London falling for the new faces of Irish fashion
Later this week at London Fashion Week, 11 young Irish designers will be showing. Who are they and what are they all about?
From left, Rosie O’Reilly, Chupi, Emma Manley, Helen Steele (at back), Laura Kinsella, Jill de Búrca, Honor Fitzsimons, Lisa McCormack (on chair), Maria Dorai Raj and Natalie B Coleman
Each year, the Irish presence at London Fashion Week grows. JW Anderson, Paul Costello and Orla Kiely are now fixtures at the shows, and Simone Rocha is fast becoming the best-regarded Irish designer on London catwalks. Fresh talent also continues to emerge, with designers such as Richard Malone, who impressed after his two-day installation at Old Street Tube station as part of London Fashion Week in February.
The route across the pond is well-paved for Irish designers, but 2015 must mark a record year for the Irish at London Fashion Week. In February eight Irish designers were showcased in partnership with Irish Design 2015. This season there are 11.
The last Irish showcase took place in Brewer Street car park, near the main events in Soho. This season, Brewer Street car park will be the new primary home of London Fashion Week, as it moves from its formerly established position in “the tents” in front of Somerset House.
This season’s Irish showcase, Unfold, has moved to the more regal settings of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. It will take place on Friday, September 18th, and Saturday, September 19th.
The 11 designers are Natalie B Coleman, We Are Islanders, Emma Manley, Jill de Búrca, Helen Steele, Honor Fitzsimons, Chupi, Maria Dorai-Raj, Laura Kinsella, Martha Lynn, and Capulet & Montague.
A fashion label with Rosie O’Reilly as creative director. The label focuses on using sustainable materials that are produced in Ireland.
A jewellery designer is inspired by the natural world. She creates beautifully delicate pieces made from gold and semi-precious gems. The creative Dubliner was headhunted by Topshop at 19 and has already had a best-selling cookbook, but her jewellery, launched three years ago, is where her real talent lies.
3 Emma Manley
Manley is a fashion label created by the Castleknock native in 2010. She honed her craft at VPL in New York city and at Alexander McQueen in London. She is primarily known for her edgy feminine looks, created from metallic leather and often featuring hand-sewn detailing.
4 Helen Steele
The mission statement of this artist-turned-fashion designer is a promise of “total dedication to the creation of perfection in wearable works of art”. Steele is based at Silver Hills duck farm in Co Monaghan. Fans of her colourful resort wear include Cara Delevingne, Rita Ora, Jessie J, Iggy Azalea, Pixie Lott, Pixie Geldof and Jourdan Dunn.
5 Laura Kinsella
Ireland has become synonymous with hat producers, but this milliner stands out from the crowd. Kinsella launched her first bespoke range in 2013 after interning with Philip Treacy, and her structural, subtle, geometric designs are instantly recognisable.
6 Jill de Búrca
Intricate embroidery is the key element in De Burca’s luxe sportswear. The Drimnagh-based designer works on a 70-year-old sewing machine and has embroidered clothes for high-profile names in the fashion industry such as Anna Wintour, Stella McCartney, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem and actor Gwyneth Paltrow.
7 Honor Fitzsimons
Fitzsimons creates knitwear collections that push the boundaries, pairing the innovative with the traditional. Earlier this year she was given the Future Makers Innovation Award by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.
8 Capulet & Montague
A piece of Capulet & Montague jewellery is bold and makes a statement. Designer Lisa McCormack launched her first collection in 2012 and is confident enough to let form speak for itself.
9 Maria Dorai-Raj
A Cork-based jeweller whose designs are sculptural and biomorphic in form. Her Irish-Indian heritage influences her fusion of the minimal with the traditional.
10 Natalie B Coleman
Coleman established her first womenswear label in 2011. She is a graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design, and Central Saint Martins in London. Her collections use a fairy-tale narrative, with her “Make Believe” and “Heart & Dagger” shirt having already caught the eye of numerous celebrities.
11 Martha Lynn
Another milliner who, like Kinsella, interned with Philip Treacy. She has also worked on hats for both Valentino and Galliano. Her distinctive designs have a pop-art feel, making use of bright colours and chunky shapes.
- London Fashion Week runs September 18th-22nd