Last week I had the pleasure and honour of exhibiting at Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Trade Expo. It was my first time exhibiting and I was truly blown away with the strength of our creative businesses. So much so I have to share with you some of my particular heroes and why I love them.
Green & Mighty!
But first, putting this into perspective, we are a small island off the west coast of Europe. A country that many people in the world have never even heard of, let alone could spot on a map. And I know this from personal experience travelling around the world in 2006/07 - trying to explain how we were not Holland, or England - but next door! And we are bursting with a wealth of designers and makers across a really broad range of sectors.
Meet some of my Hero Designers & Makers!
Take Una Burke Leather who’s exquisite designs and craftsmanship firmly its her on a world stage of fashion & accessories designers.
Or Aoife Lifestyle - a sustainable circular accessories brand that produces gorgeous, luxury bags made from waste, like fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans all over the world. Sustainability in the world of luxury fashion. From Ireland!! Wow.
Remember those crusty old jumpers you’d see when at Irish College as a teenager?! Well a totally new spin on the Irish knitwear is Urban Aran. As a big fan of colour I’m loving what Christine is doing with her knitwear brand from Waterford City.
Frances is a true artist using presses including Batik, Sgraffito and Shibori in the making of her award winning jewellery. Plus she’s originally Athlone, (my Mum taught her art in secondary school) and her brothers John and Stephen are horologists of international renown. That’s some family!!!
The handcrafted furniture from David Oliver in his Kilkenny studio are gorgeous. When it comes to investing in a slick piece of standout furniture for your home, look to this guy! I’ll also be adding to my piece of Coolree Design pieces in the future. The craftsmanship and contemporary design of both of these makers - sure you’d think they were from Denmark - not just down the road!
Not to mention the number of print illustrators, ceramicists, skincare, cosmetics and foods creators and businesses that are really doing something original on a world class level.
We are one hell of a dynamic and innovative bunch of people, especially if you consider the size of this little island of 5 million people.
I was and am so very proud of being part of this group of game changers. And once you check out the brands and designers I’ve mentioned here I think you will see why I say Ireland is a powerhouse of creative design brands.
We are deserving of our place on the world stage. (Minus the arrogance). Bravo!