With it being St Patrick’s day, in honour of this celebration, Style celebrates the talent that Ireland brings to the fashion world. Understandably, no-one likes to wear green-on-green, but apart from this error that encroaches our wardrobes for this one night of the year, Ireland has given fashion some tremendous talent and without Ireland we would not have some of the biggest names in the industry today.
Believe it or not, but Primark or Penney’s as it is known in Ireland, was first opened by Arthur Ryan in Dublin. The success of the store in Dublin led to its expansion to the United Kingdom and then across Europe. The diverse and affordable range of products offered to us from the huge retail chain has gained international success, being many people’s go-to store. Although Primark has gained international success, it’s HQ is still based in Dublin, suggesting that its roots are still very much part of the store’s faculty. The former long standing Primark executive, Breege O’Donoghue, if the name doesn’t give it away, is another Irish native, and is one of the main reasons to why Primark found fame within the world of fashion. Joining Penneys in 1979 to set up the human resources department for the 24 outlets at the time, thirty-seven years later, O’Donogue has seen this rise to 300 stores in eleven countries with over 60,000 employees. There is no doubt that the luck of the Irish has helped Primark develop and prosper to the store we all visit so often today.
As well as huge retail stores, Ireland have given us one of the top TV personalities and style icons of today. One of Ireland’s most successful celebrity style icons is County Wicklow girl, Laura Whitmore. Starting out in television, most notably reading the bulletin for MTV Ireland and with her growing television profile in the UK, Laura has also made a name for herself in the fashion world. Constantly photographed at London Fashion Weeks, she constantly changes her look from girl-next-door in casual blue-washed jeans and converses, to designer dream with many big names wanting Laura to wear their designs on the red carpet.
A final face to be thankful to Ireland for is that of legendary singer-songwriter Bono, who was born in Dublin. Although mostly known for his influence on music, his talents see no end with his fashion brand EDUN being founded in 2005. In 2008, the brand established the CCIU (Conservation Cotton Initiative Uganda) which provides funding and training to cotton farmers to help build sustainable businesses in Northern Uganda. The fashion line which emphases laid-back luxury, with designs such as a minimalist satin crepe dress, or plisse leather skirt, is fast becoming popular with the likes of Emma Watson, and is now being sold through websites such as Net-A-Porter.com and Matchesfashion.com.
Although Ireland is only a small island off the UK, it has provided the fashion industry with some major talent.