Sheelagh forged a successful career in the fashion industry as a designer pattern cutter, working for a number of high profile companies and labels and gaining her fondest memories by assisting designer Victor Edelstein for DIOR, Salvador and BIBA.
She has led numerous fashion undergraduate courses at UCA such as Fashion Technology, Fashion Product Development, European Fashion Design, and Fashion Design. Her research interests have focused around teaching and learning, and she has presented papers nationally and internationally, but Sheelagh’s main interest has been with charities.
Since 2007, Sheelagh has worked with UK-based charity, HOPEHIV. As Project Director for the Gateway School of Fashion, she set up a fashion school in South Africa, involving fundraising, establishing networks for funding, curriculum development, recruitment and training of staff, project management and evaluation. After 10 years, the Gateway School of Fashion has successfully trained hundreds of students to earn a living from selling their fashion garments, enabling them to provide for themselves and their families.
This Gateway School of Fashion project was professionally recognised by receiving the 2009 Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts.