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'Designers must solve problems - not just create them' - Irish designer Richard Malone

Armed with just a loan from his local Credit Union, Wexford native Richard Malone moved to London in 2010 to study fashion. The award-winning designer tells Bairbre Power about elitism, his passion for sustainability and how his family have influenced his work

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Award-winning designer Richard Malone

Award-winning designer Richard Malone

Richard Malone opens London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2018 with his catwalk show. ©Chris Yates

Richard Malone opens London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2018 with his catwalk show. ©Chris Yates

Chris Yates

Autumn Winter 2020 at London Fashion Week. © Chris Yates

Autumn Winter 2020 at London Fashion Week. © Chris Yates

Chris Yates/ Chris Yates Media

London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2018. ©Chris Yates/ Alamy Live News

London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2018. ©Chris Yates/ Alamy Live News

Chris Yates

London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016/2017

London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016/2017

WireImage

A model walks the runway at the Richard Malone show during London Fashion Week September 2018

A model walks the runway at the Richard Malone show during London Fashion Week September 2018

WireImage

A model walks the runway at the Richard Malone show during London Fashion Week September 2019. Photo:  Eamonn McCormack/BFC/Getty Images for BFC

A model walks the runway at the Richard Malone show during London Fashion Week September 2019. Photo: Eamonn McCormack/BFC/Getty Images for BFC

Getty Images for BFC

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Award-winning designer Richard Malone

It's week four of self-isolation in his flat in Clapton, east London, and Irish designer Richard Malone is painting arcs of colours freehand. The 29-year-old is making a rainbow flag to hang out the window to thank the NHS staff who pass underneath on their way to work in the local hospital.

A sense of community is big in this neighbourhood close to Hackney Marshes and the open space is important to the Ardcavan man who grew up beside the natural beauty of the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.

The celebrations around Richard's well-received London Fashion Week AW20 collection in February, which was followed three days later by his International Woolmark Prize win, seem like a lifetime ago.