh believes the capped sleeves and sheer sleeves gives a gorgeous shape to dancers. “For us the sheer sleeves are the most vital thing in Irish Dancing costumes as the minute as we feel they give the best shape. We also feel that with these tighter sleeves we can venture out with the body design and go extremely bold with colours, designs and shapes because with the simple sleeve it’s really effective. For me the sheer sleeves are a must and I personally don’t see us coming away from it for a long time.”  

In terms of color trends, Niamh sees cream, maroon and red are high in demand from our customers such as the costume they designed for dancer D’Anna Maki. “The colour combinations, along with the extremely regal design and asymmetrical skirt caused a craze for us, and our design team recently discussed how we can reuse the same colours schemes but ensure it is different to other dresses we have designed. We feel that this is going to be a huge style change for us and that we are going to have plenty of demand for this new style in the next dance season.” (Creative: Use image of D’Anna Maki’s costume) 

As modernised as Irish dance costume have become, Niamh believes that often trends do revert to the same things once loved. Taylor points out that costumes used to be filled with appliqué which is a section of fabric on the dress instead of embroidery (threading). Dancer Jane Boland’s dress is one that stands out. “For a while it really wasn’t something that we did often, but whilst working on the original cap dress we toyed with the idea of having this all appliqué, giving the black design a matte finish and now appliqué is something we use often.” (Creative: use photo of Jane Boland from Flynn O’Kane’ here). 


Eire Designs  by Gavin

#mygavin Facebook: @EireDesigns Instagram: @eiredesigns_official

Gavin Doherty reigns at the top of Irish Dancing costume designers. Known for his trend setting and innovative fashion, dancers clamor to own their own “Gavin.” His personal input is given into every single costume that is designed at Eire Designs. “This year we created a design suite in Eire Designs; this is a space where I work closely with the design team on every single dress without having the factory distractions,” explains Gavin. Even with the size of Gavin’s Eire Designs, he works on every costume created by the company. “Having a team of designers to work with means that I have different perspectives, styles and ideas coming to the table keeping every costume unique and different but still keeping with my style.” Gavin shares that design is what he loves, and he is fanatical about it. “I love that every dress has a little piece of me in it and that’s something I am not willing to every let go of ever.”

In 2018, Gavin launched a brand-new beginner and team dress which is super lightweight and washable. The price begins at £75 and can be designed using the company’s state of the art website. “There is a six to eight-week turnaround on these and interest has been unbelievable,” says Gavin about his latest venture. *creative: Please show team dress

In IDM reviewing Gavin’s current trending looks we spotted some head-turning costumes which showcase each dancer’s individual personality, body type, and style very effectively. We love Naoise McCroy’s modern classic design and Carmen McAleer’s romantic & regal look. Other stand outs including the Trendy designs worn by Bethany Preshur and Zoe Keane, sporting Gavin’s edgy, asymmetrical design.


Keltic Storm 

#mygavin Facebook: @kelticstormdesigns Instagram: @kelticstorm_official

Keltic Storm’s lead designer Carl Kennedy shares with IDM that lace is making a big comeback for 2018-2019. Lace, historically, has been used in Irish Dancing costumes for years but recently went out of fashion, but like most fashion what goes out eventually comes back in and Kennedy sees lace finding its way back into the design world. “We have been moving toward lace since before the Worlds 2018 and have seen a dramatic increase in the number of dancers requesting this trend in their new costumes,” explains Kennedy. Keltic Storm’s customer Cara McClinton showcases a beautiful design with a red bodice and contrasting white lace sleeves.

The designer is also finding chiffon is trending and his company creates unique styles for dancers by using chiffon and embroidering floral designs onto it in-house. Also, on the fabric front Keltic Storm is seeing more metallics emerging as a very strong design feature. “I suspect this will only become more popular going into 2019,” shares Kennedy. The company is seeing a lot of separate shawl/jacket effects using metallic fabrics which looks great and is very trendy at the minute. “I think this will be a trend that stick around for a white but not forever.”

Some trending looks from Keltic Storm include Darcie O' Callaghan’s coral and purple costume. “This is a very regal look….it works very well and creates a classy but youthful look,” explains Kennedy. The bodice sports a mixture of pearls and crystals which also adds to the elegance and detail of the costume. Niamh Murray’s black and white costume could be categorized as a Modern Classic. “We created this look for Niamh and decided to go with the monochrome look as it is simple but still stunning and creates real presence on stage.” This is a very regal and elegant look and is a perfect example of a modern classic. Finally, Sydney Brief’s costume by Keltic Storm is trending now with it’s fun, asymmetrical trend which has been trickling through this season. Karl suspects this trend will become more prominent going into 2019. “We kept Sydney’s look youthful and classy by having the purple coming off one shoulder and onto one sleeve. It is striking but still understated and not as garish as some asymmetrical looks can be.” 

Since changing fashion can be scary for some, Kennedy has some wise advice for dancers – “We encourage everyone to be brave when creating a new look as it can make a huge difference to how you feel on-stage. You can be trendy and keep it classy with the right guidance and advice, which we are always here to offer.”


