Ir­ish de­sign­ers in Man­hat­tan mis­sion to crack US mar­ket

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - By Bair­bre Power

THE in­au­gu­ral Wearingirish show­case, a new plat­form for pro­mot­ing Ir­ish fash­ion cre­ated by Of­faly woman Mar­garet Molloy, has brought ten Ir­ish de­sign­ers hop­ing to break into the US mar­ket to New York.

The three-day event, built around nine sa­lons and panel dis­cus­sions, re­sulted in in­tense net­work­ing, sales, client com­mis­sions and in­vi­ta­tions to pur­sue re­tail con­ver­sa­tions.

Valu­able ex­po­sure came in Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), the in­dus­try trade jour­nal re­garded as the ‘bi­ble of fash­ion’, which re­ported on the ten de­sign­ers: Aine, Ali­son Con­neely, Blaithin En­nis, De Bruir, In­ner Is­land, Jennifer Roth­well, Natalie B Cole­man, Sands and Hall, The Tweed Project and Tri­ona De­sign.

WWD chose to spot­light two de­sign­ers for con­tem­po­rary women’s wear: Ali­son Con­neely from Clif­den, who uses Done­gal tweed and Con­nemara lace in her de­signs, and Mon­aghan na­tive Natalie B Cole­man whose styles have strong sil­hou­ettes.

Dublin de­signer Jennifer Roth­well made a big im­pres­sion on the visit­ing busi­ness women and diplo­mats, in­clud­ing Ir­ish Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Geral­dine Byrne Na­son at the mini trade show lo­cated at the mid­town of­fices of the Bank of Ireland, one of the spon­sors of the event.

Mar­garet Molloy is global chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer at Siegel+gale and in­tro­duced the de­sign­ers to re­tail ex­perts, Har­vard Busi­ness School alumni and the Top 50 Power Women in Ir­ish Amer­i­can busi­ness cir­cles.

“Pro­mot­ing Ireland’s fash­ion de­sign­ers is a tan­gi­ble and highly ac­ces­si­ble way to demon­strate Ireland’s cre­ativ­ity. My hope is that the WearingIrish plat­form will ig­nite a strate­gic con­ver­sa­tion about Ireland’s fash­ion de­sign sec­tor and mo­bilise mean­ing­ful ac­tions to nur­ture it,” said Molloy.

Frank Do­roff, vice chair­man of Bloom­ing­dale’s, said the store was “manic” about how many new things they can get into the store be­cause peo­ple’s tastes are chang­ing and they want ‘new­ness’.

Gar­van de Bruir from Kil­dare went home de­lighted at the prospect of one of his leather hand­bags fea­tur­ing in an up­com­ing edi­tion of ‘Oprah’ magazine.

Tri­ona Lil­lis of the Tweed Project at the Wearingirish show­case in New York. Photo: Katie Levine

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