Designer Profiles: Ailish McElroy Millinery | A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the tenth 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.

Ailish McElroy – Ailish McElroy Millinery

20729741_1962489710702591_8893825908827666775_n
Aay Kay Photograhy

Who are you & what kind of designer are you?

I am Ailish McElroy and I am a Milliner based in Bodyke, Co. Clare.

_tco4209_36552662725_o-iloveimg-converted
Timothée Cognard Photography

What sparked your interest with millinery?

I was a Graphic Designer for many years so I always had an appreciation for colour, texture, shape and pattern in the composition of an image. I think what attracted me to Millinery was the chance to create away from the computer but to apply the same key elements in the creation of a finished headpiece using traditional hands on skills.

_tco4226_36543840845_o-iloveimg-converted.jpg
Timothée Cognard Photography

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I have a Masters in Digital Media & Communications. At the beginning I was self taught until I reached a point where I wanted to progress my skills further. I then interned with Award Winning Milliner Margaret O’Connor in London. There is always so much to learn in Millinery and that fascinates me and challenges me in equal measure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mick Russell Photography

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

It wasn’t really a conscious decision, I was just constantly lost in the creative process. It seemed to evolve into a career as people began to inquire if they could commission headpieces from me. Suddenly I had deadlines to keep. I started prioritizing my work load and before I knew it I had to make a choice between my job as a Graphic Designer or to change careers and become a Milliner. I decided to take the leap and go for it.

untitled-29.jpg
Mick Russell Photography

What is your aesthetic?

My pieces are feminine and beautifully embellished with a nod to vintage influences using luxurious materials, trims, feathers and beading.

16194959_10154890459313834_5363070374971876767_n

What inspired this collection?

A skirt I bought in a shop in Lithuania inspired this collection. Something about the bold primary colours and pattern in the skirt sparked so many images in my mind every time I looked at it. I wanted to reflect that celebration of colour in this collection. I am also drawn to religious iconography and Gothic imagery in particular is a source of fascination for me. It represents romance, mystery and dark femininity.

16295384_1684725768210865_523094914_n
Paul Cooley Photography

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

My skills have evolved through experience, practice and constant learning. However, my designs evolve to accentuate the best attributes of my wearer and their outfit. Experience in working with clients has enabled me to create a process that streamlines my work from initial design concept to the completion of a finished headpiece while trying to create a harmony between new emerging trends and the traditional styles.

17841822_1777786242238150_1907456538_n
Paul Cooley Photography

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

You need to believe in yourself and aim to be pro-active and professional not only in the skill of Millinery but with your Brand. Prioritising my workload clarifies my mind and allows the creative process to flow. It is also a constant challenge!

17857800_1777745495575558_387709773_n
Paul Cooley Photography

Describe your creative process.

It begins with the outfit that makes its way into my workshop. I also take into account my client and what I think would suit them best. Then I begin to source my materials. Sometimes the nature of the materials will influence the design as they won’t always obey my demands! Then I begin to get lost in the process of creation, experimenting, accepting and rejecting ideas as I go along until I get the perfect symmetry.

17888858_1777786378904803_465737101_n
Paul Cooley Photography

How do you get unstuck creatively?

The first port of call is a cup of coffee just for a breather. I might also try to work on something else for a while, maybe just do some basic tasks or tidy my workshop. If that doesn’t work I try to get out of my workshop and go for a long walk or a run. Enjoying the nature around me calms my mind and I love taking photographs of what I see. It helps me to start thinking and working creatively again. I also enjoy looking at paintings and photography which can really spark my imagination. Also, sometimes things occur to me just be studying the materials that I am using for a particular headpiece and this might dictate the direction I take with a design.

18136664_1795073217176119_514842970_n
Paul Cooley Photography

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

What will suit my client? What is the time frame? Do I have the materials required and if not, do I have time to order the materials?

DSC_6418_edited

How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

It’s hard to find the right balance as I work from home and I have young children. My work is very unpredictable and my deadlines change constantly. My phone could ring at any moment with a customer looking for an appointment. I keep a detailed diary where I schedule appointments. I would be lost without my Big Black Book!

DSC_6493_edited

How do you feel about the current state of the fashion industry?

We need to sit up and pay attention to the massively untapped potential of the Irish Fashion Industry and how lucrative it could be to our economy. I would like to see something akin to the British Fashion Council being set up here which would solely serve the industry by seeking out new emerging talent and supporting them.  There is so much more we could be doing in this country to celebrate and support our Irish Designers and helping to pave the way to a strong Irish fashion industry. Why is it our best designers have to go abroad to develop their careers? Ireland has lost out on laying claim to the rise of some great talents and we continue to lose many of our best design graduates to emigration.

DSC_6822_edited

Where do you see your brand expanding to?

I will continue to expand on the foundation I have built over the last 3 years so that I can offer my customers more options and continue to provide excellent customer service. My dream would be to open a centre for designers in East Clare where we could work and sell our designs, however I think it’s important to build your brand one step at a time and to set realistic goals as expansion takes time, research and money.

20663731_1798728123475314_1218236753394474936_n

What advice would you give to young designers?

Turning your passion into a career requires motivation. Be pro-active and take a step every day that gets you nearer your goal. There will be tough days where you may not be able to design. Instead use those days wisely to do some marketing, photograph your work or do some networking. Value your work and learn to recognise an opportunity when it arises.

