Thursday 19 September 2019

Irish designers in Manhattan mission to crack US market


Triona Lillis of the Tweed Project at the WearingIrish showcase in New York. Photo: Katie Levine.
Triona Lillis of the Tweed Project at the WearingIrish showcase in New York. Photo: Katie Levine.
Bairbre Power

By Bairbre Power

The inaugural WearingIrish showcase, a new platform for promoting Irish fashion created by Offaly woman Margaret Molloy, has brought ten Irish designers hoping to break into the US market to New York.

The three-day event, built around nine salons and panel discussions, resulted in intense networking, sales, client commissions and invitations to pursue retail conversations.

Valuable exposure came in Women's Wear Daily (WWD), the industry trade journal regarded as the 'bible of fashion', which reported on the ten designers: Aine, Alison Conneely, Blaithin Ennis, De Bruir, Inner Island, Jennifer Rothwell, Natalie B Coleman, Sands and Hall, The Tweed Project and Triona Design.

WWD chose to spotlight two designers for contemporary women's wear: Alison Conneely from Clifden, who uses Donegal tweed and Connemara lace in her designs, and Monaghan native Natalie B Coleman whose styles have strong silhouettes.

Dublin designer Jennifer Rothwell made a big impression on the visiting business women and diplomats, including Irish Ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne Nason at the mini trade show located at the midtown offices of the Bank of Ireland, one of the sponsors of the event.

Margaret Molloy is global chief marketing officer at Siegel+Gale and introduced the designers to retail experts, Harvard Business School alumni and the Top 50 Power Women in Irish American business circles.

"Promoting Ireland's fashion designers is a tangible and highly accessible way to demonstrate Ireland's creativity. My hope is that the WearingIrish platform will ignite a strategic conversation about Ireland's fashion design sector and mobilise meaningful actions to nurture it," said Molloy.

Frank Doroff, vice chairman of Bloomingdale's, said the store was "manic" about how many new things they can get into the store because people's tastes are changing and they want 'newness'.

Garvan de Bruir from Kildare went home delighted at the prospect of one of his leather handbags featuring in an upcoming edition of 'Oprah' magazine.

Sunday Indo Business

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