13-year-old joins models at Belfast Fashion Week launch

Ashleigh Coyle pictured yesterday at the launch of Belfast FASHIONWEEK. Picture: Hugh Russell.

A 13-YEAR-OLD schoolgirl from Co Down was among 20 of Ireland's top models who helped launch Belfast Fashion Week, despite concerns she is too young to take to the catwalk.

Darcy Brittain-Dissont modelled several of the hottest trends for the upcoming Autumn Winter season, which were showcased at the show's launch in Life Church on Bruce Street.

Crowds packed into the city centre venue where they saw the Hillsborough teenager model ahead of her catwalk debut at Fashion Week in October.

It comes just weeks after criticism that the schoolgirl, who attends Friends School in Lisburn, is not old enough to enter the world of adult modelling.

The 13-year-old was unveiled by CMPR managing director Cathy Martin on her Facebook page, along with a series of professionally-shot photographs in which the child posed suggestively in denim hot pants in a children's play park.

Children's charities expressed disquiet with Barnardo's NI commenting that it "supports... guidelines that models should be at least sixteen".

Ms Martin defended her decision earlier this month and said all potential models "are interviewed with parents or guardians - to assess their personality and maturity for the job".

"We found (her) to be a responsible and mature 13-year-old who wants to model, and has chosen to do so with her parents' consent," she said.

Darcy's mum Brenda also spoke publicly of her support and stressed her daughter's education was also vitally important.

To mark the twentieth season, 20 models hit the stage yesterday for the launch of the West Coast Cooler Fashionweek, which returns from October 15 to 18.

Some of Ireland's top models showcased the new Autumn/Winter 2015 styles - giving fashionistas a taste of what to expect at the show itself, including suede, bright colours and fringe detailing.

Local designers and independent boutiques will showcase their ranges as well as international high street brands.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Martin said: "In terms of trends for this season, fashion fans should prepare for a stunning palette of winter brights, particularly oranges and pinks, and these will be used a lot in modern, graphic prints as well as in bold, block colours.

"It’s also time to rummage through your Grandma’s wardrobe for inspiration, as tweeds and prints akin to chintzy interior fabrics abound.

"In terms of fabrics and textures, winter often brings more interesting tactile looks, and this season suede and luxurious velvet are celebrated as well as a bit of fluff and fur."


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