Meet four of Ireland’s top fashion designers Heidi Higgins, Aoife Kirwan(milliner), Niamh O’Neill and Katie O’Riordan (Theo+George) in conversation with Eddie Shanahan, Chair of Council of Irish Fashion Designers. Learn how collections are developed , get styling tips and advice on wardrobes for busy lifestyles and avail of an opportunity to shop the collections in a special Designer ‘Pop Up’ Shop.
Heidi Higgins graduated from NCAD in 2008. Just under one year later she proudly introduced her own label to the Irish market in May 2009. Heidi presents a confident contemporary label that is sensitive to emerging trends – with canny detailing that gives a sage nod to the catwalk while remaining fearless in pursuit of its unique aesthetic. The look is timeless – and exudes both femininity and substance. Her gorgeous garments enrobe the female figure like a dream. Their poise and simple style are bound by no fashion rules. Heidi Higgins design approach is to start with basic shapes, introducing new elements of style, ensuring that shape and fit exude femininity while adding a signature splash of colour in luxurious fabrics.
Aoife Kirwan studied fashion design in Dublin before attending the London College of Fashion to study millinery. She also took private tuition with couturier and milliner Tomas von Nordheim before returning to Ireland to set up her business, designing and handcrafting hats. All of her pieces are handcrafted using traditional millinery techniques and the highest quality luxurious materials. She works with fur and wool felt, straws and sinamay and foundations blocked in buckram and covered with silk, velvet or cashmere. Aoife Kirwan uses a vast range of trimmings including hand cut and curled feathers, vintage silk veiling, handcrafted flowers, sequins and beads.
Niamh O’Neill honed her design skills in New York and Paris working alongside some of the biggest names in the fashion industry, before returning to Ireland to launch her own label in 2012. Having established her label, Niamh collected the Fashion Designer of the Year award at the Irish Innovation Awards 2013. The judges praised her ‘sophisticated use of colour and her elegance’.
Niamh O’Neill is stocked in exclusive boutiques throughout Ireland, North and South and has her sights set towards a global market. It was while working in the international design houses of Diane Von Furstenberg, John Galliano and Martin Grant that Niamh began fine-tuning her talents, shaping her vision and developing her own distinctive style. Her signature style combines clean lines and contemporary cutting with luxurious fabrics, creating an instantly identifiable look of understated elegance.
Theo + George
Irish based Philadelphia native Katie O’Riordan is the driving force behind Theo+George – a lifestyle brand rooted in simplicity and minimalism. Simplicity represented by beautiful, contemporary and responsible products. Theo + George was started to help people get more from life with less, by providing timeless solutions that can be either dressed up or dressed down and that make everyday effortless.
Progressive, and ambitious, Katie was determined to create a collection that shares her own values of simplicity and sustainability, while also being durable and easy to wear. As a busy mom of two, she recognises the value of a life made easier and was driven to share this principle with others, with a curated crafted collection of clothes that work together to reduce the need for unnecessary consumption.
With a degree in physics and a background in architecture and fashion, Katie has taken her unique skills and applied them to her life’s passion. She has received increasing recognition for her work in the fashion industry – in 2015 she made the shortlist for the IDI Universal Design Award and was awarded the title of 2017 IFIA Fashion Designer of the Year. She has collaborated with the likes of Paul Smith, L.A.M.B., and Disney. She was also part of the design team that produced the US Snowboard Team uniforms for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The brand is sold online (global shipping) as well as via periodic pop-up shops throughout Ireland (see website and/or Facebook for more details).