Meet The Designers

MEET THE DESIGNERS | SHAUNA KEOGH

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Shauna Keogh.

Visit 5428apparel.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I was born and raised in Dublin, the youngest of three girls.  I moved to London in my early twenties, where I worked in the media industry before relocating to New York in 2009.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

I don’t have one defining moment as such, but I do have many life experiences that have brought me to where I am today. My move to the United States and being nominated for an Emmy was a great achievement. But it’s the people I have met along the way and the lessons I have learned—the good and the bad—that has been my defining moments to date.  

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

My ambition is to have 5428 Apparel in every territory globally and to have the LGBT brand sold in stores where you can purchase the product 365 days of a year, for every occasion—birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.—not just when Gay Pride comes around once a year. 


HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

It’s all about identity and inclusion—having a line of clothing that the LGBT community can identify with and feel part of is crucial. 

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Matthew Williamson and Lady Gaga. 

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

The objective of 5428 Apparel is to have as many nationalities and genders WearingIrish. Just like the messaging of the brand, it’s all about inclusion. 

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Developing an idea from my head, moulding, and shaping it into the final product is what I enjoy most.  The creative part is by far, my passion; it’s all about the connection you build through your work. People relate to people, and we are all emotionally connected.  The creation of my brand came from my connection with my clothing while I was still struggling with my sexuality and coming to terms with my internal homophobia.  While I was struggling to accept myself, I could relate to others in the community through my clothing; it gave me a sense of belonging and identity. I also wanted to create a line of clothing that wasn’t always heavily branded with rainbows and unicorns to illustrate sexuality. The creation of the logo with the numbers 5428 was code for LGBT and having it in the enclosed bracket was how you feel connected in the community. I felt growing up, dealing with my sexuality, that I fell outside the bracket, but I turned that into a positive and wanted it as part of the logo.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I am immensely proud of growing up in Ireland and being Irish. I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, and there is no place like home.  My country hugely inspired the creation of 5428 Apparel.  The support and acceptance from my family, friends but more importantly, the support the country showed for equality. It’s hard to believe that not so long ago it was a crime to be gay in Ireland. I look at how far we have come, and to create a brand that represents being gay and being Irish is what I am immensely proud of.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

Being Irish means so much to me; it’s at the core of who I am. No matter where I have travelled in the world, I have met Irish people and the connection, and the reception has always been the same.  We shoot our content on location in Ireland to showcase our heritage and where we came from. I feel that love for one’s heritage increases when you are away. Coming back always brings that sense of pride.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My family, food, and being able to create.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Wear whatever makes you feel good. 

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I am a massive advocate for empowerment, and I would always advise others to do what they want and be what they want to be.  Don’t let anyone tell you, you can and cannot achieve something.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | EMILY JEAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Emily Jean.

Visit emily-jean.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I started with a third level qualification in jewellery, fashion & textiles. I then went onto study millinery at the London College of Fashion.  Following this, I interned with established milliners in the UK and with Maison Michel, the millinery house of Chanel in Paris.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Opening my first boutique atelier in Galway city in 2007 was a defining moment in my career. I had an established client and supplier base, so I felt confident to take the next step with a boutique atelier where I could work with clients in a more professional environment.  

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The WearingIrish movement inspires me to keep thinking global while surrounding myself with a truly authentic Irish brand.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Anyone who embodies a sense of Irish culture.  They don’t have to be Irish, but if they relate to a sense of Irishness, then they will carry and showcase Irish craft at its best.


TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I design two collections a year: autumn/winter and spring/summer. Each season is inspired by what is current and relevant in today’s market, along with my signature twist.  I visit trade shows in Europe, where I source unique trimmings and fabrics. These raw materials influence and inspire the creative process.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I am fortunate to live and work on the shores of the wild Atlantic way. The raw and rugged landscape is ever-changing and never ceases to inspire.  Ireland has a robust heritage and sense of identity. We are recognized internationally for our natural fabrics and unique creative skills. My artistic journey began at a very young age, and as I progressed in my career, I traveled further afield. It was during my time abroad that I began to have a deeper understanding of the Irish craft and how important it is for me to have my roots in Irish soil.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

Irish heritage has influenced my creations from linen, to lace and even Aran knits.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My bespoke embellished headband.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Needle, thread and thimble!

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

A simple headband can add a touch of glamour to any outfit; it will stylishly bring you from day to night.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | JACQUELINE QUINN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Jacqueline Quinn.

Visit jacquelinequinn.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I started at Grafton Academy of Fashion Design in Dublin. I then moved to New York in 1995 and was a designer for Jessica Simpson, head designer for DKNY and the creative director for Betsey Johnson.  I currently started my clothing line that launched in the US in 2019 and Europe in 2020.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Being named head designer at DKNY.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

For more women to experience the brand and feel fabulous wearing it.

HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Feminine, sustainable and timeless.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My love of Jacqueline Kennedy; I was also named after her.


WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

My fascination with Mrs. Kennedy and her iconic style.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

It is coming true currently, now that I can design with the Kennedys for my Jacqueline Kennedy brand.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The fact that WearingIrish exposes so much Irish talent and creativity.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Those who want to help promote the designers who show their Irish creativity.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

At the beginning of every season, I research mood boards, magazines, books, movies, and wait to be inspired. When that inspiration comes, that is when the real creative process begins with choosing fabrics, colors and much more.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Currently, for my master’s in fine arts and fashion, I am studying Georgian house stucco in Ireland, and it has influenced a new fabric for my collection.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

I have been exposed to great Irish painters and writers, and so many of them have been a source of inspiration for my collections; my favorite Irish painter is Jack Butler Yeats.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

I purchased the original sketches of the inaugural gala gown that Oleg Cassini designed for Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961 and it has influenced a lot of my work.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My daughter and her success in fashion, my dog Coco and a good manicure.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Black with good accessories.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

Being told by my Harvard professor that my writing skills were very strong opened new horizons for me. 


MEET THE DESIGNERS | HELEN HAYES

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Helen Hayes.

Visit helenhayesclothing for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I originally studied graphic design at the Limerick School of Art and Design. After my daughter started school, I went back and studied fashion design at the Grafton Academy. Since graduating, I have begun building up my brand.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Being one of the designers selected to participate in ‘Create,’ a showcase of Irish design organized each year by Brown Thomas Dublin, one of Ireland’s premier stores.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I want to build a brand reputation for pieces that are crisp and contemporary with very well considered design details. 


HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

I want to combine my background as a graphic designer and my love of exquisite packaging with my love of textiles to create pieces that are tactile with hand-crafted details in a very contemporary, sculptural way.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

There is more than one, and it is the mind-set of each, and many others, that I find the most inspiring. The first time I saw a piece by Madame Grès, I was blown away. Likewise, the pleated garments by Sybil Connolly. They both took an idea, explored it, and developed it, and truly made it their own. It is this sense of determination and individuality I admire.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I love the work of Joseph Walsh who makes wonderful pieces in wood. 

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

We have an ancient heritage of craft and textiles in Ireland, which allows us to stand apart internationally. This heritage fits perfectly with the slow fashion movement that has emerged. 

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Women who value our rich heritage and contemporary design.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

This varies depending on the project. I like to start on a small scale and develop an idea with paper. I do a lot of work on half-size dummies exploring shape and silhouette.  I spend a lot of time sourcing fabric and developing textures, tweaking as I progress until it all comes together.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I grew up on a farm in the middle of Ireland, surrounded by a wonderful culture of weaving and knitting.  Most people consider my work to be quite urban, but to me, it all stems from nature and a love of native crafts.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

It means rich colours, woven fabrics, dramatic scenery, and architectural innovation. It is an exciting time to be Irish when individuality is embraced and encouraged.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My red satin ‘squares’ skirt. This was my first ‘squares’ piece made from over 225 individual squares that are I hand-cut, hand-folded, and hand-sewn together.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Books, coffee, and my daily walk.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

A beautiful white shirt is perfect for any occasion.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | LOUISE ELLIOTT

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Louise Elliott.

Visit fishermanoutofireland.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I studied at NCAD Dublin and graduated in 1991. That summer, I went to NYC on a J1 student work visa with my portfolio in hand. I was very fortunate within a short space of time to land a design job at DKNY. Later, I worked at Fenn Wright Manson. Then I worked with Adrienne Vittadini before returning to my native Cork in September 1997 to accept a job as a designer for Fisherman Out of Ireland, which is owned by Blarney Woollen Mills.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

In December 2000 when Bill Clinton was in Dublin, he picked up a Fisherman sweater from the old Blarney Woollen Mills shop on Nassau St. The heading on a news story in The Irish Times the following day was “Purchase of a new jumper brings traffic to a standstill.” So, you see, sometimes a good sweater can stop everyone in their tracks!


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I’d like to see the Fisherman brand increase its profile at home and abroad in more of the upscale retail settings.          

HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

That would have to be the dedicated, tight-knit group of skilled people that work at the factory in Kilcar, County Donegal where everything is made.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

It comes from both our location and inspiration—the Irish coastal landscape and its fishing communities.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

For women, I think Bono’s wife, Ali Hewson looks relatable, cool and comfortable in her own skin and I admired her Edun mission. My not shy, American husband beside me here is saying he is my male muse.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

To work with a prestigious department store such as Selfridges, Liberty London or Barneys New York.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

WearingIrish has given much needed valuable exposure to the many talented designers creating right here in Ireland.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Anyone with good taste who cares about provenance.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

It all starts with the yarn, which then becomes a knitted fabric and finally a garment. I work with spinning mills to create, in some cases, bespoke yarns and colours. The next step is stitch and pattern development to create the fabrics and then finally designing the knitwear shapes. Trips to Pitti Filati yarn show, London and Donegal along the way all provide the ingredients with which to make the cake that is the next collection.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Knitwear is all about texture, colour and handle, and the beautiful, Irish coastal landscape has this in abundance. I am very blessed to be a part of creating a brand that is produced right here in Ireland as there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

I was born in England to Irish parents, and we moved back to County Cork as kids. As a child, my very “proud to be Irish” mother knit outfits for my dolls and Aran sweaters for Blarney Woollen Mills. She was my most significant influence and fan and was buried in a willow coffin in her favourite Fisherman cardigan.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

First introduced in 2006, our two-button, horizontal ribbed cardigan for women continues to be our absolute best seller every year.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

When on working trips in Donegal it’s my hot water bottle, healthy packed lunches, and Seamus, our knitwear programmer, he makes it all happen.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

If an outfit looks good on you, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve worn it or how many people have seen you in it already; it looks good on you! This is what the “buy less, buy better” message ultimately entails.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I’m not a limelight loving person, but I do enjoy seeing a Fisherman sweater pass me by on the street.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | JENNIFER KIERNAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Jennifer Kiernan.

Visit scribbleandstone.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I grew up in the north inner city of Dublin and have since studied commerce, fashion, and textiles and have qualifications in graphics, too. In 2010, I jointly set up the collaborative retail space Design Lane in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Work from over 50 local designers & makers is sold there, and I have been selling my own products under the brand Scribble & Stone since then. I now focus on developing jewellery products and have supplied probably about 40 shops over the years.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Probably being interested in music because I saw how amazing things started as small ideas. As a student, I knew a lot of DJs, producers, and promoters who had launched labels, club nights, or festivals on a shoestring. Edinburgh, where I went to art college, was great for that; so entrepreneurial and inclusive. For the first time, I could see how someone could be self-employed and create a job if they remained focused and committed. It gave me that entrepreneurial courage to do my own thing.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I would love to expand the business and have more time for the creative rather than the business side. I would love to outsource all production, bearing in mind sustainability and fair trade, so we could focus on design. I would like to go back to textiles too in some way, and I have plans to do some things with a fair trade initiative in Nepal this year. I have so many ideas, but trying to fit it all in with family life can be challenging!

HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Eclectic and inclusive!

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Initially, when I started, I was drawing a lot, so “scribble” referenced my illustrations; “stone” referred to gemstones and related to the jewellery.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Cate Blanchett. Not only does she embody great style, intelligence, and beauty, but she does so much good work with the UN and speaks out in support of women’s rights.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to design a collection for Marni. I adore their jewellery collections and would love to work with a big brand like that who have access to top-class production and materials so that all your imaginings could be brought to life in an exceptional, polished way.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The opportunity to bring our products to a broader audience and potentially to be able to develop collections with that in mind, rather than being constrained by the limitations of a slightly conservative local market.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone and anyone who likes the products and wants to support small-scale producers and keep retail diverse and exciting—and not just recognizable high street brands!

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

The first part would be research and trend analysis. We tend to survey what’s going on across a lot of areas, from exhibitions to films to what’s happening on the catwalks. I’ll also look at things I’m personally interested in, from architecture to interior design to natural landscapes. From there, we’ll collect visual research and create beautiful mood-boards to use as reference points. Once you are surrounded by things like this, the rest just flows; materials and colours will suggest themselves. You get a feeling for what combinations of elements might work, and then you start to play about draping on a mannequin, or drawing elements that you could get 3D modeled. At this point, a collection will begin to evolve. From there, it’s about refining the ideas and of course, costings.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I can’t get away from it to be honest. It seeps into your bones in terms of preferred colours and textures. I grew up in a crumbling 18th-century Georgian house in the north inner city so peeling paint, distressed surfaces, muted colours look normal to me. I always return to that in terms of textures and palette and when working with colour, it’s always more muted, with shiny gold to brighten it. The architecture of the city always inspires, whether its grids and lines of scaffolding and building sites or stacked squares of Perspex inspired by the contemporary buildings of the Grand Canal Dock. I think the weather here and colours of the sea are endlessly inspirational and when developing things, it’s never going to be tropical brights!

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

I’m not sure how to answer that. I guess it’s nice to come from a place that is known for being quite friendly and welcoming. The Irish market does influence my creations as it is small, so that can limit you in terms of what will sell well. People here are so supportive of local brands though, and that’s really lovely, to be honest!

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Our triple strand minimal bracelet.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family, friends, and laughter.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Statement earrings—currently hoops!

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

My folks are conservationists of an 18th-century building and they were hugely active in the movement to save Georgian Dublin from demolition in the ’60s and ’70s. Thanks to them and their peers in The Preservation Society, North Great George’s Street is now one of the finest preserved and restored examples of an 18th-century street in Ireland.  Perhaps it’s the memories of my Dad meticulously restoring stucco plasterwork with homemade moulds that planted the seed of my creativity!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | LORRAINE ROONEY

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Lorraine Rooney.

Visit baalandtanit.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I worked in Marketing for over ten years before starting Baal & Tanit. We returned to Ireland from the UK in 2014 after ten years in London. My third child arrived in 2016, at which point I decided to take some time out from consulting. It was during this time Baal & Tanit was born.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

The first time I saw a stranger wearing one of my products abroad. It was only then I allowed myself to believe that what had started as a hobby turned into a small business.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

The brand name refers to the God and Goddess of Ibiza—Baal & Tanit. Ibiza is a place close to my heart; it’s where my husband and I were married.


YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

We have so much variation in our designs that nearly every week we get to work on a new exciting collaboration with a customer. Our customers have creative control, and we will work with them on colours, materials, and design to create what they have in their minds and bring it to life. It keeps it fresh and exciting for us, and we love experimenting with all the different combinations.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It’s wonderful seeing a focus on Irish fashion and the passion Margaret has for shining the spotlight on Irish designers and brands.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

With so many incredible Irish designers, there is something for everyone. It’s an opportunity to show your support and always have a piece of home with you wherever you are in the world.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Many of the product styles and designs are driven by a passion for creating functional, beautiful pieces that will be useful and serve a purpose while looking great. I love the flexibility of the brand and getting to work on different styles and designs depending on the customer requirements.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Living and experiencing the beauty of Ireland can’t but help shape your creative process and thinking. It’s not just the beauty, but more the culture, positivity, and belief that comes from the people which has personally encouraged me to develop the brand.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Our personalized, straw boat hat.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family, friends, and coffee!

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

A good blow dry.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I worked in professional sport for eight years before starting Baal & Tanit.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | JANE ASPLE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Jane Asple.

Visit emmabyjane.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Before founding my brand, Emma by Jane in 2017, I was a fashion buyer. I studied fashion buying and merchandising at London College of Fashion. I then got a job with Primark in the UK, where I was responsible for designing collections based on current trends, sourcing suppliers, building strategies for the growth of my product areas. After five years with Primark, it was finally time to do my own thing.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

There have been some memorable defining moments which have led me to more significant moments, but one that stands out is being featured in three different issues of British Vogue. I was so shocked when I received the email from the team that I ignored it for a few days—I didn’t believe that it was Vogue! —until a friend made me contact them back.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To be world-renowned.

HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

The heart of the brand is the women that we are designing for; they are our inspiration. I created a brand that features high-quality, fashionable pieces but at a more affordable price point because women deserve to treat themselves. Everything we do is for the women who work hard and can’t wait to receive a piece of our jewellery.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My best friend Emma was wearing half my wardrobe, and someone said “it’s like you’re styled by Jane”—Emma by Jane.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Anine Bing. Her style is incredible, but her journey is even more incredible.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Anine Bing. She is just an inspiration to me in so many ways.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

We are a small country and to have someone like Margaret spearheading a movement and promoting all the greatness we Irish are producing is exceptional. Margaret is opening doors for us in the United States. It’s incredible and such a joy to watch.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Every woman who believes in themselves and their dreamsand who won’t stop fighting until they achieve them.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

My creative process is never-ending. I mostly get inspired when I am putting an outfit together as I will always think ‘what is it missing?’ And if we don’t have it, I immediately start drawing, so I don’t forget. Once I am satisfied with the design, I brief our suppliers, and we go back and forth for weeks to make sure the supplier has captured every detail. We then receive a sample of the piece; we try it with other pieces in the collection to make sure that our customer can build an outfit with their jewellery and once we are happy the design goes into production. Every piece of Emma by Jane is handmade by amazingly skilled people, and we are so proud of the team we have that help us bring everything to life.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Ireland is home. I lived away for six years, and nothing beats coming home. I find the scenery amazing for opening your mind, taking you out of the pressures of life and business. It gives me a chance to breathe, reset, and refocus when I need to.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Blazers are great, no matter what you’re wearing. They add a touch of style and class to any outfit. I have several colours in my wardrobe.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My family, my dog, and chocolate.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Accessories! My favourite outfits are a basic tee and jeans and then using all our Emma by Jane pieces to make it unique and to complete the look.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | YVONNE ROSS

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Yvonne Ross.