***

Images 2-5|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

All other imagery via Ailish McElroy

Featured Photography|Aay Kay|Timothée Cognard|Paul Cooley|Mick Russell

 

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

Ailish 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Advertisements

Designer Profiles: CKB Millinery | A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the seventh 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.

Claire Kelly Badger – CKB Millinery

IrishFashion Innovation Awards Picture-iloveimg-converted

What sparked your interest with millinery?

I have always had an obsession with hats.  Since I was a young child, my grandmother had a fabulous collection of formal hats hidden in a wardrobe that came out at special occasions.  I used to try them on all the time along with her big coats and I think my obsession started from there!  

_tco4112_35806518063_o-iloveimg-converted
Timothée Cognard

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I have a Degree in Business in Human Resource Management.  I started out doing a beginners Millinery course in Galway a few years back as a hobby, then proceeded to do one-to-one lessons with Lina Stein, an International award winning Milliner based in Westport.  I have continued to do courses with Lina over the years, there is still so much to learn, I am only tipping the iceberg.

20729366_851073395058899_8812111041593567080_n

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

As previously mentioned, I am only a part-time Milliner.   I work full time in my career in HR.  Millinery is like a release for me, somewhere to go to relax and get lost in the world of creativity.  

2

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

I love whatever is in fashion, I love to shop and key an eye on what is trending – I love colour, jewels, lace and anything sparkly so if I can incorporate any of the into my collections I am happy.  For the Autumn Winter, I love to keep hats simple but sophisticated, very demure.  

11205059_840235146142724_3939912118530941215_n

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

Continuous learning online and in millinery classes has definitely brought my hats to a new level in recent times.

19732072_832407540258818_4350859595184966759_n

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Plan plan plan! Don’t leave deadlines until the last minute and always have your brand looking professional – first impressions are key.

20106309_836880813144824_4079715868434093564_n

Describe your creative process.

When I get in the zone, I cannot get my pieces done quick enough.   I have ideas in my head and I’m afraid If I don’t get the work done immediately, I will lose the creative flow.

3

How do you get unstuck creatively?

Get out and explore, go for walks, shop.  I find that sometimes you could might see an object, it could be absolutely anything from a tree to an ornament and you will want to recreate it with material to add to a design for a hat.

18922093_813193455513560_266305664871722516_n

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

What mood am I in today?  I think my mood determines the type of creation I start.  If I am not in the right form to work on my hats, I will leave it until I am or I will sit looking at a piece of material for hours and I won’t get anywhere.

4

How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

It can be difficult and times like summer are extremely busy.  I work full time and my job is quite busy so it can be difficult at times to prioritise.  But the key is to plan and not to take on too much.  I only take on what I can handle, while still maintaining a work life balance.

 1

Where do you see your brand expanding to?

Who knows!  I never expected to set up my own business a few years ago.  I only started in millinery for the love of making things and the desire to create my own hats.  This evolved overnight for me, so who knows what will happen in another few years.  

19989341_834733936692845_1304532499936099392_n

What advice would you give to young designers?

If you love something enough, stick with it.  Opportunities will come to you, just go with them.

20664885_848271518672420_3560963322730953504_n

***

Image 2|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Featured Photography|Timothée Cognard

All other imagery via Claire Kelly Badger

***

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

Claire 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Designer Profiles: Cozy Handmade Designs | A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the sixth 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 few weeks and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

Ann Petrov – Cozy Handmade Designs

DSC_0512_DxO
Aay Kay Photography

Who are you & what kind of designer are you?

My name is Ann and I am knitwear designer, but I don’t only do knitwear, I also sew, work with patchwork and interiors.

_tco4114_36477964181_o-iloveimg-converted
Timothée Cognard

What sparked your interest with fashion?

About seven years ago, I was depressed and uninspired around me. I bought myself a sewing machine and knitting needles, and I basically knitted myself out of my depression. I started with kids clothing and patchwork blankets, and then started to make clothes for myself and for my kids who by that time where on the plan.

1

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I am thought by my grandmother the most. I think she was the one who thought us the craft. Then in Estonia, where I am from, you would have handcraft/sewing classes mandatory until you finish secondary school. I studied Interior designs and currently debating to take online course in Fashion.

2

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

CHD was Karma Crafts before, I made baby clothes and sold them online or made to order. When I finished my interior designer I really wanted to add home decorating line to my kids clothing. 2016 I decided to stay home with my kids and that was the moment when I decided to take little more fashion approach and add extra line to my collection.

18319197_1344614278908111_1068980293488846316_o

What is your aesthetic?

I guess it’s more to this romantic spirited feel. I use lot of vintage inspired patterns in my designs and try to use quite muted colours. And add splash of colour to it with flowers or beads. My designs are definitely rather feminine.

3

What inspired this collection?

City Royals is inspired of Vintage shawls and autumn weather. I love using knitted lace. I also like to bring this old shabby style to modern young people, make it to theirs to wear. This collection has an extension with knit/crochet clothing line, what is currently on the making but won’t be ready for the show just yet.

untitled-23.jpg
Mick Russell Photography

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

I guess its slow and steady, there is up’s and there is downs. I learn with each project and design I make. My wool quality and source has gone better in past seven years. Funny note, as I have told my partner that I will more likely give up on him than on CHD! Of course if it is life and death situation…well I still might keep few needles and wool!

