Tuesday, January 07 11:41:08
Showcase - Ireland's Creative Expo and the country's largest international trade fair, returns to the RDS this month, attracting buyers from 26 countries around the world.
Some 430 of Ireland's leading designers, manufacturers and craft makers come together at Showcase to meet with over 5,000 retail buyers from Ireland and abroad and present thousands of high-quality products, which are often unique to the show.
This year Showcase is predicting a 10pc increase in international buyers driven by a new direct marketing effort in partnership with Enterprise Ireland offices abroad.
Over 5,700 people are employed in Ireland by the entrepreneurial small and medium sized businesses that rely on Showcase to reach international customers, which is a fraction of the cost of travelling abroad to other trade fairs. Showcase estimates trade order sales in excess of E20 million at this year's event; playing a major part in the crafts sector's contribution to the Irish economy of almost E500 million annually.
This year, Showcase will be organised in two main category strands; Fashion and Jewellery, Home and Gift. As part of this new approach, three specialist product curators were appointed for Showcase 2014 to select and present the best of Irish craft and design from the show; Sonia Reynolds (fashion), Natasha Sherling (jewellery) and Eleanor Harpur (home and gift).
Products selected by the curators will feature in "The Edit", a series of specially designed display areas and runway shows. The exhibitors at the show will also be arranged by category to simplify navigating the event for buyers. At the heart of Showcase 2014 is 'Creative Island' - a curated space dedicated to products 'Imagined, Designed and Made in Ireland'. Located just inside the entrance to the main hall, 'Creative Island' will feature a stunning exhibition display which premiered at London Design Festival last Autumn. The 86 designer makers in Creative Island were selected by an independent panel for their creativity, innovation and craftsmanship. First time participants in 'Creative Island' this year include the winner of RTE's hit TV series 'Craft Master' 2013, fashion and accessories designer Claire Hurley, hipster Irish linen designers 31 Chapel Lane and funky soft toy makers Scatterpillar Designs.
Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Crafts Council of Ireland, said: "The Crafts Council of Ireland is committed to sustaining and growing the export market for Irish craft and design. Showcase is a significant opportunity for designer makers working in craft to do business internationally and offers valuable trade links for those working in the creative sector and the Irish economy as a whole. Showcase is a four-day trade show in Dublin, which attracts thousands of international buyers from around the world who come to Ireland to do business and whose investment is significant to the growth of small and medium sized enterprises here".