Golden Eire

Facebook: @goldenEire Instagram: @goldenEire

Golden Eire is also making their mark on design fronts and company spokesperson Kincaid Stringer shares they are seeing an increasing use of lace and stretch materials along with silks which incorporate variances in color and texture being used on costumes. “The more vibrant colors always catch the eye on stage and we want to have the dancer pop on stage,” explains Stringer.

Most of the designers concur that 2018 has been the year of the sleeve with some very creative changes to the traditional Irish Dancing costume look with new fabrics. Stringer believes lace, mesh and stretch fabrics are trending right now and animal prints are on their way out. Golden Eire’s use of layers and textures are creating some interesting costumes that stand out on the big stage. Perhaps Kincaid’s time on the show circuit has helped with creating extraordinary designs for competition.

For all those DIY’ers out there who love to stone their own costumes and are looking for some guidance from the experts, Golden Eire is big on stones! Continuing into Fall of 2018 and Spring of 2019 Golden Eire plans to use stones they refer to use “statement stones,” which are large stones in the shape of rivolis, pears, squares, and ovals. “For our championship dancers we are using different sizes to create texture and a 3D effect with stones ranging from 20ss to 48ss, explains Stringer.

Trending now from Golden Eire are designs such as Audrey Sturgeon’s Black and Gold “Raven” dress which showcases a very modern look with mesh sleeves and stand out shoulders and collar. We adore this romantic style costume worn by Cassidy Ludwig with her “Pegasus dress” and use of color with the tone on tone embroidery colours. Also, trending is a regal style costume worn by Addie Haga showcasing a removable shoulder cape, essentially giving two very different looks to the costume which adds flexibility to the dancer’s look.


John Carey Design  (Siopa Rince)

Facebook: @johncareydesign Instagram: @johncareydesign

“I always love to see what the other designers come out with, the costumes are such works of art. It’s great to see people starting new trends and then other designers, taking a fresh twist and different interpretation. Inspiration comes from everywhere, the catwalk, the TV, tradition, it’s great to see how diverse the costumes can be,” shares John Carey about the wonderful world of Irish Dance costume design. John is the lead designer at his company, John Carey Design which is formerly known as Siopa Rince. The Dublin, Ireland based company has been in existence for over 20 years and has set many of the trends while outfitting dancers from their first solo costume all the way to World Champions. 

In 2018 and going into 2019 Carey concurs with the other designers that sheer, lace, and mesh continue to be very popular. “It takes a lot of the weight out of the dress.” Carey also sees a resurgence in the use of lace. “Lace is really popular at the moment, both on the bodice with something underneath and on the sleeves with nothing underneath, it’s very elegant and lightweight and gives a very classy look…the big trend is for lightweights, sheers and laces.”

Again, for the DIY’ers out there, Carey stresses the importance of stoning costumes. “We are seeing a trend for people wanting more and more heavily encrusted dresses and waistcoats and whole designs built out of stones.” He cautions that the downside to this move toward full stoning is the cost factor. “There is no getting around it, if you are using Swarovski, there is no cheap way of creating that encrusted effect, but they do look amazing! It all depends on your budget - you can still create an amazing effect with sequins, or other metallic fabrics!”


Trending looks from John Carey Designs include Jessica Hindley’s modern classic costume with its red and gold colouring and very detailed design work along with high back collar; it shouts classic and elegant! Dancer Evie Roberts is a little trendsetter with her fabulous gold, pink and black costume, complete with multiple panels on the skirt, a cut-out/interesting neck, and capeless back. Complimenting this is her dance friend, Ciaran Mitchell, whose black base on his waistcoat is accented with gold and pink. We can envision these two young dancers center stage at a big show – their costumes are similar enough, dancing for the same school, yet strikingly different. Gabby Stratman also sports a regal look with sheer sleeves offset by very detailed embroidery on the bodice and an incredible use of stone work throughout. Finally, Alliyah Neason’s dress makes a statement as a dramatic and edgy costume – we love it!


Elite Dance Designs

Facebook: @Elitedancedesigns Instagram: @Elitedancedesigns

Elite Dance Design’s Anthony Carson has been turning heads with his 3d embroidered flowers, collars, and cutout sleeves. These are certainly striking and something IDM believes we will see in other costumes moving into fall 2018 and spring of 2019. 

Carson is known for his creativity and this season we see him bringing out ruffles in a unique way such as on World champion’s Jodie Binn’s ruffled collar. “I know we all love trends in Irish Dancing and although there are certainly some trends I will take inspiration from I tend to lean towards making each dress as Individual as possible,” explains Carson. He too loves the sheer sleeves on costumes. “I like to use unconventional sheer materials or make our own up. For example, we have been using glittered stockinette still giving the sheer tight sleeve but with a little something extra. I like to use this on the younger girls such as this dress made for Tia Twells

Carson personally prefers the embroidered, sheer sleeves on the older dancers as he feels they are more age appropriate. “With these sleeves I lean more towards ornate designs such as Caoimhe Mcilwee’s costume. We went for a Balmain Inspired sleeve which I think came out fab!”

