- fashion blogger
As St Patrick’s Day approaches, right here’s how one can fly the flag for Irish fashion, writes
The Offaly girl, who lives in New York, determined to fly the flag for Irish fashion by way of the month of March, tagging her Instagram posts #WearingIrish and encouraging different girls to do the identical.
Observe the tag at the moment and you’ll see girls of all ages proudly modeling their Irish fashion treasures; some head-to-toe, others accessorising with a ring or a bag, all wanting completely trendy as they showcase a new wave of latest Irish design.
Ten years in the past, Irish fashion was in limbo. The nation had misplaced the final of its manufacturing services, quick fashion was at a peak, and there was little, if any, perceived worth in supporting homegrown expertise.
Throw in the results of a recession and a close to complete lack of presidency assist, and you might argue the Irish fashion business entered this decade in a very shaky state.
Immediately nevertheless, with celebrities like Sinead Kennedy, Kathryn Thomas and Maura Derrane championing Irish design on the nationwide stage, and the likes of Soairse Ronan taking it to a world viewers, it’s clear that Irish design is having a second — and it’s not simply Irish celebrities placing the momentum behind the motion.
Kate Middleton is a fan of Orla Kiely; Girl Gaga and Beyoncé have been dressed by Una Burke and Sorcha O’Raghallaigh; Oprah Winfrey selected a design by Kerry-born Don O’Neill for the Oscars; and after all, Galway’s Phillip Treacy has extra movie star shoppers than you might shake a peacock feather at.
In the meantime, up-and-comers like Wexford’s Richard Malone are the toast of London Fashion Week, whereas the extra established Simone Rocha made her Met Gala debut on the again of fashion drive Chloë Sevigny final yr, earlier than going on to win Designer of the Yr at the British Fashion Awards.
Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Anderson went from launching his personal label, J.W.Anderson, to a promote-out Topshop collaboration, to turning into inventive director of Loewe in simply six years.
Our capability to supply expertise is clearly not in query; nevertheless, lack of presidency assist stays a bone of competition for lots of our established and rising designers.
It’s inconceivable to scale a enterprise right here with out manufacturing overseas, but doing so cuts you off from Crafts Council assist. At the identical time, a enterprise wants not less than 10 staff to be thought of for Enterprise Ireland funding, leaving many designers with enormous progress potential floundering someplace in the center.
What has modified radically over the final decade although is client attitudes to purchasing Irish. In a put up-recessionary shift the place provenance started to matter and investing in items that promised longevity instantly made extra sense than losing cash on disposable fashion, Irish design grew to become a beacon for weary customers.
The place client shifts occur, consumers are fast to observe, as evidenced by the rising variety of retailers now proudly supporting Irish design.
Together with Kilkenny Store, established shops like Arnotts and Dunnes are actively rising their Irish choices, whereas annually Brown Thomas’ CREATE initiative shines a highlight on the greatest and most progressive Irish fashion.
Final yr, So Collective grew to become the residence of Irish design in Kildare Village, and Made opened in Dublin, stocking not less than a dozen Irish designers. Add to that the ease with which designers can use ecommerce to develop into retailers, and the truth is, it’s by no means been simpler (or extra trendy) to decide to #WearingIrish.
“We’re going by way of a actually necessary change in fashion in Ireland,” says Emma Manley, founder and designer of Manley. “It’s all about supporting your individual now, figuring out the product, figuring out the place it comes from, figuring out the story and being happy with proudly owning it.
“For me, the story is a enormous a part of why I do what I do,” she provides. “Coming residence, doing my analysis right here, being impressed by the lovely nation that we've got, then having the ability to give one thing again to the Irish buyer.”
Like lots of our homegrown abilities, Manley initially sought work overseas. Nonetheless, reflecting a rising pattern amongst Irish designers, she elected to maneuver residence to start out her personal label, combining her abilities and coaching with an innate understanding of the Irish buyer and a cultural heritage wealthy in appreciation for handcrafts and textiles.
It’s this distinctive mixture of things that makes up to date Irish fashion so interesting, and in each nook of the nation, native designers and craftspeople are banding collectively to get their merchandise to market.
So as a substitute of donning a massive, furry leprechaun hat this Friday, or waving a nasty, plastic, Made-in-China flag, take into account flying a extra trendy flag for Ireland as a substitute, with our spherical up of the greatest in native and nationwide design expertise.