Meet the Irish designers putting sustainability at the heart of their fashion collections
Irish designers’ green credentials continue to give immense hope for the future of sustainable fashion here. Now on her fifth collection, Aoife McNamara’s resolve is to make clothes that empower women and that are made consciously in Ireland. Her new ‘Mother Earth & Me’ collection is about a girl who falls in love with the beauty of the natural world and from her studio/shop in Adare, Co Limerick, Aoife speaks passionately about sustainability, design, and innovation. A notable addition to her collection is SeaCell, a fibre made from regenerative seaweed. The ‘Life Cycle’ ivory t-shirt (€200) is made with a blend of SeaCell and organic cotton and the relaxed look fits in perfectly with the new collection — which includes more casual designs and relaxed workwear options alongside the classic tailoring that Aoife is so well known for. Nothing has changed in terms of her pre-occupation with the Victorian-era so she factors in Gibson sleeves in Baird McNutt linen in shades like dazzling blue, flower blossoming pink and ivory. Aoife’s fans will no doubt be smitten by her open-back tops and her square-necked dress in pink linen (€395) features detachable puffed sleeves so the dress can morph into a boob tube when the sun shines. aoifeireland.com
Seriously sustainable style
Afore After, a new Irish fashion label with impressive sustainability credentials, opens its digital doors today and coming after a punishing lockdown for retail, one must congratulate founder/creative director Sandra Murphy for holding her nerve.
After years working in New York as a fashion and textile designer with global brands like Victoria’s Secret and Gap, as well as teaching, Sandra is now back designing in her native Co Clare with circular-fashion zeal.
“I want to show people that building a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t mean sacrificing style,” says Sandra, whose debut collection features three prints in green, violet and pink and matching masks.
Made in Poland, EcoVero, her main material, is EU EcoLabel certified and is digitally printed in Spain. Shapewise, Sandra has shown great presence of mind in going for a flattering wrap concept and the 27-piece collection includes some lovely crossover wrap dress styles. There’s the ‘Allure’ (€218), the longer ‘Hope’ style (€238), and the shorter ‘Darling’ dress (€228) which has a circular skirt.
With all the focus on dressing from the waist up, Sandra’s mix and match concept sees four top options and one skirt, all made in three prints.
There are some very pretty 1930s vintage influences such as the ‘Joy’ blouse (€118) which has two apertures cut out over the collarbone and repeated on the back shoulder. The ‘Amaze’ blouse (€138) has almost a peplum-feel. The ‘Charm’ (€128) features a half-moon neck cut-out (always good for the old Zoom moment) while ‘Flatter’ (€128) has a crossover tie.
“When I say that my collection is sustainable, I’m not just talking about the fabrics because everything from the thread, buttons and labels went through rigorous certification processes,” says Sandra.
“The focus is on ethical production and low-impact materials and the buttons are made from Irish cow’s milk.” aforeafter.com
Trying to plan a wedding while still in lockdown and with no access to fittings must be beyond stressful — so I thought I’d share some useful tips I picked up at a Louis Copeland Wedding Masterclass webinar.
Grooms who need a bespoke suit made immediately can avail of software that is similar to facial recognition on phones. A computer builds an avatar of your shape and a made-to-measure suit is tailored by Louis Copeland’s team based on the final body measurements.
In a similar vein, bridal designer Sharon Hoey will send you a cotton sizing toile to use at home to pre-fit your dress. The €50 fee is redeemable off pieces, which start from €395 in her ‘Pretty in Pink’ collection.
I liked the practicality of the advice offered in the webinar, from speech making to beating the stress. Wedding planner Tara Fay recommends breaking in those shoes you bought by wearing them at home with woolly socks and putting popsocks on the outside to protect the colour.
The next Wedding Masterclass webinar takes place on May 21. The €55 fee includes a ‘date night’ hamper of treats with Prosecco, cheeseboard, chocolates and vouchers. Tickets from eventbrite.ie. louiscopeland.com
Denim love never fades
If you are a hardcore denim fan, I want to alert you to a new organic denim capsule Savida collection at Dunnes Stores. Favourite pieces include a ruffle-front blouse (€30), jeans jacket (€40), dress with statement sleeves (€40), cool jumpsuit (€45), and a top and jeans in white denim (€30 and €25 respectively). dunnestores.com