Fashion: Homegrown and homesewn

Aileen (right) wears: Peach lace detail dress by Tokiki €48. Wooden pin-up badge by ArtySmarty (Lucy’s Lounge) €9. Sophie (left) wears: Black and red jersey dress by Tokiki €45 Available in Om Diva.

The future is bright for Irish fashion and design, writes Donna Doyle

The Irish fashion industry boasts a selection of vibrant and impressive young designers. Within the competitive industry however, the resurrection of labels and influence of international fashion houses can stunt the growth of rising talent. International chain stores dominate the Irish market and make it wholly difficult for new talent to emerge and thrive.

Yet unique pieces can be acquired at the same cost or cheaper than these stores’ equivalent, less unique and less inspiring version of a trend. Featured here is a showcase of some homegrown and interesting, ready-to-wear pieces that will hopefully encourage you to buy local, buy Irish and buy beautiful.

This spring will see the launch of a young designer’s showroom at Om Diva, a quirky and colourful vintage store located on Drury Street. The space will enable young fashion graduates to manufacture and sell their designs, without the market restrictions enforced on designers working for larger companies.

Collections by Áine Kilbride, Tokiki and Acevedo will feature alongside other rising stars. Independent designs are also available in stores like the newly opened Beaux Bows and Lucy’s Lounge. They can be acquired at markets such as The Loft in Powerscourt Shopping Centre and Designer Mart at Cow’s Lane. Shopping for pieces here will not only benefit our economy and our fashion industry, but will enable you to achieve a far more individual and inspiring look.

A rising star within the Irish fashion industry is Áine Kilbride, a graduate of the reputable Grafton Academy. Kilbride, who was DCU Young Designer of the Year in 2010, was twice a finalist in the Nokia Young Fashion Designer Awards. Her designs include blouses, shorts and skirts with intricate detail that are inspired by the idea of Modern Heartbreak, incorporating an array of materials including leather, silk and chiffon.

Tokiki, another Dublin-based fashion label was established by Carolyn Moore in 2002. Her beautiful, limited-edition, handmade pieces boast simple, feminine shapes in vibrant prints and fabrics, sourced by Moore throughout Asia. A Tokiki concession was launched in 2006 for Topshop Studio in Dublin – an exclusive venue used to showcase the best of Irish design.

Chupi is another young designer who has had collections featured by the high street megastore. Inspired by her grandmother’s beautiful dresses, she aims to “make clothes to make you feel like dancing”. This aim is achieved as her designs include pretty dresses in bold colours, perfect for nightwear.

A surplus of talent and creativity exists on our small island, and it is budding with innovative designers. If given the chance to thrive, they certainly make the future of the industry look bright. So, be part of it and treat your wardrobe to something new and refreshing. Break the mould, not the bank with Ireland’s own.

Aileen wears:

  • Blue dress by Chupi €19

Sophie wears:

  • White dress by Chupi €29
  • Silver necklace by Courtney €35

Available in Lucy’s Lounge.

Aileen wears Áine Kilbride:

  • White T-shirt with ruffle detail €35
  • Love-heart skirt €45

Available in Om Diva.

Sophie wears Acevedo:

  • Red coat with tails (Om Diva) €78
  • Khaki pants (Lucy’s Lounge) €65

Sophie wears Áine Kilbride:

  • White chiffon blouse €55
  • Black shorts with appliqué €50

Available in Om Diva.

Aileen wears Om Diva: Regenerated own brand

  • Blue and white blouse €32
  • Floral skirt €35

Available in Om Diva.

Stylist – Donna Doyle

Photographer – Kyrstin Healy (

Models – Aileen Johnson and Sophie Lioe