Charlotte Temple: Donegal is a huge inspiration in my designs

Magee 1866 design and retail director Charlotte Temple.

Interview with Charlotte Temple, design and retail director, Magee 1866.

What’s your background?

I spent four years in the Irish army, which included six months in Liberia as a Platoon Commander. Following this, I spent two years in London as a personal trainer. The time in London was inspirational for what I do now — a lot of time in and out of stores and researching global brands, seasonal collections and retail concepts. I came into the family business nine years ago.

What’s a typical work day like for you?

I have a very varied role which spans across design to retail to marketing. I generally start the day at about 6.30am (two small boys put paid to any further time in bed) with 30 minutes spent scanning emails. I try to get outside for a run for 30 minutes most days. I work either from an office at home — about two days a week or else drive to Donegal (one hour away) or Dublin (two hours away) for back-to-back meetings.

We are working on our AW18 collection, so part of the week is reviewing fabrics and styles with our design team for both men’s and women’s collections. I love this part of the job. These collections are sold throughout Ireland and the UK through our wholesale business and in our own stores/online.

Throws and cushions from Magee 1866’s lifestyle range.
Throws and cushions from Magee 1866’s lifestyle range.

I am also in and out of our stores (two in Dublin and one in Donegal) spending time with the teams, seeing what is working on current collections and what is not. We are developing online sales at present and considerable time is spent with our online team — planning marketing, brand awareness, photography and continual updates online.

Other areas a little less exciting, but very much part of my role, are reviewing figures — current sales/accounts and, at present, budgets for 2018/19.

Tell us about a recent project or design/favourite project or design you have worked on?

I have been working on an interiors/accessories collection — both home and personal. The inspiration behind this collection is our own fabrics — we design and weave in Donegal with more than 50 employed in this area. We produce throws, scarves and pashminas in-house with the rest of the fabric being made up elsewhere into cushions, napkins, runners and bags.

We are also working on upolstery fabrics and a small furnishing collection featuring fresh, yet timeless pieces of furniture which will be made to order from a selection of beautiful Donegal fabrics.

Tweed cushions — the fabric is designed and woven in its Donegal mill.
Tweed cushions — the fabric is designed and woven in its Donegal mill.

What’s your design style?

I would lean towards timeless styling. It is vital to us to embrace our unique heritage but with contemporary details — be it through cloth and/or styling. I want our collections to appear fresh each season, yet stand the test of time.

What/Who inspires your work?

Donegal is a huge inspiration — the vibrant colours, rugged landscape and natural beauty.

What’s your favourite trend at the moment (if you have any)?

I am inspired by trends but not driven by them. I don’t really have a favourite trend at any one time.

A selection of autumn throws from the Magee 1866 mill in Donegal.
A selection of autumn throws from the Magee 1866 mill in Donegal.

What’s your most treasured possession?

I have an amazing painting by Martin Mooney of the view from my parents’ front door in Donegal — overlooking Donegal bay and out towards BenBulben. It hangs in our kitchen in Tyrone and is synonymous with Donegal on a rather moody, wet day with a beautiful light still creeping through.

Who would be your favourite designer, or style inspiration?

I like to blend some of the very old with the new and contemporary, not necessarily in the same room but same space — a unique Persian carpet and a beautiful piece of Georgian furniture with a quirky or modern piece of art.

What would be a dream project for you to work on?

I have a lot of balls in the air at present with this new interior collection coming through and am quite keen to let it land first, before I think of anything further!

Have you any design tips for us?

Be confident in your choices for your home or indeed wardrobe. Keep it simple and build a room around you over time. Buy pieces that will last and stand the test of time.


Social media sites:, Twitter and Instragam: @Magee1866

The Magee 1866 new interiors line will be available instore at Magee of South Anne Street and Magee of Donegal and online at from early December.

I like to blend some of the very old with the new and contemporary, not necessarily in the same room but same space


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