Meet The Designers

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! 


MEET THE DESIGNERS | DEBBIE MILLINGTON

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit debbiemillington.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

After graduating from the National College of Art and Design with a degree in fashion, I worked as a style assistant in Brown Thomas before moving to London to work for a TV production company, The New Renaissance. It was in Australia that I began assisting in the costume departments for films, such as Star Wars and Moulin Rouge. Now I juggle motherhood, travel and movie making, continuing my love for costume design in the film world.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Costume designer Colleen Atwood bought some of my scarves for Fantastic Beasts. Also, celebrities Paul Weller, Anna Friel, Jude Law, film director Reed Morano, costume designer Stranger Things, Malgosia Turzanska and Bond producers have various designs from my collections. Another client, who is a big fan of the brand, told me she would keep my scarf with her Hermés collection as an heirloom piece, to pass down to her daughters. 

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I hope that over time, the brand will gain international recognition and become a successful household name; the go-to scarf brand of choice, famed for unique designs, vibrant colours, and luxuriously soft silk. I hope to see my scarves selling in Liberty London, Harrods and Barneys New York.


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

The scarves are inspired by a wonderland of personal travel photography and experiences from around the world, injecting each scarf with vibrant exotic colour and pattern, that promise to boost your mood and complexion while making you look and feel a million dollars.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

The brand name comes from the brand founder and designer, Debbie Millington.  

YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

I have always adored Iris Aphel, her sense of dress and the way she wears colour. At 97 she is still a force of nature. As she says “Life can be dull but you can always have fun with colour when you dress”. She is so confident in what she wears and her combined use of pattern, colour and texture within the one outfit is simply outstanding!

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to work with Timorous Beasties the surreal and provocative wallpaper design company or Chinese couture designer Guo Pei, whose extravagant embroideries and larger than life costumes are unrivalled sculptural works of art.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

WearingIrish offers a sense of community for designers and a unified collective strength, bringing together creatives from all walks of life. They open doors and offer opportunities to designers to showcase their brands on a more global stage, taking the idea of what is “Irish” out of the traditional sense and benching Irish products in a more contemporary forward thinking platform, which I love.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I would like more Irish people to wear and show more support for local designers and crafts. There is such a wide variety of high quality home grown products here in Ireland, from woven textiles, pottery, ceramics, fashion, accessories, homeware and soft furnishings. The choice is endless and there is little to no need to look abroad when gifting.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

I do not follow trends or seasons and produce two new collections a year. Design ideas for me generally start from a travel memory or photograph, which I then draw or use directly to create a repeat pattern in Photoshop. I often overlay many photographic images to create a layered design within the square. I then send the finished files to a highly reputable UK based print company, where they sustainably print ( using non toxic Azo Free inks) , cut, hand roll and sew each individual silk scarf. I have chosen to print in the UK as I can carefully monitor production and know that all work meets strict EU quality and human rights standards. No tiny hands are used in the making of any of my silk scarves and they are not mass produced in China. 

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

Ireland continually inspires my work. I love to visit botanical gardens and stately homes for inspiration, drawing on ideas from flowers, trees, wildlife, nature, interior decor, furnishings and architecture. The magnificent landscapes and seascapes and the diversity of Irish culture, music and fine art painting provide an endless source of inspiration for me.

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

I am always proud to be Irish travelling abroad, everyone always loves the Irish and welcome you with open arms. Being Irish has opened many doors for me and allowing me to visit and enjoy so many countries, people being overly generous with their time. Eventhough I have always cherished my traditional heritage, I am keen however to produce a product that offers a more contemporary twist on the Irish scarf.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The Jellyfish design was inspired by the aquatic pulsating jellyfish I witnessed in the West of Ireland. It is such an unusual print but one of my best sellers, the combination of the elegant black and punchy orange border, with highlights of gold in the tentacles, is truly indulgent in sumptuous silk. Also the Zebra print, inspired by an overland safari trip in the African Serengeti, is an iconic design. Exquisite in all the colour ways – pink, red, green and citrus yellow, it is a dramatic statement piece sure to turn heads. 

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My camera, fun, family and friends.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Have plenty of block colours in your wardrobe and let your silk scarf add the pattern, colour and dramatic touch to your ensemble, letting the vibrant colours of the scarves naturally boost your complexion and enhance your skin tone and features.

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

I struck it lucky gold panning in the gold rush town of Dawson City, Alaska.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | ROBBIE HENSHAW

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Robbie Henshaw of Henshaw Eyewear.

Visit henshaweyewear.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I am from Athlone, Co. Westmeath and grew up on the banks of the River Shannon. I have recently completed a degree in Economics at University College Dublin, and I play professional rugby for Leinster and Ireland. The idea for my eyewear brand came after I began to experience problems with my eyes after prolonged time looking at screens. I researched the issue and discovered I was suffering from digital eye strain.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

It has to be winning the PRO12 Trophy with Connacht in 2016. A lot of people gave us no chance, but we believed in ourselves, our strategy, and most importantly, we believed in the people of the province who backed us all the way. It shows that despite all the odds if you believe in the process, you will increase the chances of success, which is something I have taken with me into the business.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To educate society on the importance of eye health and eye care. I want to develop an internationally known eyewear brand from Ireland.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

We played around with a few different names, but I kept coming back to “Henshaw” as I wanted to keep family rooted in everything we do.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I want to collaborate with Niall Horan. He’s also from Westmeath and is a talented musician making great strides in the USA.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

 WearingIrish has inspired us immensely on this journey, showing us that when you put the work in, global success is possible. Designer Alison Conneely is an incredible story coming from WearingIrish, and in time we hope we’ll have a similar path.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Young and old, from every corner of the planet. The creativity coming out of Ireland is world-class, and WearingIrish designs is a gift.

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

My latest collection is inspired by my love of the river and especially Lough Ree. We have created a collection for those who love the outdoors, who love an adventure. I named each of the frames after a part of Lough Ree in Athlone. The Lecarrow frames are my personal favourite in the sunglass collection.

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

My whole career revolves around my pride in being Irish. Wearing the green jersey has opened my eyes to Irish communities both here and across the world. I am proud to represent Ireland on the rugby pitch and equally pleased to have launched an Irish eyewear brand.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My favorite pair are the Henshaw I Blue Block glasses.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Coffee, my BBQ, and my accordion.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

You can’t go wrong with a plain white T-shirt.

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

I have 20/20 vision, so I never needed to wear prescription glasses. However, due to my use of screens, i.e., laptops, smartphones, etc., I began to experience eye strain. This inspired me to create my brand. I want to educate people about my blue light glasses and the importance of wearing them, regardless of whether you have a prescription or not.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | RUZA LEKO

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Ruza Leko of Leko and Leko.

Visit lekoandleko.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Growing up in war-torn Croatia, opportunities were rare and the atmosphere gloomy. I travelled to Ireland, studied here, and have worked as a designer since. One day I made a necklace while upcycling an old belt, which inspired my father to work with me on developing more ideas.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

My first full-time job as an in-house designer at Science Gallery. The position ultimately shaped how I work, think, and problem solve. Working with talented and diverse people over the years motivated me to create my projects.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I would love to see Leko & Leko jewellery featured in more galleries and exhibitions, both here and abroad.

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

Leko & Leko pieces are dark, yet elegant and delicate, echoing the nature of the material—5,000-year-old bog-oak.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Leko & Leko is a brand designed and made by father/daughter duo, Ivan Leko and Ruza Leko.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

In a society crowded by an impersonal fast fashion industry, the Wearingirish movement shifts the motivation to buying something if you love it, if you need it, and you know how it is made.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone with good taste!

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I start by sketching out ideas, after which I meet my dad to work on new pieces a few times each year. We make several versions until we are pleased with the design. Working in bog-oak can be slow, but it is always rewarding to see the finished pieces.

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

For me, Ireland is a good place. I feel good here. Attitudes, opportunities and humor, it all affects my own sense of place, how I feel and therefore the work I produce.

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

As a Croatian national living in Ireland for the last 17 years, Ireland is now my home and has influenced me tremendously—check out the material I use!

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The Gaia pendant!

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My dogs, yoga, and nature.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Wearing simple combinations of black, white, and grey works for me and my jewellery.

