Proof if needed of local design talent

By Scott Jamison

The eyes of the world were focused on the talent of one South Belfast fashion designer this weekend as her work was worn by the host of the globally watched MTV European Music Awards here in Belfast.

Hanging around the neck of ceremony presenter Selena Gomez was the work of Ravenhill Road designer Grainne Maher, who contributed two necklaces from her Proof store on the Ormeau Road to proceedings.

The designer, who is more known in fashion circles for the hats she creates, said the MTV crew were sent her way after a tip-off from a friend.

“A good friend of mine who edits a fashion website, was down at the Odyssey with a press pass on Friday and was checking out the wardrobe department. She got chatting to the head of wardrobe who mentioned they had been trawling Belfast for various items.

“My friend told her if they were looking for designer stuff they should check out Proof, as we carry first collections from recent fashion graduates. So the head of wardrobe and the stylist for the singer Jessie J arrived that afternoon and took five bags of items away.

“They grabbed a bit of everything – necklaces, hats, dresses, shirts, scarves and other jewellery. I have over 20 local designers selling stuff through the shop so I was very excited by it all.”

That excitement increased when Grainne tuned in to the ceremony as Selena appeared wearing two of her creations.

“A few friends were at the awards and were texting me that she was wearing my stuff but because I was watching it on TV I didn’t realise it was on a broadcast delay. I thought they were just mistaken.

“But when I noticed her wearing the necklaces I screamed and couldn’t believe it. They were the only things they used from all the things they took from the shop and it was a complete coincidence they happened to be my creations.

“One necklace of mine she wore was her last wardrobe change of the night and consequently unlike everything else it still hasn’t been delivered back but I’m still too over the moon to worry.”

Grainne said she hoped the EMAs would provide a major boost to her shop.

“I think this is going to really put Proof on the map. I have been known until now for my hats and I even won fashion designer of the year last year.

“But now the jewellery is becoming known as well and this is putting a focus on it.

“With all the publicity I might diversify even more now but it’s definitely nice to be recognised.”

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