Ciara Silke: Textile designer
I always loved art and design and knew I would carve out a career bringing together elements that I love. After completing a degree in printed textile design in the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), I worked as a designer for a surf-wear company, designing hoodies and surf wear.
When the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to work for Diane Von Furstenberg in New York and the experiences I had there inspired me to set up my label. I was surrounded by vibrant prints, embellished, opulent fabric and, most importantly, a freedom of expression.
I manage all aspects of the business myself from the designing of my luxury scarves in my studio in Galway to the packaging of the product into their luxury boxes for shipping to customers in Ireland and abroad. The online sales have been really growing.
Primarily, I love the designing. I dedicate at least one day a week to drawing and painting. I gather inspiration and visual research every day.
I really enjoy the business aspect too, as well as the marketing and networking. I enjoy meeting new people, travelling, and the constant need for change. Once I have completed a collection, it’s straight onto the next one. I am a very energetic person and I love when I get energy back from personal achievements and meeting my targets.
I have been working on a capsule collection of neck scarves. These are exciting designs that will launch soon on my website. I have also been working to develop a range of silk tunics. It has been very exciting picking out suitable fabrics and finishes etc. Product development is lots of work but so much fun when the new collections come together.
My style combines wearable artistic prints with luxurious fabrics to create a uniquely elegant product. The brand consists of luxury silk twill scarves. Colour is central to my brand. The Ciara Silke customer likes to express herself through luxurious fabrics in a coolly sophisticated way.
Nature is a huge inspiration for me. Wildflowers and exotic flowers I have come across on my travels all feed into my collections.
I love the Irish landscape and the unique elements we find on our little island. I live by the sea so I’m lucky to have this as a constant inspiration. I find nature provides the most stunning colour combinations, shapes, patterns and textures.
I also look to style icons to see how they style themselves with silk accessories. My favourite would be Sophia Loren. She always wore a silk scarf beautifully.
I generally don’t follow trends too much. I pay attention to them obviously from a design and colour point of view but I think classic style is timeless.
I love to see silk fabrics worn and styled in various ways. There are a lot of luxurious silk robes to be seen on the runways and in the street style blogs at the moment. It’s always fun to see how people style themselves so differently.
My engagement ring.
I travelled to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2009 to see the work of Christian Lacroix. His work was fascinating and meticulous. He had fabrics hand-painted before constructing them into perfect couture pieces. The place was alive with brightly painted ball-gowns. It was hugely inspiring — l will never forget it.
I would love to design a range for Hermès. I know they collaborate with artists and designers on occasion.
The other dream is to obviously keep growing my own business and develop new product ranges building on the aesthetic of Ciara Silke. Perhaps I will open a Ciara Silke store someday.
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