News Analysis

Thursday 28 August 2014

Passionate and opinionated Paul has what it takes to be outstanding in a new field

Bairbre Power

Published 03/02/2014 | 02:30

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Paul Galvin is a dedicated follower of fashion. Picture: Ronan Lang
Paul Galvin is a dedicated follower of fashion. Picture: Ronan Lang
Former Kerry footballer Paul Galvin and girlfriend Louise Duffy Picture: Eamonn Keogh
Former Kerry footballer Paul Galvin and girlfriend Louise Duffy Picture: Eamonn Keogh

PAUL Galvin's decision to hang up his Kerry boots may break the hearts of sports lovers – but it paves the way for him to give more time to his interest in fashion and music. His 68,000 Twitter followers know only too well how much @pgal10 loves clothes.

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Paul had plans to launch his own range under the name Galvinise, the same title as the RTE documentary which followed the Finuge man around for a year. However, there was a legal issue over the name and so far, Galvinise sporting gear has yet to materialise.

If I was a betting woman, I'd put cash on Galvin developing a fashion range, either in collaboration with an established brand or store, or a small bespoke, carefully edited one that shouts his rebellious take on how the modern man wants to dress.

Has Galvin got a fashion view point and something to say? Most definitely. Are people intrigued with his fashion choices? Absolutely. Are they always complimentary about his outfits? Absolutely not.

Ridiculed for wearing his ankle-choking skinny trousers, Paul's day-to-day look is now almost mainstream. Lots of men now wear red chinos and you'll see everyone from One Direction's Harry Styles to soccer's gladiators in the same tight skinnies wearing his signature tight skinnies with runners and loud socks.

Just as he did in Gaelic football, winning the 'carpet ball' for Kerry, Galvin has a remarkable ability to ferret out interesting, innovative new brands in a terrier-like manner.

The painting he did for a Kerry charity auction a few years ago spoke volumes about his outlook on life. The letter I, he said, stands for "individual, independent, intelligent, irreverent and inimitable".

I worked as Galvin's fashion editor on 'Weekend' magazine at the Irish Independent and every week I witnessed all those traits. His capacity to find out obscure new design talents was awesome but equally frustrating when you couldn't find photos to illustrate the piece.

Because of training, he'd frequently miss opportunities to interview cutting-edge designers and despite several conversations about going to the ladies collection at London Fashion Week, the show dates would always clash with games. Even the promised interview with 'It girl' Olivia Palermo at Kildare Village had to pass, but he was on the phone in a flash to find out what she was like and what she was wearing.

Early on, he dubbed me Wintour (after the American 'Vogue' editor Anna Wintour) and I must say, I was impressed, and bemused, at the text messages I'd receive, asking detailed questions about fashion terminology. His desire to learn about fabrics was impressive, but I wasn't surprised when he didn't finish his fashion-buying course because a desk job managing orders just was too much of a 'cage' for this male fashionista. He wasn't too impressed when I commented on how he personalised his Kerry team trousers, cutting off the hems with what looked like a nail scissors, leaving a jagged end. But those trousers, worn with red socks and white runners said a lot about the sartorial rebel who just didn't do suits like everyone else.

I think Paul would love nothing more than to launch a range of fabulous brogue shoes in tan leather or plimsolls that will scream at those red socks he loves so much.

He likes the 'shrunken' look. No oversized, long jackets or trousers for this boy and wearing his white shirt out over the trouser at a recent wedding is typical of the kind of dresser he wants to be.

In his first 'fashion manifesto' column for 'Weekend' magazine, Galvin wrote: "Sometimes I think Irish men are more concerned by what our mates think than what we think ourselves or how we feel about what we're wearing. We generally don't like to stand out from the crowd too much."

Style commentator-turned designer Brendan Courtney sees scope for Galvin to move into fashion. "He is opinionated, stylish and arrogant, the perfect combination. He is a natural," says Courtney.

Pushing the boundaries is nothing new to Paul Galvin but to take it to a wider audience, and jump the pond, he needs to think bigger.

Trendy boy will not be enough.

Irish Independent

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