Deisiú Fashion Collection Showcase

Deisiú is a fashion collection created by designer Pamela Heaney in response to the work of researchers from Dublin City University’s Water Institute.

Bioinspired design

Micro-topographical features of the Brill fish, Scophthalmus rhombus are one of the many inspirations for this work. Brill is a small flatfish native to the Mediterranean and to the waters of Norway and Iceland. The fish scale is perceived as an oval plate lying in the pocket of the dermis of the fish skin. This feature is characterised by growth rings, which show the growth history of fish. Rings propagate spirally or concentrically from the lower central section of the scale. From initial responses to this research, ideas around growth, protection and repair evolved. The linear patterns of microscopic images of the brill fish skin also were a key influence in textile development.

Figure: Scanning Electron Microscope Image of a Brill fish scale

These initial investigations progressed into a body of research and design development that focus on early 20th-century West of Ireland island communities’ clothing repair and mending practices. The work in this series is more than just an exploration – it is a journey into the past with contemporary outcomes. Engaging in archival research and hands-on exploration, the project unfolds through the design and construction of physical garments. By delving into the techniques, materials and social contexts of clothing repair in these communities, Deisiú not only uncovers valuable lessons for today’s sustainable textiles and fashion practices but also celebrates the resilience embedded in repair culture.

The creation and presentation of these physical garments demonstrate that mending and repair methods carry both historical significance and unique aesthetic value and appeal. Images created by artist Erin Quinn adds an evocative layer to this narrative, capturing the essence of the project while inviting viewers to witness these garments in another context. Deisiú aims to highlight the enduring relevance of repair practices, offering a bridge between the past and a more conscious future in the space of fashion and sustainability.

Figure: Scanning Electron Microscope Image of a Brill fish scale

Designer in Residence

Pamela Heaney – DCU Water Institute Designer in Residence 2021-2024

Pamela Heaney is a Dublin based Fashion Designer and Educator, who has embraced sustainable practices throughout her career and is an advocate for the principles of slow fashion. Her creative journey is characterised by a profound interest in historical fashion approaches. Her work explores contemporary interpretations of historic construction techniques, silhouettes, and textiles, particularly showcasing an interest in heritage and reclaimed fabrics. The work aims to offer a perspective on fashion that celebrates tradition, innovation and sustainability in equal measure.

Pamela boasts a rich and diverse background in the fashion industry, having worked across various roles in Paris, London, Melbourne and her current home, Dublin. A passionate educator, she lectured for a number of years in Limerick School of Art and Design, teaching on both the Fashion Textiles and Fashion Design programmes, and she currently holds a position as a lecturer in Costume Design in IADT, Dun Laoghaire.

Our research

For information on the recent marine science and technology research using biomimetic surface texturing: