Written By Pradnya Shinde
Many of us are feeling the economic effects of Covid-19. Whether you've lost your job, on reduced hours, or are just worried in general, there's a feeling of uncertainty in the air. Economic anxiety has caused huge shifts in markets and consumer behaviour. We entered our second lockdown on October 21st and as a result local businesses, retailers and designers have been gravely impacted.
Irish creatives are among the hardest hit by the economic effects of Covid-19. Designers and artists who rely on traditional retail, freelance gigs or sales from their businesses are at risk of losing huge amounts of income. Creatives and designers are the backbone of Irish culture and supporting them at a time is vital.
If you want to update your wardrobe with unique and beautiful pieces, instead of buying fast fashion try to spend locally. Ireland is full of amazing talent, and supporting homegrown talent may offer a lifeline to an industry that has been hugely impacted by COVID-19. Below you will find 12 Irish creative designers we hope you can support this Christmas.
NCAD graduate and CIFD member Julia Peelo, a Dublin based contemporary bags and accessory line designer whose work is recognised and adored worldwide. Peelo creates modern luxury designs inspired from architecture and designs using premium materials like Italian Nappa Leather and Chrome tumbled leather specially manufactured by European factories and suppliers, it is the perfect juxtaposition of contemporary and vintage styles which are made to last. Some of her iconic bags are created using a perfect balance between classic and statement styles. Julia’s style and passion for accessories have been appreciated with some famous names in the industry like Marni Milan, John Galliano Paris, DVF New York. Its sleek classic designs have been carried by celebrities like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Biel and the range from leather-cross body bags, totes, wallets and clutches designed to fit in your style.
The Tweed Project is an Irish brand rooted in traditional and sustainable practices. Their effortless contemporary handmade styles are made entirely from premium Irish fabrics. The handmade pieces are carefully crafted using modern tailoring to deliver an authentic expression of Irish designs. The creative brains behind this brand, Triona and Aoibheanna, Irish Designers who are passionate about Irish fabrics. They discovered that despite the high production of Tweed and Linen in Ireland, no one dared to use this fabric differently. As a result, they decide to create unique handmade sustainable pieces with a sense of modernity using Tweed and Linen which will last a lifetime. Their new collection is inspired by the wild BOG – LANDS of Connemara, giving us a very earthy vibrant look using solid earthy colours. A must-have piece in your wardrobe this winter. The touch of Irish traditional wear with a contemporary style makes a style statement you must wear this winter. The Tweed Project is part of the Slow Fashion Movement, where fabric, craft and time take priority over trends and fast consumer culture.
Chile born and raised, Ale Walsh is a designer based in Ireland and best known for her elegant opulent designs. Ale accessory line celebrates colours, textures, creativity, traditional craftsmanship techniques and creative use of natural materials. Her handbag and jewellery line is must-have boho chic, ready to wear party pieces. Ales bags are made from Buntal and leather materials with 18ct gold plated with a drop shoulder chain, her jewellery line is handmade with Faceted glass crystals, gold plated MIYUKI seed beads, Swarovski components and stainless steel earning pods. Ale’s line is a must-have collection which will be an investment this Christmas.
Aoife, is a luxury Irish brand that centres their brand around sustainability. The entire ethos behind the brand is their strong values and goal to be completely sustainable. Aoife Rooney is an advocate of sustainability with her natural aesthetics, her pieces are inspired by the mixture of arts, texture, architecture and cultural fashion. Aoife uses Econyl ® regenerated nylons created using fishing nets, industrial plastics and other ocean waste, mixed with top-grain leathers, biodegradable cactus leathers to make bags and accessories. Aoife’s uses the latest eco-fabric technologies in making of their bags and accessories range. Their values are very promising in terms of durability, longevity with quality and style in mind.
Trained furniture designer and master craftsman, Garvan De Bruir, turned his interest and understanding in making leather bags and accessories. What makes the brand so special is its enriched craftsmanship and know-how, 100-year-old traditional methods and the use of the finest European leathers in the world. Each piece is handcrafted in his workshop. The combination of brand heritage and traditional craft skills with contemporary styling makes every piece special with a modern finish. De Bruir uses varieties of different types of European leather. Large bags are made to order while small bags and prototypes are sold in the workshop. Each bag is crafted with details using different leathers and skills.
Founded in 2015 by Rory Pharnell Mooney after studying at Prestigious Central Saint Martin. Inspired by the art of dressing, combining subcultural reference with a touch of traditional couture. He showcased three-runway collection at Fashion East/MAN. His collection is widely praised and have featured in i-D, Dazed, AnOther, 10 Magazine for his erotic with a subtle sense of style. His designs represent “the idea of opposition: masculine versus feminine, utility versus eroticism, hard versus soft”, his laced up jeans and leather pants paired with structured jackets are a must-buy piece for this season.
Everyone from Lily Collins to Little Mix are fans of her vibrant aesthetics. Founded in 2012, Natalie B. Coleman is a fashion brand known for her feminine silhouette quirky illustrative prints and motifs, Natalie’s work pivots between tradition and innovation. The brand works with indigenous tweeds from family weavers Molly and Sons in Donegal, with a hint of modern Irishness in her work, Natalie brings a richness in her colourful and directional designs by using opulent fabrics, appliques and some of her pieces are hand-beaded and hand-painted to pop out the vibrance in her looks. Natalie’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection was designed to support local girl gang with her empowering slogans T-shirts and sweatshirts to embrace womanhood, now which is part of “Because I am a Girl” campaign associated with https://www.plan.ie/ who fights for children rights, Natalie donates €5 for any piece sold to the foundation.
“We make fabulous pyjamas, for lovers of bed, great sleeps and dreaming big. Worn from sleepwear to beachwear & everything in-between.” Moon+Mellow is ethical and sustainable sleepwear brand, where Cliona mission behind designing her sleepwear is to enjoy the bed time after a long day, in comfort and a little bit of style. Designed in Ireland, manufactured in Portugal ensuring best quality and craftsmanship. All sleepwear is made with 100 per cent cotton fabric sourced from Portuguese mills and packaging with all-natural materials. She swears her sleepwear are the best gifting products considering the ethical and sustainable ways she practices and offers to add an extra bit of wow on personalised and bespoke services, which we believe is the great gift to give to your family and friends, this Christmas.
Designed and Handcrafted in Chocolate Factory Building in Dublin, a minimalist fashion wardrobe designer with a strong social and environmentally conscious values. Having studied architecture, Edel applied her knowledge to her design process to create minimalist structured looks “The label is formed for a desire to explore a way of dressing for diverse lifestyle with a minimal wardrobe”. The focus of the brand is to create sustainable timeless pieces which are carefully designed considering its match with each collection for a timeless perspective.
WR Designs, a young rising ambitious designer, whose unique collection is inspired by Aboriginal culture holding a beautiful belief of a profound spiritual connection of oneself with the land. In her designs, we can see the quirk of natures, a beautiful representation of life. All orders are made to order with sustainable fabrics.
MEGHAN RUTH STUDIO, an NCAD fashion graduate who has already found her way by creating unique themed designs, her designs are a classic representation of different forms and structures of nature. Each piece is themed with playful fabrics, structured silhouette as staple features.
Based in Dublin, Sharon Sweeney, the contemporary women’s wear label creating cotton dresses with geometric details and fabric manipulation giving it a touch of femininity and exclusivity, Sharon designs will win your heart. She makes use of natural dyes like avocado and repurposed fabrics in creating each collection. A really exciting designer you need to watch!