Tuesday 15 October 2019

‘Love life and love what you do’: An interview with rising Irish designer Giovanna Borza

Freya Drohan

Her designs have already won her fans in Louis Copeland and Joanne Hynes, and Giovanna Borza has her sights set on the top.

Dublin native Giovanna ‘Gio’ Borza credits her creative family, upbringing, and Irish-Italian heritage with igniting her flair for fashion.

The 29-year-old divided her childhood between Celbridge Road and Montattico, a small village south of Rome, and says she was “obsessed” with clothes and fashion for as long as she can remember.

“Both of my grandmothers were seamstresses and my mum loves fashion so I’ve grown up around fabrics and clothes,” she tells Independent Style.

“After school and before College I assisted top stylist Paula Hughes, and I learnt first-hand how the structure, tailoring and fabric of clothing matter as much as the design and trend.”

Following her secondary school education at Mount Sackville, she enrolled at Griffith College where she studied Fashion Design.

From early on, she caught the eyes of those in the industry. While still learning her trade, she was an Irish finalist in the Triumph Inspiration Awards and won the inaugural Louis Copeland Tailoring Award.

Her 2013 graduate collection ‘XO’ ensured an invaluable step up into the Irish fashion landscape; a coveted Joanne Hynes internship.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: "I still have brides asking for the 'Amy Huberman dress' from 2009!" - Joanne Hynes

Her current collection, which has already been championed at home and abroad by model Madeline Mulqueen, is inspired by road markings and graphic, modern shapes.

She may have only emerged on the Irish design scene, but Gio has a strong sense of her own brand, and knows exactly who she would like to see in her garments: strong, individual and talented women such as street style star and former Vogue Russia editor Miroslava Duma and actress Saoirse Ronan.

Following Madeline’s appearance in Gio’s A/W 14 stripe dress and Mongolian neo bag at the Tokyo premiere of Transformers, the designer has been inundated with enquiries.

In recent weeks, she has also appeared in Insider Magazine, Tatler, The Gloss, The Irish Times and The Irish Examiner, thanks to her bold and striking fur scarves, dresses and bags.

So, what is next for Gio?

The humble designer says ultimately she wants to do her “hard working” parents proud, and has her sights set on the international market.

“In five years time I’d love to show at Fashion Week. I’d also love to be stocked nationwide at some of my favourite stores including Brown Thomas and Costume or Havana,” she reveals.

She cites Alexander Wang and Irish designers such as Simone Rocha, J.W Anderson and Una Burke as her guiding inspirations.

“The Irish fashion industry is full of talent,” Gio maintains. “It’s inspiring to see so many designers with their own vision and getting so much support at home and abroad.”

“At the moment my focus is to continue to establish my label and grow my customer base. Quality and tailoring are part of my brand identify and these very high standard are maintained by handcrafting designs which is very important to me.

“I draw on my Italian connections and source high quality fabrics from the same mills used by design houses including Gucci and Prada, before hand-making everything with love in my Dublin studio... In Italy everything is done with love, whether you are hand dying leather or baking a loaf of bread, I think that’s the secret to creating quality!”

Fore more information, visit www.giovannaborza.com

Online Editors

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