6

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

 Plan, study and delegate. I plan my day everyday, I plan my marketing plan and my blogging plan. I also have learned that I don’t have to know everything nor should I do everything. But I need to have great knowledge so I could hire right people to do certain services for me, so I could keep my passion live.

18192977_1334980136538192_2510331107437836211_o

Describe your creative process.

My creative process starts from the wool or material, crazy patterns or book. Sometimes its enough to see something in tv. I am very “close” to my phone and its always full of ideas. There are times I have been watching something in Netflix, seen something fabulous and then googled same moment in my phone to see can I find image of it.

18121691_1335824233120449_6143139577184312587_o

How do you get unstuck creatively?

I just leave everything, take it back to my studio and take couple of days off, to play with kids, read, bath, go shopping.

4

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

Who is going to wear it? Would I wear it? And can I visualize it how it will be when its done.

5

How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

Like I said I plan my day, so it usually plans around on how much should I get done and three other tasks. If I don’t get it as I planned, then its not a big deal, tomorrow is another day. Kids have taken over my summer, so I am actually excited to get back in school routine.

21083146_1449292311773640_3011017650784383429_o

How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry?

I don’t really follow fashion. I obviously do now, as I create my collection. But I more look into colour trends rather than style trends. There is so much fast fashion what has low quality made into high quantity. Having a daughter who is more ‘Tom’ than ‘Princess’ has also shown me how gender orientated the current fashion can be.

7

Where do you see your brand expanding to?

I would really like to finish this one piece off women’s clothing collection and have it steady coming out each year. I don’t necessarily want to expand too big but have this steady collection available.

8

What advice would you give to young designers?

Take business studies on the side of your designer studies. There is so many passionate young designers out there, who will start and fail as they have no idea how to get to next level. And also YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO START!

***

Model Imagery|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Featured Photography| Aay Kay|Timothée Cognard|Mick Russell|

All other imagery via Ann Petrov & @cozy_handmade_designs

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

Ann 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Designer Profiles: RE ason | A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the fourth 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 few weeks and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

Maeve Ayo – RE ason

DSC_0408_DxO
Aay Kay Photography

What sparked your interest with fashion?

I think as a child I loved to make things, anything, and I loved colours. I made clothes from my early teens out of anything I could find.

_tco4206_36570376536_o-iloveimg-converted.jpg
Timothée Cognard Photography

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design? 

I thought I could get away with teaching myself but my technical inability frustrated me and I ran out of steam. I did a short sewing machinist course, worked in a number of clothing factories and eventually met a wonderful dressmaker who knew so much about design and quality and materials. It was with her I learned a lot about making and finishing. I also studied fine art which somehow added to my view of things!

_tco4210_35807414613_o-iloveimg-converted.jpg

Timothée Cognard Photography

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it? 

Initially I gave up working in fashion, but after returning to college where I studied art I developed a love of photography. I suppose it was just another form of my love of the visual and colour. I was busy for a number of years with small children and looking for a way to work from home when I realised clothing is a more practical form of creating than photography or art.

_tco4235_35717644044_o-iloveimg-converted
Timothée Cognard Photography

What is your aesthetic? 

I love colour, layers and transparencies, simple shapes and mixing unusual fabrics or unexpected colours.

20157341_879832808848796_7256305843548148981_o
Maeve Ayo Photography

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work? 

I am fascinated by nature.  I am inspired by the outdoors and the cycles of nature, the colours and details of plants and flowers and water, even the atmosphere. I still take a lot of photos and I use them in my fabrics directly by printing them.

20157151_879832638848813_3567327291064244033_o
Maeve Ayo Photography

How has your work evolved since you began your own label? 

I would think I am getting bolder and less precious with my ideas.

MADsm0871.jpg
Maeve Ayo Photography

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company? 

Marketing is such a big deal in trying to sell anything and its important to have good support especially among other creative people.

20247528_1882859835312021_6241866320444995913_o
Maeve Ayo Photography

Describe your creative process. 

I tend to have too many ideas and its best for me to materialise as much as I can and usually I will see a common thread develop and this will be my focus.  I usually find, buy or print fabric and don’t know what to do with it and it sits around until one day I know exactly where it fits.

il_570xN.858366285_c1gr
Maeve Ayo Photography

What obstacles do you find when trying to work?

Negative emotions, tiredness and if I don’t walk away from something that is not working.

il_570xN.1027885518_ecg3
Maeve Ayo Photography

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

How will I pull all the different ideas I have into a coherent set of designs.

MAD_0171a.jpg
Maeve Ayo Photogprahy

How do you stay organised when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities? 

I haven’t really sorted this out yet. I tend to work in time blocks. With focus I can work quite fast so its about setting aside a week or two and immersing myself. I have had to learn to be more efficient in everything  I do.

etsy2sml
Maeve Ayo Photography

How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry? 

I would love to see more localised creators and markets with a public understanding of the value and worth of handmade and locally inspired garments.

etsy - 1sml)
Maeve Ayo Photography

Where do you see your brand expanding to? 

I would like establish a steady market within Ireland and also to develop a successful online market.

20748110_1894273200837351_1490218717617563812_o
Maeve Ayo Photography

What advice would you give to young designers?

