Sunday 25 June 2017

Focus on Irish Fashion: Heidi Higgins

Heidi Higgins
Heidi Higgins

Sinead Van Kampen

Heidi Higgins is an Irish designer known for her classic tailoring and strong use of colour. Trained under Louise Kennedy, Heidi introduced her label to the Irish market in 2009 and now designs from her Studio & Boutique in Portlaoise.

We caught up with her to find out her fashion influences and whether it was really true she has a thing for strongly coloured tights.

When did you realise that you wanted to be a designer?

When I was in secondary school. I entered lots of art competitions and enjoyed 'make and do' projects.

What was the first thing you designed?

One particular competition stays in mind. I designed 'A Celebrity Fantasy Room' and reached the final of the competition. It was a bedroom full of colour and fabrics and I sewed together all the materials to make up cushions and curtains!

What’s inspiring you now?

Each season my collection is developing and catering for a more confident women. I enjoy working closely with my customers in my studio and at my boutique in Portlaoise. They inspire me to design collections to suit their various lifestyles.

How would you describe your Spring 2011 collection?

It is full of chic, tailored classics with splashes of bright hues. Lots of playful trims and an element of polka dots too.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

There have been lots of challenges over the last two years since I set up my label. Opening Studio & Boutique was a big undertaking but one of the best decisions I have made.

If you could choose a celebrity endorsement, who would it be and why?

I am a big fan of Jackie O and at the moment I'm really enjoying the fashion in 'The Kennedys' mini series. Her style was timeless, pared down glamour which was bound by no fashion rules.

Whose collection have you really been impressed by this season?

I really like Susannagh Grogan printed silk scarves. It's an accessory that works perfectly with bold, block colours.

What’s one item every person should have in their closet?

As much as I love the little black dress everyone already has far too many of them in their closet. A tailored dress in a bold block colour is a great alternative. It's easy to wear but will be make a statement when you enter a room.

What was your most tragic fashion moment?

I'm a big fan of hosiery and love to wear tights with design details or a splash of colour. Unfortunately one pair I bought were never going to be a good choice. 'Kermit the Frog green' is the best way to described them. Not a good look.

Where do you like to shop?

I'm always travelling and visit lots of boutiques in Ireland where I stock my collections. Arnott's have a fantastic selection of everything from make-up to shoes and their contemporary ladies fashion floor is fantastic. I also love the creative atmosphere in the Powerscourt Town House where I originally started my label.

Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

Sunday is my only day off but I really enjoy going racing, taking in fresh air in Powerscourt or somewhere similar. You might even find me at a GAA match.

Share one insider secret?

Have a great selection of good tights. Especially in the winter months they will last much longer and add a fun element to those little black dresses.

Who do you most admire and why?

I admire lots of different people. It's hard to pick someone in particular but in general women who are success in the fashion business inspire me. As the fashion industry is one of the toughest industries to be in, running a successful business and keeping the creative side to the fore is very challenging.

How would you like your designs to be remembered?

Timeless and exuding both femininity and substance. As designs with their own unique aesthetic.

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