Visit yvonneross.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Initially, I studied Fine Art at Dublin Institute of Technology.  After finishing my degree, I spent some time travelling, falling in love with the rainbow array of gemstones in the markets of Bangkok.  Back home I enrolled in any jewellery short courses available and launched my first business “Yvonne Ross Designs,” selling high-end beaded jewellery in The Loft Market, Dublin.  In 2009 I moved to Kilkenny to take a place on the renowned DccoI Jewellery Skills course, launching my goldsmithing business “Yvonne Ross Jewellery” in 2013.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

That’s a hard one to answer as there are so many.  If I had to choose just one, I’d have to say winning the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin (Assay) Award in the RDS National Crafts Competition in 2012—just a year after I’d finished my training. It gave me a huge confidence boost at that critical time when I was finished studying but not quite established.  I went on to launch “Yvonne Ross Jewellery” the following year, opening my showroom/studio in Kilkenny City in 2015.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To continue to work independently of trends, focusing instead on my own evolving collection, creating balanced contemporary pieces using clean lines and quality materials.

HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Contemporary jewellery lovingly handcrafted using traditional goldsmithing skills in the heart of medieval Kilkenny city.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

For my brand name, I kept it simple and descriptive (mostly to make it easy for people to find me).

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Dawn O’Porter wore a large pair of gold pearl earrings of mine to the Oscars earlier this year, which was a total muse situation.  I love her style.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

There are so many amazing designers out there but keeping it Irish, I’d like to work with Una Burke as I’m a big fan of her leather creations and I think we could make some interesting pieces together.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The #wearingirish movement is a great way to raise the public profile of Irish Design, but it also strengthens the design community here at home by having an online platform where we can connect.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

For my brand, I’d say someone with a keen eye for contemporary design and craftsmanship, but there is such an extensive range of Irish design that there is something for everyone. 

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

The creative process varies from piece to piece.  Sometimes inspiration will come from a shape or structure, and I will begin with sketches.  Other times a spectacular gemstone will guide the design.  With a commissioned piece, we start with a design consultation (or two) followed by sketches, the choice of stones and then creating the bespoke piece.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I’m based in Kilkenny which is often referred to as the centre of craft in Ireland and have been a member of the “MADE in Kilkenny” craft collective for a few years.  We have makers, from a wide range of traditional crafts, basket weavers, potters, glassblowers, and jewellers to name a few; we work together every year to produce a body of work for a curated exhibition.  This immersion in local, Irish craft has been invaluable to my creative process.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

Being Irish is an intrinsic part of me and all of us here on the Emerald Isle. Having lived abroad in numerous countries, I can say that there is a particular “way” about the Irish. We are hardworking, creative, often self-deprecating, and generally quick-witted.  I think all of these characteristics influence both the way we work & the creations themselves.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

It would have to be my “Halved Halo” ring. Each ring is handcrafted and individually built around the client’s choice of gemstone, forged in gold, platinum or palladium and finished off with pave set, rare white diamonds.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

It’s family first and foremost—my daughter and fiancé (also our puppy Rosie) and of course the rest of our many siblings, parents, nieces, nephews, in-laws. Both myself and Paul are from large Irish families, so you get the picture! Of course, friends are next in line with crafting jewellery coming in a very important third place.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Jewellery can finish off an outfit, but I always make sure the end result works. It’s a collaboration between clothes and accessories.  A simple outfit showcases large eye-catching jewellery, but if you’re wearing an outfit that’s big and bold simple jewellery tends to work better.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | VIVIEN WALSH

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Vivien Walsh.

Visit vivienwalsh.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I grew up in a creative environment… my father was a furniture designer and so it seemed very natural for me to follow a career in design. Jewellery came about almost by accident! I am entirely self taught. While I was living in London in the 1980’s I became captivated by the small bead shops around me and decided to try my hand at creating my own pieces. On returning to Ireland I launched my first jewellery collection and have been creating ever since.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

I think my heart skipped a beat the first time I saw someone wearing a piece of my jewellery in real life. I realized, “I’m actually doing this!” Thankfully that feeling never went away, and I still get the same thrill to this day.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

My ambition is to grow my brand both nationally and internationally through my website and collaborations with like-minded retail partners.

HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

I design jewellery to be loved and worn, that makes the wearer feel good.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

It’s my name. For me, it’s important that people know there is a real person behind the brand.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

My current muse is Maria Bernad. I adore her easy-going style.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

To collaborate with Iris Apfel would be amazing; her sense of freedom is inspiring.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I love the contemporary approach WearingIrish is taking to highlight the creative talent on our small island.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

She is independent and travels her own path. Trends do not define her; instead, she sets her own style. She chooses to wear Irish.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

An idea will strike me: it could be anything, at any time and I might jot down a note or somehow record the memory. When I start to work on that idea, it is the materials themselves that speak to me. I rarely draw. I go directly to my workbench and begin to play with the stones, chains, metal pieces, and that’s when the designs start to flow.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

The sense of freedom that comes from living on an island is something that influences the person I am and the way I work. Our rich culture and history, along with the natural beauty of our landscape, is a constant inspiration.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

We are storytellers, romantics, and rebels all rolled into one; my creativity flows from those three things.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Right now, the multi-strand floating pearl necklace from my City collection.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Loved ones, music, and an emerald ring that belonged to my mother.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Keep it simple and understated and add a pop of interest.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT WE DIDN’T ASK.

Inside, I’m a piano playing architect!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | HOLDEN LEATHER GOODS

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Conor Holden.

Visit holdenleathergoods.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Born and bred in Dublin, I started my working life as a trainee hotel manager, at the age of 17. I moved to London at 19 and worked in local government. A course at Cordwainers College (now part of London College of Fashion) in Leathergoods Design and Production caught my eye: this was the beginning of my journey back home, and the beginning of Holden Leathergoods, which I set up in 1989.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

A holiday in Dingle in 1988, which ultimately lead to setting up the workshop in this beautiful and inspiring location.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

For the Holden name to be totally synonymous with quality and integrity—of design, craftmanship and sustainability.


HOW YOU WOULD DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

We are dedicated to producing leathergoods of the highest quality you will find anywhere in the world, maintaining a commitment to sustainability and the very opposite of ‘fast fashion’: we are the leather equivalent of the slow food movement! We do our own thing, our way, for people who know their own minds.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Holden is my family name, and I get a great sense of pride when I see it on my work.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

I always imagine Audrey Hepburn carrying a Holden ‘Isabel’ bag! Her enduring elegance and style inspire our own modern classics.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The WearingIrish movement is a great way to encourage and support designers and makers in Ireland to reach a wider audience.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

There are over 35 million Americans with Irish heritage; if every one of these were to wear or carry just one piece of Irish design, imagine how much growth and security this could bring to Irish designers and makers!

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Most of our bag designs are collaborations between myself and my wife, Claire. We set aside some time to work through new ideas and prototype them, usually when we receive the samples of new leathers we’ve selected from our tanneries in Italy and are buzzing with inspiration and creativity! It’s one of the aspects of my job that I most enjoy.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

The Dingle Peninsula is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it’s steeped in history, and encompasses so much about being Irish: it has a spiritual draw which continues to this day to attract and inspire creativity in writers, musicians, poets, philosophers, dancers, artists and artisans.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS?

Being Irish is an integral part of who I am. My heritage is very important to me: It gives me a sense of place in the world and a pride and confidence in what I do.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The Holden ‘Laptop Backpack’—even we have been surprised by its appeal, to men and women. It’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself; useful and practical with all the luxury details you’d expect from a Holden: meticulously handcrafted full grain leather, with a hardwearing soft suede lining.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My family above all else followed closely by coffee and chocolate!

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

A classic Holden ‘Aoife’ bag looks equally amazing dressed up for an evening or dressed down with denim; choose a Holden bag you love—you’ll have it for years!

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT WE DIDN’T ASK.

This year is the 30th anniversary of Holden Leathergoods! I was a bearded, long-haired 25-year-old when I started all this!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | AOIFE MCNAMARA

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Aoife McNamara.

