Emerging Irish Designers To Watch

With 'Irish Design 2015' now entering into its final month, our homegrown design talents have been making waves in Ireland's fashion industry more than ever before. Initiatives like 'Unfold' - which gave 11 of Ireland's most eclectic designers the chance to showcase their new-season wares during September's London Fashion Week - and various design hubs across the capital have cemented Dublin's status as a diverse centre of style. As a result, an increasing number of emerging creatives are deciding to set up their fashion labels at home - with fashion design graduates openly stating that they'd rather present their sartorial offerings in a thriving, domestic sector than head abroad to a 'traditional fashion capital' and lose themselves in a sea of other aspiring designers. 
There is a constant addition of exciting new labels to check out on our shores each season - and most refreshingly of all, these up-and-coming designers are showing serious innovation in their creations; unafraid to experiment and to break down the barriers built from unoriginal, uniform dressing. Here's a selection of some inventive, emerging fashion designers that have caught our eye lately - each one paving their own individual path in the industry, and turning plenty of heads in their wake:
Since bursting onto Ireland's fashion scene three years ago with her colour and sparkle-filled "Monster Knit" collection, this Dublin-based designer has married innovation with authenticity each season, producing knits that ooze accessible luxury. The beauty of owning an Honor Fitzsimons piece is that it slots in perfectly with your existing wardrobe, while still giving a new lease to life to otherwise-lacking outfits. On top of that, it gives you the chance to ward off the winter chill with a little more style and subtlety than  Christmas jumpers can offer!
After honing his craft at NCAD, David O'Malley has wowed fashion appreciators with his dark, avant-garde approach to design: his embellished fur hats, which gained fresh acclaim during their appearance at DFF 2015's Fashion Picnic show, are considered a signature of his gothic collections. Perfect for those who like to clash fabric textures (think wool, fur and a load of leather) but enjoy keeping their clothing colour palettes muted.
With only two fashion collections under her belt, Hannah Choy O'Byrne's effortlessly cool pieces have seen features in the Prowlster, Irish Tatler and Totally Dublin editorials. You'll instantly fall for her striped, fringed co-ords and tartan wool jacket suits: the ultimate in chuck-on-and-go fashion with a mixture of prints thrown in.
Dublin designer Giovanna Borza was attracting attention in the fashion ranks before she even finished college; winning the Louis Copeland Tailoring Award in 2012, a year before graduation, and being shortlisted in the Irish final for the International Triumph Inspiration Award in Shanghai that same year. Never one to shy away from pairing unique fabrics together, her AW15 collection combines Mongolian fur and ponyskin in jewel-tone shades.
After managing a café for ten years, Lisa McCormack turned her hand to jewellery-making, experimenting with laser-cut designs and acrylic materials. Three years on, her innovative pieces are a regular feature in Irish publications and have even attracted the attention of St. Vincent. Each season sees a new design aspect being introduced to her trademark creations - this season saw colour-block fringing added to the mix.
Keeping a focus on collections created using luxurious, sustainable fabrics sourced from Ireland is a crucial part of the We Are Islanders label. Their pieces fuse modernity in design with traditional craft techniques, immediately setting them apart from the mass-produced clothing brands dominating most fashion sectors.
NCAD graduate Jill De Burca developed a career in design overseas for five years, her work specialising in embellishment and embroidery. After returning to Ireland in 2014, she launched her eponymous label and was instantly dubbed 'one to watch' for her sports-luxe pieces that, unsurprisingly, feature heavy embellishment and embroidery alongside digital silk prints and mesh detailing.
Design duo Gráinne Finn and Hannah Mullen combined their talents for illustration and garment construction respectively to create TISSUE, whose Bauhaus-inspired AW15 pieces have been snapped up by noted design hub Atelier 27. Clean-cut shapes and contrasting fabrics play a central role in their designs, while their addition of unique prints give each collection a distinctive edge.
If this designer's colourful, fun embellishments and  sequin shirts look familiar, it is probably because they've become the go-to statement piece for a number of Irish style trendsetters. Her SS16 collection, entitled "Support Your Local Girl Gang" launched to critical acclaim at Unfold: London Fashion Week in September - thankfully, her love for sparkle is not going anywhere soon.
When Dublin-born artist Ciarna Pham crafts her hand-produced jewellery, she works with the individual in mind - every single piece is unique, though her passion for vibrancy and creative prints is a constant throughout each colour-bursting collection. Shrinking wallflowers should look elsewhere: her designs are serious conversation pieces, featuring the profiles of iconic figures such as Blondie, David Bowie and - in one show-stopping necklace - Nelson Mandela.
Amelia xx


  • Ella Hughes

    What an inspiring and exciting post. What amazing talent we have on our doorstep. Bravo Amelia beautiful!

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