Tuesday 23 January 2018

Focus on Irish Fashion: Jennifer Rothwell

Jennifer-Rothwel autmum/winter 2011 collection
Jennifer-Rothwel autmum/winter 2011 collection

Sinead Van Kampen

Jennifer Rothwell begun her career in New York working for prestigious labels like Katayone Adeli and Calvin Klein. She launched her own label in 2006 and has enjoyed a string of successes ever since.

We took a seat to talk jumpsuits and decor with the Dublin based designer. Here's what she told Independent Woman:

When did you realise that you wanted to be a designer?

I always loved art and design. I painted everything including the patio and the house plants. The plants died and my father had to remove the paint from the patio with a scraper and flame torch because it was a fire hazard. I was wearing my confirmation outfit at the time and as if things couldn't get worse when I decided to put it into the washing machine to remove the paint. My mother was not impressed at finding a shrunken suit !

What was the first thing you designed?

I decided to turn my pink jumpsuit which had elasticized cuffed sleeves into a pair of trousers for my Barbie Doll when I was seven.

What’s inspiring you now?

I find inspiration everywhere I go, travelling to New York or Paris where I go to source amazing fabrics and trims. I also get inspiration from people watching and nature.

How would you describe your AW11 collection?

Renaissance art meets goth rock chic. I really love my new AW11 silk print. It’s a digital print of the Trevi Fountain in Rome with tree branches full of bright red leaves. I call it 'Roman Architecture with Red Leaf Print' ... it is so romantic.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Surviving the recession. Keeping costs to the bare minimum and continuing to keep sampling moving forward when consumer spending has been so drastically reduced.

If you would be your ultimate celebrity endorsement?

Angelina Jolie for her impeccable sense of style or the fantastic Grace Kelly for her amazing elegance.

Which collection has really impressed you lately?

No one springs to mind although I recently went to see the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition in New York. It consisted of a selection of his designs from all of his previous collections, I found it so impressive and so inspiring.

What’s one item every person should have in their closet?

A great jersey dress, it’s an essential for going from day to evening.

What was your most tragic fashion moment?

It was in the 80’s - I thought wearing my black satin night dress for parties was cool.

Where do you like to shop?

I like to support and buy from my fellow designers involved in Project 51, a new Irish design collective. The concept is high end NYC Soho boutique filled with the best of Irish fashion, jewellery, millinery, accessories and furniture. It opens in September and I can't wait.

Where can we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

Chilling out near the beach or at the park with my family and our dogs Happy and Lady.

Share one insider secret?

Always have a great jersey dress that is comfortable yet flattering. That way you'll look and feel good at the same time. Take time off to go for a walk to appreciate all the positives in life and most importantly try to remember your health is your wealth.

Who do you most admire and why?

My Parents. My mother Bernie for her selflessness, and without whose support I would not to be able to do what I do, and my father Tony, who passed away in 2006 and is dearly missed. He made me believe that anything is possible.

How would you like your designs to be remembered?

For innovative design, high quality garments, investment buys and timeless fashion that gets better with age. Clothing that makes the wearer feel and look great. That is my ultimate goal.

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