Irish designers and creators on what's hot this season

Irish designers and creators on what’s hot this season

Sarah Magliocco breaks down the key trends of this season’s Fashion Month and joins Irish designers and creators to share her thoughts on the latest trends in fashion today.

We’re only a few weeks away from Fashion Month and the myriad of catwalk shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, and many of us are already planning our winter looks. It ushered in a fresh era in fashion, moving into the demure embrace of Fall/Winter and the new choice of trends, styles and aesthetics that comes with it.

There’s a “back-to-school” feeling in the air at this time of year – often enhanced by the plaids and color schemes that return to the high street for the second half of the year – and people are craving something new, fresh and innovative.

Zezi Ifore, Guest, Jordan Grant, Sophia Hadjipanteli and Miraa Al-Momani attend the Chet Lo SS23 show during London Fashion Week September 2022. Photo: Getty

With the energy crisis, the cost of living crisis and the looming recession, we should see a build on existing trends in the coming months along with a response to the upcoming and current global crises. A number of designers and brands brought innovative adaptations of already existing looks to the fore.

So, what and who moves the fashion world at home and abroad and how can you embrace the current fashion climate in your own way?

Daring duality
Sustainable designer and creative label Quiet Ceremony owner, maximalist dresser and trend oracle Lucinda Graham reiterates the notion that the trends that will unfold before us in the coming months will be a harbinger of a future economic downturn and a response to ongoing civil unrest .

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“I see a real duality for A/W22. I see the normcore for women in the early 2000s and late 90s is going to be huge,” Lucinda explained. “Think neutrals, leather, we’ve seen the rise of the shell necklace — the shell necklace is always a harbinger of a recession because it showcases accessories without breaking the budget.”

This 90’s normcore with early 2000’s silhouettes was evident in Blumarine’s SS23 show at Milan Fashion Week, where natural denims jostled against beige cargo skirts and stone colored dresses.

When it comes to influences for this aesthetic, the designer has one particular muse in mind: “We look to style icons like Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, who was JFK Junior’s wife and died in a plane crash in 1999.

Blumarine’s SS23 show at Milan Fashion Week. Photo: Getty

She was involved with Calvin Klein and was pretty high up in the company and wore incredible shades of brown, black and cream and they have a real classy look that’s easy to replicate on a budget

“When we come into the livelihood crisis, we have people who are unconsciously preparing for the recession in practical shades and tones, but on the other hand there is a cohort of young women who are really rebelling against the looming livelihood crisis and the current general feeling, which is very, very difficult,” says Lucinda.

“We are witnessing the impact of the floods in Pakistan, the war in Ukraine, and a lot of young people are using clothes as rebellion and turning to bright colors and dopamine clothes and really OTT in clashing colors as rebellion to say ‘actually’ I will choose joy. I will choose to dress for myself because it makes me feel better, braver and happier in the absolute chaos that the world is presenting right now.'”

Reinterpret classics
Reinterpreting what we already have in our closets becomes increasingly imperative as we head into the winter months.

One name on everyone’s lips at London Fashion Week was Asian-American designer Chet Lo, who debuted at the UK-based event this year with a groundbreaking SS23 collection that was both inspirational new and callbacks to some featured hallmarks of the brand – specifically its spiky knitwear.

The collection paid homage to Lo’s cultural background and was titled Baai-San – which means “to pray” in Cantonese.

ChetLo. Photo: Getty

The designer is known to have a fascination with knitwear, expanding the realm of possibilities for the textile medium. After a few seasons of crocheted and spidery knitwear, I predict that Chet Lo’s unique texture phenomenon of creating apparel with a rippled, barbed appearance will become the most desired texture for true fashionistas and allow those who have already embraced texture knitwear will still be cool for a few months in the past few seasons.

Staying with London Fashion Week, we have Irish designer Colin Horgan, who I first spotted in 2019 when pop singer-songwriter Soulé took the stage at the inaugural Love Sensation music festival in Dublin in late summer.

Worn by the likes of Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga and Little Mix, the Kerry native took his trademark sculptural manipulation of textiles to a new frontier in his SS23 works entitled Imposed Faction.

