Life

Tuesday 14 August 2018

True to you: Orla Lanigan - a small designer label with a simple vision

 

Denim-mix top, €210; denim trousers, €295, both Orla Langan, Atrium. Platform trainers, €125, Buffalo
Denim-mix top, €210; denim trousers, €295, both Orla Langan, Atrium. Platform trainers, €125, Buffalo
Asymmetric jacket, €250; denim top, €210, both Orla Langan, Atrium. Joggers, €175, Orla Langan, Om Diva. Sliders, €4; socks, €1.50, both Penneys
Jacket, €285; trousers, €175, both Orla Langan, Om Diva. Trainers, €110, Buffalo

The constraints of the rules of society and of fashion - being gender specific, trend specific, social structure specific, body specific - are exhausting, especially if you feel you don't fit in anywhere, and are not able to be true to yourself due to a lack of options.

Androgyny in dressing is nothing new. It's been around forever. But never before has society been so focused on gender neutrality and breaking the constraints of sexual stereotyping. Now, androgyny is not just seen as an expression of cultural rebellion and/or sexual deviance - in the way that, say, Marlene Dietrich was viewed for her preference for it - but as being a question of comfort, of being true to oneself.

But where, in general, is direction for someone who wants to dress comfortably and consciously, innovatively and with designer quality?

Orla Langan could be the answer.

Orla has always been a devout disciple of deconstructionism and its instigators - the Antwerp Six (Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester et al) and Martin Margiela - who took apart the 'rules' of what constituted a garment and its construction, literally turning it inside out and upside down.

A graduate of NCAD in 1992, Orla spent 20 years of her career working in London and Italy for famous lifestyle and sportswear brands such as Puma, Fila and Sweaty Betty, as well as for Topshop, Lee Jeans, and WGSN, in roles such as head designer, team leader, consultant, trends forecaster, creative director and so on. Orla truly has clocked up a lot of miles in fashion work, experience and understanding.

Which is the beauty of her return to Ireland, and what she is creating now.

Orla Langan is a small designer label with a simple vision: to be sustainable, creative, innovative and true.

"My design ethos is based on being sustainable as far as I can be. I don't like waste. Quality and finish is really important to me," she says. "I love the fact that denim is versatile, and it will always be a staple in people's wardrobes. I look at a lot of graphics for inspiration, as opposed to the catwalk. Also deconstruction. Androgyny has always fascinated me. And sportswear.

"Sports, denim and technology are the perfect triangle for me. With the innovations in technology, I think that is going to be the new frontier. I am looking to the left and the right to see what else is happening or coming down the line. You have to constantly evolve."

For the survival of our species. For life itself.

Photography by Lorna Fitzsimons

Styling by Jan Brierton

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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