Always keep pushing your self for better work and better finish and listen to criticism for you own growth.. Not easy. Try to find the balance between listening to the market but really developing your individual aesthetic and style.

20729125_892584387573638_1110187435530649959_o
Maeve Ayo Photography

***

Images 2-4|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Images 5-8,13-14|Styling, Hair & MUA by Katherina at Candy Hair & Vintage, Galway

All other imagery via Maeve Ayo

Featured Photography|Aay Kay|Timothée Cognard|Maeve Ayo

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

Maeve 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Designer Profiles: Emerald & Wax | AW’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the third 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 few weeks and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

Virtue Shine – Emerald & Wax

 

DSC_0344_DxO
Aay Kay Photography

What sparked your interest with fashion?

My interest in design and fashion was sparked when I was a child in Accra, watching in amazement every day all of the amazing designs that women made from wax prints. I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to be involved in when I was older. Also my grandmother and my mother both were wax print fabric traders so I guess designing with African wax print fabric is in my blood.

untitled-40.jpg
Mick Russell Photography

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

I am self-taught. I also had the privilege to work with a few designers in New York.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mick Russell Photography

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

I had come to the cross roads of whether to go back to work or continue stay home with my young children. I decided to stay at home, work for myself and raise my children at the same time combining both passions. It was also very nice that my customers were asking to see what more I can design using African wax prints aside from skirts and accessories. I wanted to show them what else I could design and give them what they wanted.

18318955_648408355353734_8194352082462086467_o
Mick Russell Photography

What is your aesthetic?

I love very bold bright colors, clean architectural lines and African wax prints are far from that, so I love merging the two things together. It’s always like curating an art exhibit and seeing results always gives me so much pleasure and joy.

18359231_648408162020420_3961423899988289098_o
Mick Russell Photography

What inspired this collection? What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

My collection is inspired by Japanese culture, their food and clothing, especially the kimono and how versatile it can be worn. I am fascinated at the moment with designers like Cristobal Balenciaga, Geoffrey Beene, André Courreges, to name a few, and how they made simple designs such elegant classics. I love simple, elegant and clean lines so I look up to their style for inspiration.

18404066_648408062020430_9163501713327435510_o
Mick Russell Photography

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

As I was self-taught I was limited by what I could make but overtime since my skills improved and I have challenged myself to try out more complicated designs. I am constantly learning what my strengths and weaknesses in designing and executing a garment are. I never decide that I can’t make anything – I’m constantly pushing and challenging myself.

18319314_648408255353744_4932346397463761143_o
Mick Russell Photography

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

To never lose my passion for creativity because it’s what drives me to stay up at all hours of the night without sleep sometimes and to wake up in the wee hours of the morning with nothing on my mind but what my next design is going to be.

18320867_648408258687077_1469461773159467354_o
Mick Russell Photography

Describe your creative process.

I think of a particular era and what fun, sleek and chic clothing women were wearing then and then I simplify the ones that I love and add my own twist and transform it into a look that I already in mind.

18320569_648408088687094_5908126161655815045_o
Mick Russell Photography

How do you get unstuck creatively?

Normally I will close my studio door for a few days, read online blogs and magazines but lately I watch a classic films for creative inspiration since I get a lot of inspiration from very well dressed women in classic black and white movies.

18320422_648408205353749_6602485169575553178_o
Mick Russell Photography

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

Will I wear what I am  about to design? How will it sit on the body? Does the combination of the colors I have chosen work well together? Will the woman I am designing with in mind feel comfortable and be wowed?

18359236_648408368687066_2336979833827717649_o
Mick Russell Photography

How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

For me personally I thrive under chaos and since I have a large young family there’s never time to properly organize or for balancing so I do everything at the same time. Most days, I am cooking, doing laundry, tiding up and working in my studio simultaneously. But I work very late into the night when they are asleep in bed as well.

18319296_648408208687082_8023780061897008480_o
Mick Russell Photography

How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry?

The fashion industry has definitely gotten bigger and there has been a huge  influx of independent designers. However, along with that is a lot of fast fashion and not necessarily good or wearable fashion. I would like to see the slow fashion revolution going further.

18320519_648408068687096_8210796134926746388_o
Mick Russell Photography

Where do you see your brand expanding to?

I will like to see my line globally in small design shops that sell quality wearable stuff on a small scale.

18404075_648408295353740_8642303219094295062_o
Mick Russell Photography

 

What advice would you give to young designers?

Dream big and never give up if you are passionate about what you are doing.

18319390_648408118687091_4397669871555285404_o
Mick Russell Photography

***

Images 2&3|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Images 4-15|Model: Andzelika Baciulyte|Rachel Mulcahy MUA

Featured Photography|Aay Kay|Mick Russell|

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

Virtue 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Designer Profiles: Crevation Designs | AW’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the second 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 few weeks and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

Majella Lennon Dalton – Crevation Designs

13680758_845749218889683_4408956225374660086_n
Image via Facebook

What sparked your interest with millinery?

I have always had a passion for art and fashion but ended up choosing a career in engineering. As an engineer I always had a flair for the aesthetics in design and got to work with designers in Paris, colour consultants in London and many suppliers of unusual finishes , materials and coatings. I absolutely love working with different materials textures and colours.