Look 11 at Colin Horgan’s London Fashion Week show. Photo: Getty

The collection draws heavily on layered fabric blossoms, constrained by the designer’s penchant for straps and contrast stitching. Look 11 featured what may be the most interesting bomber jacket seen in any form in years, a deep blue cropped jacket with sky blue layering.

who wears what and Fashion have already heralded the return of the bomber jacket as a stylish jacket silhouette for F/W 2022, and after its saturation in the mid-2010s, many of us no doubt already have one in our closets.

The Horgan edition is on my extensive ‘sometime’ wish list and right now I’m wearing my existing Look 11-inspired jackets, pointy boots and pleated skirts as must-have combinations.

The new breed of fashion designer
It would be joking to pretend fashion is separate from influencer culture. When most people are asked where they get their style inspiration from, they name one of Ireland’s most famous social media stars with a flair for personal style like Tara Kumar or Deirdre Phelan, or simply name a social media app like Pinterest, Instagram or increasingly TikTok.

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As consumers’ appetites for fashion content shift and there is a growing interest in how clothes are made, how outfits are put together and what other creative and personal endeavors an influencer takes on, aside from posing for pretty pictures, we need to look at the digital creatives, who think outside the box to cultivate an online community.

One content creator the masses have been drawn to in recent months is Verona Farrell, known by her online moniker Second Hand Huns, who has racked up tens of millions of views for her now-iconic street style videos on Instagram and TikTok.

The Irish street style videographer, currently based in Stockholm, offers fashion fans something different than the usual over-the-top content we’re used to on the Instagram platform – and tries to document something more real and open than traditional influencers.

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“My videos can only be so open because I prioritize getting people’s permission,” Verona tells RTÉ Lifestyle, tuning in from the Swedish capital.

“It’s honest how these people really walk the streets. It’s real people living their lives and what I love is seeing people dressed a certain way and knowing that they’re not dressed for a photo, they’re maybe on commuting to work or a meeting and have the confidence to wear this outfit not for a photo but for all to see on the street. That’s what motivates me.

“It’s just about people’s confidence that catches me. I love seeing people on the street showing themselves out there and they’re wearing an outfit and they don’t give a shit,” she says. “That’s impressive for me.”

She continues, “What’s not impressive is that an influencer gets paid to transport a large amount of clothing and then goes to a certain location, hides in their car, hops out to take a picture, and back in car rises. This is uninspiring in terms of how you see yourself and in terms of confidence. I hope to capture something else. Something more real.”

votes from the grassroots
This step of following those who make and do, rather than just posing, is an excellent opportunity for grassroots creatives to get their visions out there in the Irish landscape.

19-year-old Kildare-based Rebecca Ewnetu is one such innovator, throwing herself into building her self-published youth culture and fashion magazine yEWth, while also maintaining a full-time job and cultivating her stylish social media presence.

Rebecca Ewnetu photographed Naomi Ermias for yEWth

The magazine aims to be an outlet for Ewnetu’s own visions and to promote the work of other young Irish creatives, particularly voices that are still underrepresented in the media, with Ewnetu being of Irish and Ethiopian background.

“One of my visions for yEWth is that the project will be representative of all and inspire young WOC [women of colour] and emerging creatives to continue their creative endeavors,” she told RTÉ. “I hope to be a beacon of hope for other young black and Irish women; to show them that they can do anything and that all they need is a mother’s will and determination to create something great.

“I want them to see that there are other girls like them, thriving and thriving in Ireland’s creative scene. I just hope yEWth instills in Irish youth, and black girls in particular, a sense of confidence to get out there, into new territories and establish themselves!”

This shift from social media with an affiliate code to social media with an adjustment of conscience is one of the most notable shifts in the landscape right now, as broader global atrocities and the imminent threat of financial hardship loom large on the horizon.

Models walk the runway at the Gucci Twinsburg show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023

While many high-end fashion houses featured over-the-top, maximalist, voluptuous designs on the runway, such as Gucci with their Twinsburg show at Milan Fashion Week, which featured two sets of models, two sets of each extravagant design and double cost – The real vibe in fashion is currently thoughtful, forcing us to think about what the substance of style is.

Luckily, there are many touchstones to look to during these strange times.


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