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

I have 47 house plants.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | KATIE O’RIORDAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit theoandgeorge.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I have always loved fashion, but I took the long route to get here.  With a background in physics and architecture, I was always curious about science and design.  My first major stint in fashion design was with Burton Snowboards, where I managed the outerwear division and designed technical garments.  It wasn’t until I moved to Ireland when I was 30 that I got formal training from Grafton Academy and started Theo + George.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

While I was working for Burton Snowboards, I had the opportunity to work on the designs for the US Olympic Snowboard uniform.  I was flown out to Vancouver to watch the Olympics and got to meet fellow Olympic designer Vera Wang.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

My ambition for Theo + George is for it to become the go-to premium, sustainable essentials brand.

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

Our brand idea, Everyday Effortless, is about simplifying your life, making the right choices to live life with more ease.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

The brand is named after my two grandfathers.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Emma Stone because she is a natural beauty, refined and elegant. Plus, she believes in and supports sustainable fashion.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to collaborate with American brand Everlane, Cuyana or Reformation.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Ireland is a small country, but it harbours incredible creative talents. I’m inspired by how the WearingIrish movement is creating connections for Irish talent globally.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I am constantly documenting inspiration on my phone—from architecture to textiles.  For me, the creative process doesn’t have a start or finish line. It is something I’m always refining.

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

Ireland has a huge influence on my designs, especially the climate.  Each collection I design is usually centered around a key outerwear piece.  If you live in Ireland, you know how important these staples are to you wardrobe.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The Alannah bomber jacket is by far the most coveted item in our collection.  It was designed for our first collection and worn by Amy Huberman that year. To date, it is still one of the most sought after styles.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My family, friends, and the perfect t-shirt.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

I’m a big fan of the French tuck. By tucking in your shirt slightly in the front, you instantly look more polished.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | LOUISE MONAGHAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Louise Monaghan of Rant and Rave.

Visit rantandrave.eu for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

My dream was to become a fashion designer but in the mid-’80s this created head-scratching moments for my teachers and my parents as to how to go about doing fashion. I completed my A level Art in Armagh, which led me to Harrogate Institute of Arts and Technology to study foundation art. Suddenly fashion became a very realistic option. I went on to UWE Bristol to earn my fashion degree. I was fortunate to live near Moygashel Co. Tyrone, where Paul Costelloe had an office.  I had the privilege to work there during summer holidays and get sponsored for my final collection with beautiful Moygashel linen.

My first job was with a denim plant in Athlone. I loved everything about denim manufacturing and learning the ropes at the factories. When things got tough for Irish manufacturing, our directors decided that to stay in business we had to set up our brand. So, in 2005 Rant and Rave was born. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

I probably have two defining moments.

The first is being involved in Rant and Rave from the get-go. Witnessing how it has evolved into a reputable brand fills me with immense pride. Also, seeing people wearing Rant and Rave is as exhilarating today as it was for me 14 years ago. The second moment was being mentioned a few years back in my local primary school pantomime: Cinderella was asked if she was wearing a Louise Jordan (my maiden name) creation. I was gratified to think that one day, I could inspire a whole new generation to dream and to achieve as I did.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I will always strive to design products I love and to grow as an Irish brand. I hope Rant and Rave will encourage and inspire a new generation of talent to come and work with our team.

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

Each season we create a refined, powerful, and inspiring collection of colour and pattern with a formidable love and appreciation for denim.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Our marketing executive Carina came up with the name for us. It reflects our ambitions, which was for women to wear our collection and immediately want to “rant and rave” about it with their friends.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. She is simply stunning and never over worked.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

This is a brand goal for us, so we will not mention any names for now.  However, it will be with an Irish name; we just need to be sure the timing and product are right.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The #WearingIrish movement is an inspiring platform to showcase and create awareness for all the incredible Irish talent we have. At Rant and Rave, we feel privileged to be part of this.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone who is Irish; I feel it is so vital to support homegrown talent.

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

A sense of place is crucial to the roots and history of any brand. For me, the deep Monaghan roots of Rant and Rave strengthens the ethos of our brand. Understanding that our natural heritage is steeping in creativity only inspires our originality. Known as the Farney county, Monaghanmay be the smallest county in Ulster, but it is full of creativity, providing us with one of the country’s most celebrated poets—Patrick Kavanagh.

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

Being Irish fills me with gratitude, pride, and has taught me that we can be the best. Riverdance in the 1994 Eurovision showed global audiences that for such a small country, Ireland’s creativity is world-class. For me, this is the moment the world saw what we were capable of.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

It would have to be our very first style, the Rosette Flare. This style is the reason we are in business today as it established our label from the beginning. The Rosette was a heavy stonewashed flare. This summer we even had a flare back in our range for the first time! For sentimental reasons, I will never part with mine.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My boys (my husband and my son), my phone (solely for the camera—pictures record history, which is so important) and flowers (creating sunshine even when it is raining).

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Never over coordinate! As a general rule, two colours is a “no” for me. Always add a third colour!

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

My parents taught me to walk on the sunny side of the street. I always try to look on the bright side of life and I hope that I can pass this outlook onto my son.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | KATE O’SULLIVAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit irelandseyeonline.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

IrelandsEye was founded in Dublin in 1988 by my grandparents and their children. What started in the garage of my grandparent’s home has, over thirty years later, now grown to become a well-known Irish knitwear brand exporting to over twenty countries worldwide.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To become the world’s most sought-after Irish knitwear brand.

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

We create effortlessly stylish garments for life, by stitching the essence of what the world loves most about Ireland into each piece.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Our brand name was inspired by Ireland’s Eye, a small uninhabited island located just off the coast of Howth in Dublin, near where we manufacture.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The WearingIrish movement is a platform showcasing to the world that Irish design is something to be coveted.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone!


TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Our creative process begins with our design team taking a look at the full story of what is happening in the world and where we fit in. Trend forecasting inspires the new colours we bring in to our collection, as well as the overall theme for the collection and original designs.

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

As one of the few Irish knitwear manufacturers remaining on the East Coast of Ireland, we take inspiration from our unique location—situated by the coast but on the edge of the bustling city of Dublin. Our garments are designed specifically with that urban coastal lifestyle in mind.

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

Being Irish means being proud of my roots and showcasing that to the world. It heavily influences our designs; you’ll find a nod to our Irish heritage across all of our pieces.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My personal favourite is our Milford Hooded Coat. Made with a wool cotton yarn, it’s the perfect transeasonal piece.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family, coffee, and a good sunset.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

You’ll almost always find me in black jeans—I can dress them up or down, and they pair perfectly with any IrelandsEye garment!

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

I’m a qualified microbiologist!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | CIARA SILKE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit ciarasilke.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I’ve always loved art and design and knew that somehow, I would carve out a career bringing together the elements of these that I love. After completing a degree in Printed Textile Design in the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), I worked as a designer for a small surf-wear company in Ireland.  When the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to work for Diane Von Furstenberg in New York and the experiences I had there really inspired me to set up my label. At DVF, I was surrounded by vibrant prints, embellished opulent fabrics, and most importantly, freedom for expression.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Seeing one of my scarves around the neck of an attendee at the Oscars ceremony a couple of years back was a real defining moment for me on a personal level. It gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment that one of my designs was rubbing shoulders with the brands worn by Hollywood royalty on the red carpet.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

The dream is to keep growing my business on an international level and continue developing new product ranges building on the aesthetic of Ciara Silke. Maybe even a Ciara Silke store someday!


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

Unusual color combinations combined with a simple and elegant luxury aesthetic.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

People always remark on the fact that my surname is Silke and I work with silk. It was meant to be. But the name came first.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Little old ladies in headscarves inspire me, especially when they have a unique perspective on combining their scarf with a trench coat that has not been seen outside in twenty years.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Loewe is a fantastic brand. I’d love to collaborate with them sometime. They are really into the craft and producing beautiful lines.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I love that the WearingIrish movement is highlighting the talent we have in Ireland. There is currently such an array of amazing designers and artisans brave enough to launch their brands and finally getting the recognition they so richly deserve.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I want people to wear Irish who might never have thought that they would. I want people to invest in new Irish designers because there is something there for everyone’s taste.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Nature is a huge inspiration for me. Wildflowers and exotic flowers I have come across on my travels all feed into my collections. I love the Irish landscape and unique elements we find on our little Island. I live by the sea, so I’m lucky to have this as a constant inspiration. I find nature provides the most stunning colour combinations, shapes, patterns, and textures.

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

I am very proud of my Irish heritage and culture. This pride can be seen in my creations—both in the designs themselves which extract from our beautiful Irish flora and in the Gaeilge names that I give the scarfs.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Recently I have been working on a capsule collection of neck scarves. These are exciting designs that will launch soon on my website. Product development is lots of work but so much fun when the new collections come together. 

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My Bláth Poipín silk scarf which is so luxurious—when I wear this on my travels I get so many compliments and it always reminds me of the wild fields of poppy flowers in Ireland. My work phone for business purposes. My Cloon Keen Bealtaine perfume made by a local perfumer here in my hometown of Galway.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

My personal styling rule ties in with the Ciara Silke brand. A colourful and beautiful accessory—be it a colourful scarf, piece of jewellery, or handbag—is the perfect way to imbue any outfit with an extra touch of style and elegance.

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

That I love meeting my customer in person and building that relationship.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | MICHAEL TUTTY

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Michael Tutty of Tutty’s Handmade Shoes.

Visit tuttyshandmadeshoes.ie for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Tutty’s Handmade Shoes is a family business. Started by my grandfather George Tutty in 1946, he ran the business alongside his wife, Nelly Tutty. Eddie, his eldest son and wife Mary took it over, followed by my parents George and Marian in 2005.  I’m stepping into big shoes.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Returning to the family business after taking a sabbatical. The sense of pride and excitement I felt continuing the tradition of my family business is something that motivates me to bring the brand to the next level.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

For Tutty’s to become a relevant heritage brand and in turn, develop a robust international presence in the premium footwear market. 

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

Family is the heart and soul of our brand. Tutty’s Handmade Shoes is built on the passion and expertise that the family poured into the brand over the past 70 years.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My grandfather George Tutty, Snr. established Tutty’s Handmade Shoes back in 1946. What better way to show pride in your work than putting your name to it?

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The WearingIrish Movement has inspired us to use “the pride of being Irish” as a marketing tool.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everybody!

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Our creative process begins and ends with our clients. It is their personality that we embrace to create our bespoke footwear.

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

Handmade crafts are a big part of our heritage here in Ireland. At Tutty’s Handmade Shoes, skills have been passed down through generations to maintain our work, holding onto the values of a craftsperson and shoemaker to keep our heritage alive.

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

We are a proud Irish family. George Tutty, Snr. originated from Dublin, trained in Ennistimon in Co. Clare, before moving to Limerick and starting the business in Naas Co. Kildare where we have been ever since. We are proud of our roots, the skills and knowledge we have picked up along the way.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The Classic Oxford Shoe. The possibilities to put your stamp on the design are endless.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family, friends, and a good pair of shoes.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

A stylish yet comfortable pair of shoes will always boost your confidence—and what’s more stylish than self-confidence?

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

I studied mechanical engineering in college and worked in America for several years before returning home to Ireland to work in the business alongside my father.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | JULIE SWAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Julie Swan of Forgotten China.

Visit forgottenchina.ie for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I started Forgotten China in 2013 after nearly a decade working in marketing for the drinks industry, and later on, within the educational field. I loved anything creative and always had dreams of setting up my own business.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Forgotten China started as a hobby, selling cake stands and teacup candles but after a gust of wind at an outdoor market resulted in a mound of broken china (and a lot of tears!), I decided to turn the broken china into something beautiful. And so, the Forgotten China jewellery range was born.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I am very focused on growing the online sales side of the business, particularly within the U.S. market.

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

“Preserving memories” is very much at the heart and soul of the business.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Forgotten China describes all of the discarded and unwanted china pieces that I have sourced in auction rooms and charity shops across the country.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would have loved to work with Arklow Pottery (when it was in existence), producing an exclusive range of jewellery pieces from their “seconds” and discarded pieces.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I find the #WearingIrish movement inspiring because the diversity of pieces that are now created in Ireland allow anyone, regardless of their style or their budget to wear beautiful Irish made products.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I think that Irish politicians and TV presenters could make more of a concerted effort to wear and support Irish designers, particularly when working abroad.  They could be massively influential if they actively supported the #WearingIrish brand.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I source old, vintage china from charity shops and auction rooms around Ireland specifically looking for discarded, unwanted pieces, with which to make my jewellery. It gives me tremendous joy to see these old, dusty pieces become new and treasured possessions.

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

I actively try to source Irish china and pottery, particularly Arklow Pottery (which is now closed down). These pieces of pottery and china are part of our heritage and our culture, and so many of the patterns and designs are not desirable anymore in their original state as teacup and saucers. Sourcing authentic Irish china or pottery and with it creating unique and modern pieces of jewellery that can be worn and loved daily is very rewarding.

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

Being Irish is a huge honour for me and preserving the craftsmanship and designs of Irish pottery and china is a key focus for Forgotten China.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The commission pieces that I create are the most coveted items in my collection. It is an honour to be asked to make jewellery from my customers’ china; a privilege to hear the background stories when I receive the china and to witness the (happy!) tears that regularly appear when customers see the finished pieces. 

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family, great friends and regular trips to one of the best spots in Ireland, Caherdaniel in Co. Kerry.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Less is more.

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

A piece of advice that I was given when I set up Forgotten China was to be mindful that the highs will be higher than anything you may experience working as an employee, but the lows will also be lower. It has proved true so many times over the past few years, and it has regularly helped me keep things in perspective!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | EVA POWER

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit theethicalsilkco.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I have a bit of a varied background having studied Sociology and Greek & Roman Civilisation and then going on to study and practice craniosacral therapy, working mainly with lovely, little squidgy babies.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

When I started paying myself.  The Ethical Silk Company is self-funded; I grew it slowly and put all revenue back into it for the first few years while I worked part-time as a therapist. It was hugely gratifying to start drawing a salary from it, finally.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To continue to establish in the US and keep developing new collections and products, while continuing to build our sustainable production processes.

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

Luxury and ethics.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The array of talent that comes from our small nation means you no longer have to look overseas to find beautiful clothes that you can wear every day.


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

We design all our prints in Ireland, so inspiration comes from what’s around and what’s familiar—colour variations, shapes. This is combined with the travel I’ve done in India and along the Silk Road, so I enjoy seeing the mixture of different places coming together.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My palazzo pants from our loungewear collection. Once I know I’m in for the evening, I’m in them. The pants are incredibly comfortable for curling up on the couch with a book or watching a movie.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My favourite pair of jeans, beach days and a good moisturizer.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Red lipstick makes any outfit feel like a “going out” outfit.

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

My most cherished items of clothing are two tops—one from each of my grandmothers. They are both over 50 years old, and as they are constructed so well, they still look great for an evening out. I feel special when I wear them.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | YVONNE BEALE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit instagram.com/yvonne_beale_design for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

My mother and grandmother were forever creating, so I had to, too!  As a teenager, I first knitted for family and friends, and the orders just kept on coming!  In 2013, I designed the “Crafted by You” collection of crochet jewellery kits. In 2014, I turned my crochet hook to leather, and I haven’t looked back since!

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

There have been a few for me!  The award for the Best New Jewellery Design and Best New Product Awards for my crochet necklace “Grace” at Ireland’s leading Craft Design Exhibition “Showcase” in 2011. 

The opportunity then to present this prize-winning necklace to First Lady Michelle Obama on her visit to Ireland in 2011.  Then to receive a beautiful letter of thanks from the First Lady herself!

In the Fall 2011 edition of Vogue Knitting International, my design was recognised as “… the genius of liberating traditional Irish crochet motifs…”


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

Displayed on top catwalks in London, Paris, and New York with leading designers.

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

Style and quality nurtured in hand and worth every penny!

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Christian Dior.  To see one of my necklaces or belts sitting on the ultimate little black dress? Perfection!

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It is simply superb how the creation of WearingIrish links Irish design talent of every level, ready to be discovered. Irish fashion is now being displayed around the world and understood to be more than green shamrocks and lace.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone who understands and appreciates quality and style! 

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Every design begins with one crochet hook and some leather cord.  Then a selection of crochet stitches with a selection of hooks and cords.  Different stitches and colours compliment different shapes.