When the company I worked for closed shop in Ireland and moved back to the US I had 3 kids under two and decided to stay at home with them. This is when I got to indulge my creative side. I started painting and spent some time in GMIT studying Fine art and Design. For something different I tried millinery and became obsessed.

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I started in GMIT (Beginners and Advanced)  but have since done courses with the amazing Lina Stein and Carole Maher from Australia.

1.jpg
Timothée Cognard Photography

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

Two things I suppose, firstly my obsession for design and secondly people were asking me to make pieces for them.

What is your aesthetic?

I personally like a very classic look but I love to use unusual materials in new and innovative ways. A lot of my clients want a custom piece to work with a particular outfit for a wedding or the races so I like to design taking all variables into account: the person (personality, hair colour, height,  skin tone etc); the outfit (colours, textures style); the occasion. 

_tco4253rt_36178969870_o.png

Timothée Cognard Photography

What inspired this collection?

This collection was inspired by by research into thermoplastics and the new possibilities it brings. I use this material to bring drama and structure to my designs.

The large cream headpiece is inspired by the ‘Children of Lir’. a story from Irish Folklore. The cream structures when placed together create a winglike effect.

The large Black and White piece reflects the  “Yin /Yang” symbol which is carried through in the Black and Silver thermoplastics.

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

I think in the beginning I was like a kid in a toy shop, all over the place and trying everything. I now have developed the process and I suppose have found my own style. I certainly focus on ergonomics in my designs and have learned better how to interpret what each individual customer requires. This only happens with lots of practice.

Capture
Mick Russell Photography

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

I think the best lesson is to trust your intuition, do your own thing and innovate where possible.

Describe your creative process.

The creative process for custom designs is very different from designs where I just get to indulge my creative side and go wild with colours and materials.

In custom designs I look at the person, the outfit , the occasion, the textures, colours etc then develop a design to suit but I always take into account the ergonomics, the balance and re-usability of the design. So many people tell me they have hats that have only been worn once and never see the light of day. I try to design pieces that can be worn lots of times. I advise clients on how to use them by working with different accessories.

My own personal creative process is usually sparked by a new fabric or an innovative new material. I will usually spend hours just testing the capabilities of the new material and trialing new ways to use it before eventually putting a design together. Believe me you do not want to see the state of the workshop on those days.

Capture
Via Majella Lennon

How do you get unstuck creatively?

I find it very difficult to switch off  but I find it best to get out into nature, go for a run of a walk, or do an exercise class.

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

I love a good design brief. I love to set aims objectives etc and manage a project.

Capture
Via Majella Lennon

How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

I don’t think I do stay organised. There is always a little chaos ((or sometimes a lot). I am learning to live with that and so are my family.

Where do you see your brand expanding to?

I am currently stocked in Harper and Style Kloset and the Fancy Nest here in Galway. I want to build my brand at a pace I am comfortable…keep watching!

Capture
Via Majella Lennon

What advice would you give to young designers?

Nothing happens quickly, take your time, stay true to yourself and it will work!

***

Images 2&3|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Featured Photography|Timothée Cognard|Mick Russell|

All other imagery via Majella Lennon

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

Majella 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Designer Profile: She Vibes | AW’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the first 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 few weeks and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

She Vibes – Karolina Sexton 

DSC_0352_DxO

Aay Kay Photography

What sparked your interest with jewellery?

I suppose every woman likes jewellery, but I don’t really like pearls, gold, stones and sparkly crystals. I like being unique and I always enjoyed  making my look a bit different from what you can see on the streets.  I wanted to wear something easy to put on, big but light and most of all something eye catching and very colourful. Inspired by African style jewellery I decided to start making yarn wrapped necklaces – and that’s how it all started.

20746402_1962489874035908_4492241502751144304_o
Aay Kay Photography

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I never studied any fashion design. I am a preschool and primary teacher with an artistic soul and a passion for handmade art.

1
Timothée Cognard Photography

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

I am not sure If I am at this stage when I think about it as a chance for a career. I still think about what I am doing as my passion, my hobby. It’s a bit like therapy, a nice break from every day life, the kids, the work, the house duties etc. Every time I see people liking my jewellery and they are willing to buy it, I take it as a compliment. This is what makes me feel unique: people’s interest, nice words and real contact with them.

2
Timothée Cognard Photography

What is your aesthetic?

I like colours. I think wearing something colourful makes life more happy, especially in Ireland where we have to deal with so many rainy and dull days – I like to brighten them up with a bit more colour. I am inspired by African style jewellery. I like to play with colours but also with different fabrics, trimmings, beads, feathers and anything what can be wrapped around strips of fabric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mick Russell Photography

What inspired this collection or what are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

When I was creating this collection I was definitely using more feathers than before. I carefully selected them while I was visiting my country during the summer holidays. I love attaching them to my necklaces . Some of them are long, some are short. Fluffy, delicate, exclusive almost. In this collection I wanted to show that my necklaces can be used as a costume jewellery as well as part of the casual look. They can be use as a part of theatre costume as they are big and very eye catching.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mick Russell Photography

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

I am definitely more brave by using more and more different types of ”decorations”. I started using only yarns and playing mostly with the colours. Now I am focused on making more interesting necklaces when every rope has a different texture , feeling etc.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mick Russell Photography

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

I don’t know how to answer this question… We are learning every day and all our lives. I am not that far with my company to be able to do that kind of evaluation yet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mick Russell Photography

Describe your creative process.

