Quirky, dressed-up casual wear from growing Irish brand Naya

Deirdre McQuillan: Founder Lynda Heather wanted to create a collection reflecting her personal style

Naya is a growing Irish brand that sells in over 150 boutiques nationwide, as well as more than 100 in the UK. The designs are very much a reflection of founder Lynda Heather’s own personal style (and height) “which is not occasion dressing but a dressed-up casual look with a quirky edge”. Quirky is a word that crops up quite a few times in our conversation.

With sizing from 8-20 in unstructured looks, it is an inclusive collection. Stretch fabrics, deep pockets, textural mixes and specifically designed mini collections (called stories) within the main collection of more than 130 pieces broadens customer appeal and makes commercial sense, given that everything interlinks. “We try to sell a look rather than individual pieces,” Heather explains. For winter 2023, for example, a scribble placement print elevates a simple white shirt that can be layered over a skirt, leggings or trousers and doesn’t need to be tucked in. “It’s layering without looking oversized – elegant”, she adds. “There is great attention to detail, to fit and proportion.” The same print emboldens a plain dress. It’s cleverly put together with extra voltage when accessorised with bold earrings like these from by Irish jeweller Maeve Barry of Everay Designs and chunky footwear.

Though aimed at women in their 40s, the easy-going shapes have more widespread appeal. Colours are subtle for winter, mostly charcoal grey with navy, dark green and white. Texture and details matter – the oversized white collar on a puffa jacket, the more daring white ensemble of shawl collared jacquard coat with wide leg trousers (for the taller woman) or a tunic with mesh skirt, all geared to flattering every kind of silhouette and skin tone.

For winter, “there is only so much black you can sell so texture matters”, argues Heather. One of Naya’s best sellers is a cuffed travel trouser with deep pockets in polyamide/elastane made in Turkey. Colour matters more in spring/summer. “It is key for us when we approach a collection to get a story right,” explains Heather, who is a graduate of Central St Martins in London and returned home to work with her father, the late Michael Heather, a leading light in the Irish fashion industry in the 1970s. In tandem with designer Helen Wheeler, Heather also handles two other collections for Chase Fashions in Dublin’s Fashion City.


Having started with a capsule of 80 pieces, Naya has grown exponentially in the last two years and now exports to Canada, North America and Switzerland. Middle of the road pricing make it affordable with nothing topping €300 – shirts start from €89, up to €289 for a puffa jacket. “My whole head is tuned into Naya (the word means new beginning) which is the way I dress. It suits me and it’s not that classic look but something a little more edgy. That’s why designing it makes it so much easier and why I love it.”

Photography: Ian McDevitt; model: Thalia Heffernan; styling: Jan Brierton; make-up Ruth Kinsella; hair: Nicola Dooley

Irish stockists include Nina’s Boutique, Trim; Eclipse, Sandymount; Choice Boutiques nationwide; Jenny’s Boutique, Ashbourne and Dunshaughlin; Lisa Baker, Nenagh; Paula’s, Malahide; The Fashion Shop, Mullingar; McElhinneys, Ballybofey; Jude Law Boutique, Maherafelt; Houstons, Enniskillen; Winsome Lady, Ballymoney

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author