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

Every time I go for a walk, I am looking around and notice so much that I haven’t seen before!  Tremendous architecture, window shapes, decorative fanlights over main doors, decorative iron gates, colours, and more. There’s a lot to re-create in leather and crochet.

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

Being Irish is special to me. Where else would I have discovered all I can now do with a few needles and material of so many forms.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The Drop Necklace with Silver Bead. Here is a leather crochet necklace dressed with unique silver findings and a wonderful silver ball crafted by fellow Irish designer, Inga Reed. This design has earned me significant honours including a listing on the Irish Premium Craft Portfolio in 2012, finalist in the Golden Egg Fashion Innovation Awards 2011, and selection for show at the Solus Nua exhibition of contemporary Irish Arts in Washington DC, 2011.  

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My walking shoes, my golf clubs, and a taste of chocolate!

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

I love to walk every day!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | TAHNEE MORGAN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit 7thheaven.ie for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I am the youngest of seven children, brought up in Drogheda, Co Louth, opposite the river Boyne. As a child, I knew I could see and understand things that others couldn’t. My mother knew of my gift but told me to keep it secret. For years, I did. I studied fashion and trained as a milliner, like my grandparents. I was lucky and was often featured on TV and in films and magazines, but denying my gift made me unwell, and finally, I understood that I needed to set it free—in my life and my creative work.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

May 2009, following an operation, I began to feel very unwell. In the ambulance, I left my body and went to a place of light and beauty, where I felt my deceased father’s energy coming through. However, I knew I couldn’t stay. I fought to get back to my body, to my family. I was told that I could leave, but that on earth, I must work with the angels. I said I would. I opened myself to them and, soon after, added a range of spiritual jewelry and luxury scarves to my milliner designs.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

7th Heaven designs are not just beautiful; they are imbued with the positive healing powers of the cosmic energy I channel when creating them; because of that, I would love everyone to know them and wear them.

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

In everything I do, I try to bring the grace and goodness of the angels together with the beauties of the Irish landscape.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

The name—7th Heaven—was spiritually given to me by Archangel Michael, when I was shown the colours of the seven archangels and inspired to create with their energy.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

No one person encapsulates what I do and believe in, except perhaps Mother Nature. Although seeing Minister Josepha Madigan wear the 7th Heaven Green Angel Raphael wrap scarf and bracelets for St Patrick’s Day 2019 in Japan was a particularly proud and beautiful moment.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I am already in deep spiritual collaboration with the angels; that is enough for me.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The passion of WearingIrish to showcase the best of this beautiful country’s designs resonates with my desire to bring this to a broader audience.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Anyone who feels the pull of Ireland, through their bloodline or their imagination.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Each design begins as a story waiting for me to tell it; I work through exotic detailed embroidery, bejeweled fabrics, and crystals, but most of all, I work with the energy of the angels and the earth.

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

To quote George Bernard Shaw, “Ireland is like no other place under Heaven.” We are a nation of healers and thinkers, and I am always inspired by the people and the natural wonders of this ancient land.

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

It means everything: who I am, what I believe, how I respond to the world around me; I try to reflect the energy of this country in everything I create.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

7th Heaven is about positive colours and spiritual associations. One much-loved item is the Archangel Michael bracelet, representing protection, strength and courage.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family gatherings, yummy bread from The Foods of Athenry, and the magical views from the Ring of Kerry.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

One of my Angel Gabriel wrap scarves, with a matching Angel Gabriel freshwater pearl beaded bracelet, and a pair of handmade pearl earrings.

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

I can’t live without Kerrygold butter on my potatoes!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | KDK

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Keira and Dairine Kennedy.

Visit kdk.ie for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

We came to the fashion business late, having spent most of our careers working in the corporate world—Dairine still does—but we saw a gap for something we felt was missing. We love to get dressed up for events, but it can feel a bit soulless just dressing up in outfits that hold no huge meaning, and when we couldn’t find scarves in the right colours to pull an outfit together, we created our own. Each of our scarves is a recreated scene from a landscape or moment with significance to us from a street in Cork to a beautiful tree in Connemara, even an everyday scene of Dublin cobble streets. And it feels so special to wear something that has a memory attached or a story to tell.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

The day KDK was part of the Night of Irish Fashion, a show hosted by the London Irish Centre. We were joined by all the Council of Irish Fashion designers, but it was a real ‘aha’ moment where we felt our collection had progressed, it was no longer digital print scarves when we saw how beautifully our photographs digitally printed on cashmere sweaters and silk kaftans, it felt really right.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

We want the brand to expand worldwide.

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

To translate the absolute beauty of the Irish landscape into wearable art. We want to continue creating products for people that they really love; there is emotion attached to our designs, the wearer gets more than something tangible when they wear KDK.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Our names! Keira and Dairine Kennedy—KDK.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

We have a fondness for Penelope Cruz and Blake Lively so to see either of them in a KDK piece would make us extra happy.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

We love Charlotte Olympia—her quirky designs are not only beautifully crafted but innovative, colourful, and most of all, fun.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

To see Irish talent and craft portrayed in a contemporary way is so inspiring. It’s incredible to see heritage craft and design from Ireland being promoted, but it is what people are accustomed to seeing, WearingIrish showcases how cutting-edge we can be amongst other global players.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Well, who wouldn’t want Michelle Obama to wear their designs? She’s fabulous in every way.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

We are constantly snapping—places, things, landscapes. Then, we play around with the images and see what designs we can digitally recreate; we tinker with colour, shapes, sizes—this can take weeks on a single design until we get it right. Then, we have to sample how it looks on different fabrics until we get it just right.

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

Our approach is simple; we take snaps of key Irish landmarks, unique places we’ve visited or even just beautiful, fleeting moments in time—then digitally remaster the photography and combine it with super-luxe cashmere yarns and playful colours. We want people’s memories of these special Irish places to last for more than just a moment, so their clothes have meaning, and a story to tell, which is the essence of Irishness in itself.

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

Ireland is known for its creative thinking, music, art, writing, and poetry—it’s in our veins, our Grandfather was also a painter—so we appreciate the artistic beauty in all of these things, that’s the essence of KDK.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The most coveted by our customers is the Waterfall full-length silk kaftan; the most coveted by us is the Poolbeg pink scarf that doubles-up as a cool summer sarong.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

A good mascara, a KDK scarf, and a spritz of perfume.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

At the moment, it’s the versatility of our mini silk scarves. In any one day, I can style one in my tied-back hair or wrap it around my wrist or the handle of my bag.

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

I have always been a keen horse rider. I represented Ireland in Horse Riding in the World Student Games.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | JOANNA KAMINSKA

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit jokamin.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I’m an artist/designer originally from Poland. My background is in languages and journalism; however, my career isn’t typical. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs including for an advertisement agency, a jewelry company and a gynecologist In New York. In 2005, I came to Ireland, had two sons and Ireland became our home.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Every step advances me in what I am doing. It is a slow process, and there are no shortcuts, but there is progress! As an artist, it is an honor to have my work in the National Gallery of Ireland shop. Also, being selected for the Brown Thomas CREATE 2019 showcase is very special.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To bring inspiration and happiness to my customers and steadily grow my customer base.

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

JOKAMIN is about looking for magic in every aspect of life. As an artist, I aim to speak a universal language that can be understood by everyone.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

JOKAMIN is an abbreviation of my first and last name.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

There are so many inspirational people around the world that it is hard to choose. I heard that one of my scarves was bought for Isabella Rossellini when she was filming in Dublin—that made me very happy because she is a style icon whom I admire.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to design a scarf for Hermès for obvious reasons, and I would love to collaborate with designers such as those from Gucci and Vivienne Westwood, to name but a few!

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It’s a great initiative to support Irish creativity, and I applaud it!

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I don’t have any specific person in mind, but it would be great if people around the globe see Irish designs as being of such high quality and creativity that they are willing to pay for them.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I tell stories through my art, and when I work on a new design, it is a similar process. We are all connected, and I believe we experience similar challenges. Whatever I experience, or I see I throw it down on paper. However, if I am working on a scarf, I am more design-driven with colours and design placement.

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

I need nature to recharge. What I love in Ireland is that the landscape is peaceful and does not change drastically. I dislike visual chaos, and I find that there is harmony here.  I hope that Irish people realize how lucky they are to be surrounded by such scenery, and they should protect it.

