Exclusive - Paul Galvin: 'It’s not about proving anybody wrong, it's doing what I want to do'
If the clothes make the man, Paul Galvin is sorted.
Kerry football superstar turned secondary school teacher turned fashion designer. His career trajectory has been most unlikely, especially among Irish sportsmen (excluding Irish rugby player Tommy Bowe's succesfuly XV Kings clothing liine) and delightfully unpredictable; but he's now celebrating the launch of his fifth collection with Dunnes Stores, which has been met with critical and more importantly, consumer acclaim.
"The first few weeks have been very strong in terms of reaction, feedback and performance. It’s tough but I enjoy it. I like trying to create these collections around ideas, like travel and culture - I want people to buy into the whole story behind it. There are as much cultural aspects around the collections as there are with the hero pieces like outerwear and boots, it's about giving value as well as buying someting."
His inspiration for 'Shelby', so named after Peaky Blinders' main character Tommy Shelby played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy, was the show itself - about criminals in post-war Birmingham, who are impeccably dressed in fashions 90 years ahead of their time.
"I was thinking about contemporary culture, I've been looking at the past for the last four (collections). Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix and Netflix has become a real cultural juggernaut; Peaky Blinders as well, and it struck me that Cilian Murphy has brought this 1920s style of dressing - wearing your hair a certain way and looking after yourself - he has modernised it. It's more relevant and visible and I wanted to reflect that.
"You can’t really root it solely in the 1920s, you’ve got to introduce more streetwear elements. Barber culture has become a real, strong, masculine thing. That started 4 or 5 years ago, I just reinterpreted it, as a nod to that barber culture."
Galvin's sense of style hasn't gone unnoticed over the years and he recently said he's had "people laugh in my face on the streets for what I wore", but his professional success isn't about having the last laugh.
"I knew people would be looking, it’s not about proving anybody wrong, doing what I want to do. I enjoy it. I just enjoy the process of it. that’s what I focus on."
Unlike other celebrity collaborators, he doesn't just put his name to something he doesn't believe in and by all accounts, his partnership with Dunnes is his pride and joy.
"I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I couldn’t do it without the Dunnes team and they allow me to do it and I’m lucky in that sense," he explains. "It has to have integrity and authenticity and you have to stand over it. I’m lucky that the Dunnes buying team and design team and marketing team allow me to do it that way. "
Does he run things by his wife of two years, Today FM presenter Louise Duffy?
“Sometimes yeah. I’d run stuff by her for sure,” he added. “Moreso the names and stories – styles she can wear, loads of girls wear pieces from the collection.”
"I don’t get too involved in Louise’s thing, she’s got hers and I always thought she was very stylish."
The couple wed on New Year's Eve in her native Mayo and while their second wedding anniversary is just around the corner, Paul jokes he "better start preparing" for the right way to celebrate.
Details are important for him though, in life and in work: on the sleeve of one his lumberjack shirts, he has a slogan for B10 sewn in (bB10 is the postcode for Small Heath in Birminhgam), where Peaky Blingers is set and where his father lives in the '60s.
As for what's next, he states: "I try to know everything. I want to know everything and learn everything."
Paul Galvin is one of four ambassadors for the Lynx's Summer Series session. The Lynx #FindYourMagicShop is open until early September. All products are 3 for €10.