Four Threads is a sustainable Irish brand that is producing some of the finest quality clothes in the country.
It isn’t often that a designer who decides to follow her heart unconsciously taps into the current fashion zeitgeist. Twenty-five-year-old NCAD graduate Alanagh Clegg has founded her label Four Threads on the four strands of her ethos: inspired, handmade, quality, conscious.
Never has there been a better time to build a brand around longevity and sustainability. These are the buzzwords of the moment as the fashion industry and consumers come to terms with the environmental consequences of our habits.
But there was no strategic brand positioning or marketing ploy involved in Alanagh’s choices. “My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress. She passed away in July, but she told me something a few years ago that has stayed with me – ‘Whatever you make, you have to be able to wear it on the inside out. It needs to be that well finished’.”
The Blessington native is the best possible advertisement for her brand. When we first meet during the summer at her pop-up in Optica on Dawson Street, she looks effortlessly cool (literally and figuratively) in one of her own loose-fitting Cross Over dresses.
Cross Over dress, €380
As we chat, I realise she’s just like her brand – smart and understated. She doesn’t design by season; pieces are available as long as there is fabric remaining from which to make them.
Similarly, she doesn’t design trend-driven clothes; instead, each item is a steadfast piece that will work hard for you whatever your age, such as the perfect white shirt or the quintessential black coat.
"Alanagh admits that being committed to ethical and sustainable practices slows down every facet of the design and production process."
Alanagh’s father owns Clegg’s Shoe Repairs, so there’s a solid history of handcrafting, repairing and making-to-last in her family. She sources all of her linen from Wexford and makes each Irish linen piece herself.
Pull Over shirt, €310
As a student, she spent summers working with an embroidery designer in London who was also a sustainability consultant, and it was she who introduced Alanagh to the Indian craftspeople who now make her handwoven cotton shirts with handstitched buttonholes (the attention to detail is superb).
Alanagh admits that being committed to ethical and sustainable practices slows down every facet of the design and production process (hence the term slow fashion). Every decision she considers has to be thoroughly investigated to ensure it marries fully with her brand’s ethos.
Linen coat, €520
“Before I decide on anything, I ask myself if I’m following through on my four threads. There’s no other option for me. If I’m doing something, it has to be done right.”
Certainly, her clothes are faultless in terms of the quality of design, fabric and finish. And women are taking notice. Alanagh was restocking her rails at Create in Brown Thomas the day before we spoke on the phone, such has been the popularity of Four Threads.
Hopefully, the brand will be a permanent fixture there someday. In the meantime, you can buy at Emporium Kalu and four-threads.com.
Portrait by Melanie Mullan
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