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

Being Irish means being accepted and welcomed; living in Ireland has given me the freedom to create.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

It’s funny but my very first scarf design “Marionettes” has an extraordinary place in my collection. People are drawn to it. Maybe because of the colours—a blend of grey-blues, yellow ochre, orange, and white—or perhaps because of the theme? Everyone feels like a marionette at times.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Air, movement and creating.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Be yourself, wear what you love and what makes you happy.

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

Three times a week, I train in Aikido martial art. It keeps me healthy and helps me deal with life.  Last year I achieved my black belt in Aikido, so I’m proud of that.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | SIMON BARBER

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit designireland.ie/designers/simon-barber-jewellery for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

We have a family-run jewellery shop in Fermoy, Co. Cork that has been in business since 1869. I have grown up around it; always tinkering in the workshop. I studied art and then horology (watchmaking) before returning to the shop. I started developing my pieces in my spare time, and things grew from there.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

My first trade show three years ago when I started supplying other shops.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

World domination.

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

Simple, elegant and different.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It’s nice to see someone showcasing all the small independent Irish makers who are quietly working away, and if they’re anything like me, not particularly good at self-promotion.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Walks and canoeing by the river have always been my way of clearing my head, and I often return home with the start of an idea.

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

I have always lived where I live, so knowing what is particularly different about being Irish is hard to say, it’s just the way I am. Having said that, there must be some cultural influence that seeps into you. Many people have said that my work is very Irish.

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

I never intended to make anything “Irish-y,” but people often say that they see Irish influence in my work.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Moonshine pendant.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Roast potatoes, Swiss Army knife, and a hat.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Old wool army trousers and a waistcoat, at least that’s what I have been wearing for years now.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | PAUL COSTELLOE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit paulcostelloe.com for more!




WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

The first time visiting Princess Diana at Kensington Palace to dress her for an upcoming trip to India. When I walked into the drawing room looking out over Hyde Park, I was so thrilled.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To realise Paul Costelloe as a truly global fashion brand.

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

Material and texture. Only by understanding the origin of a fabric, its composition and the personal stories in it can we craft something customers will love and cherish.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Myself.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

Anyone who has a sense of humour.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

To be a costume designer for a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Christopher Bale.


WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Ireland is now deservedly getting recognised for its young design talent, and the WearingIrish movement has a vital role to play in driving this recognition.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone. I am proud to wear Irish brands and materials, but prices must be competitive.

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

Ireland plays a big role in my creative thinking—working with Irish materials (linens and tweeds) and the landscapes of Ireland that I am constantly painting.

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

It helps to keep me grounded and realistic.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

A red military coat from my Autumn/Winter 2019-20 womenswear catwalk collection.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My wife, my children, and my paint brush.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

For men, a white scarf to be an individual.

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

I failed most exams at school and didn’t even take my leaving cert exams.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | SOUL ENGRAVER

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit soulengraver.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

As a master hand engraver and jewellery designer for over 20 years, I have dedicated my life’s work to creating meaningful jewellery that inspires deep connections between people, the land, and the heritage of Ireland. Having served a six-year apprenticeship (rather a long time ago). I am one of a small band of true artisans in this field. Using classical hand engraving techniques that date back to the Renaissance, I apply dedication to the art, attention to detail and a sensitivity that is key to creating such unique jewellery with real meaning.


WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

I was the master hand engraver for Weir & Sons for over 15 years. Working there I had the privilege to work on many prestigious things, most notably the Webb Ellis Trophy (Rugby World Cup). Upon leaving Ireland’s premier jewellery retailer, I launched the Soul Engraver brand with two collections, namely Resonate and Sacred Trees. The brand featured at Showcase 2018 run by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in the RDS. Soul Engraver picked up a coveted award for best new product, from a field of over 100+ startup companies. A week later, I was invited to meet An Taoiseach at City Hall—a very proud moment.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To stay authentic and create stunningly beautiful pieces from the heart that touch the soul.  It is our ambition to be the Irish jewellery brand synonymous with creating deep connections between people. Quality and uniqueness should be a benchmark for any brand.

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

While people love beauty, beauty alone doesn’t make a piece special—it’s about meaning. People give beautiful meanings to the things they love. It’s about marking moments in the stream of time, about love itself. In those many hours, and days, and years that I sat inscribing love into metal, an idea took shape. What if first you took the meaning, and then from that, you created the thing?

Creating deep connections between people and Irish jewellery with real meaning is the heart and soul of the brand.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

Funnily enough, people assume I am the Soul Engraver, but as the master craftsperson, I merely give people a voice for what they would like to say to others (or what they would like to say about themselves). So, I am not the Soul Engraver. The person who gives the gift is the Soul Engraver. They have put so much thought into the gift/piece; it is they who will leave a mark on the receiver’s soul.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

Margaret Molloy is an inspiration to us all and wears Irish so well.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

We have been fortunate to collaborate with Weir & Sons, Dublin and most recently the extremely exclusive Adare Manor, Limerick. Fulfilling the needs of all our customers is of importance. With every collaboration, we live a dream.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

We can see a lot of synergies between our brands. The WearingIrish movement fundamentally inspires deep connections between people, the land, and the heritage of Ireland.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone! There is a little bit of Ireland in us all.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

For our ready-to-wear collections, we are united by a common theme—a connection to a land and its people, it is a living and breathing culture. It’s about being rooted—in relationships, in nature, in a personal and collective history. Together, we are stronger.

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

We are incredibly creative people and always have been. The people, the land, and the heritage of Ireland have influenced everything we do.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Family, family, and family.

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

Labhraim Gaeilge!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | EMER ROBERTS

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit emerroberts.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I received my MFA in Sculpture with NCAD, Dublin in 2009. Since then, I have collaborated with culinary artists/philosophers MOUTH for conceptual banquets while working continuously in my studio. There is continuity in the varied projects I have had the privilege of working on. Authenticity is important to me.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Winning three awards consecutively in 2019: I was awarded Accessories Designer of the Year in Fashion and Textiles with the Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI) and Best Product in the Jewellery category at Showcase 2019; I went on to win the Jewellery Designer of the Year award with the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To be recognized for pushing boundaries with strong, original design.

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

An edgy and elegant luxury fine jewellery brand.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My brand name is my name.


WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

A dream combination of Meret Oppenheim, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Eileen Gray. They were all forces of nature in their creative outputs, and for their individual aesthetics, which appeals to me.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

One such as Lee McQueen for his conceptual fine art intentions in fashion.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It is a potent opportunity to reveal contemporary Irish design to the international marketplace.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Those who appreciate quality art, craft, and design.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I am up at daybreak and very content in the studio, designing as I create. My process varies with the architectural/art deco designs or the divergent Wearable Biology fine jewellery. With the wearable art designs, I work from my moulds and cast and manipulate in wax. Or deconstruct metals to reimagine new architectural pieces.

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

Waterstown Park, one of the most ecologically important parks in Dublin, was our extended back garden growing up. Close to the Phoenix Park, we had the best of city and country. My father brought his love of (Westmeath) country life to Dublin, breeding a variety of animals. This informed my fine arts practice which revolved around the mammal, similarity between species and the institutional space.

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

To me, being Irish is to be good-humoured and decent. Coming from a large, creative family provides an ever-evolving influence to never take myself too seriously in pursuit of authenticity.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My current Art Nouveau-inspired Jaw collection from the Wearable Biology, wearable art designs. Cast from the lower jaw of the rat, it is edgy in subject matter and elegant in execution and embodies the essence of my brand.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Thinking art, creating art and my little warrior daughter.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Stand tall.

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

I have one green eye and one blue eye.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | ELAINE KEOGH

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit elainekeogh.co.uk for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I grew up in the Georgian town of Birr, in the midlands of Ireland. I started millinery ten years ago while attending LCF before starting my official traditional training under Rose Cory MBE, (Royal Warrant holder for 47 years), my training lasted four years. Following this, I studied Sustainable Fashion in the Netherlands for one year.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

In 2016, I was chosen to launch my winter collection in Brown Thomas under the CREATE initiative, and this was an incredible achievement as the theme was sustainability and the focus of my new brand at the time.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I am undergoing research into new ways of making Elaine Keogh a more sustainable brand by looking deep into my supply chain work on projects that will incorporate positive change in the industry, sourcing fabrics responsibly, including Irish made fabrics.

