For Heidi Higgins's spring collection she collaborated with Polish illustrator Kamila Beblot to create the stylised backgrounds for this shoot. Beblot studied textile design in Galway and worked with Higgins in her Co Laois studio before leaving for London, where she is now pursuing a career in illustration.
“She knew what my collection is about and we discussed the idea of a dream world with a flower story and city story so that the dresses could be seen in different environments,” says Higgins, who got the idea from a colouring book she found at Ascot.
This year marks her sixth in business and what started with a small collection by the NCAD graduate has grown each season offering ever greater variety “and now our eyes are set on expansion”, she says. Winning the award of best young entrepreneur of the year in Laois has given her greater confidence to pursue an export market.
“What I have learnt is that women want sleeves and you have to offer different lengths and a variety of fabrics. Having the studio just above the shop keeps me in touch with the real world and a separate boutique collection gives me the opportunity to do things that are a little bit different and maybe not so safe,” Higgins says.
This collection is full of colour and brio and aimed at the 30- to 35-plus age group. “Ladies in the summer tend to buy occasion wear – for weddings, for the races – and mothers of the bride who don’t want the typical mother-of-the-bride outfit, as well as those working in the corporate area who want a dress for boardroom meetings when they want to look their best.”
Meeting businesswomen, and networking, have been key to her development. “I didn’t get professional business, so I have learned a lot from them,” she says.
Right from the start she has been known for her love of colour, and the exuberant spring season is no exception with its new shades such as buttercup yellow as well as her more familiar pinks and reds.
Most dresses have silk tops, and some with bow details that can be rearranged in different ways. “Women love the idea of silk and its feminine touch on the skin, but prefer more structure in the skirt,” she says.
Higgins will be one of the judges at the Golden Egg Awards in Galway next month, where she will also show this collection on the catwalk. In the meantime it can be found in Brown Thomas, Dublin, Galway and Cork and in her own boutique at 42 Grattan Street, Portlaoise.
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