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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
What advice would you give to young designers?
Nothing happens quickly, take your time, stay true to yourself and it will work!
All other imagery via Majella Lennon
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.