It’s simpler than you think. It all comes from the need of taking break from reality! Then I look at the yarns…I think what colours I would like to mix. I decide what kind of trimmings, or beads , fabrics or maybe feathers I can attach to make it look interesting and off I go with the creative process!

3
Timothée Cognard Photography

How do you get unstuck creatively?

If I feel tired from making necklaces and have no idea for the next project I usually switch to my other craft – needle felting. I make figurines, ornaments etc. After 1 or 2 felt items I can go back to my jewellery designs. It always works!

4
Timothée Cognard Photography

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

How do I want it to look on my neck? Do I want it very bright or maybe quiet this time?  Do I want it to be casual or more costume jewellery?

583A3472aa.jpg
Purple Blues Photography

How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

Ha! Nobody said I am organized! Artistic people are usually not! I work when I can…when my kids are busy playing, between washing and feeding them. I work when they are finally asleep. I suppose it is still some kind of organization but far away from the dream!

17855488_1897947483823481_3460240148414380214_o
Manon Gustave Photography

How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry?

To be honest with you….I don’t know. I do what I love, I sell it and it makes my happy. But I am outside of the fashion industry. I don’t follow the trends, I don’t read or watch any programs about it. I wear what I like, I do what I love…I feel free.

17855123_1897946987156864_8552653906436681566_o
Manon Gustave Photography

Where do you see your brand expanding to?

As far as I see 98% of my designs are selling to the United States (mostly New York) so I’d say that is my main market. Funky people over there!

17854680_1897947323823497_1591537542013370100_o
Manon Gustave Photography

What advice would you give to young designers?

As a designer I feel young myself so I am open for advice from designers who actually matter in the fashion industry. My time for giving advice might come but I am definitely not at this stage just yet!

***

Images 2-9|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Image 10-11|Sinead Lee Hair Design|Grainne Coughlan Pro MUA

Featured Photography| Aay Kay|Timothée Cognard|Mick Russell|Purple Blues|Manon Gustave

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

Karolina 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Smile for the Cameras! | GDN A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network we are in full swing preparing for our upcoming Autumn/Winter Showcase and the countdown is on as we creep towards September 9th.

20689933_1961273224157573_7871427642380058474_o

 

As any avid reader of this blog will know, the Galway Designers Network is a group that has been established to promote independent creativity and design. The Network was started because we felt that local designers in Galway and the surrounding areas were being overlooked in fashion shows and events due to the vast number of boutiques. We wanted to create a space for local designers to showcase their work and have a chance to gain exposure. The Autumn/Winter Showcase intends to do just that.

DSC_0392_DxO
GDN Founders, Ann Petrov & Gayle Ita

A selection of this season’s designers gathered together early on Sunday morning in the Showcase venue, Tribeton, for a promotional shoot.  Many of the images taken at the event will be used in the winder media as well as here on the blog and across our other social media channels as we approach the Big Day. The Galway Designers Network’s very own Aay Kay was on hand to capture some behind the scenes magic and as you will be able to see from the images that follow, Tribeton‘s stunningly ornate architecture will provide the most beautiful backdrop to this season’s event.

Want to know who the faces behind these collections are? Then come along to our Showcase on September 9th and stay up to date with our social media channels for more information about the talented people behind the designs.

As we have previously stated, this season’s venue is Tribeton, located on Merchants Road right here in Galway. 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Fashion Forecasting: How it works and is it really important?

Do you ever wonder how fashion trends are decided? Who it is that wakes up one morning and tells the world that velvet is in or that we should all be wearing feminist tshirts? Decisions like these are made by a small cohort of people in the industry called fashion forecasters. 

Fashion forecasting is a relatively new discipline in the fashion industry but has become one of the most critical weapons in a brand or retailer’s arsenal. WGSN and Pantone are two of the biggest and most influential fashion companies in the world, but not many people will understand their importance. 

fashion-color-forecast-fw-17-18-all-markets-1_outsider
via WeConnectFashion.comWeConnectFashion.com

Accurate analysis of consumer trends is vital in informing brand direction and development, in the creation of relevant products and services and ultimately in ensuring their success in a crowded marketplace, given the constantly evolving marketing and targeting techniques.

The world has moved forward from the traditional, static means of identifying consumers by demographic, geography, age etc. Fashion forecasting identifies consumers by trying to understand how and why they buy, making assertions based on their moods, beliefs and the occasion.

Fashion forecasters try to identify looks/styles that they think are prophetic, capture the mood and represent the current zeitgeist. By identifying these looks early on, it allows designers and manufacturers to go into production to meet customer demand with most textile manufacturers will begin working at least eighteen months ahead of a season.  

In order to pinpoint a trend, a forecaster must immerse themselves in as many aspects of culture as possible with the purpose of gathering and absorbing vast amounts of information to collate it into a coherent and viable story.  A forecaster has to take an interest in all aspects of culture from the creative arts, media and travel to underground subculture movements and developments in science and technology.

pantone-color-swatches-fashion-color-report-fall-2017
via Pantone.com

Fashion forecasters will try to predict colour, pattern/print, shape and silhouette based on their findings. It is a constant flurry of trying to gather images and collect as many ideas as possible. This enables a forecaster to easily spot a connection amongst all the fashion noise. However, sometimes, there can be one thing that is so powerful and enigmatic that it triggers an immediate reaction from the industry. These findings when combined with statistical market research and observation of socio-economic shifts give an insight into what the next emerging trend may be and show the direction and potential reaction of consumer culture.

