WE ARE ISLANDERS | Interview With a Fashion Designer


Hi guys, today I’d like to share with you my interview with Rosie O’Reilly – creative director, designer and artist of WE ARE ISLANDERS. WE ARE ISLANDERS is a fashion brand based in Dublin. They use traditional fabrics, but add a contemporary twist to them. Produced locally using only sustainable materials, this fashion label refuses to compromise on style and quality while remaining dedicated to better practice. During SS16 London Fashion Week I had an opportunity to meet some talented Irish fashion designers at Institute of Contemporary Arts. Salmon leather and incredible print of We ARE ISLANDERS Spring Summer 2016 collection caught my eyes. So, I decided to stop by and talk to a designer…

Yukova: Could you tell me a bit more about your fashion background? Where did you study, when you started creating fashion items, did you like to make illustrations/sew in childhood?..

Rosie: I took the tourist route studying Philosophy and Sociology at Trinity College Dublin as my primary degree and then having been involved with costume & set design for theatre groups while there began doing part time courses in fashion/textiles & fine art art.

I was lucky to have grown up in a house where making stuff was part of the daily routine. If it wasn’t painting it was jam making or sewing up outfits at the last minute.

Yukova: Did you work with any fashion/accessories designers before starting your own brand? When was a brand established? Who are the people behind the brand?

Rosie: I worked for a short time in the industry but closed my own label down to research and develop an understanding  of sustainability in the sector. The label was launched in 2012. I’m creative director and designer. Deirdre Hynds is communications director and Kate Nolan is operations director.

Yukova: Could you tell my readers about the concept of your Spring Summer 2016 collection? What are the materials and techniques used? Why did you choose to use these particular  materials?

Rosie: SS16 is called the Journey to Hy-Brazil. Hy-Brasil is a mythical Atlantean Island said to lie off the west coast of Ireland. Sea stories and legends formed part of the mist that is said to cloak its legendary isles, only clearing, according to Irish Folklore one day every seven years.

The maritime obsession with the fabled island resonated across borders with the wanderings of nomads and explorers.

This collection creates it’s own story and fantasises about the female explorers of the 18th Ida Laura Pfeiffer and Jeanne Baré journeying to Hy-brazil. Two female botanists who boarded boats dressed as men to experience new life and form in nature become the muses for this collection. The Journey to Hy-Brazil’ is produced using Irish linens, hand painted bamboo silk, salmon leather, organic cotton twills and Muslin and the process used is mainly hand – painted silk where inimitable markings are transferred on to silks and linens from of a traditional Irish wooden boat called a ‘currach’.

Yukova: How does your muse look like, what is her lifestyle, state of mind, spirit?

Rosie: The WE ARE ISLANDERS woman is the adventurer, the explorer, the global citizen the woman who wants to wear a garment that tells a story but cares about the environmental and social story of the time they are living.

Yukova: What would be your dream project or collaboration?

Rosie: A collaboration with artist David McDermott or potter Grayson Perry.

Yukova: Does your collection available to buy online/in store? What is a price range of the pieces?

Rosie: Yes Logon to WEAREISLANDERS.COM. Prices range from £100 – 600+ depending in the piece.

From the author: It was my pleasure to interview Rosie O’Reilly. I wish her success and lots of inspiration.

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