Handmade unisex collection made in an Irish bedroom wins top fashion prize

Fashion miscellany: a round-up of news, people and trends in June 2021

Her collections are big, bold, colourful and dynamic with a strong streetwear vibe so it's no surprise that Dubliner Ciara Allen from Lucan, an NCAD graduate from 2019, is one of this year's winners of the RDS Craft Prize which puts €10,000 into her pocket for her brand. A unisex collection which she makes by hand in her "bedroom studio" at home launched during the pandemic has been selling online to both sexes in Ireland, the US and Italy. "It's good to see it styled in everyday ways", she says. It is also important to her that it is Irish and "fun but also conscious – all my scraps are sewn together to make something new, and I am slowly moving to using more sustainable fabrics", she says. Her prints are drawn from images she takes of her beloved Dublin city, her fabrics, soft shell jersey, waterproof PVC and cotton drill. She also makes funky accessories from furry bags to scrunchies. Visit her website ciaraallendesigns.com

I first met Irish designer Katie Walsh eight years ago when she and her Italian husband launched a clean lined collection of clothes called Bolzoni Walsh. Since then, her career has earned her clients like Rihanna, Florence Welch, Emma Watson and Kate Moss and she has become a sustainability advocate. Based in London, her new label The RePete Project is a line of anoraks made entirely from 29 recycled plastic bottles. Its 100 per cent circular credentials mean that the garment can be broken down, rewoven and remade like new and never end up in landfill. It is 100 per cent waterproof, windproof, breathable and made in a Gore-Tex certified factory. In six colours from therepeteproject.com for £295.

Still on the circular wagon, another Irish brand that describes itself as "Ireland's first truly sustainable womenswear brand" is called AforeAfter. It's the brainchild of fashion and textile designer Sandra Murphy whose proud claim is that having amassed over twenty years' experience, her collection is composed not just of low impact materials (the buttons are made from Irish cow's milk, for example) but that everything from fabric, thread, buttons and labels has gone through rigorous certification processes. Designed in Clare, made in Poland, AforeAfter's 27 wardrobe basics in muted shades include dresses, tops, skirts and face coverings in three prints designed by Murphy. Prices from €18 for masks, dresses €218-€238, tops and skirts €118-€138 in sizes from XS-XL. Find them on aforeafter.com

"Our pieces are seasonless, layerable and adaptable" claims Killian Walsh of Ilk promoting the label's unisex shirts and pants by capturing shots of customers in their homes wearing their favourite pieces. Fans include musician Pius wearing Ilk's check Miwa and Porto pant, Robert, owner of Big Fan Bao in his navy Miwa, Niamh, designer and owner of NimCo wearing Ilk's classic blue shirt and Jamie working from home in his classic shirt all photographed by Rosie Barrett. Find them all on https://ilk.ie/journal/wfh


Laura Mallet who is half French, half Irish, an artisan and craftmaker of reusable textiles decided to move her company Blue Bridge House from O Briensbridge in Co Clare into the heart of Dublin's Liberties in Hanover Square. Her latest collection features products made from hemp, organic cotton and linen and everything is handmade ethically in her work studio. Visit bluebridgehouse.com

They are one of the world's most cultish handmade shoe brands, designed to last a lifetime and made in the time old tradition of Italian workmen's boots modernized for metropolitan wear. The only place one could buy Guidi footwear from Tuscany in Ireland was in Envoy in Belfast, but now thanks to Daragh Wynne in his new Wicklow Street boutique, Guidi can be be found in Dublin, though at a price. Each shoe is "object dyed" when assembled so that each emerges from the drum in entirely the same colour and is soft and pliant. A family run tannery dating back to 1896, they started to make their own shoes from 2004 and were taken aback by their immediate popularity with Chinese movie stars and musicians. Expect to pay for the luxury at prices from around €1000, but these are shoes and boots that will outlive you. Visit dopl at 36 Wicklow Street, dopl.dublin, or Instagram @dopl.dublin