They are household names who met on a TV show and developed a fashion brand together.
And, in a new move, designers Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney have pressed pause on their clothing line as they explore pastures new.
“Lennon Courtney the brand isn’t gone, the work we do separately and together is still there but we have finished up with Dunnes Stores after seven years and we had our last collection with them just before Christmas. The fashion line is no longer available,” Lennon confirmed.
After both studied for master’s degrees at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology for the last two years, the designers’ area of professional expertise has extended into equality, diversity and inclusion.
They are busy with the Lennon Courtney podcast, their individual advocacy work around workplace equity, LGBTQ+ rights and ageism plus MC work. In Courtney’s case, he is busy with media work and writing.
He said: “I just signed a year contract with RTÉ radio which I am very pleased about. I have started season four of Keys to My Life on RTÉ One and I am writing a book called Mammy Issues, which is the history of Irish women’s reproductive rights from 1943, told through the voice of my mother Nuala.
“I’m back from a week writing in the Tyrone Guthrie centre and I’m going back again in April,” he added.
While hardcore fans will be disappointed by the news about the end of their fashion line at Dunnes, the pair say they could design other fashion collections in the future.
“I think it would be fair to say that we wouldn’t rule it out,” said Lennon, who was first paired professionally with Courtney 15 years ago.
“We were literally the boyband of fashion because we were a match made by RTÉ to present Off the Rails.”
The pair took up the reins of the show from the original presenters, Caroline Morahan and Pamela Flood, and went on to write style advice books together.
“When we started the Lennon Courtney fashion brand in 2012, it was bootstrapped, funded by ourselves and it was extraordinarily difficult,” Lennon recalled.
“We could not make the business model work. We really believed in the value in the brand, so we reached out to Dunnes and they were amazing.
“They took us in with open arms. We grew the brand with them and it was brilliant but, look, things change.
“Brendan and I both went back and did a master’s of business in equality, diversity and inclusion. We are speaking and consulting internationally in that world.
“We are focusing on other things at the moment and are both incredibly busy."
“We had seven good years with Dunnes and they’ve been incredibly supportive but I think there comes a time in your life where you just rip things apart and put them back together again, and I guess that’s one of these times.
“We have always been portfolio entrepreneurs and at certain times, there is a stronger pull in certain directions.
“We are focusing on other things at the moment and are both incredibly busy. We are reassessing and looking at what the next steps are,” she added.
The 10th season of their podcast returns shortly and will be entitled “Helpful Hints for Modern Living”.
Courtney said: “We are always looking at how the Lennon Courtney brand can be expanded and how we can do more about equality, diversity and inclusion – and our podcast is a vehicle to reach a global audience.
“We are always exploring new opportunities. It was time to move on.”
After working together for so long, Lennon said: “Brendan and I are really good friends.
“We trust each other, love working together and growing our brand and, all those years later, we still spark off each other creatively.
“He has a very powerful voice and I believe I have as well – and we have an opportunity to use that voice to share those messages and I think that’s a gift in itself.”