Upcycled fashions that restyle our 
fabric past

The Irish designers with sustainability as well as style in mind

Patchwork coat from the Laoise Carey Studio in Nenagh

Bairbre Power

Laoise Carey is exceptionally good at honouring our fashion and fabric past while creating a very exciting future for herself handcrafting new designs.

Laoise was marked out for greatness early on. She won the ‘Designer to Watch’ bursary in the Brown Thomas Create three years ago with a collection made using curtain fabric from her aunt.
 After working with Simone Rocha in London, Laoise moved home to Co Tipperary in the first lockdown and has since set up the Laoise Carey Studio in Nenagh where her luxury womenswear upcycling brand sits on the border between craft and design.

“Our garments are completely one-of-a-kind, handcrafted from vintage and recycled textiles,” explained Laoise whose coat (pictured above) was made from a vintage quilt, curtain fabric and finished with bias binding.

The most expensive piece in her collection currently is her ‘Children of Lir’ patchwork silk asymmetric slip dress with side train and crochet doily overlay (€1,200) which would turn the head of brides looking for something vintage. Laoise sells from her own website and she also has a rail of handcrafted pieces at the Om Diva store. Her shoot was an all Tipp affair with Nenagh photographer Paudie Bourke, and Portroe model Niamh Kennedy.


‘Amani’ cardigan, part of a collection by Zoe Jordan

Travelling in our heads

Dublin-born designer Zoë Jordan has created a new knitwear collection, the Karibu, inspired by her travels in Africa.

Zoe, who now lives in Majorca, worked in architecture and banking before landing on what she loves most, designing fashion and a great deal of her success has been a mission to simplify women’s wardrobes with seasonless, capsule pieces.

You can see her architect’s eye coming through in the detailing in her new collection, which launched this week.

“Breakfast in the bush with inquisitive hippos, hazy day tracking game and guests at a Maasai wedding ceremony — I couldn’t help but be inspired,” says Zoë, who has established something of a fashion community for her ever-evolving knitwear collections.

There’s always something of a sporty element, which is not surprising given that her mum, Marie, played basketball for Ireland and her dad, Eddie, was a racing driver and Formula One team boss.

With Knitlab, she got it right early on and fair play to her, Zoë was one of the first to explore apertures in knitwear which led to a whole passion for cold shoulders.

I really like the casual, thrown-on glamour of her cashmere bomber jacket which she does for all the family and her new Kariba collection is quite a tonic for our urban lifestyles.

The animal print is told in a modern way constructed in earthy tones of zebra intarsia in blush and khaki. The ‘Amani’ long cardigan with an asymmetric hemline and that monochrome stripe makes it a useful addition to anyone who doesn’t want to leave the safety blanket of their all black wardrobe but still wants to liven it up for Christmas.

Meanwhile,the ‘Asili’ is a cosy zip-up, high-neck jumper with statement fringing on the cuffs and hemline. zoe-jordan.com

Repurposing old loves

Karen O’Mahony of tailoring and upcycling service Rag Order in Dublin boasts lots of fashion talents — maker, tailor, fixer-upper, and upcycler of all things clothing related. She is vehemently anti-fast fashion and likes to take pride in the tiny details that go into transforming a beloved piece into something very special. Next week we get a chance to see her fascinating process close up as Karen stars in From the Same Cloth, a four-part documentary which is available on the RTÉ Player from November 24.

In the series, Karen takes treasured clothes and creates an emotional and sustainable connection. In the first show, she meets Janet, whose son passed away in his early twenties. 
The designer turns some of his most-loved clothes into a beautiful kimono so Janet can have a piece of him with her all the time and in the second show, she transforms a suit for the owner’s grandson.

The Savannah dress in plush velvet with 10pc elastane and a smocked back bodice from The Pod Collection

Beyond the bump

Since launching last year, the Irish clothing company The Pod Collection has taken its modern mama concept to the next level. It designs clothes that you will wear again, after baby is born, taking away any guilt about buying something gorgeous now, knowing that you can wear it in the future.

Its newest collection includes the Savannah dress (pictured below) in a Christmas-perfect plush velvet with 10pc elastane and a smocked back bodice to allow maximum comfort and movement. The adjustable bow-tie straps make for easy nursing access.

I really liked how the photography on its website shows how the dress looks worn when you don’t have a bump. It has a similar ‘Portia ’style in navy while the more covered up ‘Stevie’ dress has a wrap-style crossover bodice and comes in festive shades of red and green.

The brand also has velvet masks (€15), with 20pc of proceeds going to Women’s Aid.