Alison Clarke of ACA Models won Miss Northern Ireland 1982 and was runner-up to Miss UK in the same year. In 1990 she opened the now longest running modelling agency in Ulster after starting organising Miss Northern Ireland in 1987.
Asked to name Northern Ireland's five best fashion designers, she recommends...
Una Rodden, 50 Upper Arthur Street, Belfast. 028 9024 8811
The queen of Irish designers is based in Belfast's Upper Arthur Street. She's my favourite of all favourites, creating everything from stylish, classic and adaptable pieces to glamorous choices for every occasion. You can choose from a selection in her shop or have something made just for you. I trust her so much she even made my wedding dress for me.
Reudi Maguire, Malone Studios, Belfast. 028 9581|1895
Reudi is an exciting young designer who is getting himself a name for elegant and sexy clothes. He has a wide range of dresses that use plenty of black so there is something for any age. You will have seen a Reudi dress somewhere — he dresses a lot of local celebrities for red carpet and black-tie events.
Although based in London Paul Costelloe is the godfather of Irish designers. He has had a shop and factory in Northern Ireland for years and so is a firm favourite here. He can adapt to any look, most recently having designed all the ladies' outfits for the European Ryder Cup wives. The range went from golf day wear to the opening ceremony formal glamour.
Grainne Maher Millinery, Ravenhill Rd, Belfast. 07813 775164
Grainne established herself first as a milliner and is now making a name for herself as an accessories designer. She has created the headgear for many a lady and her Pluck & Devour jewellery range is highly sought after. Her big moment came when Selena Gomez sported one of her lazer-cut pendants on stage at the MTV Music Video Awards a couple of years ago.
Shauna Fay 07592 339748
Shauna is up and coming in the Northern Ireland fashion stakes. She creates elegant evening gowns with fabulous beading and sequins and provided former Miss Northern Ireland Meagan Green's dresses for her appearance at the Miss World Final in Bali, Indonesia.
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