In a mere few months, one Limerick native’s fashion label, AOIFE, has achieved colossal success thanks in part to Instagram. Irish designer Aoife McNamara launched her fledgling label just last month, after being inundated with queries when she wore her own striking pieces on social media.
At only 23-years-old, McNamara credits the platform with bringing her work to a wider audience. She recently began selling pieces directly through the app, answering queries and fulfilling orders as she finds the time to work on an official website.
“Instagram is amazing. It is a wonderful platform for young designers starting out to share their work with the world. People would constantly ask if I was selling my designs before I actually built up the courage to start,” she said.
“I could not recommend Instagram enough to anyone starting out in any industry,” she continued. “It has opened so many doors for me, as well as giving me the chance to work with some amazing bloggers.”
Ethical and sustainable
Sustainability is at the heart of AOIFE, the Limerick School of Art and Design graduate confirmed. “I am always looking for different ways of bringing sustainability into my brand, from fabrics to packaging. Sustainability is something I want to make wearable and fun, as I do feel a lot of people might associate the term with boring clothes. Hopefully I can change some people’s minds.”
For her Spring Summer 2019 collection, 50% of the pieces are deemed eco-friendly, as McNamara is crafting garments using Irish wools and tweeds. She is also routinely in London, sourcing fabrics for her distinctive satin blouses, dresses and two-piece sets in colours like fuschia, sage green, lilac and midnight blue.
“I work a lot with Irish mills such as John Hanley’s, Magee and Molloy and Son. We are so very lucky with the range of beautiful tweeds and wools that are woven here in Ireland,” she said. “Working with Irish mills is something that I have always envisioned my brand doing, as well as incorporating other materials to give it a contemporary twist.”
Making her mark
Judging by her Instagram output, McNamara, who is simultaneously working on commissions for larger projects and training for a triathlon, seems to be working around the clock. “I suppose when you start your own business that’s how it goes for the first while,” she agreed.
“There is always something to be done! I have just hired my first employee which is very exciting as I did not think I would be hiring a month into opening. It’s all moving along well at the moment.”
With her inbox filling up with requests for pieces — you can peruse her collection via the ‘SS19’ highlight on her profile — and a promising future, one wonders what’s next for this clued-in young designer (she was also shortlisted as one of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs in the start-up category earlier this week.) “That’s a good question! For now I am really just concentrating on my brand and I do have some very ‘pinch myself’ projects coming up which I can not wait to share over the coming months,” she teased.