Sophie Rieu is an Ireland based sustainable fashion designer. She has had the passion for clothes and a strong connection to the natural world from a very young age; growing up in the lush volcanic area at the centre of France: le Massif Central, in a house surrounded by forests. Both her mother and grandmother were making clothes and knitting, so Sophie as a child made clothes for her dolls while her mother was making clothes for her children. Later Sophie knitted dresses, cardis, funky pants and jumpers with her mother’s knitting machine. Several visits with her parents to Ireland where her father honed his skills at fly fishing, consolidated a visceral and spiritual connection to Ireland. Sophie loved how still, raw, rugged and apparently untouched the landscapes were in the West of Ireland and when it came to improve her English the choice of a country to become au pair was an easy one. She later moved to Ireland and studied journalism and worked as a freelance writer and as press officer for a prominent Green politician. While she was writing press releases by day she studied dress design by night at the Grafton Academy and reignited an old flame for beautiful textiles and creative shapes. Eventually she resigned from her day job and set out to build her label: Unicorn which she launched in May 2003, becoming the first sustainable fashion label in Ireland. All her clothes were made in Ireland with organic fair trade cotton. She has adhered strictly to these strong ethics from then on but broadened her range of exquisite fabrics to include wool, linen, hemp and silk that are made in Ireland, the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Her two collections are still produced in Ireland.
Style and conscience are key words in Unicorn’s modus operandi and her style motto is:
“Understated elegance with a pinch of playful quirkiness”
Sophie sold to boutiques and exported to France, the US, Germany and Japan for ten years and opened her boutique, the Garden of Unicorn, in pretty Greystones, a happening place south of Dublin, in 2010. She has retailed her Unicorn range there for 6 years and is now operating from a studio in pretty Enniskerry.
She launched her first eponymous collection and closed the curtains on her 13 year old label Unicorn in Spring 2016. She is now retailing by appointment in her studio and online. She also offers a made to measure and an upcycling service to her growing clientele.