Mallow College of Design and Tailoring
161, West End, Mallow, Co. Cork

Tel: 022 22768
City and Guilds

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Video Of Our Appearance On RTE TV Head 2 Toe 1995

Mallow College of Design & Tailoring Student Fashion Show 2011

This article originally appeared on

Date For Your Diary: Friday, June 3rd 2011

The Mallow College of Design & Tailoring Annual Fashion Show takes place on Friday, June 3rd from 8pm, at the Silversprings Hotel, Cork. The show will showcase work from 70 students ranging from first years to final years. 150 outfifts will be modelled on the night by models from the Celia Holman Lee Modelling Agency. Tickets cost €20 and are available by contacting the college directly on 022 22768. The college recently received a City & Guilds Highly Commended Award, one of only 200 awards given out across courses in 80 countries world wide. Past graduates of the college include Belinda Sullivan, Winner of Cork Fashion Week Young Designer of the Year 2010 and Lisa O Sullivan, Accessories Designer of the Year at the 2010 Kerry Fashion Week.

For further info on this student fashion show, contact Michelle Mangan / Mary Cashman (College Director).

About the College: Mallow College of Design & Tailoring was established in 1988 under Director Mary Cashman. It is a City & Guild accredited college. All students are part time studying one full day or two nights a week for 3 to 4 years. Students are eligible to hold the City & Guild Certificate after 2 years and the Diploma after 3 years. The college has been awarded Certificates in Excellence from London in recognition of the high standard of teaching and training.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Corkman Reports On Fashion Show 2011

Article originally appeared in the Corkman

An array of original, vivid fashion conceptions will be on display next week as The Mallow College of Design and Tailoring Annual Fashion Show takes place on Friday, June 3 from 8pm, at the Silversprings Hotel, Cork.

The show will offer an opportunity to witness first hand why the college recently received a City and Guilds Highly Commended Award, one of only 200 awards given out across courses in 80 countries world wide.

Past graduates of the college include Belinda Sullivan, winner of Cork Fashion Week Young Designer of the Year 2010 and Lisa O'Sullivan, Accessories Designer of the Year at the 2010 Kerry Fashion Week.

The show will showcase work from 70 students ranging from first years to final years. Models from the Celia Holman Lee Agency will showcase the 150 different outfits on the night.

Tickets cost €20 and are available by contacting the college directly on 022 22768.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Student Success Story: Debbie Maguire Of Yellow House

This article by Maria Moynihan originally appeared in The Farmers Journal

Cork mother of five Debbie Maguire gave up a successful nursing career to establish her own children's wear label. We meet the designer who really lives in the Yellow House. Her father may have been a tailor, but Debbie Maguire didn't exactly impress the nuns at St Aloysius Secondary school, Cork with her sewing skills.

"We had to make an apron, and I can remember having to rip it and rip it, because the nun would never be happy with it," she recalls mournfully. "The night before it had to be in, my dad sat up and stitched it for me. I was so bad, so bad. And then I go back into this!"

Indeed, the sisters were probably offering up novenas when they heard that Debbie - a highly qualified nurse and midwife - was giving up her successful career to start her own children's wear label from scratch. But if so, their prayers paid off. This year sees Yellow House celebrate its 10th anniversary as an Irish-designed, Irish-made clothes brand. And, just as it says on the label, it's a genuine home-grown success story.

In The Blood
For Debbie, fashion design was something of a late vocation. While her father Morgan O'Brien was a well-known tailor in Cork City, she admits to being "allergic" to sewing in her formative years. "It was a very tough life, because it meant long hours and working late into the night," she explains.

Instead, the Mayfield girl pursued a career in nursing, doing her general training in Cork University Hospital before specialising in intensive care nursing in Beaumont and midwifery in England.

But after returning to Cork and having her first son Arann in 1991, she found she was unable to secure job-sharing. Torn between career and family, she decided to give up work altogether and raise her young children, having her first daughter Meghan in 1993.