There are two methods of fashion forecasting: short and long term. Short term forecasting is used to predict trends based on current events. It predicts colour and fabric by considering fashion events, sport, science, technology etc. Long term forecasting utilises methods of predicting trends based on economical, political and market growth point of view.  

To understand the difference between short term and long term forecasting it is important to understand the different factors to be considered by forecasters. There are certain trends that are ubiquitous through the internet, social media and magazines that have come from catwalk collections. These images are used to predict the next one or two cycles in the fashion year. However, sometimes, there are major changes in the industry which will have lasting effects. Another factor that must be considered by forecasters is the importance of certain perennial elements in the industry e.g. military, 1920’s glamour or 1990’s minimalism and how these trends will never fully leave future fashion cycles.

Dalle-passerelle-allarmadio
via Else-Corp

The fashion industry is changing in ways like never before and with the rapidly changing pace of the fashion cycle, the demand placed on fashion forecasters has increased. Fashion showcases are being streamed live and retailers are obsessed with shortening the turnaround from the catwalk showcase of a collection to its availability in-store. This has changed the forecasting industry from a niche sector publishing literary reports every six months to a massive online service which is constantly creating new material. This shift towards immediacy has led to the industry often being seen as reactive rather than innovative. Many forecasting agencies will often pull from the same pool of information which inevitably leads to an overburdened and stale high street where fast-fashion dominates and short-term micro-trends have become the calling cards of the industry.

nyfw-spring-2015-street-style-black-black-all-black-spring-street-style-nyc
via Kirra Magazine

The opportunities the internet has created for the fashion industry has also made its impact on fashion forecasting. Social media is a vital platform forecasters utilise to both showcase their findings as well as keep their fingers on the pulse of the consumer market. Fashion blogging is reshaping the means by which forecasters conduct their research as bloggers become a more common source of inspiration for the public than any other part of popular culture. This has even had an effect of the employment opportunities within the forecasting sector as certain retailers see bloggers and social influencers as being more connected their demographic, pushing out the more established forecasting agencies. This has created friction in the industry as agencies try to keep their subscriptions up and remain seen as leaders in the sector, leading to them constantly aiming to raise their profile and accessibility.

These changes in the fashion industry have required fashion forecasters to make use of a more bespoke approach to catering for their clients’ needs. Carefully considered guidance is necessary for longevity in the current state of the industry with retailers being offered tailored advice to navigate forthcoming trends in order to successfully match their customers’ needs. Not only does this offer designers like us here at the Galway Designers Network an opportunity to successfully compete in the marketplace but also combat the identikit culture pervading the industry.

Despite the vast changes the fashion industry has seen since the start of this decade, if fashion forecasters can maintain their role as an inspirational resource for those  who wish to be innovative and creative, the role of fashion forecasting will always remain a critical aspect of the fashion industry.

***

If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out the following blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business. It might also be a good idea to read this post about how to identify your target customer or this post about the various challenges and opportunities for designers in the modern retail environment. Check out last week’s post all about tips for marketing your fashion business!

***

The Galway Designers Network 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Sell, Sell, Sell | How to Market Your Brand

Young designers need to understand what they are and why they are starting their own businesses. If they do it, it is because they really believe that they have something to say that cannot be said in the context of Paul Smith or Oscar de la Renta or Dior.

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times.

In the How to Start a Fashion Business blog post, I mentioned a tip regarding the importance of creating your brand identity through marketing and advertising. I will include the exact extract below but click here for a link to the full blog post. 

fashion-schools_600x315

 

There is no point in having a company if no one knows about it. Right from the beginning you should establish your brand identity, by which I mean how you want the public to perceive your business. This refers to the consumers perceptions about the product, the quality and the advantages your brand has over its competitors.

A strategised marketing and communications plan are key to building your brand. Understand your market share, your target audience and how you are going to approach your customers. While social media is critically important to tapping into the current fashion audience, there is a lot more to it than setting up an Instagram page. You need to create a disciplined approach to tackling your consumers and peaking their interests in an super-saturated market.

It is also important to see PR companies and the rest of the media as powerful aides in your broader marketing plan. Hiring a PR agent or company is probably one of the best steps you will ever take in taking your business to the next level, but you should only try to bring your work to the attention of a wider audience if your business can sustain it.

For this week’s blog post, I thought it would be ideal to elaborate on the importance of marketing for the success of your fashion brand and offer a few helpful tips and tricks. Hopefully, you will learn something new or can adapt some of the techniques to suit your business. 

Starting a business, particularly in the fashion industry can feel a little overwhelming. With so many brands out there all vying for coverage, your efforts to get your brand noticed can feel a little futile, almost as if you are just one of many, spreading your message, hoping it catches someone’s attention. However, you should never let the saturation of the marketplace deter you from giving it your best effort.

Once you have a solid foundation for your business – by which I mean you have a comprehensive understanding of your brand identity, including your distinct design voice and aesthetic, values, beliefs and an understanding of your customer (click here to read last week’s blog post for some helpful tips on how to identify and target your perfect customer) – it is time to use all of this information to create a marketing plan.  