Visit aoifemcnamara.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I am a Limerick School of Art and Design graduate and hold a BA Honors Degree in Fashion Design. My knowledge and background spans interning with Marc Jacobs, working with a Vogue stylist in Paris, supplying fashion to noted celebrities such as Vogue Williams, Roz Purcell, Suzanne Jackson, and working practically with Irish companies in uniform design and Capsule collections. I have also won Irish Country Magazine Fashion designer of the year 2019 and nominated in the top 5 for Gossies Fashion Designer of the year 2019.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

The most defining move in my career would have to be, moving to Paris straight after college by myself with no French, no job, and a dream to pursue a career in the fashion industry. I had previously been in NYC working, but Paris was a whole other level—learning the true detail to design and how cutthroat the real fashion industry is. Working many different jobs from styling to couture—I think throwing yourself in the deep end straight after college is the best way to learn and grow as a young designer.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

Becoming a 100% ethical brand is what I want AOIFE Ireland to grow into. As a young up-and-coming designer, it is vital to have a voice in what I create and how I choose to represent my line. For me, that is reducing my carbon footprint anywhere we can—keeping my production in Ireland and choosing sustainable materials. We are not perfect, but we strive to achieve a brand that is known globally for its ethical morals.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

I wanted to keep my brand name very simple, clear and 100% Irish—choosing AOIFE Ireland just made sense.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Copenhagen Stylist Emili Sindlev. Her style is like no other. She is 100% my muse, from her colour palette to how she styles her clothes. It would be a dream to collaborate with her on an AOIFE line.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

A lot of different aspects inspire my creative process—the main one being Ireland and its beautiful sunsets. My current SS20 collection is called ‘She’s A Dreamer.’ I collaborated with Irish woolen mill John Hanly to create my Irish wool, which represents our beautiful skyline.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My phone, Filofax and a pocket sketchbook.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT WE DIDN’T ASK.

I am obsessed with training, whether it’s for a triathlon or first thing in the morning. I feel it clears my head and helps me work a lot more productive for the day.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | AIDEEN BODKIN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Aideen Bodkin.

Visit aideenbodkin.com for more! 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

The Aideen Bodkin label was established in 1999 to offer Irish women timeless, tailored contemporary style with a vintage twist. It was a career that chose me from a young age, having been influenced by the glamour of classic Hollywood films that I watched as a child with my mother and grandmother.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

As a relatively new designer on the Irish market, I was chosen to design an outfit for the then Irish President Mary McAleese for her inauguration for her second term. The attention this outfit received from the public and media gave the label a huge boost, and the brand gained a loyal following.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I would like to see the brand gain a following in other markets, showing that Irish design can sit alongside and complement international labels.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My brand name is my given name, and the surname “Bodkin” coincidentally is a blunt needle used by tailors for sewing leather.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to collaborate with an Irish weaving company to reintroduce Irish handcrafts in a contemporary way to a worldwide audience.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

WearingIrish is a fantastic platform that presents the best of Irish design to a worldwide audience.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

A sense of place is part of the fabric of being an Irish person and is key to our culture. Irish designers understand the sense of occasion and family that is at the heart of many of our celebrations. We design clothes to suit the uniqueness of our culture and the several occasions that we celebrate.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

A great dress that can be worn to an event or dressed down for everyday wear.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Books, family, and friends.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | NIKI COLLIER

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Niki Collier.

Visit designireland.ie for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Niki Collier is a genuine story of modern Ireland. Twenty years ago, I arrived from Bulgaria to complete a doctorate. Today, my handmade designs and art pieces have been appreciated as part of the Irish creative movement.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

There have been many defining moments in my career including being the first Irish felt designer to be sold at the British Museum Shop and the first felt designer to be sold in Kilkenny Design.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To collaborate with film, music and fashion houses, while keeping my boutique stockists and developing the workshop as a destination for curious folk looking to enjoy a unique studio experience.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

A yearning to tell authentic stories through products that capture my passion for heritage, materials and origin—such as my Wild accessory range, the first truly Irish felt tweed.

 


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My name. I am a small studio with occasional support for exhibitions and big orders who was never interested in having any notions.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Katniss Everdeen the Mockingjay. She’s a character with a purpose and a voice, who never fails to be both human and hero—even when faced with adversity. 

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to make a hugging scarf for Oprah—the woman known for giving best hugs—and also be on the list of go-to craftspeople for director Peter Jackson.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

WearingIrish showcases our work with grace and love and inspires designers to create authentic pieces with strong stories.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

The list is long! Stephen Colbert’s wife, Evelyn McGee-Colbert and all of the Emmas: Stone, Watson and Thompson. Also, Christy Turlington, Rhianna, Meghan Markle, and Michelle Obama.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

My process is simple. It starts with something that I see as a problem, and I look for ways to solve it. This need transpires into a collection that people wear or in sculptural pieces that I share with folk with a passion for visual interpretation of our world. Initially, I start with complex ideas and an array of materials. During the process, I learn and simplify the concept and the elements so that the message is powerful, and the piece is elegant and sophisticated.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

The Irish culture, community and textile heritage have made me who I am today. I collaborate with local sheep and alpaca farms, developing pieces that are truly Irish. Ireland informs everything—from my first truly Irish felt, to my interpretation of an Aran sweater.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Coats and hats.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Hope, my family and textiles.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Layering because it allows you to hide and emphasize different areas of the body. For example, a piece of luxury textile could be used as a coat, wrap, dress, top, trousers, skirt, or scarf.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I work with one hand as I have nerve damage from birth, which has influenced all my designs and narratives. All my pieces are easy to put on, and they are very playful, yielding to the transformation of function and interpretation of purpose, but never making you faff around. Textile is my voice and identity—it enables me to connect with people around the world.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | PETER O’BRIEN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Peter O’Brien.

Visit peterobriendesign.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I was born in London to Irish parents but moved back to Ireland as a child. I seem to have spent my entire childhood with a pencil in my hand (invariably drawing grand ladies in ballgowns). At 19 I moved to London and worked in window display—now called visual merchandising. Prompted by a meeting with a fashion journalist I applied for a place a Saint Martin’s School of Art. I graduated with a degree in fashion design and subsequently did a year on an exchange program with Parsons in New York doing fashion illustration.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Probably my first week working as a lowly assistant in the couture studio at Dior in Paris. There was a WWD preview, and I found myself on the Pont Alexandre III bridge with two models in evening gowns, a photographer, various hair & make-up people, Andre Leon Talley and me! I felt like Kay Thompson in “Funny Face.” I kept pinching myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. 

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

That as many women as possible get to wear my clothes and get pleasure from wearing them. 

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Quiet drama. I love making impact with a whisper. 

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My name.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

I like to design for real women.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

To design the costumes for a production of Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” that would be directed by Marianne Elliott and starring Laura Linney as Desiree and Olympia Dukakis as Madame Armfeldt.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Getting the message out there about Irish design can only be a positive thing.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

As many people as possible! 

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

I draw and draw and draw and draw…and procrastinate! The starting point is almost invariably a piece of fabric that inspires me. I don’t do anecdotal clothing; I never ‘tell stories’ about kidnapped princesses or imaginary journeys. I design very instinctively, informed I guess by a lifetime of being a culture vulture.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I think anyone who does creative work will acknowledge that a sense of place deeply, if not always consciously, informs the design process. I lived outside of Ireland for 35 years, so my influences cannot be anything other than a sum of the many lives I have lived. I work from the gut, so in a sense, the concrete influences of being Irish or living in Ireland are almost impossible for me to articulate. I fear I’m not much given to navel-gazing—I just do it.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Women seem to love our coats, and I’ve built up a loyal following of ‘collectors.’

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My books, Steven Sondheim’s music, and Serge Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist Eau de Parfum from Le Palais Royale in Paris.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Simplify!

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I hate electric guitars.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | AISLING DUFFY

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Aisling Duffy.

Visit aislingduffy.co.uk for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I grew up in Dublin. I wanted nothing more than to attend art college; the day I received my acceptance letter to the National College of Art & Design, I cried. I spent four years at Ncad where I specialized in printed textiles. After graduation, I was accepted to the Edinburgh College of Art, where I spent two years developing my design style. I graduated with a master’s with distinction in textiles. I moved to London and worked as a Print Designer for a small studio. When the studio closed down, I decided to be brave and start my printed fashion label!

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

If I had to pick one moment, it would be seeing my designs on the runway at The Rose of Tralee International Festival in August 2019. I worked tirelessly within a limited time frame to produce three catwalk looks. Each look explored Irish identity through print and hand-embellishment. I felt so proud of what I have managed to achieve and incredibly thankful to be given such a huge opportunity to showcase my work.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

My ambition for my brand would be to produce fully sustainable, ethical, and unique collections with instant brand recognition and to be worn by musicians on stage and seen in music videos.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Print, hand-embellishment, personal exploration and ethics.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

It’s my name—Aisling Duffy. Given my label and designs are so much about personal exploration, it seems natural to hold onto my name. Plus, ‘Aisling’ is such an Irish name, and it is fun having always to tell everyone how to pronounce it all the time!

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

I have so many! I am mainly drawn to people’s journeys, artistic talent, and drive to change the world for the better.

I would love to dress Jonathan Van Ness, Billie Eilish, or Charli XCX, but equally, I find the personal journeys of the people around me, such as my grandmothers, my mother, and my friends so inspirational.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

A pop-up or window display for Brown Thomas; stage costumes for Charli XCX, Billie Eilish, or Grimes; or a fashion collaboration with Stella McCartney (leading the way for ethical fashion), or Simone Rocha (one of my favourite designers).

