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Prisoner no more

 

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Lambskin jacket, €1,390; matching stretch-suede fitted top (not in shot), €790; boot-cut trousers, €975. Photo: Eilish McCormick

Lambskin jacket, €1,390; matching stretch-suede fitted top (not in shot), €790; boot-cut trousers, €975. Photo: Eilish McCormick

Long sleeved Stretch suede fittedtop, €790; boot-cut trousers, €975

Long sleeved Stretch suede fittedtop, €790; boot-cut trousers, €975

Two-tone lambskin cape (one-off piece), €1,950; stretch-suede leggings with detailing, €850

Two-tone lambskin cape (one-off piece), €1,950; stretch-suede leggings with detailing, €850

Mesh leather top, €675; sleeveless stretch-leather top (worn underneath), €550; matching stretch-leather leggings, €795

Mesh leather top, €675; sleeveless stretch-leather top (worn underneath), €550; matching stretch-leather leggings, €795

Sleeveless stretch-leather top, €550; matching stretch-leather leggings, €795

Sleeveless stretch-leather top, €550; matching stretch-leather leggings, €795

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Lambskin jacket, €1,390; matching stretch-suede fitted top (not in shot), €790; boot-cut trousers, €975. Photo: Eilish McCormick

If you consider yourself a connoisseur of luxury, fashion and design and you haven't got a Roisin Gartland piece in your wardrobe... well, frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn for your taste.

Roisin Gartland is an Irish fashion designer, master craftsperson and artist.

"I work for myself in every sense. Sometimes I create and it is not for an audience at all. But it satisfies something in me, for me," Roisin explains. "I don't produce volumes of anything. How I create is a slow, methodical, contemplative process. There is no rush. For years, I was caught up in the speed fashion demanded of you. Now, I don't feed into that business at all any more. If I don't want to produce a range, I don't."

Roisin has crafted a life where all her loves - be it working with skins, her art or commissioned work - flow effortlessly with each other. She creates capsule ready-to-wear collections and bespoke commissions (a large part of her business) in her Dublin studio. Her clients are as far away as the USA and as near as next door.

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Long sleeved Stretch suede fittedtop, €790; boot-cut trousers, €975

Long sleeved Stretch suede fittedtop, €790; boot-cut trousers, €975

"I am lucky that the simple, beautiful pieces that I design have longevity and they hold up over the years. I have bowed completely out of fashion - while still doing it! How has that become possible?" Roisin laughs. "But somehow, I am freed from it. I have been released. It is a seeming contradiction. But it works."

As well as her own art, Roisin loves doing artistic collaborations where her technical knowledge becomes key - interiors projects with furniture designer Joseph Walsh; art projects with Jesse Jones for the Venice Biennale 2017, and with Olwen Fouere.

"The thing is to hold your nerve and not be dictated to by the market. But, in fact, find your client - people who appreciate your work see your individuality, and who will buy into it," Roisin says.

"I have learnt that when it comes to clothes, not everybody wants to stand out as a total individual. What I do is I find a beautiful form for the body. I can do anything with it. From going to the extreme and making it look unique. It is form and function at the same time."

It is the latter expression that is on our pages today. Beautiful, sublimely simple, stunning clothing.

Roisin works on a limited-edition principle, entirely with high-quality Italian sheep and lambskin manufacturers with whom she has a long and strong relationship. She might buy a skin that 'talks' to her, but it could be several years before she feels it, or she is ready for it to become something. Her ready-to-wear is exclusively available from Havana, Dublin, and Granny's Bottom Drawer in Kinsale.

"My ready-to-wear clothes fit beautifully and they are timeless, which is essential, as they are investment pieces. The stretch-leather leggings are a cult product. The sheepskin collars are not only warming, but they are kind to the face," says Roisin. "It is all about feeling good."

Photography by Eilish McCormick

Styling by Alison Conneely

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

Sunday Indo Life Magazine