My feet have only just about recovered from the madness that is Showcase Ireland earlier this week, but wow was it worth it! The designer showcase, organised by the Craft Council of Ireland, saw over 450 of the county’s top designers display their new designs and products for 2016 in the hope of catching the eye of buyers nationwide. And my eyes were certainly dazzled by the sheer volume of talent and creativity on display.
I feel like last year was a definite turning point for the industry, especially with the support of Irish Design 2015 – the government backed initiative which saw over 2000 designers fly the flag for Ireland at home and across the globe.
The industry now represents an impressive mix of classic heritage greats, joined by the next generation of ambitious contemporary designers and complimented by the eclectic influences of those from further afield, who now call Ireland home. I think this rejuvenation, excitement and hope for the industry, really resonated throughout the 4 day event.
One of my favourite items on the agenda this year was a collaboration between some of the country’s leading knitwear designers and creators. Entitled ‘The Knitwear Project’, the 15-minute long show featured exceptionally crafted pieces made especially for the event. The wonderful medley of birdsong and waves, which would have been more at home in a spa, (I wasn’t complaining) made the entire show an experience in itself, even if it did make me want to lie down and take off my shoes!
Fisherman Out Of Ireland has been a favourite brand of mine, since I started working in the industry and not just for their stunning knitwear but also the authenticity of their brand. Always the most creative stand at the show, their offering this year saw them wrap mannequins heads in wool and use displays of natural shrubbery from their home of Kilcar Donegal, to highlight the natural principals of their product.
These guys just come from such a real place and their new collection is definitely worth a look even if its just to get lost in the beautiful photography.
I’ve been a Manley fan ever since spotting their beautiful embellished collars for the first time at last year’s show. In the past year, the brand has won wide acclaim nationwide, firmly fermenting its delicate floral stamp on the Irish Design scene. And it’s not just beauty for beauty’s sake as the designer Emma has got a serious eye for detail, even making sure her brand new shopper bag has room for everyday essentials including a laptop – a definite winner for us girls on the go!
The items below are from her new Spring Summer Range, which is due to become available in the next few months, so keep those eyes peeled, – my sights on firmly set on the magnificent mono clutch!
Being as obsessed as I am with tassels – and I am obsessed – its no wonder that the work of Aria-V caught my eye. Her jewellery is all costume charm but with an ethic edge. Russian born Aria, who is now based in Dublin, takes her inspiration from a multitude of influences including Asian, Indian and Native American, all of which are represented in the striking shapes and styles used in her handmade pieces and the tassels…. did i mention the tassels ???
“A unique accessory can give a new lease of life to the very simple garment”
And finally, I have to mention the work of Blathin Ennis whose statement jewellery is utterly divine. She set up her own label just after graduating in 2012 and has since caught some serious attention for producing and sourcing unusual materials to make her striking handmade pieces.
I hope I’ve managed to give you just a little flavour of the Irish Design Scene and maybe even encouraged you to keep an eye out for some of these beautiful brands in 2016? -remember we must all support each other !