44 Irish designers turn heads at online trade fair


Forty-four Irish designers, members of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers (CIFD), recently presented their first digital fashion show, an impressive half-hour presentation that left viewers in no doubt that talent can thrive in adversity.

The collections ranged from fashion, jewelry and accessories (hats, bags, scarves), with each designer showcasing three items. The nine milliners, for example – whose activities, usually dependent on social occasions such as weddings and race meetings, suffered greatly during the pandemic – took up the challenge in dynamic form.

Irish tweed coat in alpaca and wool, € 765, from Landskein

Gray cashmere sweater (€ 259), lounge pants (€ 229), shopping bag (€ 349), by Theo + George

Gray cashmere sweater (€ 259), lounge pants (€ 229), shopping bag (€ 349), by Theo + George

Hand-knitted ballintra cardigan in ivory wool, € 425, by Gabrielle Malone

Hand-knitted ballintra cardigan in ivory wool, € 425, by Gabrielle Malone

Enchanted forest pajamas (€ 98), and ripple throw (€ 325) by KDK

Enchanted forest pajamas (€ 98), and ripple throw (€ 325), by KDK

Their cheerful, free-spirited designs set the tone, from chunky pearl bridal crowns by Ashleigh Miles and golden feather swirls by Michelle Kearns to sunny neon goose-feather hats by Aoife Harrison and foxy fedoras by Freya Oatway.

Bag designers such as Julie Peelo have responded to the needs of those returning to work with spacious and beautiful bags. Silvana Landa keeps getting stronger, her new collection of plexiglass handle leather bags being both stylish and practical, while Aoife Rooney’s waterproof bags in reclaimed Econyl had a sporty and relaxed vibe.

Cape decorated with parchment crepe de chine Valentine, € 770, by Eadach

Cape decorated with parchment crepe de chine Valentine, € 770, by Eadach

Golden lace dress, € 840, by Sarah Murphy

Golden lace dress, € 840, by Sarah Murphy

White organza and poplin shirt with hand-sewn detail (€ 485) and ribbon skirt (€ 860), by Helen Hayes

White organza and poplin shirt with hand-sewn detail (€ 485), and ribbon skirt (€ 860), by Helen Hayes

Heidi Higgins red and white heart print dress, € 235

Heidi Higgins red and white heart print dress, € 235

Scarf design continues to flourish – the KDK sisters now apply their printing skills to pajamas while Eadach’s Sarah O’Neill mixes dark and bold Roisin Dubh silk prints with vintage black leather jackets adorned with rockstar.

If tweed is one of the big trends this winter, the designers who have shown their strengths here are Anna Guerin with her Landskein herringbone tweed coats, and the belted jackets and trench coats by Cleo Prickett. Theo George’s soft jersey pieces looked both cool and comfy, while Sarah Murphy’s empire-style gold lace gown and Delphine Grandjouan’s bias bridal outfits were the stuff of dreams.

Slanted low-cut dress in light ivory silk satin (€ 2,450), with applied lace tulle tunic (€ 1,250), by Delphine Grandjouan

Slanted low-cut dress in light ivory silk satin (€ 2,450), with applied lace tulle tunic (€ 1,250), by Delphine Grandjouan

Large striped tote bag in Italian leather with orange stripe and magnetic closure (265 €), by Julie Peelo

Large striped tote bag in Italian leather with orange stripe and magnetic closure (265 €), by Julie Peelo

Star print silk satin dress with bow and gathered detail (€ 395), Niamh O'Neill

Star print silk satin dress with bow and gathered detail (€ 395), Niamh O’Neill

From the CIFD Collaboration Project: Helen Hayes' Ribbon Work with Glass Rods by Laura Quinn, Glass Artist

From the CIFD Collaboration Project: Helen Hayes’ Ribbon Work with Glass Rods by Glass Artist Laura Quinn

CIFD has used the lockdown productively to build a digital media library, spawning member collaborations, an Instagram campaign and YouTube channel, and a series of business development workshops. This year’s Irish Fashion Summit will take place on Saturday, November 20, with guest speakers including Ashley McDonnell, Puig’s Global Head of Digital Media and Ecommerce.

The digital show, produced by Eddie Shanahan and supported by Peter Mark, Design and Crafts Council Ireland and Patrick McHugh Digital, can now be viewed viewed online.


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