Green and Ireland already go hand in hand, but the country’s burgeoning sustainable fashion scene is fast proving there’s more to Irish-made apparel than Aran jumpers and tweed caps.
For the week that’s in it, here are five Irish brands fighting the good fight and crafting their wares on home ground.
Women’s sweaters and outerwear in classic shapes and go-with-anything colours, made using Irish and British fabrics that the designer has dubbed “steeped in tradition, hardwearing and long-lasting.” Read: Donegal tweed, Irish linen, Scottish cashmere and English Ventile cotton (a tough but soft material made from long-staple cotton). Each piece is handmade in small runs in a workshop in Dublin.
Vintage-inspired womenswear made from a mix of sustainably sourced natural fabrics, such as Fair Trade organic cotton, wool, linen, hemp and silk. Born in France and based in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, designer Sophie Rieu’s eponymous brand isn’t her first foray into ethical fashion. That came back in 2003 with the launch of Unicorn, a label she only retired last year when she launched her namesake line (and her studio/shop still bears the name Garden of Unicorn). Rieu christened “Raw,” the latest collection, her most sustainable to date, designed and made in Ireland using 95 percent stock fabrics. She also offers made-to-measure and upcycling services.
Ready-to-wear, accessories, couture and bespoke bridal gowns and headpieces handmade in West Cork using vintage and locally sourced materials as much as possible. Bestsellers include her kimono scarf tops, made from reclaimed polyester chiffon scarfs. Fun fact: Florence Welch wore an Alice Halliday white lace, sequin and crystal embellished cape when Florence and the Machine was on tour in Australia in 2010.
Galway-based Tweed Project uses crisp white Irish linen and soft Donegal tweed to craft masculine-inspired separates that bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary design. Each piece is made to order so delivery can take up to two weeks. Styles range from scarves and shirts to pants and tote bags.
Mamukko is an accessory brand based in Kinsale, Co. Cork, founded by Hungarian brothers Levente and Attila Magyar. They collect post-consumer sails, decommisioned emergency life rafts, PVC tarpaulin and other textiles and upcycle them into bags, totes and wallets. Each one-of-a-kind piece is stitched to industrial strength with Adler and Singer sewing machines and has a unique serial number, either hand-stamped onto the bag itself or stitched on a label made from upcycled sailcloth.