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Being an Irish designer based away from Ireland, I have found the WearingIrish movement has helped me understand that I am an Irish designer regardless of my location. This insight has given me strength and clarity when I have struggled with how to define myself.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I want to think that Irish design could be worn globally. I would love to see more designers promoting themselves as Irish designers when they show at London Fashion Week.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

I generally begin by making collages and artwork using imagery related to the theme of the collection. I then create fabric prints using my artwork. I develop pattern cuts and styles for my fashion collection, mainly from my collection of vintage items. I hand make and hand embellish all my collections at my London studio. It is a genuinely immersive and inspiring process for me, and I hope I never lose that element from my work.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I grew up in the suburbs of Dublin near the coast. This mixture of urban and nature has always played an influential role in the imagery I use for my collection. I love the contrast between the beauty of nature but also the beauty of urban life—graffiti, derelict buildings, windows, and reflections.

My family, their Irish accents, Irish sayings, their homes, and stories, all of which are uniquely Irish, are all part of my inspiration, and I draw from this constantly when creating new work.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

This question has always inspired my work. My recent collections have explored Irish identity through print and imagery. I utilize a lot of Irish symbols, native animals, and the Irish language.

Living away from home, you start to question your sense of self. But in a way, I feel even more Irish now. When I introduce myself to others, I say, “I am an Irish designer based in London,” so I believe my sense of being Irish is vital to me and my work.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The most coveted item is probably a transparent oversized vest I created in 2018. It is covered in velvet patches, sequins, vintage buttons, and reclaimed gems. It took days to create. It isn’t for sale, but it is so popular that I allow it to be used in photoshoots and styling edits—as long as those using the vest guarantee to take good care of it!

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Vintage finds, the freedom to create, and family.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Always wear whatever you want regardless of trend. I’m rarely seen without a beanie or a load of jewellery, and I’m nearly always wearing vintage or thrifted finds. 

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I am incredibly clumsy, and I am a proud member of the left-handed club!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | TRIONA SPELLMAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Triona Spellman.

Visit darcybow.ie for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I grew up in Gorey, Co. Wexford and while I travelled all over the world and lived in London when I decided to settle down with my husband, we returned to Gorey. I am still cabin crew with a large international airline, so I get to satisfy my passion for travel and keep an eye on fashion trends across the world.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

I made my goddaughter a dress for her first birthday because I just couldn’t find “the dress.” She wore it for her party and I received so many compliments and requests that I knew there was an opportunity to turn this into my dream job. Now, I am being stocked by The Tot in the United States.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I would love to see a return to people buying quality clothing that has been designed to be worn and worn again—the clothes we wear are part and parcel of our childhood reminiscences. I want to see Darcybow become part of childhood memories for generations to come.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Inspired by timeless, classic tailoring with a touch of whimsy, each piece is lovingly made by hand anddesigned for your child’s comfortwhile never relinquishing on style. It is clothing intended to become her favourite and treasured always.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

When it came to the name I knew it would incorporate “bows” in some way—I have been obsessed with them since I was a child. My married name is Darcy, so I decided to combine the two.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Princess Charlotte. This little girl is breaking perceptions of what a princess should be—fun and fearless with boundless energy. She seems to delight in the world around her.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Emilia Wickstead—I love everything she designs as they are timeless, sophisticated and unique.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I love that the WearingIrish movement is showcasing the incredible talent and the diversity of styles that we have in this country. For so long we thought of Irish design as tweed and wool, but to see what designers are now doing with these incredible materials, it sparks our imaginations and reminds us what a wealth of culture and style we have to inspire us.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

As a child, I was obsessed with clothes, especially dresses. I was very particular about colours, how it felt when I wore it, how the cuff closed, and where the ribbons were placed. I keep all these details in mind when I am designing for kids. For me, the fabric is critical—you need to feel the quality just by touching it.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I love that the Irish people still “get their glad rags on.” We choose to step out of our everyday wear for something special when we wish to mark an occasion; what we wear is intrinsically linked to those special events. That is what Darcybow is all about, creating something beautiful and unique for that extraordinary occasion.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Darcybow Capes—they encapsulate my design values, timeless, elegant style in sumptuous fabrics that can be enjoyed across seasons. Our capes tend to sell out as people love their versatility.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My boys, my phone and a decent cup of tea.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Love what you wear! Keep it simple with good tailoring, great fabrics and be comfortable.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I am a great listener and I LOVE to hear people’s stories—there is nothing more enjoyable than meeting new people (preferably over a strong cup of tea).


MEET THE DESIGNERS | KAREN YATES

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Karen and Ellen Yates.

Visit tayloryates.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Karen Yates: I worked for Jaeger, a company that made clothes for M&S and then, in the family design & print business before founding Taylor Yates.

Ellen Yates: I’m still at university in Manchester. I return in September to complete my degree in Fashion Business Management, after a placement year working full-time at Taylor Yates.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Karen: That’s a hard one to answer! Eighteen months after launch, we were invited by the British Fashion Council to London Fashion Week, which was amazing. We have had tremendous support from our friends and family; in the beginning, most of our sales were to people we knew. When we received our first online order from America—from someone we didn’t know—it was a true “wow” moment.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

Karen: To be a British luxury brand, founded with a beautiful purpose—authentic, socially conscious, and sustainably focused.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Karen: To change lives and protect the planet by making beautiful things for people to love.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Karen: It is the combination of my maiden name and married name. Also, Ellen’s full name is Ellen Taylor Yates, so the name serves as a tribute to the strong women that surrounded me growing up.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Karen: Can we have two?! Emma Watson and Helen Mirren are our dream muses. We love how active they are in advocating for equality for women. They both live an “attitude, not age” philosophy, and we love both of their styles.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Karen: We love what Margaret has achieved. Irish designers and brands are receiving valid recognition from the WearingIrish movement, and it allows brands to expand their audience in countries they might not otherwise have been able to reach.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Karen: Everyone!

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

Karen: We typically start with the shape. Since leather is soft, it enables us to create forms not often possible with standard leather. We love the development process. Colour also plays an important role. We have long debates about whether a shape or style will work in a specific colour. Sampling can be expensive, and as a small business, we sometimes have to go with our gut feel and trust our customers will like our pick!

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Karen: Our colour palette takes inspiration from Ireland’s stunning north coast, where we live. It is hard not to be influenced by the beauty of the country. The sea, the sky, and the land continually transform with the weather.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

Karen: Ireland is all about being warm, friendly, and approachable; the Irish can be quite understated, too.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Karen: The Tilly bag in petrol has been our most popular style, but the new Agnes bag in plum is becoming quite desirable among our customers.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Karen: Use bronzer as eyeshadow and of course, add a Taylor Yates bag to your outfit.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

Karen: Taylor Yates is a business with a beautiful purpose. We want to build a company that gives back and supports young women from a young age. Currently, we are helping a group of local girls to launch their own business.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | HEIDI HIGGINS

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Heidi Higgins. 

Visit heidihiggins.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

When I finished secondary school, I took a year out to concentrate on my portfolio for art college. The following year I started studying at the National College of Art and Design, where I specialized in Fashion Design. When I was in college, I spent a summer in New York and worked in Fitzpatrick Hotel at the reception desk and did an internship with Daryl Kerrigan. In 2009 I set up my label, and in 2010, I opened my flagship store in my home town of Portlaoise, Co. Laois. This year marks my tenth year in business!

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Opening my store as it gave me the shop window to showcase my designs and professional retail space to meet my customers. I have my design studio upstairs from my boutique too, which is great to have the whole business all under one roof.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Elegance with a twist!

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Luckily, it’s my name!


WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I have always worn Irish design as it’s unique and I know how much work goes into making them, so I think it is great to see the #wearingirish movement helping shine a light on Irish brands!

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Since I have started selling online, we have customers from all over the world who have no connection to Ireland but love the brand. I find these customers exciting as they just came across my collection and saw what they liked and of course we have great support from the Irish abroad too!

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

As I have my store, I am very aware of what my customers are looking for, so that is always a crucial starting point when designing. I travel to Premier Vision in Paris twice a year, which is the largest fabric fair to source fabrics and meet my suppliers. Travel is an excellent source of inspiration and takes you out of the day to day running a business, so your creativity can come to life. I work mostly on the mannequin and draping the designs I want as I adore working with beautiful fabrics.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Although I enjoyed my time in New York when I was a student, I have never had a desire to work anywhere else but Ireland. I love to travel and bring ideas home with me, but I am very proud to have my store in Ireland and still have an international brand that sells to customers worldwide! Irish ladies have a great sense of style and love colour, which is a big part of my collections!

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My Daphne coat; it’s a classic HH design that I have recreated many times as it’s so timeless and elegant. An investment coat is a must in Ireland!

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Besides my family and friends: my phone, my shoe collection, and my Mini car!

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Add a pop of colour either in the garment you choose or through your accessories—it will uplift your mood and help you put your best foot forward!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | LOU BRENNAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Lou Brennan.

Visit loubrennan.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I was born in London to Irish parents from Co. Mayo, and I was the first graduate on the MA programme in Fashion from NCAD, Dublin over 20 years ago. I went on to work as the textile manager for John Rocha before returning to London to establish my studio.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

My friend Seta Niland was the stylist for Alexander McQueen and fashion editor for The Face magazine, and she introduced me to Lee after I finished my first degree. I started producing textiles and catwalk pieces for him and will never forget seeing my first design for him in The Observer Life magazine.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I wish to create a brand of beautiful textiles with a strong Irish DNA, a recognizable ‘Lou Brennan’ handwriting and with a strong international appeal.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

My love of Irish textiles is at the heart of my collections, and the quote from a recent Irish Times article about my new range perfectly described the brand— “Brennan’s fusion of romance and heritage is a winning combination.”


