Forget smart casual. Glossy casual is the look for this year
As we still have no use for occasion wear, it’s time to add some glamour to the everyday
Navy stripe knit €64 and cuff trousers €120
When two Irish women with long experience in the fashion industry got together to design a wardrobe tailored to the new realities of women’s lives – in which so-called “occasion” wear is no longer so relevant – they called their brand Naya.
It means “a new beginning” and according to Lynda Heather who set it up with fellow designer Helen Wheeler “it is a glossier casual range as opposed to smart casual, more glamorous and what we would wear ourselves”.
Generously proportioned, relaxed with easy silhouettes in sizes from 8 up to 20, the range is purposely geared to suit various shapes and an age group previously dominated by occasion wear. The palette is muted, but the colours allow for mix and match permutations with tried and tested solid shades like khaki, taupe, navy and black easy to uplift with bright colour or print.
“It’s a more unstructured, layered look that very few Irish designers provide at the moment and more comfortable and easier to wear than more formal structured wear that we ourselves don’t particularly like to wear” explains Heather. Fabrics are practical, drape and travel well and don’t crease. She is particularly proud of their trousers which have become their best sellers. All dresses have pockets.
For spring and summer, a simple black dress gets extra voltage with a mesh hem and can be worn with sheer stockings or leggings. For those who are tall and confident, a bold polka dot summer coat over a cocoon shaped dress would certainly turn heads. Striped knits over cuffed trousers make easygoing summer separates. Block colour dresses can do wonders for certain shapes when asymmetrically cut. Everything is made in Poland and other European countries.
One of three collections produced by Chase Fashions whose owners, including Heather, Helen Lynch, Colm and Mark O’Rourke, have years of experience in the Irish fashion industry, Naya began with a capsule of 80 pieces for the Irish market. That has now grown to a 200-piece collection that sells internationally to Canada, Switzerland and the UK.
“Our customers are all online and our sales figures have increased during lockdown – maybe because it is more casual and more geared to current lifestyles. You have to be commercial”, says Heather.
Fashion is in her blood. Daughter of Michael Heather, a veteran of the Irish fashion industry, she studied fashion design after school at the London College of Fashion and came back straight into the business where she has been ever since.
“We were used to doing occasion and wedding wear, but this is a new look for us and something that we both enjoy – it can be hard to get a winner, but Irish customers are really supporting the brand.”
Main stockists in Ireland include Jude Law, Maherafelt; Joli, Ballyclare; Nina’s Boutique, Trim; Berlin, Carryduff & Newtownards; Choice Boutiques nationwide; McElhinneys, Donegal; Jennys, Dunshaughlin; Paula’s, Malahide; L’Amore, Claremorris; Eclipse, Sandymount; Ryan Design, Clonmel; Lady Penelope, Adare; Lisa Baker, Nenagh & Dublin.
For stockists of specific items shown here, visit fashionhouse.com for details.