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

My brand combines traditional craftsmanship and slow fashion to create responsible, quality, timeless hats that are a little hug for your head.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My brand name is my first name, Elaine, which is a version of my mother’s name, Helen, and my family name Keogh, whose crest is a lion, an emblem of deathless courage with a hand which symbolizes faith, sincerity, and justice, so ELAINE KEOGH is a true Irish family brand.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

Meryl Streep as she uses the platform she has to give women all over the world a voice. I make hats for strong women like her.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Zac Posen—for his ability to allow his fabrics to whisper his designs to the world.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The Wearing Irish movement inspires me because it was set up by a strong Irish woman, Margaret, who has given a platform to Irish designers in the US and is connecting people through fashion.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Michelle Obama, she is married to an Irish man after all!

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

In 2015, I set up at Belmont Mill, Co. Offaly, an incredible 18th-century building, and gardens set in the wild landscape of the boglands. Inspired by the sparseness of the surrounding area during the winter months and the chaos of the wildflowers during the summer months each collection is born. The structural design of each hat reflects the scenery in rural Ireland and each hat trades excessive detailing for a purity of design, emphasizing a gentlewoman style.

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

I am incredibly proud of our heritage and culture and the high standard of craftsmanship around our country. While I have traveled for studies, I have always been drawn back to the midlands of Ireland where I am most inspired.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

A hat named “Harriet.” I always know a Harriet client. She is a powerful lady—ever daring, sophisticated and stylish.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Burt’s Bees lip balm, sunglasses and a silk turban.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

A silk turban is great to dress up or down and is known to turn fuzzy hair silky soft.

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

I love numbers: I am the youngest of seven children, the fifth girl and the ninth in our family. I incorporate these numbers into every collection I do—the number of petals in a flower, pattern pieces, or the amount of hats in each collection.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | PAUL GALVIN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

 I am one of a family of seven from Lixnaw, County Kerry. I play a lot of sport especially hurling and Gaelic football. I studied Arts in UCC and taught for almost ten years before authoring and editing my autobiography which was published in 2014. 

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Publishing my first story with Dunnes Stores. It was called Vanguard and told the story of vanguard soldiers at the forefront of military formations. It also reflected those moments as a footballer standing to attention for Amhrán na bhFiann before big matches when I felt like I was at the vanguard of a movement.   

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To bring culture and meaning to menswear, to include more men in the conversation, to educate through storytelling.

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

Wearable culture, masculinity, and meaning.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My brand name is my own name but each story or collection—Vanguard, Push, Born Mad, Mister, Shelby, Bogman, Raglan, Tattooed Man, Équipe, Scaffolder—could be brands in their own right.  

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

Language is a muse. My Spring 2020 collection is called Scaffolder. It tells the story of Mohed Altrad but the most interesting part for me is the collection name itself.  

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Art Comes First. Adidas. JW Anderson. Bjarke Ingels. Es Devlin. Annie Mac. Mohed Altrad. Cillian Murphy. Kanye West. Jackie Nickerson. Luke Kelly. Samuel Beckett. 

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Its positivity and intent to promote and support Irish business and creativity. 

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Michael Fassbender. 

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I regularly run with a pen in my shorts so as to take notes when I stop for a coffee. I observe and absorb my surroundings and think about language. I refer to my dictionary app daily. When the right word comes to me for a collection name, everything else comes together.  I read a lot. Raf Simons speaks of incubation time for ideas. This is very important but requires silence and solitude which isn’t easy to come by.

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

If you are a cultural storyteller, then place is everything. I come from the bogs of north Kerry. I have referenced boglands, bog culture, bog architecture, bog music, turf, peat briquettes, and sleáns in my Bogman collection. I think that says it all about the importance of place in my work. 

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

I have been influenced for collections by the National Anthem, Michael & John Walker, Samuel Beckett, Patrick O’Connell, Cillian Murphy, Tom De Paor, Luka Bloom, The Dubliners, James F. O’Connell—all culturally important, masculine and Irish, through and through. Unfortunately, the “fashion” world excludes masculinity in many ways. I’m trying to carve out a place and a brand for men, Irish or otherwise. 

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Flat caps. Then print storytelling pieces; peat briquette print shirts, Luke banjo print shirt, Dancing Man print shirt.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My wife, daughter and family. 

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Good proportions. 

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

I speak fluent Irish.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | RITE WHITE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit rita-white.myshopify.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

My background is in nursing and psychology. I am intrigued by the human condition and our ability to grow, transform and become whatever we desire to be. I studied fashion design and eventually, I earned my degree in art & design textiles from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in 2012 as a mature student.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

To date, I think it would be winning the Accessories Designer of the Year Award at The Irish Fashion Innovation Awards 2019. It was a great honor to be acknowledged by one’s peers and those who know fashion.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I love fashion design, and I’d like to see my prints on garment separates such as dresses and tops and to reach a wider global audience.

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

The heart and soul of my brand is to brighten someone’s day with a colourful, inspirational and luxurious piece that makes them feel and look great.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM?

It’s simply my name with “art” added to the end.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

My dream muse would be a strong, mature, iconic woman representing strength and embracing maturity with style and integrity such as Oprah, Helen Mirren, and Jane Fonda.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Hermès, of course, would be the dream, as they love and appreciate art and the story on their stunning scarves; to design for them would be a dream come true.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Margaret Molloy is so very stylish and fashionable herself that one is delighted and honored to see her wear and style one’s pieces so well and creatively, often in ways and places that bring new life to one’s product.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Sourcing fabrics, manufacturing, and printing often have to be sourced outside the country, meaning a lot of time, finance, research, and dedication is required. All this is evident in the uniqueness of our products. I want the whole world to wear and appreciate Irish.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

My hand drawings are scanned and worked on in Photoshop where they come alive with color, becoming a unique design with a depth of meaning. They are then printed onto the best thick silks and finished with a hand rolled hem.

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

My drawings are inspired by what’s around me, such as people watching or after a walk among nature. I may draw amazing shapes and colours that evolve into abstract birds and plants, all of which are from uniquely Irish experiences in our quaint streets and countryside.

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

We are fortunate to absorb our amazing landscape and we have some great cultural traits such as friendliness, empathy, and genuineness—all of which I hope is evident in my work.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

I love the “Birds Wearing Shoes” design, as these birds drawn from my imagination have developed into little characters that want to wear shoes to express their individuality. Some appear as abstract robins or other Irish birds, and they are communicating with each other in a human way. It’s such fun, and there is exceptional detail in each character with its unique shoe design.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

 I hope I never have to live without chats with Laura, friends and fresh air.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

A beautiful silk scarf transforms any outfit.

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

I want to live and work in America and bring my Irish designs to New York.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | LINDA WILSON

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit lindawilsonknitwear.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design with a BA in fashion and design in 1993. After working in the knitwear industry in Ireland for several years, I established my label in 2000. In addition to managing my business, I also teach the fashion knitwear and textile course in LSAD.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

I have so many, but one would be arriving in Dublin a couple of years ago and discovering an image of one of my jumpers on a billboard outside the RDS!


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To continue to create contemporary knitwear that is inspired by and produced in Ireland but selling worldwide.

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

Growing up in rural Donegal, I am passionate about the stunning landscape I took for granted as a child. In every collection, I strive to pay homage to the colour and texture that surrounds me every time I go home.  

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

Issey Miyake for his use of technology in his fabrics, and Delpozo for their use of colour and structure.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

Ireland has a wealth of designers, and the WearingIrish movement has brought Irish design onto the world platform.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Everyone.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I love taking photos of anything and everything. My process always starts with these images. Usually, it’s a texture or a pattern that has caught my eye and inspires my process. From these images, I swatch allowing my fabrics and use of colour to lead the direction of the collection. 

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

Inspired by the rich tapestry of our Irish heritage, I strive in my designs to be evocative of the past but with a contemporary step into the future. Through observing what has gone before, as a designer, I endeavor to create garments that celebrate our sense of place and uniqueness.

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

It is fundamental to my business, and I am proud that every piece I create is designed and made in Ireland.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My tie blossom scarf. It has been in the collection now for several years, and it continues to grow in demand.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My camera, color and coffee.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Wear what makes you happy!

