Made in Ireland. It’s a phrase that conjures different things for different people, but as March sees a resurgence of the #WearingIrish campaign on Instagram, following the hashtag might be an eye-opening experience for those who think Irish-made fashion is somehow stuck in the past.
When the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland unleashed a new initiative called TextILSE at this year’s Showcase tradeshow, not only did they team designers, such as Peter O’Brien, with Irish fabric mills to produce one-off garments that were entirely homespun, they also showcased a new wave of designers who are committed to giving homespun fashion a fresh, contemporary feel.
Designer Jill de Búrca is an example. Her pieces are not just made in Ireland, they are individually embroidered on a legendary Irish Singer embroidery machine.
Natalie B Coleman collaborates with Donegal weavers Molloy and Sons to create hand-woven tweeds for her collections; while Jennifer Rothwell digitally prints modern, Irish- inspired fabrics in her Dublin studio.
Brian McGee of the DCCOI feels provenance is becoming increasingly important to consumers of higher-end fashion, and that sentiment is borne out on the high street, where more and more retailers are pushing to highlight products produced on these shores.
Across varying price points from retailers such as Kilkenny Shop; Made, in Dublin’s Powerscourt Centre; and Kildare Village’s So Collective, the selection of Irish-made goods on the market today is nothing if not surprising.
As the following photos show, Irish knitwear is still a given, but is being given a modern twist; jewellery is going from strength to strength; and everything, from Irish-made watches to leather goods to high-end fashion, ensures that if you’re #WearingIrish this month, you can fly the flag for Irish fashion in style.