Red October: What’s happening in Irish fashion this month

The latest line-up of news, people and trends in fashion from Inis Meain to New York

Lainey Launch

Ireland’s queen of cashmere, Lainey Keogh, has just launched a new website and is selling online for the first time. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase some of her signature supersoft cashmere sweaters for men and women as well as accessories from her new collection including some special opening offers.

Other jumpers and coats will be made to order in many original designs and colour combinations. This lovely, embroidered sweater and shawl in delicate shades – perfect wrapping for chilly autumn or winter days and modelled here by Nikki Bonass – is typical of Lainey style. Made to order.  

Nigel in New York

Two outstanding rings by Nigel O’Reilly, the talented goldsmith based in the west of Ireland have been chosen by Sotheby’s in New York for their live auction on October 22nd. It is a singular recognition of O’Reilly’s growing international status as an independent designer and maker of exceptional, technically perfect, handcrafted pieces. Although well known for engagement and wedding rings, the two rings chosen called Damask Rose and Plato’s Garnet are from his haute joaillerie collection.

In the first, the velvet petals comprise 757 individually handset rubies embracing a large pear-shaped diamond. Its green tsavorite garnet leaves are set in 18k gold, the whole piece inspired by the west of Ireland. Plato's Garnet, informed by his interest in beekeeping, features "pollen like jewels", pink sapphires, rubies and cognac diamonds. It will be interesting to see what they fetch at the live auction later this month.


Lia’s Prints

“Nature is a huge part of my life and I am always seeing patterns when I am outside” says Lia Quigley an Irish print designer who launched her sustainable brand Made Obvious during lockdown from her apartment in Madrid. Her zebra print dresses have become best sellers while her florals prints were inspired by the city’s botanic gardens.

Quigley worked in the fashion industry for over a decade designing for Calvin Klein, Topshop and Zara and all her prints are used on sustainable and ethically produced products and handmade in her studio in Madrid. Everything is made to order in her debut collection of two dresses, one skirt and one top in five different prints that can be mixed and matched, all printed on organic cotton.

Products made from any leftover fabrics include "eye pullovers" with flax seeds and lavender that can be heated in a microwave to relax laptop-tired eyes.

Inis Meain

Anyone wearing a sweater from Inis Meain wears the subtly blended colours of its landscape, a constant course of inspiration for this island company whose focus is always drawn from its heritage and lifestyle.

Their latest luxury autumn/winter 2020 collection, for example revisits the traditional workwear worn by Aran Island farmers to hand harvest feamainn (seaweed) for their crops and the company's Instagram feed (@inis_meain) regularly posts breathtaking imagery of land and seascapes.

This season they are offering 50 menswear styles, 22 in womenswear and 28 accessories with as many as 10-15 colour options in most styles. A selection can be found on their website or from their international network of speciality stockists. Some items can also be found in Dublin in Cleo of Kildare Street.

More masks

Face masks remain the season’s imperatives and there is a varied offering from leading Irish designers and more. Jennifer Rothwell, for example, has produced them in silk with Harry Clarke motifs, Natalie B Coleman’s frilled numbers are in a league of their own and those of Mairiad Whisker are particularly beautiful not to speak of Stable’s linen offerings.

However, in Galway, a former nurse Mary Lambert has made some particular attractive reversible ones in linen which are stiffened and come in three different sizes – and in county colours. “As an RGN I have carefully developed the design, each detail considered to ensure maximum protection and comfort,” she says.

Those details include the metal nose which is secured to the bridge of the nose while the fabric under the chin ensures accurate coverage of nose and lips. Ear loops are medical grade. The fabric comes from Wexford and each mask, retailing at €28 is handmade in Galway.


Twin sisters Aoibhin and Muireann O’Riordan from Glanmire recently graduated from Limerick School of Art and design with first class honours. Having bought their fabrics in London to finalise their graduate collection, Covid hit and they were given hours to clear their studios and leave the college.

“It was heartbreaking – so we decided as hard working women that we would make the collections no matter what stood in our way”, says Aoibhin whose collection was inspired by “the unapologetic woman that is Katie Taylor”.

Muireann's motivation was Marie Antoinette and the gathered curtain drapes that completely cover the body and then are drawn back to reveal it represent the transition from innocent dauphine to the playful, romantic and powerful queen. The O'Riordans are now hoping to gain experience working for a brand. Find them on Instagram: muireannnoriordandesign and aoibhinoriordandesign.