From Malahide to men's fashion week: meet rising star Robyn Lynch
Menswear designer Robyn Lynch was behind the counter at her father’s sandwich shop, Pearl Deli in Baldoyle Industrial Estate, Dublin, making breakfast rolls when she received the news that she secured a place at London Fashion Week Men’s in January.
“I found out when I was there and my mom and I started screaming," she told Independent.ie Style.
Lynch, 26, from Malahide, joined designers Stefan Cooke and Mowalowa Ogunlesi, at the Fashion East show on Sunday. Fashion East is a designer incubator initiative which supports and mentors young talents, offering them guidance and the opportunity to present to an international audience during London Fashion Week and London Fashion Week Men’s. “It’s a huge opportunity for me. They provide more than just show support too—it’s everything from the show to sales advice and much more.” Past guests have included Simone Rocha, J.W. Anderson, and Roksanda Ilincic.
Preparation for the show was well underway from early December and she was taking every precaution to prepare for any eventuality, "I’m taking extra time to prepare everything in case there’s another Beast from the East and my samples get delayed.”
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So so incredibly excited and honoured to announce I will be debuting in January with the Fashion East family! Read more on Vogue! Link in bio 💚 #Repost @fashion_east with @get_repost ・・・ NEWS: we’re proud to announce the three menswear designers receiving Fashion East’s support for the upcoming AW19 season. . @stefan_cooke returns & is joined by two newcomers, @mowalola by British-Nigerian CSM graduate Mowalola Ogunlesi and @robynlynchireland born in Dublin and a graduate of the University of Westminster’s menswear MA. . The three talents will show in a group catwalk show with us in January, in addition to receiving a bespoke programme of support. The menswear programme previously known as MAN will now also be called Fashion East. . Read more @voguerunway via the link in bio, thanks @steffyotka. Photographed by @carlysscott for us @trumanbrewery #fashioneast #stefancooke #mowalola #robynlynch
Lynch studied Printed Textiles at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin before pursuing the MA Menswear course at Westminster University in London. Lulu Kennedy MBE, the founder of Fashion East, spotted her Ireland-inspired graduate collection which featured the tricolour.
“We spotted Robyn’s graduate show and were very impressed by how edited and slickly-presented her collection was – she took one idea and then worked into it very thoroughly, which I love,” Ms Kennedy told us. “I also loved the pride and literalness of her showing the Irish flag in her colour palette – it felt clever, fresh, and cheeky, all at the same time – which is exactly how I found Robyn’s personality when we met up. She’s a great girl, really professional attitude and I feel she will go far with her talent and attitude.”
Lynch’s aesthetic is a thoroughly modern rendition of sportswear tinged with a historical edge. She spent hours trawling archival footage on RTÉ’s website. “It popped up on my Facebook one day and I fell into this rabbit hole, spending hours watching it. I’d pause it and look at what these young, carefree guys were wearing—looking at how they tucked their pants into their socks or the way they wore their jackets over their shoulders.”
“I’d imagine what they were doing—going to the shops, going to PE after school—and build outfits around that idea. I think he’s like a 17- or 18-year-old lad in 1997 in Dublin, before Facebook and Twitter, having fun. I think people had more fun then and had more character.”
“It’s a celebration of Irish culture,” she says emphatically.
One of the biggest hurdles for emerging designers is access to fabric. In order to utilise certain fabrics, designers must order large quantities. Designers endeavour to offset the cost against future sales. “This was my first time buying fabric for a show because I finally have the capability to produce. I went to Premier Vision Paris which is a fabric show and I selected some fabrics from Portugal and Spain.”
As for the future of Irish design? Lynch acknowledges the reality of the Irish case: a lack of government involvement - or remote interest - in the fashion industry. “It’s unfortunate there are no support schemes in Ireland but it’s too difficult to compete with the London [industry] which is so close. There are some great Irish designers here in London and Irish fashion does have great potential. It would be great to see more of that.”