It was around this time that Debbie first heard about Mary Cashman's College of Design and Tailoring in Mallow. Looking for a challenge, she decided to sign up for a sewing class, but was so hooked that she ended up transferring into the three-year Fashion Design course. And not only did she win the City & Guilds medal of excellence for her studies, she also found time to have two more children, Jack and Callan.

"It was definitely a labour of love, in more ways than one," Debbie laughs. "It wasn't an easy course to do, because of the kids, but it was certainly a source of sanity, and I had a great time doing it."

Building Yellow House
Debbie can also thank her children for her business idea. Fed up with the children's wear in the shops, Debbie had started buying clothes by international mail order. She saw a gap in the Irish market. "I realised we could do exactly the same with an Irish mail-order catalogue," she explains. "It meant I could stay at home with the kids and see how I'd get on with the business."

And in 1999, Debbie launched her Yellow House label, named after the 1838 period house she shares with husband John and family under Shaw's Bridge near Blackpool. From the beginning, it was a home-spun enterprise. "There's many the night a pink jumper went over my boys' heads, when I'd be trying to see whether the arms were too long or too short," she laughs.

And while she admits that her business knowledge was negligible, Debbie had a clear vision for Yellow House from the start.

"The philosophy of the company was very simple," she states. "I wanted to make children's clothes that were good quality, stood out in a crowd and were synonymous with Yellow House, which was an Irish label. I just wanted to put a stamp on Irish design."

Irish Fashion
Yellow House caters for boys and girls, from newborn to 12 years of age. The collection is child and parent friendly, cute and colourful coats, sweet pinafores and rough 'n' tumble sweaters in soft, machine-washable suede and snugly fleece.

Especially enchanting are the Christening and Communion collections, which often feature hand crochet, lending them a timeless heirloom quality.

Yellow House recently also launched an adult range, which has proved especially popular with golfers, walkers and skiers.

While Debbie sources her fabrics in Paris, all garments are designed and made at her home studio. This allows her to offer a made-to-measure service for children who wouldn't fit the usual size categories, for a standard fee of just €5 extra.

"The parents would be distracted because the kids would not be streamlined into the average sizing, which is extraordinarily small and ridiculous. So if your kids like the styles, we can sort something out for you," she explains.

Most customers shop by mail-order catalogue, but Debbie also sells through stockists nationwide and recently opened a shop in the Market Parade off Patrick St. She has also dipped her toe into the international market by securing stockists in America.

Yellow House now employs seven people, something Debbie hopes customers will keep in mind when buying clothes for their children.

"I don't expect anybody to buy my product just because it's Irish," stresses Debbie. "I can see why people go to the likes of Lidl, but I like the idea that people would see that this product is keeping seven people employed. As long as people make informed choices, I've done my thing; I've put the product out there and it's a good product."

Style Success
Debbie's family has grown along with Yellow House. Arann is now 17, Meghan is 15, Jack is 13 and Callan is 12. She has also had another daughter since starting the business: Fiadh, now seven, who has accompanied her mother to the interview today.

We are walking up Patrick St when a woman pushing a buggy stops her and asks if Fiadh's coat is from Yellow House. Debbie smiles as she confirms her assumption. "You know I paid her to say that," she jokes afterwards.

But the incident echoes what Debbie says about the Yellow House brand 10 years on. "If a child is wearing a coat and a hat and they're walking down the street, I want people to say, 'Look at that, isn't that lovely?' That, to me, is success," says Debbie.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

A History Of Mallow College Of Design And Tailoring

This article by Maria Moynihan originally appeared in The Farmers Journal

The Mallow College of Design & Tailoring has made the North Cork town the Milan of Munster. We met Principal Mary Cashman, the woman who has made a career in fashion a reality for rural Irish women for 20 years.

