Sisters act on impulse to create beautiful scarves
Kennedy siblings put creative backgrounds to work on their India-inspired DKK range
Rock of Cashel print - Avoca 60, grey vest dress 4 Penneys, green short parka River Island Studio 100
It’s not often that an Indian honeymoon starts a fashion business, but that is exactly what happened to Keira Kennedy when she got married six years ago. Both she and her sister Darine had business backgrounds and both were working in commercial areas – Darine in Google as a sales manager, Keira with Leinster Rugby as marketing manager, though both nourished ideas about doing something creative together. Both had married the same year.
When Keira came across beautiful cashmere scarves in Jaipur and found their maker, she and her sister came up with the notion of overprinting them with their own designs. And thus KDK (KeiraDarineKennedy) was born. With artistic skills inherited from their grandfather, the painter John Lynch, the Cork sisters, who had already pursued creative avenues – painting, sculpture, photography, jewellery and dress design – now put their collective experience to work on their own brand.
Having started with basic prints like peacock feathers and snow leopards, the pair started to explore and design different themes based on photographs (mostly taken by them) that related to Ireland, its wildlife and national monuments like salmon, birds, dolmens, Newgrange, the Gallarus Oratory, the Spire, O’Connell Street, St Stephen’s Green and other landmarks. Their first customer was Costume in Dublin and in 2012 they were part of Create in Brown Thomas, where the scarves sold so well, they have been stocked there ever since.
One enthusiastic US customer bought six and wrote to them afterwards saying that “they kept me alive on my way home”, while trainer Jessica Harrington was spotted recently wearing a KDK scarf after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Since then, their collections have expanded to around 30 designs per season and are now in all the Avoca shops and in Brown Thomas Limerick and Galway as well as online. “Avoca was a big step in making these luxury scarves accessible, and uniqueness is an important part of our brand,” says Keira.
“A scarf is everybody’s way of being creative and people choose them to feel a bit different,” says Darine. Luxury for everyday life is their motto and their approach is practical when it comes to colour. “We think of the woman who wears denim, the woman who wears black or grey, the woman who wears pink – pink is huge – and cobalt blue – ice-cream colours for summer. In winter, light brown, camel and cream.” The scarves are made in modal – a type of silky, soft, semi-synthetic yarn – for summer and in pure cashmere for winter.
As part of their plan to set themselves three or four goals a year, the Kennedy sisters now want to expand further into printed jumpers, T-shirt and bikinis. So fans of future collections will be able to sunbathe in O’Connell Street or St Stephen’s Green or in Ireland from Space – in KDK digital prints of course.
Photographer: Eilish McCormick assisted by Andrew Rankin, styling Sinead Keenan, hair Neil Ryan at Brown Sugar, make up Zoe Clark assisted by Dali. Shot on location at The Mill Studios, Dublin