Margaret Molloy, Ireland’s Advocate: The Passion + The Fashion
Embellised corset, Bláithín Ennis
When I recently came across the WearingIrish directory of hundreds of incredible Irish designers, I felt like I had discovered a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The directory is amazingly comprehensive, featuring womenswear, menswear, jewellery and accessories. Whose vision established this website and why? Let’s investigate.
Margaret Molloy shared her story, “I was born and raised the eldest of six children on a dairy farm in Offlay, Ireland and came to New York after graduating from the University of Ulster, Coleraine. Today I’m the Chief Marketing Officer of Siegel+Gale, an acclaimed branding agency that has fortified some of the top brand names over the years through unstoppable dedication and simplicity.” Ms. Molloy is the creator of WearingIrish, a platform that champions Irish fashion designers through social media, events, and other programs. “For me, WearingIrish is truly a passion project. It’s about providing designers access and exposure to global markets; it shines the spotlight on the makers. It’s not about who’s wearing it. It’s about who made it.”
Let’s discover some of the fabulous creations and skilled artisans featured in WearingIrish.
If you can handle all the flattery and praise you’re sure to hear, this brand beckons. Traditional Irish tweed worked with contemporary flair. The appealing hand pleated details celebrate the skill of the artisan. The impressive Ards coat in soft blue is paired with the Carnaghan Collar. Both are made from Donegal Tweed. Luxurious handmade pleated pashmina scarf, crafted from 100% Merino lambswool.
Bernie Murphy is a textile artist based in County Donegal and uses Donegal tweed from the world famous local mills in Donegal. She reflects, “My aim is to capture in my textile art suggestions of the natural environment that surrounds me – its unpredictable beauty and spirit – and reflect my homeland of Donegal.”
Chupi is a multi-award winning Irish jewellery brand founded by designer Chupi Sweetman. Solid Gold Hawthorn Twig Infinity Double Circle Necklace. The two entwined circles are cast from an actual hawthorn twig. Crafted in 14k solid gold, the interlinked twigs create “the perfect symbol of happiness.” Love Heart Ring in Silver. Simplicity, purity of line and the power of symbolism propels this solid sterling ring into stardom.
In six short years Chupi Sweetman, born in the Wicklow Mountains, has created an enormously successful jewellery business based on devotion, passion and designing heirloom jewellery that “makes people happy.” Her secret formula is no secret at all. It’s obvious. Her secret ingredient is love. And all you need is love. And Chupi.
Sharon Hoey, designer and Founder of “And Tate” brand uses sumptuous fabrics to craft her off-the-shoulder bateau neckline white Sebastian blouse/jacket combo with three-quarter sleeves that would outshine any sequined evening gown at the next special event. The Ivan is an alluring semi-fitted shirt cut longer with an elegant curved hem and self-tie. It will look amazing with skinny jeans and stilettos, or incredibly sexy, as shown with a sheer taffeta skirt.
Andtate is the brainchild of Irish designer Sharon Hoey who has been designing evening and bridal wear for over 30 years. Renowned for luxury, simple silhouettes and beautiful craftsmanship, Sharon relates, “These are real shirts for real women who appreciate sustainable luxury fashion. We believe in slow fashion that is kinder to our planet.”
Gemma O’Leary, designer and founder of Inner Island, snaps up fabulous natural pearls to create contemporary masterworks of sublime beauty. Strata Large Earring with Pearl is a symphony of iridescent fresh water Keisha pearls and contrasting gold or silver textured earring hoop. The lustrous shimmer of the one-of-a-kind pearls combined with the expertise of the designer truly creates a modern day heirloom.
Gemma shares, “All our pieces are handcrafted in rural County Wexford in the east of Ireland using the ancient art of metalworking and combining it with modern technologies. This isn’t about fast fashion, it’s about pieces to truly treasure. Our pieces are designed and made with love, and we think that shows.”
Within a dramatic studio sitting along the coast of Ireland’s Ancient East, Irish designer Bláithín Ennis
specializes in cutting-edge handmade jewellery and large scale couture body pieces. Part sculpture as well as trailblazing new concepts in contemporary jewellery, this pioneering designer breaks down the barriers of what so many assume jewellery should be. The handmade Starburst woven and embellished corset is one stunning example, (shown above.) Topaz Blush Bracelet fashioned with gold Czech crystals enclosed within the mesh to give a subtle, elegant sparkle. Inspired by the rolling waves and ocean in continuous motion, the Bradley Large Swirl Earrings in navy blue create a bold statement and celebrate the ingenuity and imagination of this Irish designer.
Although we have only glanced at a fraction of the immensely talented and innovative Irish artisans represented in WearingIrish.com and #WearingIrish, we can all thank Margaret Molloy, a woman of indomitable spirit, by visiting these sites and supporting the hundreds of creative and gifted Irish designers that make our world more beautiful by their craft.