JILL Hyndman’s dreams of gaining international recognition for her Celtic-inspired, natural silk dress design have come true as she has recently been crowned winner of a prestigious competition, with her dress set to be worn in front of a worldwide television audience.
The 25-year-old fashion student from Castlederg was announced as the winner of the Richmond Centre’s ‘Miss Earth NI National Costume Design and Creation’ competition at a live ceremony in the Playhouse in Derry surrounded by her family and friends.
Competing against two other finalists, Brigid McCullagh from outside Plumbridge and Niall Kelly from Donegal, Jill was chosen as winner by a panel of judges.
Her star-prize is a £500 grant to create the bespoke dress ahead of the televised international beauty pageant, Miss Earth.
It will then be worn by this year’s Miss Earth Northern Ireland, Maire Lynch giving the successful designer international recognition.
The competition’s theme this year was ‘Preserve and Restore Mother Nature’, and so it was essential that the winning costume designed would be made from environmentally-friendly materials.
It is fitting, then, that Jill’s dress features only natural silk fabrics – silk chiffon, silk lace and silk ribbon. Its bodice, to stay true to Jill’s proud Irish heritage, is inspired by Celtic patterns and made from crocheted silk ribbon.
And to add an extra classy touch, Jill’s dress begins as a knee-high cape and can be unbuttoned and folded down to reveal a wispy number with cascading ruffles.
“I am delighted that my dress has been picked, and I can’t wait to start making it now,” said Jill.
“While researching Irish heritage, I noticed a trend in women wearing capes over their dresses. This led me to come up with the idea of a transforming costume. I’ve also kept to my roots by including an element of knitwear and craft, which Ireland is well-known for. My mum taught me how to knit growing up.”
The Bath Spa university student added, “It is a design that I am very proud of – it is romantic and elegant, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. It will be surreal to see my design worn in such a famous competition.”
Tune into the 17th Miss Earth environment beauty pageant this Autumn for a glimpse of Jill’s award-winning gown, worn by current Miss Earth Northern Ireland, Maire Lynch from Derry.