The steady, synchronised hum of multiple sewing machines leads you down the hall of Mary Cashman's period townhouse on Mallow's West End to the studio out back. Ten bowed heads pore over swatches of fabric and bright spools of thread as they attempt to get to grips with the intricacies of embroidery. It's frustrating work, but worth it. And if they get snagged, Principal Mary Cashman is close at hand.

Glamorous, given to the giggles and with a measuring tape permanently draped around her neck, Mary established the Mallow College of Design and Tailoring 20 years ago. Since then, it has grown from running a few night-classes to an award-winning college offering the only City & Guilds' approved, part-time Diploma in Fashion Design in Ireland. And for many women - and men, it offers the only realistic opportunity of pursuing a career in fashion design from the heart of Munster.

Fashion Forward
Originally from Kenmare, Co Kerry, Mary moved to Mallow after marrying Cork man Pat Cashman, a farm adviser with Teagasc, who specialises in dairy. She always had an interest in fashion. "I went back to college after my second child," explains Mary. "It was actually a priest that encouraged me, because I would have always made my own stuff, and my mother and father could both do anything with their hands.

"But I found that I loved the technical, teaching side. I was at home rearing two kids, and it was something of an outlet for me. So I started off small with night classes and it just took off from there. "

The Course
That was 1988. Two decades on, Mallow College of Design & Tailoring is one of the premier design colleges in the country and an approved fashion centre for the London City and Guilds Examinations. In addition to the three-year Diploma in Fashion Design, there are courses in fashion, dressmaking and pattern drafting, as well as occasional millinery training. All classes are part-time and are taught by Mary and former student and designer Sue Pearce.

"It's a very practical course," says Mary. "It's all continuous assessment, which favours the mature student, and there are no written exams. We're the only people who do the course part-time for the City and Guilds in Ireland, and our students are getting a good qualification, which is important too."

The majority of Mary's students are drawn from the province, but some will travel from as far away as Kilkenny and Wexford.

Most are mature, ranging roughly from 24 to 40, and include farmers' wives, nurses on split shifts and those working in businesses like Dunnes Stores or Marks & Spencer, who wish to climb the career ladder. And while the course is female dominated, Mary currently has two male students.

Madge Moran travels from the family dairy farm in Mooncoin every Monday for classes. So who's doing the milking in her absence?

"I'm cutting back on that," she laughs. "I always liked sewing, and when I saw an ad for the course and that it was part-time, it suited fine. There are plenty of mature students there, and we all get on great. It's a really friendly place; it's more like a day out, really."

A New Dimension
Rosalie Dunne lives on a tillage farm in Garryvoe, East Cork, with her two sons and works in Ballymaloe House as Darina Allen's secretary. A founding member of Shanagarry ICA, she had always loved sewing, but it was only when her husband passed away that she decided to fulfil a long-term ambition. She signed on for one term at Mallow College and "never looked back".

"The course is great, we're packing so much in and you never know what I might do out of it. It's a whole new dimension in my life, and when I'm here I just forget about everything else, switch off and enjoy."

Itchy Fingers
This philosophy is what's made Mallow College of Fashion & Tailoring so successful. It offers a practical, flexible course for real women who have a special gift, but for many reasons have never had the opportunity to explore it.

Spaces are granted on a first-come, first-served basis, and the cost is not prohibitive: €300 per term or €900 for a full year. Mary Cashman believes that if you have itchy fingers, you should just pick up that needle and get sewing. "Anybody who's wondering whether they'd like it or not will know after about six weeks," she says with a smile.
Fashion Design Course At The Mallow College Of Design And Tailoring
A 3 year accredited part-time course covering all aspects of fashion design.
Dressmaking Course At The Mallow College Of Design And Tailoring
Takes you from learning how to use your sewing machine to following a commercial pattern.
Millinery Course At The Mallow College Of Design And Tailoring
A practical one day course, suitable for beginners, covering a variety of techniques.
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City And Guilds Accredited Courses In Fashion Design, Dressmaking, Pattern Drafting & Millinery
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