Focus on Irish Fashion: Heather Finn
Heather Finn uses inspiration as abstract as Howard Hodgkins and Paul Gaugain as a basis for her unique brand of colourful knitwear designs.
We caught up with her to find out why she loves colour, how she thinks of her clothes and whether it's really true she once had a passion for crushed velvet leggings.
When did you realise that you wanted to be a designer?
I was always making things and had a massive collection of beads, ribbons and jewellery. My grandmother had an amazing wardrobe including couture, tea dresses and 1920s beaded flapper dresses and I discovered fashion through her. What I love most about fashion is playfulness and the power it has to transform both how we see ourselves and how others see us.
What was the first thing you designed?
The interior of my dolls house, I even wove a little rug for it.
What’s inspiring you now? A 1920s embroidery book I found in a second hand shop. Despite its age, the designs are incredibly modern. I also love the sea. I am heading home to Galway soon to spend a couple of weeks beside the sea in the hope I'll be inspired for a new collection.
How would you describe the Heather Finn Spring collection?
Delicate in colour. Eggshell blues, violets and sugar pinks with embroidered dragonfly jewel buttons and crochet textures. I wanted it to be traditional in the sense that the pieces have spun qualities and also optimistic in feel and tone.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Designing and producing two collections a year and running the business side of things. As well as the cash-flow, there's also the challenge of multi-tasking and trying to find enough hours in my day.
If you could choose a celebrity endorsement, who would it be and why?
I think there is less focus on celebrity endorsements at the moment.
People are starting to mistrust it and are looking for a more grounded, sustainable lifestyle. When I'm designing a piece, I try to imagine the person who will wear it and it often ends up being inspired by someone I know personally.
Which collection has really impressed you this season?
I really liked Meadham Kirchoff‘s candy colours and the Courtney Love influence. I love everything by Rodarte and Erdem had more beautiful prints. This season saw a lot more colour and print which I love.
What’s one item every person should have in their closet?
A cashmere cardi in their favourite colour. Practical, gorgeous to wear and favourite colours always puts you in a good mood.
What was your most tragic fashion moment?
Blue crushed velvet leggings which my school friends will not let me forget ... oh and I had a Lowe Alpine phase as well.
Where do you like to shop?
I am trying to buy less on the high street and support local boutiques and I love flea markets and second hand shops. I have bought some cute pieces from Warehouse because I love their prints and they use good fabric. My favourite buy was a cream silk shirt with a beautiful Bluebird print and online I like Shop Floor Project. The jewellery is gorgeous!
Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon?
In the back garden or at a museum. I often end up working Saturdays so Sundays are a day I keep for myself.
Share one insider secret?
51 South William Street, opening in July.
Who do you most admire, and why?
I am a big fan of Michael D Higgins. He is poet as well as a politician and would make a great president. I think arts and culture are one of Ireland's great strengths and crucial to both the economy and how the world sees us. He would be a fantastic ambassador.
How would you like your clothes to be remembered?
Like someone’s favourite sweater, the kind you keep forever with the holes darned and the elbows patched.