Some of the simplest tips for marketing your business are to post regularly on social media, having a blog, running competitions, joining different online or offline communities and going to events. However, sometimes you might find you have attempted all of these things and they seem to have no impact. That is hopefully where these few tips will come in and help you to market your business. 

Marketing-Service-Level-Agreement-compressor

Tip 1: Directly Ask People to Share 

This may seem slightly intimidating, or even a little desperate, but it is probably the most effective marketing technique. If you are lucky enough to have a customer base already, contact them and ask them to share your brand with a friend, or tag it on social media. There have been numerous times where I have been scrolling through Instagram, saw an outfit I liked and tapped the picture to check the credits only to discover that the one thing I was interested in wasn’t tagged. If you don’t have customers yet, ask people in your circle or even other members of our own Galway Designers Network.  Make a list of names and send a short email telling them about your latest work or newest pieces, how much you would appreciate a little support and add the direct links to your various profiles and social media pages. It will not appear pushy so long as you phrase everything in a polite manner, and the majority of people are happy to support brands they admire, believe in and have good experiences with. 

 

Tip 2: Ensure Your Presence at All Events

…even if you are not physically there.

How can you manage this? Well there are a couple of options available. One way many of the larger designers and brands do it is through the use of ambassadors. While this can take some time, finding a customer who knows your brand as well as you do and who is happy to publicly represent you will be an invaluable resource. If you have someone you think fits the bill, organise an event that your ambassador can host to present them to the world as your new Brand Ambassador, perhaps a lifestyle event or a personal styling session. That way, you have someone who can host events for you in areas where you or your team cannot be or even have them simply attend events in your stead. 

Another option could be to try and gain sponsorship. This does not have to cost a fortune; make use of interesting events or clubs in your locality where you could offer merchandise, goodies or services, or even some financial support. By conducting some succinct research, you can gain an understand of the interests your customer base has and use this information to create an effective   sponsorship marketing plan that will not cost the world.

 

Tip 3: Share your Expertise 

We’re all experts in something. As a designer, you will  have extensive knowledge about textiles, pattern drafting, construction, sustainability practices, even topics like the tools required for starting a business, what its like to be a designer in a small town etc. Take your experiences and channel them why writing about them. Be yourself, open and honest, and share everything you can. Find the best place to share your work, either in a magazine, newspaper or on a blog. By doing so, you will broaden your audience and cast your sales net even wider, thus attracting more sales. 

 

Tip 4: Social Media Conversations

Social Media is one the most critical marketing tools for the current retail sector. As a designer, it is important to have an online presence where you can engage with customers. Make sure your have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Snapchat and use them to interact with customers, bloggers and journalists in your area. By doing so, you will open your brand up to a world wide audience and help to strengthen it. 

  • FacebookIt is important to post regularly, with relevant updates. You can also try to engage with your customers by posting poles or doing live Facebook videos showing you at work while taking questions from your followers. Facebook is one of the best channels for audience interaction and questions, but it will inevitably be the first place they go to complain, so keep an eye on all customer interaction. 
  • Twitter: Much like Facebook, you should try to tweet regularly, ensuring your tweets are relevant and consistent with your brand. You could tweet about your latest design, a new fabric or pattern, your current line, some of the best sellers etc. Also, promote your other social media platforms as well as your sales channels. Another tip is to be seen to be tweeting with reaction to different collections during fashion week/cruise collections or other fashion business news to showcase your awareness of current developments.  Keep the tone personal, approachable and interactive – get talking to people! 
  • Instagram: Use Instagram to showcase your work by post images of each of your pieces. Show them individually and styled with different outfits to give your followers inspiration. If you see a piece from a high end designer similar to a design of yours, share that, with the relevant link to your item showing your customers how to get the look for less. Instagram is fast becoming the most relevant social media platform for fashion and offers a wonderful place to engage with other designers, customers or bloggers and journalists in your area. Instastories also offers you the chance to post daily updates and short videos of you at work as a designer or even offer sneak peeks of upcoming pieces. One of the best features of Instastories is the ability to tag where you are, adding to the Instastory of the locality, particularly helpful if you decide to upload a video of an event or showcase you are taking part it. 
  • Snapchat: Although, Instastories has somewhat over taken Snapchat in recent months, having a Snapchat account can prove to be a critical social media tool in terms of engaging with followers and potential customers. Snapchat is a quick, hassle free means of taking customer questions and interacting with your audience. It is also a great tool if you want your personality as the designer to become part of your brand identity, as many people will feel like they can get to know you through the videos or images you post. Again, much like Instastories, you can post daily updates and short videos of you at work, offer sneak peeks of upcoming pieces, or tag where you are, adding to the Snapchat story for the local area. 

By using social media, you can expand your audience and forge better relationships with the followers you have. Tools like Facebook Live/Instagram Live are great means of having long, engaging conversations with potential customers, rather than sporadic chat in a comments section.

social-media-icons-shopping-cart-ss-1920

People love what others are passionate about, and if your fashion line is your passion, then there is someone out there just waiting to discover it. How do they do that? Through your effective and efficient marketing strategy.

***

If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out the following blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business. It might also be a good idea to read last week’s blog post about how to identify your target customer or this post about the various challenges and opportunities for designers in the modern retail environment.

***

The Galway Designers Network 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 galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.