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Niamh Porter

Steven From ATU Donegal to New York Fashion Week 

In simplest terms, the fashion industry could be defined as the business of making clothes, but that would ignore the important distinction between fashion and apparel. Apparel is functional clothing, one of people's basic needs, but fashion combines its own prejudices of style, individual taste, and cultural evolution”. Niamh Porter had always dreamed of studying a third level programme within the area of Arts and Design. Inspired by her secondary school art teacher who saw Niamh’s talent, she began studying on the Fashion with Promotion course at ATU Donegal. “I love any form of art” says Niamh, I loved the course and I am really glad that I chose it. The lecturers were fantastic and the small class sizes allowed me valuable one on one time. I got to know everyone in my class and we had the opportunity to help each other with projects and learn from each other.

“The most enjoyable aspect was the freedom to discover my own style and what aspect of fashion I wished to focus on”.

When Niamh graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2018, she embarked on her journey to New York securing employment with a Brooklyn based company as a design assistant. “It was literally like the Devil Wears Prada, laughs Niamh. I worked on New York Fashion week and I designed clothes for some well-known personalities”.

“I designed clothes for Mary J. Blige, Michelle Obama and The Veronica’s”.

Although it had celebrity clients, the design company was small and intimate and allowed me lots of hands on experience. It was a whirlwind experience that was made possible by the skills and knowledge that I learned at ATU Donegal.

Niamh has now returned to Ireland and is in the process of setting up her own business. “My business is set to launch early next year and will focus on sustainable fashion using natural products and dyes. The Fashion with promotion course at ATU Donegal had photography, business and social media modules that will greatly help me with running and promoting my business. I am excited to launch my clothing range."

“The lecturers encouraged me to take part in Fashion competitions. I was student finalist for the Irish Fashion and Innovation Awards in 2018. We also got the opportunity to showcase our designs at the end of year Fashion Showcase which took place in the Regional Cultural Centre. This gave us great exposure as buyers and press were in attendance”.

“When I started the course, I couldn’t sew very well. Everything developed and I had so much time to learn these skills. Don’t be afraid to dream, to be yourself and to concentrate on your own journey” says Niamh.