skip to main content

Student Case Study

Art graduate Aoife Harvey sat at a table stitching orange fabric using a white sewing machine surrounded by student artwork on the walls

Aoife Harvey

Course: UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design (Design Crafts)

Meet Aoife, a former Art & Design student from Limavady Campus. She has received several awards for her work with sustainable fashion and was the winner of the BBC TV series 'A Stitch in Time’. Aoife is now working full-time on her fashion brand, AH Designs, specialising in upcycled fashion using her fabric-first approach.

After NWRC I graduated with a first class honours degree in Fashion and Textiles. I’m now running my own successful fashion brand, AH Designs. The College set me up for the world of work, and I’m now specialising in upcycled and sustainable fashion.

Aoife Harvey studied the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design at Limavady campus before going on to achieve a first-class honours degree in Fashion in Textiles. Within a year of her graduation she had established her own brand, AH Designs, and the won the BBC television series 'A Stitch Through Time' where she went head-to-head against three other designers over four weeks of competition.

Aoife was also the only Northern Irish designer showcasing at Northern Fashion Week in Manchester in 2023.

Aoife won the BBC TV series 'A Stitch Through Time'
Aoife won the BBC TV series 'A Stitch Through Time'

Through AH Designs Aoife specialises in upcycled fashion using her fabric-first approach. She recently returned to NWRC to deliver a masterclass to current Art and Design students at Limavady Campus on sustainability in fashion, where the students used recycled ripped denim to make handbags.

Aoife’s passion for fashion comes from the tales she was told by her great aunts working in shirt factories in Derry~Londonderry.

She said: “My mum can sew, and when I was younger, I would always have her alter clothes for me because I am too short for most of the clothes I buy. I grew up hearing stories about the rich textile history in Derry and its shirt-making factories. When I was young my granny would often share stories about her aunts who worked in the shirt factory in Derry. She would also tell me about how her mom would upcycle and sew flour bags into pillowcases and shirt collars. It makes me incredibly proud to be upcycling clothing in my fashion designs today, just like she did.

“I have always been a creative person from a young age, participating in competitions and studying arts and crafts for the past eight years. It was during my time at Limavady NWRC that I truly started taking fashion design seriously and realized it was my true passion. From my first four-piece final collection at NWRC, where I experimented with upcycling seat belts, to my most recent twelve-outfit upcycled collection at Ulster University, I couldn't envision myself pursuing any other career.”

Art & Design graduate Aoife Harvey delivers a masterclass to current Art students
two females working with textiles and a sewing machine
Former Art Student Aoife with Curriculum Manager among dresses

Aoife previously studied at St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s, Claudy, and enrolled at NWRC Limavady when she was 16 to study the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design.

Aoife said: “I’d tell anyone doing GCSEs to go along to their local FE college to find out what’s available. Going to NWRC after my GCSEs gave me the chance to pursue my passion. I’m excited to see what the future has in store and will always be thankful to my lecturers at NWRC for the support and guidance they gave me.”

For Aoife the future looks bright and she’s determined to take every opportunity that comes her way.

She said: “My current aim is to focus on producing more sustainable clothing collections and demonstrating what can be done with textile waste. I hope to launch my website soon and include a section where people can rent my clothing, which I believe is a shopping avenue that will only grow in popularity.”

Aoife was also named presented with the 'Honorary Award in recognition of contribution to the Arts, Fashion and Sustainability' at the College's 2023 Higher Education & Access Graduation Ceremony.

Aoife Harvey with Barra Best at NWRC Graduation
Art graduate, Aoife Harvey, presents her clothing on a mannequin

Be like Aoife...

Make your mark with a course that excites you, challenges you, and prepares you for career success.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now