A show with a difference

fashion show spring summer 17 ireland

It took place last March in Greystones’ Hot Spot Music Club and it was a show with a difference. In fact it was quite unique. A bunch of great dancing friends pulled together and co-created what turned out to be quite a fun and enjoyable display of relaxed talent and freedom of self-expression. You see I have been dancing a free-form, free-style kind of dance for the best part of 20 years and went to ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary dance classes since I was about 7. Dance has been a fantastic resource of mine and a go-to whenever I needed to feel more embodied and connect with my strengths and my power. It has also been a form of expression in which I feel my freest,…

Restyling Up cycling Customising

feline tweed skirt irish organic eco friendly cashmere silk lined

Up cycling is probably a sorry word for it. Customising may sound a bit better and restyling is definitely more accurate. Whichever word you use, giving a new lease of life to existing clothes makes so much sense and is such great fun. Based on applying the principles of a circular, no waste, economy, it has been around for a good few years. The likes of London-based Junky Styling for example have done it since 1997. I exhibited alongside them at the very first ethical fashion section of Pret a Porter Paris back in 2005. At the time, I thought  “how cool” ! Their clothes were so creatively inspiring, all made from gentlemen’s suits transformed into sexy dresses, skirts, tops, scarves…Founded by a very talented duo, Annika Sanders and…

To innovate and produce responsibly is now a must, not just a trend!

overlay crepe de chine trousers irish design sustainable design

At the last Youth Fashion Summit in Copenhagen(May 2016), the likes of Patagonia, Nike, H&M…were represented and were all singing from the same hymn sheet: sustainability is not just a passing trend, it is an essential part of how they run their business and one that needs to be constantly improved upon. Patagonia has been at the forefront of applying a circular economy model for a long time now and it is receiving an award for doing so in Davos this week.  As Business of Fashion recently reported: “The whole idea of [the circular economy] is creating no waste,” says Julie Gilhart, a creative business consultant who counts Amazon and LVMH among her clients and has worked with the CFDA to establish a sustainability initiative….

My most sustainable collection yet

donegal lambswool irish design french designer

I set myself the challenge of making my most sustainable collection yet this Autumn. After seeing Demain (Tomorrow, ) last April in France, I just needed to do something about what I will call “my stock situation”. Ever since I started making in the fashion world, one question kept on coming back : what is the point of producing more fashion, more clothes, when resources are limited and there are already so many out there?! And every time I fell in love with new fabrics and the creative juices kept me going and I replied to my question saying: “Well you’re offering an alternative Sophie, what you’re making is as thought through as possible in terms of low impact and you produce fairly and locally….

Behind the scenes fashion photoshoot


“My Spring Summer 16 woman is wise, strong and independent yet very much in touch with her vulnerability, her inner child”, I wrote to Pat McHugh, the photographer I chose to shoot my new collection. I had sent him pictures of the place and described how we could use its wild quirkiness. My friend Carl had shown me around his studio in Rathmichael and I could visualise creatures of fairy tales when we went there. The dishevelled-looking trees and the overgrowth of grasses and plants were very interesting looking. The intricate trees and thorny bushes of Sleeping Beauty, and the threatening woods of Little Red Riding Hood came to mind. I decided to use trees as props and create a set with accessories gathered at the wonderful…

I tell love stories with natural/organic fabrics

organic-natural fabrics

  I heard Rick Owens recently saying that, (I am paraphrasing) he was making a poetic statement with his new collection for Autumn Winter 16 but that it wasn’t a manifesto, he did not want to preach. No-one wants to be preached to I thought but yet if you are setting out to make a statement at all whether it be poetic or otherwise you are delivering a message so why not make it intentional and take pride in it. When I founded Unicorn Design in 2003, I set out some basic criteria, intentions by which I would abide. For example, the cotton I would use would always be certified organic and any other fabric I would choose to work with would be natural and…

A print and a trim – Spring Summer 16 – Fashion


  My Spring Summer 16 collection was brewing within as always before I start to sketch it. Someone mentioned the word textile print in casual conversation and it sparked it. I remembered how Olga Tiernan was a member of a textile printing collective called Print Block in Dublin and I decided to look up her website. There they were, two completely original prints, quirky, very eye-catching without being stunningly beautiful. Just inspiring. Olga did work experience with me after finishing textile printing College in Edinburgh, about 8-9 years ago now. We got on great and have kept in touch since. We share the same passion for eco friendly fabrics and a sustainable lifestyle. It was easy to get the ball rolling. It is one of…

Happy New Year 2016!

irelands ancient east

  No more holding back, as I walked down the animated streets of Dublin last night, New Year’s Eve 2015, the buskers were out on Grafton Street and I listened as I passed by. One was playing the trumpet to a backing track of What a Wonderful World and the next was playing yet another and beautiful version of Mad World by Talk Talk. They each evoke a wealth of feelings, and reminded me of the year past… I love both songs and what they convey. Yes it is a wonderful world, and the first emotion that I felt when I heard the melody was a familiar joy, but sadness swiftly followed: “I wish” I thought, “I wish it were indeed beautiful, peaceful, harmonious for…

Skinny dipping by the full supermoon eclipse

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It was a very spontaneous decision. I had read in the Irish Times internet feed earlier that day that there would be a total eclipse of the full moon and that this would be exceptional as this was a supermoon, i.e., the moon is closer to the Earth than usual. And the thought popped into my head straight away: I have to witness this, the sky could not be clearer and in Ireland it is a chance you just have to grab. So I mentioned it to a couple of friends and Louise said yes to getting up at 3 am to witness it with me by the sea in Greystones and to swim when the eclipse was complete. It was so exhilarating a thought...

The Burren

I made a pilgrimage of sort back to the Burren recently, an area of the west of Ireland that holds a very special place in my heart. It is a landscape made up of slabs of limestones interspersed with gorgeously subtle site-specific vegetation. It is a place you feel as much as you see, smell and touch. It excites all the senses and its energy and purity is unique in my experience. It resources me deeply. I love the word resource and resourcing. I am using it now more than ever and it is a word very much associated with sustainability. In this context however it means reconnecting with what is essential, and nourishing my life force at source, at its core. I first came...
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