Carson says that he plans to keep Elite Dance Designs as a small business, only taking on a selective number of clients per month so that he can reflect quality and individuality in each dancer’s look. “As I said before I like to stay away from trends or making our costumes very similar in style. I want each of our customers to feel like a World Champion when they walk on stage.” 


Phoenix Designs

Facebook: @Lewisirishdresses Instagram: @phoenixirishdresses

Phoenix Designs’ Michelle Lewis says she is very excited about the upcoming Fall season Irish Dancing Fashion. “Taking my cue from the runway I'll be implementing loads of surface texture using bursts of sequin, cutouts, guipure lace, embroidered mesh and burnout velvet,” shares Lewis. Like the other designers she loves the movement toward lightweight fabrics and the change of sleeve. 

Lewis is trained in fashion design, pattern making and couture sewing. She has paved her own way in the industry with her innovative looks and setting trends. Going into Fall, her direction for colors is “rich and regal with loads of tone on tone.” In addition, she is moving toward incorporating iridescent fabrics into her designs and she predicts a growing use of foils especially all forms of silvers and greys and antique golds which she plans on pairing with rich velvets. 

As a known trend setter, watch for Phoenix as they focus on using the opportunity to accessorize costumes to create unique looks for their clients. “Accessories will be the name of the game with fringe skirts, trims, pearl collars and rhinestone brooches.”


For the next fashion season, Phoenix Designs will use tartan or polka dot underskirts in a big way. Lewis loves feminine looks for dancers. “As always, my designs will continue to be elegant and feminine, catering to flatter the individual figure of the dancer,” explains Lewis. A perfect example of a Phoenix feminine design is this green and pink costume with ruffled collar and sheer sleeves showcasing dainty flowers. Another trending look from Phoenix is this very regal looking green and gold dress with unique collar and tone on tone embroidery; a look fit for a dancing queen! Finally, check out this fabulous black dress with fringe skirt and center belt. This fashion forward design has a WOW factor on the big stage. Count on Phoenix Designs for their distinctive and unique twist on costume design.



Dance Bling

 Facebook: @dancebling Instagram: @danceblingdotcom

Dance Bling’s lead designer Sanda Griffler indicates that today’s trending fabrics include satins, velvet crepes, georgettes, specialty sequins, and fabrics with a subtle texture pattern. Her advice for dancers placing orders for new costumes is, “Keep it lightweight because when you add the stones the costume becomes much heavier.” And, she concurs with the other designers that stones are “in” and heavily used on today’s solo costumes to create the dramatic effect on stage.

Some trending looks from Dance Bling include this classic white, black and gold costume with detailed embroidery and plentiful stones that shimmer on stage. Another head-turning design is the asymmetrical look of this black dress with lime green skirt and a kaleidoscope of circular shapes throughout, creating a whimsical look for the dancer. Finally, Griffler is creating capeless dresses, such as this gold one with a very “on trend” ruffled collar. The capeless concept is interesting as it also helps reduce the weight of the costume. Capeless is something designers have been trying off and on for the past few years and it continues to have staying power as a design concept for modern solo costumes.


Rising Star Design

Facebook: @risingstardesigns Instagram: @risingstardesigns

Keith Marron is known for his avant-garde and innovative Irish Dancing costume designs. Marron likes to experiment with different materials along with designing traditional Celtic art. “We want to be known as a company that both embraces change and also the roots in costume design and offer this service to all our customers,” explains Marron.  

Turning heads this season is Rising Star’s new Crome-Line. Marron says, “The Chrome-Line allows us to be even more creative with our designs while still offering lightweight and comfortable costumes.”

Other costume trending from Rising Star include this interesting twist on asymmetrical – we love it! For gents we adore this trendy black/silver and white waistcoat. All the details, down to the bow tie have been carefully planned in this gent’s look with total shine added to help give that extra “pop” on stage.

One thing Marron feels very strongly about dancers creating their own look with the help of a designer. “We get so many dancers wanting to be like their competition by copying their style, but I want to start a revolution where dancers can own their unique style, be their own person, and be proud of who they are! His advice for dancers is this, “Dance is a unique art form where each dancer is so unique in their style, personality and drive. Let your costume be an extension of this. “




IDM checks in with some of the biggest names in the biz for tips, trends, and more! Are you wearing the right style? Are you ready for a new look?

One of the most revered names in the business, also known as Youngblood Haircutters, has been setting trends in hair for more than 20 years. Irish Wig’s owner Teresa Kelley,

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The Irish Dancing & Culture Magazine (aka Irish Dancing Magazine) is the world's leading magazine and website dedicated to Irish Dancing & Culture.

Published monthly, IDM contains the latest results, news, and photos. Meet dancers from all over the globe. Dancers and adjudicators share advice PLUS learn about the latest trends. Don't miss a single issue!