Archives for May 2010

May 31, 2010 - 6 comments

Amanda Grogan


Photograph by Peter Fingleton

Last Thursday I went to see NCAD 2010 graduate fashion show. Amongst the graduates, my incredible  Spring Summer 2008 season assistant, Amanda Grogan, was showing her final year collection. I was so excited to see her pieces come down the catwalk.

 I'm sure this will be the begining of a promising career. She has the enthusiasm, personality, drive and commitment to make it through the adventures the next few years will offer her.

Selected from houndreds of candidates from around the world she has been chosen as a finalist in Italian Mittelmoda competition next July....We wish you the best and break a leg!!!

I feel so lucky to have shared a season with her and hope someday we will do something together!


May 31, 2010 - 3 comments

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgois

Via Art Tattler


My mother was a restorer, she repaired broken things. I don't do that. I destroy things. I cannot go the straight line. I must destroy, rebuild, destroy again. My rhythm is not the same. My mother moved in a straight line: I go from one extreme to the other.

Louise Bourgeois

December 25, 1911 – May 31, 2010






May 31, 2010 - 3 comments

Let the fun begin


On your mark get set ...go!!!


Last week I was involved in a mentoring session organised by the girls of Re Dress as part of their annual Fashion Evolution event. I met so many wonderful aspiring creative talents.

Since then I have received quite a few emails asking for further advice, so I thought I'd put a post together focusing on questions of those who are attempting to set up their own label.

I'm pretty sure I'm not  the best person to give advise, I don't always practice what I preach.. but that doesn't mean I don't want too...sometimes I need to say it to myself..and the universe.. to be convinced!

So, if  you are working on your first collection these are a few tips...

1. Get experience,  and I know this might sound like a step back, it will be worth it. It's the only way to learn the knots and blots of the industry. Learn from their success and their mistakes. If you haven't worked for another designer for a few seasons, at least, I would say don't even think of setting up your own label.

2. Once you've gained some experience, research as much as you can in terms of the concept of your creations and who you think your customer will be. I really believe you only have one chance to give a first impression so make sure your designs are up to scratch. I would rather wait for a year or two before putting something out there that I know is not as perfect as can be.

3. Keep your first collection small and concise. A 6 to 10 piece  strong collection can be enough to seduce your customers. Don't try to do everything. You can build up the collection in the future, but it will be easier to grab your customer's attention if you have a specific and clear concept.

4. Pricing. Once you've chosen a design concept and the market you think it will be for, be very conscious about costs and pricing. If you are designing for a younger market price point must be adequate to their spending capacity ( this comment is very specific to other countries where there is a bigger population you will find a more diverse customer base with a broad  range of budgets)

5. Don't under price your collection. The temptation is to undercut yourself at the beginning trying to get into good shops. It will be hard to charge what you should be charging later on.

6. Capacity. Be very clear what your limitations are, financially and production wise. Say no when you are unable to commit. It's better to say no than to say yes and then letting people down.

6. Stay small for as long as possible. It's the only way to learn without making huge mistakes or taking huge risks.

7. Build up a private customer base as well as nourishing a few shops. Don't step on their toes by selling at discount, this may come back to haunt you.

8. Press are always looking for new stories and great images. Invest in a good shoot, it doesn't have to be overproduced or costly..having great images is priceless. Write a press release. The story is so important now. Everyone from customers to journalists want to know the story behind the label so make sure there is soul in what you're doing.


If there are any other questions I haven't covered or you'd like something more specific let me know!

May 30, 2010 - 2 comments

Creativity and obsession


Christian Amman


'The creative habit is like a drug.

The particular obsession changes, but the excitement,

the thrill of your creation lasts'

Henry Moore

After weeks, and months, of distraction and slight apathy, I have been involved in a project which is so exciting I'm unable to focus on anything else. I will reveal at a later date, but for now it’s Paris again this week. Meeting my Japanese friends and also buying fabric


May 21, 2010 - 3 comments

National Drawing Day


 Marchesa Casati by Giovanni Boldini


Organised by the National Gallery in Dublin, tomorrow we celebrate

National Drawing Day

There are venues all across Ireland participating in the excellent event

click here


With very little chance of rain, it looks like it will be a promising weekend.

So put on sun protection, dust your pencil case and start sketching

Have a great weekend!

May 12, 2010 - 2 comments

Waving Good Bye


It's official, my dear dear friend Helen James is moving to New York, I'm too sad to write about my personal loss, but as part of a greater creative community I'm very worried that so many are leaving, we lost Tim Ryan a few years ago, we lost Helen Cody and now Helen James...God only knows how many more will leave. I know of another top Irish designer who has emigration on the cards...

What message does this send to younger generations??.. That there certainly is no hope to be in this business whilst staying in this country? Paul Costello, John Rocha, Sharon Wauchob, Orla Keily...all work permanently or have some temporary base abroad.

Is this the only solution? Will we all have to leave? 

Even though I'm an eternal optimist and I love Ireland...specially this time of the year..I wouldn't blink twice if the opportunity arose..

May 11, 2010 - 4 comments

The Winding Stair

Last weekend I payed a visit to one of my favourite places in Dublin.

On the North Quay, The Winding Stair... bookshop turned restaurant combines my favourite and literature...

Pic 3

I bought, The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault


A wonderful hard back, with all of his stories from Little Red Ridding Hood to Cinderella and dozens of illustrations by Gustave Dore


I'll hopefully be visiting them again next week for another delicious meal...will report back...

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