Monday 18 December 2017

Fashion... Simple rules

Constance Harris

At the glamorous Brown Thomas Create launch night last month, fashion director Shelly Corkery stated that one of the drives behind creating the initiative to support new and existing Irish designers was that there was a very real need to find new Irish labels for their stores.

This year's Create - running for another two weeks in all the Brown Thomas stores, with the main fashion offer in Dublin - is the most extensive yet. Tissue, a new Irish label launched last year, is among Create's latest finds.

Tissue are Grainne Finn from Dublin and Hannah Mullan from Derry. Grainne's background is in visual art, while Hannah trained in fashion and has extensive production experience in the industry, including at Sharon Wauchob, Simone Rocha and Danielle Romeril.

Grainne and Hannah have known each other for years, but it was when they each took part in the same exhibition that the timing proved right for them to explore working together and creating a label. After a year and more of planning, they launched their first Tissue range for spring/summer 2015.

With that collection, they contacted Eddie Shanahan, and he invited them to show at the Innovation Awards in Galway earlier this year. Eddie introduced them to Shelly, who mentored them under Create and got them retail-ready. Grainne told me they have been blown away by the support they have received since they launched.

"There is so much help and support around. People are so generous giving their time," she tells me. "Brown Thomas Create is the mothership for emerging and established Irish designers. To have feedback from such experienced buyers is incredibly valuable."

The Tissue aesthetic is not mainstream - but relaxed and comfortable is definitely its ethos. Their shapes are simple, away from the body, and aimed to be easy. They design their own prints and use only fine, traditional fabrics such as pure lambswool, silk and Donegal tweed by Molloy & Sons. This, their second collection, was inspired by Bauhaus and the Ballets Russes.

"They are minimalist shapes but with drama. It's a confident simplicity," Grainne explains. "These are clothes that work in a variety of settings, made in high-quality fabrics that make you feel good. These are easy pieces to dress up and dress down. There are some pieces that you could wear to work or to a wedding. I wore one of our dresses to the Create launch night. And the next day I wanted to wear it again for work. I think that is a good sign of a garment."

Many women are fed up of tight-fitting looks and having to hold in their stomachs. Tissue is all about softness and comfort. It's age-appropriate, in that all ages can wear it.

Tissue might just be the happy solution in your wardrobe.

Photography by  Sean Jackson

Styling by Kieran Kilgallon

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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