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

While I am passionate about knitwear, I sadly am an atrocious hand knitter!!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | EIMEAR LYNCH

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Eimear Lynch of Ella Green Jewellery.

Visit ellagreenjewellery.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I have always adored jewelry and have been designing and making it since I was a little girl, my mind’s eye full of treasures due to countless retellings of Arabian Nights and the Brothers Grimm. As a child, I was constantly taking jewelry apart to reassemble it a different way.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Getting Ella Green stocked in Dublin’s DesignYard. I’ve always admired the store and never dreamed I could one day be there with such an amazing selection of Irish and European designers. They are fantastic to work with, and I look forward to bringing new pieces to them each year.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

To develop relationships with and be stocked by my favorite American stores: Roseark, Catbird, and Twist.

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

Ella Green is fearless, peerless, and precious.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM?

My daughter’s name is Ella, and I am obsessed with green, the color of nature!


WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

Saoirse Ronan because she is self-possessed, intelligent, doesn’t take herself too seriously and always looks immaculate but left-of-center, which I love.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to collaborate with American artist Ashley Longshore as she is brilliant, loud, brash and I think I think it would be brilliant fun and challenging to work with an artist with such a different style to mine!

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

It’s a great example of using the power of social media for something positive and life-affirming, and it just so happens to have been launched from the other side of the planet from the Irish themselves—how lucky are we?!

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Start with Irish people wearing more Irish and expand the movement from there—we can all be ambassadors for each other. Having documentaries like “The True Cost” highlight the terrible human and environmental costs of fast fashion is brilliant. The world’s collective fashion IQ is rising, and this is vital for the future of our planet. One of the upsides for Irish design is that consumers can feel good about choosing small batch design out of countries such as Ireland.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

It often starts with a dream or image that comes crashing through when I’m almost asleep or meditating and NOT trying to conjure anything. Then, I fashion a drawing or prototype in plastic or silver, and it goes through several Irish artisans; casters, setters, polishers before making its debut!

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

We’re all citizens of the world now in a global marketplace. However, the beauty of Ireland is always present in my creative process. Everything Ella Green is imagined, designed and 100% made in Ireland. Ireland is baked into my Ella Green’s DNA.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Our Freedom Amazonian ring, inlaid with malachite, onyx and opal on hammered 14k yellow gold studded with tsavorite garnet. It is one-of-a-kind, so when it is gone, it’s gone!

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Jewelry with stories and meaning, family and Apollo the cat.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

My mother always said, “Invest in a good coat and bag.” She was right, so I have!

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

I used to play the trumpet!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | EDEL MACBRIDE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit edelmacbride.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I was born the eldest (and shortest) of six children in the one-horse, seven-church village of Convoy in Donegal. I was inspired creatively at home—my mum knit, so I learned to knit and sew, and I helped at my granny Margaret’s busy dressmaking studio.

I completed foundation art at LYIT Letterkenny and fashion design at LSAD Limerick. I was a fashion intern at Neiman Marcus in Boston while studying entrepreneurship at Boston College. Years of making, wholesaling, retailing and consulting followed under my Edel MacBride label in both Derry and Donegal. In 2010, I founded Knitfield to conserve local skills through sharing knowledge.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Winning “Knitwear Designer of the Year” at the Late Late Show Fashion Awards in 1995.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

Excellence and evolution of sustainable knitwear using more 100% Irish provenance product. I want to monetize our design rich pattern archive of thirty years, too.

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

A desire to rebirth a local textile tradition in a sustainable manner.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM?

My brand, Edel MacBride, is my maiden name. I huff if the Ais left out of MacBride.

Knit-field embodied a feeling of freedom to indulge a craft dream for me.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

After watching “A Star is Born,” I found myself drawn to Barbra Streisand.

I love that Streisand’s manager of over fifty years, Marty Erlichman, was the one who made the Clancy brothers wear their white Aran sweaters on the Ed Sullivan Show.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I have been a Levi’s fan since my teenage years and loved their collaboration with Liberty print and feel they are tagging craft well to their brand heritage. I have ideas and have always loved patches!

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

From the beginning, the simplicity of vision and lack of dogma made #WearingIrish an attractive mission to me—plus I believe in the power of a busy woman to get the job done.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

Supportive customers over the decades aside, I wish more Irish in Ireland would believe in #WearingIrish. We need to offer the engaged diaspora more choice and more effortless fulfillment, too.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I constantly handknit swatches and fill notebooks with doodles. My studio combines hand framed knitting with highly skilled handknitting and crochet.

I like to design with a particular brief but expect artistic freedom. My sixth sense takes over in predicting great combinations of texture, colour, stitch reference and shape. I have learned to trust my judgment and look less at trends.

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

As an Irish knitwear designer, place has been both an inspiration and a drawback.I am very grateful for skills learned young, but initially, my call was to a world of fashion as defined by my diva-like aunts in the 1970s. Aran knitting, for example, was a ‘genre’ I was running from or at times, trying to change.

But eventually, the grasshopper became the master. Time and opportunity awakened within me a love for this unique Irish design language. I believe my role is to carry the torch and make it relevant, making the very best Aran handknits in the world and to #KeepIrelandKnitting.

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

Being Irish means different things in different places. However, I found a new alignment with my cultural identity by exhibiting at Milwaukee Irish Fest in 2011. People were so vocal and encouraging about the skill and quality of my work. I return every year for a confidence boost!

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

A Kelly green handknit Adam-Eve hoodie in a merino and mohair blend, spun in Donegal.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My family, the clear Donegal air and the Derry sense of humor.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

My grandmother always said, “Show off your best bits”.

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

A humblebrag is my thank you letter from Hillary Clinton, personally signed after their first visit to Derry in November 1995. I still remember the postman’s quizzical look at the large White House stamped envelope.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | JOHN SHEVLIN

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with John Shevlin of Shevlin Millinery.

Visit shevlin.ie for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

Shevlin Millinery started in 1960, in Dublin, as P.Shevlin Ltd, Millinery Manufacturers. It was a hat making company started by my late father. I grew up with hats around me; I also spent a few years in general clothing production, the experience of which has remained with me to this day.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

I think it was probably getting the contract to design and produce the Aer Lingus uniform hat for the couturier Ib Jorgensen’s uniform design in the ’80s. It was a more substantial contract than I had expected, and I had a panic moment wondering how I was going to produce the initial order!

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

My ambition for my designs is to create and produce quality hats that can be worn for both everyday wear and special occasions worldwide.

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

I think the heart and soul of my brand is the passion I have for producing what I produce.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM?

The brand name comes from my family name, Shevlin.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

It would have to be Jean Butler, because she is a most glamorous Irish ambassador.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

My dream collaboration would be with Liberty London.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The WEARINGIRISH movement is a fantastic promoter of Irish fashion and jewellery.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

All ladies and gentlemen who appreciate modern-day Irish quality.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

My creative process starts with a shape in my mind and not with a pen and paper. Hats are about the silhouette, and I prefer to work directly with the material and to experiment with the ideas in my head.

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

My sense of place is vital to me, being Irish and proud to be Irish. I have never really wanted to live in another country, and home is where the heart is, as they say. I want to be known as an Irish designer and maker of hats that have both local and international appeal.

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

Being Irish for me is very important as the Irish have a strong identity and history. In my hat making career, I have a strong history, and I’m proud of that. Ireland has become a leader on the world stage in several areas, and for such a small country we have a vast global influence in all walks of life. I also want to be a leader in my field.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The most coveted item in my collection is my leopard print classic trilby.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Good food, good company…and a good sewing machine!

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

The trick is to look at how a hat looks on a real head; failing that, seeing how it looks on a head and shoulders bust.

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

I am well known as a James Joyce lookalike, and I’m the most photographed person on Bloomsday!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | CLARE O’CONNOR

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

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

Visit clareoconnor.net for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I am an artist/designer with a background in graphic design. I’ve studied design & visual arts practice, both to degree level, graduating in 2001with a BDES and in 2009with a BA. I have lived, worked and exhibited in Berlin and Venice.I launched my brand of wearable art in January 2018.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

In Berlin, I worked as an artist assistant for Thomas Kilpper on his State of Control project. We had access to all areas to the former GDR Ministry for State Security headquarters; Thomas carved 90 artworks into the lino floor of the 1,600 sqm canteen. I managed the studio space and helped Thomas prepare, ink up and create large-scale prints from the carved floor. Such a fantastic project to be part of.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND?

