Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the eighth installment in a series of blog posts relating to the designers who will be taking part in the upcoming A/W’17 Showcase in Tribeton on September 9th. Keep an eye out on the blog and on our social media channels over the next week and get to know our designers before the Big Day.
Deirdre Kennedy – Deirdre Kennedy Rainwear
Who are you & what kind of designer are you?
Deirdre Kennedy Rainwear is my label and www.singingintherain.ie is my website. I design and create bespoke rainwear. All my coats are made to order and measure. So if you want to feel fabulous in the rain and have a coat designed especially for you then check me out.
What sparked your interest with fashion?
Its always been there, since I was a child. My school books are full of fashion doodles, lined up on the catwalk. However I followed the advice from others to pursue a career in business as growing up in Ireland in the 80’s art was never encouraged as a career so most of us dropped it there and then. I spent 20 years in recruitment. Although I did enjoy this, I had this constant desire to work in something more creative. When my second child arrived I decided to take time out and this is when I came across an advertisement where you could become part of an upcycling team and learn design and dress making skills. A few weeks later I landed a place in St Vincent de Pauls Head office redesigning clothes they could not sell in the charity stores. This is where it all started!
Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?
Both really. After spending two years in the upcycling of clothes I did a year with GTI Fashion which was amazing. I was also fortunate to have David Young as a mentor. David trained in Saville Row in the 80s as a bespoke master tailor and I have been working with him for the last three years now and I get his advice when I am putting my designs onto fabric. He is amazing!
What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?
I am not sure, only that when I left my career in recruitment and started to pursue fashion, things started to fall into place for me. Its hard work but it feels right and I feel I like I am going in the right direction.
What is your aesthetic?
I love the black and white Hollywood movies, the music and the clothes. I am not sure why but it brings out excitement in me.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
My first raincoat was inspired by the Hollywood actress Grace Kelly. I wanted to create a raincoat that was glamorous, flattering and a head turner. I bring a little of this in all my raincoats. It rains here all the time in Galway so why shouldn’t we feel a little bit Hollywood when we put on our raincoat.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
Its still at the very early stages so it hasn’t evolved to much from when I started out. I don’t have lots of money to throw into manufacturing so each piece is designed individually by me and on a made to order basis. I do hope to have a ready to wear collection available in the future however.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
To trust your own instinct and style.
Describe your creative process.
When an idea comes into my head I need to put it on paper immediately. I then work on a moodboard around this. The idea may stay there for months before I take it up again or it could become part of another project. Lots of sketches, fabric research and finally a pattern.
How do you get unstuck creatively?
Check out what other artists, designers have done. Look through fashion magazines, Pinterest etc are all great ways to get inspired.
What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?
It depends. If its for a customer I meet with them and get an understanding of their style, shape, what colours suit them and then I go through some moodboards to get a more indepth knowledge of what they are looking for. I then sketch up a few designs, with fabric swatches and the customer make a decision on what they want.
How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?
Oh dear that is a tough one. Well I work on whats a priority. When there are no deadlines impending I spend this time organizing myself, my work area, improving processes, revisiting my goals for the year all while making sure that family, life and health needs met. It’s a constant juggling act.
How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry?
I think we need to think and educate ourselves more on our environment and human rights when it comes to the fashion industry. We turn a blind eye to the real cost of fashion and its only when you educate yourself more on the subject that you discover the problems that are out there. I think we all need to play our part in making fashion sustainable for everyone.
Where do you see your brand expanding to?
Any country where there is lots of rain!
What advice would you give to young designers?
Persistence, follow your instinct and believe you can do it. You can only believe you can do it by doing it.
Imagery via Deirdre Kennedy
Deirdre will be taking part in the GDN A/W Showcase on September 9th in Tribeton. There will be 3 individual showcases throughout the day:
Jewellery Design at 2pm
Millinery at 4pm
Clothing Design at 6pm.
Tickets for individual shows are priced at €15, or grab yourself a bundle ticket for €35 and spend the day in Tribeton, where you can enjoy 20% off all food all day or shop the Pop Up Market featuring all of the designers collections. Your ticket will entitle you to a glass of prosecco, a goodie bag specific to the show and a front row seat. If you want to get your hands on a ticket, go online via eventbrite.ie or head directly to Tribeton. There will also be a limited amount of standing tickets available for each show, but you must register your interest via eventbrite.ie prior to September 9th.
The Galway Designers Network is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can support your local fashion industry and keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page to read all about the project and how you can take part.
The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email firstname.lastname@example.org.