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

I decided to use my name for my brand with “Brennan” having a strong Irish identity and history.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

My dream muse would be an amalgamation of strong, beautiful, creative women not afraid to carve out their path, such as Maud Gonne, Georgia O’Keeffe, Eve Arnold—women with great personal style.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I am particularly inspired by the collaborations that Dior’s artistic director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, is forging with numerous creative practitioners, with an emphasis on handicraft and tradition, merging new and old-world techniques. Closer to home, I would love to collaborate with a woolen or linen mill to produce a range of embroidered/printed scarves.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The WearingIrish movement has galvanised so many Irish designers to promote their businesses on a broader international stage. The spotlight that is being shone on those participating makes me so proud to see the wealth of talent and creativity in Ireland today.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I have created my business and this first collection of luxury scarves to appeal to women who seek out something special in their wardrobe. The inspiration behind my collection, that of the story of Irish textiles has a universal appeal as our fabrics have been cherished through the centuries.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

For this first collection, I was inspired by the iconic Galway shawls, many with paisley designs and lace borders. I hand drew motifs from my vintage Carrickmacross wedding veil and repeated and arranged the motifs to echo the patterns in the shawls.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I live in Mayo, in a boathouse, on the edge of Lough Conn surrounded by nature and space to create, so my surroundings continuously inspire me. Once there were lace schools and linen mills all around and fortunately, one of Ireland’s last working woolen mills, founded in 1892, is nearby.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

As the daughter of emigrants to London in the 1950s, my sense of being Irish is exceptionally acute. It was said that the spirit of loss was magnified, which is why I’m so drawn to the history and the culture of Ireland. Like the playwright Martin McDonagh, it’s the Irish stories that I’m more qualified to tell.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The “Kathleen” Irish lace print scarf in magenta and port wine, so named after my mother, who gave me my vintage Carrickmacross wedding veil that inspired this design.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Other than my family, which are everything to me, I love communicating with people and learning, so my iPad is never far away. I paint, so my art materials are vital as well as my sewing machine.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Naturally, I would have to say one of my scarves whether it’s one of the generously proportioned cashmere blended styles or a silk twill square tied in a bow with a mother of pearl scarf ring.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

My life as a freelance textile designer allowed me to travel the world as my husband is a musician, attending the Grammys twice and designing stage clothes for Peter Gabriel’s “UP” tour. At Alexander McQueen’s “Banshee” show in at The Café de Paris, I was the voice of the banshee.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | JULIE DANZ

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Julie Danz of Juvi Designs.

Visit juvidesigns.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

We are a husband and wife duo.  After studying art history in UCD Dublin, I moved to New York City to work in the world of interior design. Vincent is a talented silversmith who honed his skills in Mexico. Having both returned to Ireland, we set up Juvi Designs from our living room in Rathgar, Dublin in 2006.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Winning “Best Accessory Designer” at Dublin Fashion Week was a big break for us and allowed us to open a pop-up at Dublin’s most prestigious department store, Brown Thomas.  This was the catalyst for a change in our business and our profile.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To be a world-renowned destination brand for anyone looking something special for themselves or as a gift for a loved one.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Storytelling is at the heart of all we do. Jewellery is such a personal possession, and everyone has a story reflecting how they came to own a specific piece, the memory behind it or what it symbolizes. This is synonymous with the Irish charm; everyone has a story to tell.  Our tag line is “each piece is a story brought home” – the creation of each piece is guided by our story, but we are most inspired by the stories the wearer brings to their special piece.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Juvi is exactly who we are—Ju from Julie; Vi from Vincent. We are a partnership, and we both bring our strengths, inspiration, style, and vibe to every collection. 

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

I love Helena Christensen.  She is naturally beautiful and emits that effortless boho vibe that inspires us. She is a fabulous photographer and oozes creativity. 

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Philip Treacy and Temperley London always inspire me. Their flair for colour, femininity, intricate craft, and the inclusion of natural elements like feathers, leaves, and fine materials lures me in every time.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I love that the WearingIrish movement is dedicated to advocating for Irish craftspeople, recognizing the craft, ethos, and beauty created and inspired by our little island.  We may be a small country, but we are competing on a global stage.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I think everyone who appreciates craft, storytelling, heritage, and design should wear Irish.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

Travel is always the starting point for our creative process. We travel the world searching for beautiful, ethically sourced gemstones, and I still spend the return flight sketching.  When we return to our studio, Vincent and I work together to bring my sketches to life, experimenting with finishes, different gemstones, and feeling out the story we want the collection to tell. 

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

We are so lucky that our studio is nestled at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. From our workshop, our views are of the rugged and ever-changing landscapes as the seasons change. As we move into autumn and winter seasons, I feel the pull of darker gemstones like garnet and onyx, yet as the brighter evenings roll around, I am inspired to work with exotically colored stones like aqua chalcedony and green tourmaline.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

I think Irish people have an affinity with nature and the wilderness. Our little island is always affected by the elements, and likewise, for such a small part of the world, the Irish are known to be forces of nature.  This is reflected in our jewellery—we work directly with gemstones created and forged naturally from the Earth. 

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Rings, colourful rings!

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My kids, dog walks by the sea and my sketchpad.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

I believe any casual outfit can be transformed with a good pair of earrings.  I am always drawn to black, so a great vibrant pair of earrings can add that perfect pop of colour.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

Interior design is still a huge inspiration and creative draw for me. Having worked under Carlton Varney, one of America’s most adventurous and bold interior designers, I am always chatting all things design. From colour combinations, redecorating our home and studio and helping friends with their interior design plans.  I am all about colour!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | ELAINE MADIGAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Elaine Madigan.

Visit madigancashmere.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I learned my trade as a young teenager from my very talented mother, Maureen. She taught me how to create beautiful garments from beautiful fabrics. I studied knitwear design at Limerick IT. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

The most defining moment of my career has been the realization that people want to be part of our story and choose to buy into the Madigan brand.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To continue to develop our luxury Irish products within the brand and to market worldwide.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Designers, manufacturers and purveyors of Irish luxury.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Madigan is our family name, which for five generations has been synonymous with making and selling luxury Irish goods.


WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

My dream muse is Coco Chanel. She personifies elegance, determination, and self-belief.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

My dream collaboration would be with Chanel.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The recognition of our historic Irish design skills, taking them into the now, which will allow them to evolve into the future.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone should get the opportunity and experience of WearingIrish.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

We make everything here ourselves in Ireland. From my studio in County Kildare, I design and create the first of everything.  I then work with my team of ladies to produce our cashmere collection.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

My sense of place is what fuels my imagination. I’m lucky to live in the countryside in Straffan, which continues to offer me something special to inspire my creative process. It is where the magic happens.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

Being Irish gives me a tremendous sense of identity and heritage, and this is what has influenced my creations.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My new Madigan Heritage Aran collection.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Space for creativity, family, and great food.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Start your day with the piece you want to wear and make everything else work around it.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

Having set up many businesses over the past thirty years, I’ve finally found my niche, and I’m doing what I love.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | NATASHA SHERLING

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Natasha Sherling.




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I have a business degree from Trinity College, but after graduating I followed my love of design to magazines; I worked as a fashion editor for several years, but the draw of jewellery was too strong! I moved to New York to study gemmology before returning home, where I continue to source the most beautiful gemstones for my collections.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I have been so lucky that my pieces have been used to celebrate the most beautiful moments—marriages, babies, promotions and even a trip to the Oscars. All I can ask is for that to continue—for me, it will always be about the story at the heart of the jewellery.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

It’s my name—there’s such an essential element of trust with fine jewellery, I have always believed that it’s imperative to have my name over the door.


WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Ashley Olsen accessorises like no one else; her appreciation for antique and contemporary jewellery is evident.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I have always maintained that we have some of the best creative talents in Ireland. The WearingIrish movement is key to shining a spotlight not just on the makers but on the stylish people who choose to wear their work.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

In terms of bespoke work, everything starts with the stones, which I then design around. Depending on the intricacies of the piece, we go between sketches, CADs and even 3D prints to try on! Having a team of goldsmiths here in Dublin is imperative to my process; nothing beats face-to-face discussions when it comes to jewellery details.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I find Ireland to be quiet but majestic. This sense of elegance is what runs through my work; perhaps unassuming at first, but ultimately powerful—the best gemstones, weighty gold and clean lines for a sense of polish. Our heritage, our wonderful tradition of storytelling—it all feeds into my work, which is designed to be multigenerational, carrying new stories within each piece. I always say jewellery tells our story better than anything else we could choose to wear.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

It has to be my first morganite and diamond ring. It was a bespoke piece that featured a six-carat Asscher cut morganite surrounded by diamonds set in platinum. I fell in love with morganites while studying gemmology—and I was one of the first in Ireland to use them regularly in my collections. I remember being told I’d never sell the pieces as no one knew what morganite was! Now they have become so popular, and I get so many requests for them. That original ring was made for Brown Thomas and appeared in their Christmas windows and ad campaigns, but I’ve created so many others based on the original design—with different centre stones too, including sapphires, peridot, and diamonds.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My family, gold bangles and cashmere.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Pearl earrings are an instant pick-me-up! If your skin isn’t looking great, pearls are a must—they bounce light back onto complexions, giving an added glow.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I love the sea and would swim in it every day if I could—although when it’s a bit too cold to get in, a pleasant walk along the shore is the perfect tonic.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | MARGARET O’ROURKE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Margaret O’Rourke of MoMuse.




