I have always believed that to design a garment for someone else to wear, whilst remaining true to your own style and influences one has to look at things from another person's point of view.
In my early career....
I worked for other companies and tried to bring a little of my style to their brands, but it was only when I started my own brand I felt I had the freedom to design with my own customer in mind.
I have always been a lover of colour and pattern and even through the many years when 'black was always the new black' in fashion circles I managed to introduce beautiful colour and vibrancy into my collections and survive!! That was through having many like-minded women with a confidence to be themselves rather than following passing trends too slavishly.
My influences were a mixed bag of random things like travel, vintage style, old movies, art, culture and of course the many style- savvy women who supported me and other Irish Designers by buying our garments....for this I am truly grateful.
Things have changed......
We are facing an uncertain future and the fashion industry in particular which employs so many people globally has been under the spotlight in recent years for all the wrong reasons.
I watched a documentary film recently called "The True Cost" and honestly I can say that although I knew there were companies cutting corners to make money I was fortunate to never have been involved in any of these practices. If you are interested in fashion I would advise that you try to find this film and understand where your clothes come from.
My brand is a Designer Range and as such it is better quality, designed to last longer and I controlled what fabrics I used and what factories made the garments. I visited almost **every factory that made my garments and saw the conditions the workers worked in and I have a clear conscience about the sewing and manufacturing of my clothing.
For many years my fabrics were sourced at trade fairs in Italy and France and I worked directly with fabric mills that were very reputable. However, in recent years I felt pressure to produce some more affordable garments and the only way this could be done while guaranteeing the same quality was to use cheaper fabrics. I now realise that although I was buying from reputable agents in Europe I didn't really know where the fabrics were made and what damage this was causing to the environment.
**almost every factory excludes some factories that supplied elements of a uniform I designed for an airline.
So why this blog and why now......
I have always been environmentally conscious and have led a lifestyle that reflects this. However, like many others I have owned too much, I have driven a diesel car and travelled often with many airlines without thinking about the damage.
My experience through the Covid 19 pandemic allowed me to press the pause and reset button. I began to notice the bigger picture outside the vacuum of the career that I loved. I noticed nature again and how it was trying to heal itself from all the damage we inflicted on it.
I vowed to try harder to lessen my personal impact and to try to influence those around me to do the same.
I started another blog www.thebeeline.ie about my hints & tips on living more sustainably....(please check it out)
I am now trying to advocate for slow fashion, asking people to consider their choices- to choose Irish where possible, to spend a little more (less often), wear-keep-mend-recycle-pass on and treasure what you purchase.
I ask everyone to think about the price you are being asked to pay for any item...does this reflect the true cost or is someone being kept in poverty
I also ask everyone to look at the wealth of the owners of the bigger, most well known 'fast fashion' brands. If the price tags are so reasonable, yet the company owners are worth billions how can this be fair on the factories and workers that make the garments.
I am in no position to lecture others, nor do I intend to do so. I only ask that we collectively look at how we can find out more about the products we buy, and hold bigger companies responsible for the damage and inequity they cause.
Thanks for reading this....
I hope you take something small away with you that you may think about the next time you look for something new!
Thank-you for supporting #IrishDesign #Madelocal Irish talent and keeping our creative industries going through this very hard time.