Tuesday 12 November 2019

Rockin' the high street: how Irish stalwart Carraig Donn is thriving in a challenging retail environment

Irish stalwart Carraig Donn continues to thrive in a challenging retail landscape by balancing heritage with exclusive new labels, writes Bairbre Power

'Bella' handbag in gold tone with silver hardware, €44.95, Soul; Pussybow pleated dress in animal print, €59.95; Block heel knee-high boots in brown, €70, M&S, also come in black and snake print
'Bella' handbag in gold tone with silver hardware, €44.95, Soul; Pussybow pleated dress in animal print, €59.95; Block heel knee-high boots in brown, €70, M&S, also come in black and snake print
Gold hoop earrings, €18, Joularie; cowl neck top in burgundy with sateen finish, €19.95; colour-block pleated skirt with elasticated waistband, €39.95. Styled with leather flared heel ankle boots in black, €110, M&S, also available in tan
Gold tone earrings with pearl detailing, €10, Soul; pussybow style blouse in leopard print, €26.95; longline pleated skirt in black with sateen finish, €29.95
Pussybow style blouse with paisley print, €49.95; Pleated trousers in tobacco colour, €34.95, also come in black; Crocodile print flared heel boots in cream, €44, ASOS
Faux-leather belt in camel with gold buckle, €9.95, Soul; High-neck pleated dress with burgundy floral print, €64.95; Leather flared heel ankle boots in tan, €110, M&S, also come in black
Neck scarf in monochrome print, €9.95, Soul; Burgundy dress with knitted top and pleated skirt, €39.95, also comes in black; Leather flared heel ankle boots in black, €110, M&S, also come in tan Image
Grey statement earrings in gold tone, €10, Soul; lurex dress with pleated skirt in teal, €49.95
Mixed metal earrings in gold and silver, €25, Joularie; High-neck burgundy dress in geometric print, €59.95; Block heel knee-high boots in brown, €70, M&S, also come in black and snake print

It's hard not to be struck by the fashion journey that the Carraig Donn brand has been on for over half a century.

Starting out in business in 1965 with a store on the Aran Islands, initially the brand was all about  knits and servicing the tourist trade on the westerly edge of Europe. The year the Hughes family opened for business, Mary Quant was taking London by storm with her mini skirts  and hotpants and Paris was agog at André Courrèges' modern, futuristic designs.

In the intervening years, the family has innovated its fashion offer. Heritage is important to Carraig Donn and it has introduced a number of in-house exclusive brands such as the youthful Rowen Avenue and J'Aime la vie, which is full of Parisienne nuances.

Its big showstopper this season is undoubtedly its exclusive Italian label, Pala D'oro. This season's collection was photographed to show off its rich blend of autumnal colours, flattering shapes and luxurious layering at affordable prices. Each piece in this collection is sourced from Milan with the Irish customer in mind.

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Gold tone earrings with pearl detailing, €10, Soul; pussybow style blouse in leopard print, €26.95; longline pleated skirt in black with sateen finish, €29.95
Gold tone earrings with pearl detailing, €10, Soul; pussybow style blouse in leopard print, €26.95; longline pleated skirt in black with sateen finish, €29.95

This autumn has proved exceedingly busy for Carraig Donn, which last month opened a new 30,000 sq ft logistics and warehousing centre in Co Mayo. While last week, it opened a new store in Castlebar and on November 8, it its 42nd store will open at The Square in Tallaght.

Pala D’oro clothing and Soul and Joularie jewellery from Carraig Donn stores nationwide and online from carraigdonn.com

Stylist: Clementine MacNeice

Photographer: Magda Horodecka, carraigdonn.com

Model: Aoife Ruttledge, 1st Option, 1stoption.ie

Make-Up: Tara O’Farrell, tara-makeup.com

Hair: Lisa Smyth, lisasmythmakeup.com

Location: Bellinter House, bellinterhouse.com

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