I plan to expand my accessories range and create a full RTW collection and a select range of household special editions, which will be available through selected luxury stores worldwide.

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

My brand and my creative practice are all about colour, energy, and positivity. I aim to create a brand that empowers us to be ourselves, uplifts us and makes us feel good.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM?

My brand name is my name. I did consider using my great grandmother’s name Brabazon as it is a unique surname, but I like the way Clare O’Connor is distinctively Irish; I think that is an integral part of my brand as it is my heritage and I am very proud of that.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY?

My dream muse would have to be Saoirse Ronan. She is so natural, elegant and has an effortless style with an edgy, quirky side too, which I love.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

I would love to collaborate with Dunnes Stores; I love the way they have upped their game. They have worked with a selection of Ireland’s top designers, which celebrates, promotes and supports Irish design, bringing awareness and giving the general public access to quality, contemporary Irish design.   

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

I love that the WearingIrish movement is encouraging people to buy and wear Irish and be genuinely appreciative and aware of the fantastic quality and diversity we have available to us through Irish designers.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

I take inspiration from my paintings and prints. I like to layer and work intuitively when I paint, so I combine splashes of paint, drips, stripes, collage, tape, patterns and lots of colour.

My paintings result in vibrant, bright pieces that are full of positive energy. I aim to communicate a heightened sense of power, which uplifts us. I then take photos of my paintings, and I use sections for my designs and import them into Photoshop, where I sometimes layer them further or use them as they are.

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

I live in Meath, and I have a great connection to Tara—I go there every week for meditation, to recharge, centre and align my energies, and I try to channel those energies through my work.

Irish people had deep spiritualism, like the Native Americans, which was muddied and disregarded by patriarchal Christian colonialism. However, a lot of people are reconnecting with that now. The connection I feel to Tara helps me to strengthen my relationship with my inner creativity and helps hugely to focus and develop my creative process. 

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

We are known to be one of the friendliest nations on earth. Everyone generally loves the Irish, and I think that is down to our fun, down-to-earth, open and honest way we communicate and our adaptability. I think that naturally comes through my work, as my style is fun, dynamic, eclectic, and full of positive energy.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

My signature large scarves. They are so versatile and wearable, bringing luxury to everyday life.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Painting, my cats and Chanel perfume.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK?

Layering. I love dresses over jeans and trousers or jumpers over dresses and of course, always finished off with a scarf.

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

To finance my life and my creativity, I have worked in many exciting jobs along the way: the Venice Biennale, a tour guide, a painting assistant for Anselm Reyle; a travel writer for National Geographic, but the most fun was working as a celebrant. I once married a lovely couple on a gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice—we must have been in thousands of tourists’ photos!


MEET THE DESIGNERS | AND TATE

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Sharon Hoey of Andtate.

Visit andtate.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

I was born in Dublin and live here with my husband (business partner) and three sons. I began my career at the Grafton Academy Dublin and started my fashion business in 1985. I have had the business all my working life, and I am very excited about my new brand—Andtate shirts.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

It was closing a deal to stock a chain of top UK stores in 2000. It changed our business entirely and allowed us to think like a big business, to grow and experiment with new markets and products.

WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND? 

To build Andtate Shirts into a successful global brand.

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

Real shirts for real women who appreciate sustainable luxury fashion.


WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

The And of Andtate is my father-in-law’s initials, a very dapper dresser born in 1906.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

I don’t have any one person in mind; I am inspired by so many people who are driven to succeed on their chosen paths in business, sport, and the arts.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?  

A Vogueshoot with Isabella Rossellini, Jane Fonda, Queen Rania of Jordan, Meghan Markle, and Saoirse Ronan as they are all incredible women of different ages and talents who look amazing in white shirts!

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

The simplicity of the concept and how one person can highlight the wealth of design and talent that is in Ireland, but largely undiscovered around the world. 

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I would like to see more people buy less but choose better. As Irish products are of a very high standard of quality and design, they are the perfect choice for all markets.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. 

I have never found it easy; I never seem to have a pencil at the ready when I get an idea. I start each season under pressure, but somehow 30 odd years later I always make the deadlines. A rope to tie me to the chair, a pen and paper in a quiet space are how I begin!

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

I work in the capital. I love Dublin and need the buzz of cities. I absorb my ideas as I’m going about my business, but it’s down in wild west Cork where I can get some space to draw and sketch that my creative process starts. I escape to my sanctuary there as often as possible.

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

I feel Irish, particularly when abroad. I love that we have an exceptional heritage in handcrafted designs—linen, wool, glass, tweed, leather, etc. and I often look to our past for design influence.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The first shirt I designed for Andtate.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Chanel No 5, red lipstick and white wine.

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

A good blow-dry, red lipstick and a statement bag.

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

I love all aspects of building. I’m fascinated by structure and sometimes wish I had studied engineering.


MEET THE DESIGNERS | MARY ENRIGHT

WEARINGIRISH showcases top designers/brands from Ireland.

In this series, meet the designers and hear their stories. Here Margaret chats with Mary Enright of Mary Enright Jewellery.

Visit maryenright.com for more!




TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

My formal training was at St. John’s College Cork followed by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. After several years of industry experience, I launched my ME Jewellery brand in 2010 and opened a design studio and retail outlet in Kinsale, Co. Cork.

WHAT WAS THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?

Moving to New York. It was a difficult decision to close my store and relocate, but it was a huge opportunity too, and one that I couldn’t turn down. Since moving, I have had my work included in New York City Jewelry Week and most recently in the Who’s Who in Visual Art Encyclopedia. More exhibitions and collaborations are on the horizon.


WHAT’S YOUR AMBITION FOR YOUR BRAND? 

To increase my profile in the US, building on the industry connections I have made, being recognised for the design and craftsmanship in my work, and most importantly, being known as a creator of beautiful things.  

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

The heart and soul of my brand is simplicity of form and shape, using the materials to create effects of light and shade and movement.

WHERE DOES YOUR BRAND NAME COME FROM? 

My brand name was an easy one, it’s simply called ME. It’s my initials and registered Makers Mark with the Dublin Assay Office.

WHO IS YOUR DREAM MUSE? WHY? 

My muse has always been Mother Nature, a constant source of artistic inspiration.

YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?  

I would love to collaborate with Debra Messing. Her appreciation of jewellery as being wearable sculptures, her love of bold colours and statement pieces would allow me the freedom to create a new line without diluting the simplicity in aesthetic of my ME brand, we could call the line Messing & ME.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WEARINGIRISH MOVEMENT?

WearingIrish is a movement born from a passion for promoting the abundance of talented Irish designers in an authentic and natural way.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO WEAR IRISH?

I want everyone to wear Irish. If you look at the WearingIrish design directory, there’s an extensive range of product, styles, and materials—something for everyone.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. 

I design on paper first. Generally, I have an idea in mind if I’m working on a collection and I will refine my sketches until I find “the one.” Once I have finalized what materials to use, I sit at my jewellers bench and create the pieces. My commission work is more collaborative as I am creating a unique piece for a client.

The jewellery I design must hold meaning and memories specific to them. I hope that all the jewellery I create will become treasured possessions and heirlooms in the future.

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

Growing up on the west coast of Ireland, you cannot help but fall in love with nature. It is an everchanging canvas of beauty and has always influenced my work. It is reflected in the colour palate I choose for gemstones, and it is evident in collections like my Wild Irish Rose and Flutterby Butterfly.  

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

To me being Irish means being a storyteller, a romantic and an adventurer.  I believe a sense of romance and storytelling is the essence of the jewellery I create. While my designs are not considered traditionally Celtic, they remain intrinsically Irish. My sense of adventure has continually led me to seek a place and meaning in the wider world and sparked my incredible jewellery journey which has brought me from Cork to New York.

MOST COVETED ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Flutterby Butterfly

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

Sketchpad & pencil, coffee with cream, and the ocean (for mind, body and soul).

YOUR GO-TO STYLING TRICK? 

Wear one stand-out piece, be it jewellery, a dress, a scarf or bag, and keep the rest simple.

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

The most precious piece of jewellery I own is my grandmother’s wedding ring.

 


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