Maghera girl crowned ‘Fashion Designer of the Year 2016’

Melissa Gormely with her winning dress
Melissa Gormely with her winning dress

Maghera fashion designer, the incredibly talented Melissa Gormley, has won the 2016 Young Designer of the Year title.

Melissa was announced at the competition winner on stage at the live final which took place at Wedding Journal Show, Belfast last weekend.

A delighted Melissa said: “I’m surprised, shocked and obviously really pleased. I actually can’t believe it!

“When I found out I won my legs started shaking – it was overwhelming.”

Melissa says she loves her work. “This award gives me the confidence to try and dive more into the bridal industry.

“I’m incredibly grateful to all of the people who voted for me online, and it’s surreal to think of the international bridal designer judges who have seen my dress and voted for my design.”

Launched by Ireland’s Wedding Journal magazine in May, the annual Young Designer of the Year competition invited creative young designers across Ireland to design a wedding dress.

From over 80 mood board entries, ten shortlisted dress designs went on to compete for a place in the final. Who made it into the final was the decision of the public who voted for their favourite dress designs online. Over 4,650 votes were cast, nominating Ellise Richards, Katleen Amazonas, Melissa Gormley, Roseanne Mc Namee and Zoe Murphy as the five finalists.

They had only six weeks to make their dresses, which were then showcased by professional models on the International Fashion Catwalk at the Wedding Journal Shows in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.

A celebrity voting panel featuring international bridal designers Ian Stuart, Charlotte Balbier, and Amanda Wyatt chose Melissa’s gown as the winning dress. This is what Ian Stuart had to say about Melissa’s design:

“I think Melissa demonstrates a natural flair for proportion, silhouette and elegant detailing. Her design is both classic and contemporary.

“The creative use of feathers makes the design more fashion forward that commercial bridal looks, but mixed with a simple silhouette, allows the modern bride to make a stylish statement without going overboard.”

Multi-award winning designer Charlotte Balbier said: “Melissa’s design stood out to me for many reasons. I loved the style and fabrics used on Melissa’s design, the combination of the chiffon, lace and marabou worked really well. The gown is fashion forward, fun but also stylish and sophisticated, a delicious combination of all the right factors. The attention to detail really caught my eye too; the sleeves and little pearl details won me over. Congratulations Melissa your gown is fabulous!”

Those flattering comments were read out on stage by goQradio presenters Stephen Clements and Kathryn Wilson, after Melissa Gormley was announced as the Young Designer of the Year 2016.