The following is a fashion feature written and styled by me, from The University Observer, March 2011.
The Irish fashion industry boasts a selection of vibrant and impressive young designers. Within the competitive industry however, the resurrection of labels and influence of international fashion houses can stunt the growth of rising talent. International chain stores dominate the Irish market and make it wholly difficult for new talent to emerge and thrive. But, unique pieces can be acquired at the same cost or cheaper than these stores’ equivalent, less unique and less inspiring version of a trend. Featured here, is a showcase of some homegrown and interesting, ready-to-wear pieces that will hopefully encourage you to buy local, buy Irish and buy beautiful.
This spring will see the launch of a young designer’s showroom at Om Diva, a quirky and colourful vintage store located on Drury Street. The space will enable young fashion graduates to manufacture and sell their designs, without the market restrictions enforced on designers working for larger companies. Collections by Áine Kilbride, Tokiki and Acevedo will feature alongside other rising stars. Independent designs are also available in stores like the newly opened Beaux Bows and Lucy’s Lounge. They can be acquired at markets such as The Loft in Powerscourt Shopping Centre and Designer Mart at Cow’s Lane. Shopping for pieces here, will not only benefit our economy and our fashion industry but will enable you to achieve a far more individual and inspiring look.
|Sophie wears Acevedo, available in Om Diva and Lucy's Lounge.|
A rising star within the Irish fashion industry is Áine Kilbride, a graduate of the reputable Grafton Academy. Kilbride - winner of the 2010 DCU Young Designer of the Year competition was twice a finalist in the Nokia Young Fashion Designer Awards. Her designs include blouses, shorts and skirts with intricate detail that are inspired by the idea of Modern Heartbreak, in an array of materials including leather, silk and chiffon.
Aileen and Sophie wear Áine Kilbride, available in Om Diva.
Tokiki, another Dublin-based fashion label was established by Carolyn Moore in 2002. Her beautiful, limited-edition, handmade pieces boast simple, feminine shapes in vibrant prints and fabrics, sourced by Moore throughout Asia. A Tokiki concession was launched in 2006 for Topshop Studio in Dublin – an exclusive venue used to showcase the best of Irish design.
|Sophie and Aileen wear Tokiki, available in Om Diva. Aileen wears pin by ArtySmarty, available in Lucy's Lounge.|
Chupi, is another young designer who has had collections featured by the high street megastore. Inspired by her grandmother’s beautiful dresses, she aims to “make clothes to make you feel like dancing”. This aim is achieved as her designs include pretty dresses in bold colours, perfect for nightwear.
|Sophie and Aileen wear Chupi; Sophie wears necklace by Courtney, available in Lucy's Lounge.|
A surplus of talent and creativity exists on our small island, and it is budding with innovative designers. If given the chance to thrive, they certainly make the future of the industry look bright. So, be part of it and treat your wardrobe to something new and refreshing. Break the mould, not the bank with Ireland’s own.
Styled by me.
Modelled by Aileen Johnson and Sophie Lioe.
Photographed by the amazingly talented Kyrstin Healy.