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Fifteen years ago, I started to sell some pieces on Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar. It wasn’t until MoMuse that I found an outlet for the creativity I always knew I had. We began in ‘The Loft,’ a market-style space for independent designers, before opening the same standalone store we still call home. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

July 2017, when MoMuse was featured in the New York Times as one of “Five Places to Shop in Dublin.” The article was hugely validating for us as an independent business and introduced us to an international customer base who still shop at MoMuse today. 

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

As long as we continue to adorn our customers in simple, timeless jewellery that become their most valued everyday pieces, we’re happy!

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Simple, fine, and elegant jewellery, which is something we come back to time and time again. 


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Initially, I had thought about calling the brand ‘Muse,’ but a friend recommended adding a personal element. My full name felt too long to use, so I decided on ‘Mo.’ It’s a name many of my closest family and friends would call me. In Irish, it means ‘my.’

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

For me, my customers are my muses, but I’m also inspired by Julianne Moore and our very own Saoirse Ronan.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Alexander McQueen—I’m a long-time wearer—or Simone Rocha. Both brands have an ethereal quality that I feel marries well with MoMuse.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

WearingIrish has fostered a great sense of community and support for small businesses and Irish designers.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

With the wealth of talent that exists within the Irish design community, I feel that everyone should have a piece of Irish design in their wardrobe. We have everything here from luxurious cashmere brands, such as Eilis Boyle to the handmade bespoke couture of Helen Cody and the tailored genius of Peter O’Brien.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

Travel and people inform my process. I have a small creative studio in the heart of Dublin city where I sketch and design; it’s a very peaceful space. Early on, we designed pieces that we continue to produce today: our fine stacking rings, simple gold disc necklace, and delicate stud earrings. Focusing on what we and our customers and we love and staying true to this is an integral part of this creative process. 

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

My childhood in Killarney gave me an appreciation for the outdoors. I spent my summers exploring Muckross House and Gardens, where my Dad worked. Today, I’m fortunate to live near Dublin’s Phoenix Park. It gives me a tremendous sense of space and freedom each time I visit and reboots my creativity if I’m ever in need of it. 

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

Every time I travel, I’m struck by the reception we Irish people receive abroad—we’re seen as a nation of genuine and caring people (who tend to talk a lot!). My pieces are simple and charming, and I think you could say the same thing about the Irish character. 

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Our classic 9kt gold interlinked circle necklace is still one of our most coveted pieces. For me, it epitomises MoMuse—minimal, simple, and enduring. The two circles symbolise eternal support and unconditional love.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

I cannot live without travel, friends & family, and Dublin humour—particularly my husband’s!

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

A classic black look with red/coral lipstick and fine jewellery.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I come from quite a musical family and got to perform in New York’s Carnegie Hall with Jury’s Irish Cabaret. I was still in school, so it was incredibly exciting.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | YVONNE KELLY

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Yvonne Kelly.




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I was born in Co. Cavan and studied international languages in NUI, Galway. I worked in the airline industry and advertising before finally following my heart to study to become a professional jeweller. After graduating from college with a distinction, I set up my jewellery brand and have never looked back!

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Being asked to design a nautical-themed wedding band for a Hollywood celebrity!


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To be an internationally successful brand and to continue making memorable pieces of jewellery that connect with people and make them happy. 

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

The heart and soul of my brand is wearable art that has love, good humour, and quality Irish craftsmanship at its core.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My brand name is my name, Yvonne Kelly. The surname Kelly is a popular Irish name, and I’m very proud of my heritage.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

I’d have to say, Meryl Streep. I admire her talent, integrity, style, and sense of fun!

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

My dream collaboration would be with Lady Gaga as I love her quirkiness, and she certainly doesn’t let boundaries limit her imagination!

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The WearingIrish movement is an incredible platform for telling the stories of talented Irish designers and craftspeople and helping expose their brands to an international audience.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone who appreciates quality and unique style.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

When making jewellery, I like to take an unconventional approach. I am inspired by ordinary things and giving them a new life or dimension in metal form. My flip flop collection is an example–even though we don’t get to wear flip flops much in Ireland, you can always wear one around your neck!

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Ireland and its people are a constant source of inspiration in my work. This land is bursting with creative talent and to be surrounded by such talent is a privilege. At the heart of the Irish psyche is good humour, charm and creative abundance; I endeavour to capture this in my work. 

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

I am proud to call Ireland my home, and I designed the ‘House of Love’ pendant as a symbol of the importance—of having a place to call home, be it a physical place, building or simply a feeling of being ‘home.’

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My best selling ‘Buckets of Love’ pendant—it is a reminder to me every day to fill it up with love, spread the love and never empty it!

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Love, laughter, and strong coffee!

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Keep it simple and wear a smile with every outfit.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I climbed Africa’s highest mountain Mount Kilimanjaro (for my sins!), but it taught me the meaning of resilience and never giving up!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | KIRKBEE DESIGNS

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Karen Kirby of Kirkbee Designs. 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I graduated from the Grafton Academy in 2000 with an honors diploma. Upon graduating, I went straight to work in one of the largest fashion houses in Ireland, where I stayed for seven years going from intern to head of design. Within the role of head womenswear designer, I led a large team and travelled extensively within this role. Travel has been my main catalyst in opening my mind creatively and a massive influence on launching Kirbee.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

The most defining moment of my career was launching into Brown Thomas in Dublin and Cork in January 2019. Sitting alongside international brands in such a premium store is a dream come true.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

My main ambition is to grow the brand internationally and have Kirbee as the premium childrenswear range in the Irish market.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Kirbee is all about a feeling of nostalgia and creating memories; the beauty of childhood innocence.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My maiden name is Karen Kirby. My mum was a talented tailor and seamstress—that’s were my love of design came from. The brand name is a nod to my family.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Princess Charlotte. I absolutely love the way Kate Middleton dresses her children in this very innocent, childlike way. It’s magical, and the portraits she has of her children are timeless.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

My dream collaboration would be with a company like Foxford. I adore what they have achieved with their brand, making it commercial while still honoring the strong roots of their heritage.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Ireland is a magical land of creativity; an island of artists. Wearing Irish is a fantastic way of showing this to the world.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everybody! Like Spain is known for its excellent wine, tapas, and sunshine, why shouldn’t Ireland be known for beautifully made clothes?

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

I usually start with my colour palette for that season, which can be influenced by something in nature to a colour combination I have seen in a Beatrix Potter book, for example. Travel is also a significant influence on my collections. I also try to inject new shapes into every season’s collection, just like I did when I was a womenswear designer. When colours are finalized, I work on incorporating them into beautiful prints.

Cotton is the main fabric used in my creations as it is the most natural fibre to have against a child’s skin. My coats are made from a soft mouflon fabric, and I produce the coats in the collection’s main colours, so they will coordinate with my dresses. Every season I add new silhouettes with my coats, and they really have become the signature of the Kirbee brand.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I travelled extensively as a womenswear designer and noted how beautifully the children dressed in European countries like Spain, France, and Italy. I wanted to create this beautiful, timeless way of dressing children, taking my influence from Ireland and Irish culture. It has become hugely important for Irish people to support Irish design and Irish industry.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

Family is everything to me, and this is the core of Kirbee, deep-rooted in my great-grandfather having his own tailoring business in Dublin city. Living and being born in Ireland has given me a great sense of belief, belief that we as a country can be independent and take inspiration from our beautiful land. We are submerged in beauty, craft, and history; we are a country with amazing working fabric mills from the depths of Donegal tweed to Foxford in Mayo. Fashion is back, and craftsmanship is relevant again. Wearing Irish is such an incredible platform to expose the world to the talent in our small but wonderful country.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Our coats. We have a full range of dresses, pinafores, blouses, but it is our coats that signifies what our brand stands for—classic pieces with a contemporary twist.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My children, sunglasses, and my heart shaped Chupi earrings.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Always pare it back. Less is definitely more.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I grew up in North County Dublin by the sea. This is my most special place, looking out to the sea and knowing that as Irish people, we are united on this beautiful island.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | LUKE DULLY

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Luke Dully of Walker & Hunt.




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I studied commerce at National University College Galway before graduating in 2016. I began working in a finance role in Dublin before moving to Austin, Texas, to gain more experience. I had the opportunity to work at Facebook and work part-time in Kendra Scott’s international fulfillment centre before coming home to launch in 2019. I’ve always had a love for fashion.  I suppose I come from a slightly different angle than most designers. I come from the business to the fashion side, whereas most come from a fashion background.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

The most defining moment was when I first realized the actual size and scalability a business like this could have. From seeing the size of the operation, Kendra Scott had and listening to her journey to success it gave me the motivation I needed to start Walker & Hunt fully.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To become a global brand name with a wide range of products and accessories. I hope to make Walker & Hunt a sustainable and Eco- Friendly brand over the next few years as I think there is a significant shift coming in this direction.


HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Refined. Versatile. Sophisticated.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

It would either be Andrea Pirlo or Tom Hardy. Both staples of masculinity.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

When I was working in Dublin, I realised that there wasn’t an Irish High Street brand that represented me. All my friends, including myself, were buying global brands. That was one of the main reasons for starting Walker & Hunt. I am thrilled to see that there are so many other Irish designers like me who are inspired by the WearingIrish movement, and together, I think we can continue to put Ireland on the map.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

All people who like a subtle and classic look and share our brand values. When a foreigner thinks of Ireland, certain things come to mind—Jameson and Guinness; writers like Yeats and Oscar Wilde; our lush green landscapes; Riverdance and U2. Ireland is a small country full of icons that have been exported around the world. I hope to create something on par with our other icons, and that represents Ireland on a global stage.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

Throughout the years, I have built up a portfolio of designs and ideas.  The team and I sit down and decide what suits before bringing our samples forward to retailers for their opinion. Because we are so new and relatively small, we have to pick and choose wisely before going into bulk production. We hope to continue to add to our product range as we develop.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

I think that Ireland has inspired Walker & Hunt’s subtle and classic designs hugely. I believe that most Irish men like a simple and refined look, as I do. I think that one of the factors this comes down to is how small Ireland is. The close-knit communities in which we live in is what keeps most Irish people so grounded. I think this is fantastic. If you start to get notions about yourself, it won’t be long before being brought back down to earth by your friends or family.  I think this similar grounding reflects in Irish male fashion as they tend not to dress too extravagantly.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

Being Irish means our heritage, our people, our beautiful landscape, and the simplicity of life. I think this is why Walker & Hunt being an Irish company, works so well. We focus on a subtle look and use Ireland’s iconic scenery and rich heritage to amplify that.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Either our weekender bags or our sweatshirts. We have a new range coming out over the next few months, and I hope people like them just as much.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Friends, family, and tea & biscuits.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | GERALDINE O’MEARA

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Geraldine O’Meara. 




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I was born in Manchester, England to Irish parents, both from Co. Offaly. I always loved Ireland and moved to Offaly on my own when I was 19, to set up a dressmaking business. I am a self-taught designer, sewing from an early age and gaining experience in design and manufacture through the years. The business has evolved, and my label Geraldine O’Meara Designs is now established in Crinkle, Birr, Co. Offaly.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

There have been a few. I designed outfits for the former Taoiseach’s wife, Mary Cowen, on her St. Patrick’s Day visit, to the White House, two years in a row, to meet President Obama and the First Lady.

My designs have also been worn on the red carpet in Hong Kong at the premiere of Transformers 4 movie, and I have had the opportunity of dressing many Irish TV celebrities for red carpet events—Kathyrn Thomas, Claire Byrne, Lucy Kennedy, Lorraine Keane, and Laura Woods.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To continue designing and making quality bespoke dresses for special occasions, but also to expand my ready-to-wear collection.


HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

My brand is based on creating well-made occasion wear for the modern woman—classic designs with a twist and a touch of elegance.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My own name, Geraldine O’Meara.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

My dream muse would be Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who epitomises pure elegance and style. She is a classic beauty, perfect for wearing my day dresses and evening gowns.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to collaborate on an evening wear collection with Elie Saab, as he uses the most beautiful fabrics and laces, and knows how to do red carpet looks so well.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The #WearingIrish movement has grown rapidly through social media, creating a fantastic platform for Irish designers, placing them in the global market and showing off the vast talent that is available in Ireland.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone, especially the Irish people abroad, who can continue to showcase the exceptional talent and creativity that Ireland has to offer.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

Each creation starts with the fabric rather than a sketch. I might have a design in mind, but it is influenced by the drape of the material or the design and quality of the lace I’m using. The finished result is often completely different from my original design. The creative process can be straightforward, but it usually takes a few detours to achieve the desired look.  

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Being able to work in Ireland, the country I love, designing and producing my collections is of great importance to me. I am lucky enough to work from my home studio in rural Ireland away from the madness of the city, so creativity is more free flowing with fewer interruptions. Working from home means, I am always thinking of new ideas and designs and can work at any time of the day (and often the night).

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

I am proud to be Irish, working in a country I love, that is full of heritage, history, and amazing people and places, all of which inspire me to create classic designs.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The “Elaine” red and black coat. It has a timeless, elegant design and can be worn over a simple classic dress.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family, scissors, and a sewing machine.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Keep it simple, elegant, and classic.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I am married to Denis and have two adult children, Laura and Dermot, my greatest achievements in life.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | ASHLEIGH MYLES

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Ashleigh Myles.

Visit ashleighmylesmillinery.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I’m a self-taught milliner. From as far back as I can remember, I have always had a love of fashion, experimenting with knitting and sewing. Millinery has become my first passion. I love that I can be as creative as I feel and transform that feeling into a wearable hat.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

It would have to be winning Millinery Designer of the Year at the Irish Fashion and Innovation Awards in March 2019. It was a huge honour to be recognized for my work amongst inspirational and successful business persons.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To gain as much exposure as I possibly can and reach out to as many ladies as possible to share my creations.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

To be recognized as a unique milliner who has a passion for making clients happy and feel beautiful, and that more fashion lovers will come to choose me to help create their perfect hat. 

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

It’s my full name.


YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I am living the dream at the moment by getting the opportunity to display my creations in the iconic Brown Thomas in Grafton Street for CREATE 2019.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It would have to be the strong, fierce woman behind this movement—Margaret Molloy. She has such dedication and a love of Irish designers, and she is helping expand designer awareness each day, both at home in Ireland and abroad.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone should wear and appreciate Irish designs as there is always a beautiful story of dedicated craft and passion behind every creation.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

I have an idea and start by blocking the base; I hand sew, wire and cover in chosen fabrics. I create the centerpiece using all types of tools and materials. For example, my recent collection in Brown Thomas was created using recycled cable ties. I always try to think outside the box.   

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

Ireland is full of beauty and quirkiness, and it’s very inspiring to me. I am very proud of my Irishness, and the beauty Ireland has to offer. I like to create this in my hats. It can be from everyday objects to remarkable landscape designs to plants and flowers.

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

I am very proud to be an Irish woman and an Irish designer; I feel incredibly fortunate and thankful that I was born with a creative and sometimes complicated mind.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

It would have to be my “An Awen” cable ties collection.  It was a very proud moment seeing my collection win the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards 2019 Millinery Category by the use of the humble cable tie.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My work, my mobile phone and my blusher brush.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

It would have to be my only ever extravagant gift to myself, my bifocal Prada glasses to hide my hardworking tired eyes!

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

I can play Salley Gardens on the fiddle.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | CATRIONA HANLY

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Catriona Hanly.

Visit catrionahanly.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I established a jewellery line in over 350 boutiques throughout Ireland and the UK. When I was in the US, I went on to deliver interior projects in leading hotels and private residences, from which I gathered experience and went on to the fashion world, creating timeless heritage pieces.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

When I won the VIP Style Award for best jewellery in all of Ireland. Also, in 2018, I was named Designer of the Year at The Rose of Tralee Fashion Show.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To grow my brand globally and to expand the collection further; I would love to do a luxury kidswear range.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR BRAND?

Unique timeless statement pieces with signature collars and cuffs, designed in luxurious fabrics.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Since my heart and soul goes into the designs, the brand is my name.

YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Amal Clooney—I love that she embodies such style and elegance so effortlessly, from her workwear as a busy career woman to her evening wear in front of LA’s glitterati.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I have great admiration for Bergdorf Goodman as a retailer, so I would love to collaborate with them to have a collection in their store.  

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It’s impressive to see so many talented Irish men and women get a platform to showcase their designs.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I’d love to see Cate Blanchett wear Irish because of her timeless elegance and Jennifer Lawrence, embracing her Irish roots!

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

Fabrics set my world on fire! I’m inspired by the rich and luxurious fabrics that I incorporate into my collections.  I’m inspired creatively by many things: fashion past and present, travel, art. However, it is when I see the fabric that my creative journey takes off.

HOW DOES A SENSE OF PLACE INFORM YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS— SPECIFICALLY IRELAND?

My Irish roots and time living here have inspired my collections, especially the tweeds. You can’t get much more Irish than that fabric. I grew up in the countryside around Irish castles and manor estates, so this influence is very prevalent in my designs. 

WHAT DOES BEING IRISH MEAN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAY HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CREATIONS? 

As I’ve traveled so much, I feel like a citizen of the world. However, I can’t deny the strong influence my home country has on the look and feel of my collections. 

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

I love the suits; they are streamlined, edgy, and fun. 

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My phone, my pearl earrings, and a spritz of Hermes perfume before I go out. 

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

An elegant silk scarf (preferably Hermes) lifts an outfit to the next level.

TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT I DIDN’T ASK.

If I weren’t a fashion designer, I’d love to be a race car driver!