This week, we talk to one of Ireland's top fashion designers and creative directors Lucy Nagle on nurturing her love of fashion into a successful business, pinpointing her 'aha!' moment, and learning to trust her instincts.
When did your fascination with knitwear/fashion begin?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with colour and textures which led me to the word of interior design in London. I’ve always loved the buzz of putting textures and colours together and getting them just right, in interiors and my personal style, too.
What was your "aha!" moment, the moment you knew you wanted to take the plunge and start your own label?
I had a side project selling bags online, and during a buying trip to Hong Kong, I stumbled upon the most amazing cashmere supplier – I just knew instantly that this is what I wanted to do. Fashion was always my first love, and the stars just aligned – after ten years in London, a move back to Dublin, the launch of a new business felt right.
What does your working day look like?
Every day is so different. From liaising with suppliers to checking in with staff at Brown Thomas, researching new colours and styles, to the mundane of everyday admin, but that’s what I love about it. I also get to work from my home office and see my two babies as much as I can.
What was your biggest career fail and what did you learn from it?
I don’t feel like there’s been one big fail but launching a luxury fashion business in the middle of a recession was certainly tough, and along with currency fluctuations in Hong Kong, which affects cashmere costs from Mongolia, it was a challenging start.
Charcoal cashmere sweater, €265 at Brown Thomas. Forest green Cosy sweater, Brown Thomas
What is your vision for the future of the brand? How do you plan to achieve this?
2017 has been such an exciting year for the brand, we’ve gone from one employee to three, the online business is rapidly growing, and customers are responding well to the new collections. All year we’ve been busy working on a new cotton product range for Spring, which will complement the cashmere offering. I want the brand to be the first thing women think of when they need a premium quality basic for their wardrobe. Lucy Nagle cashmere is not about fast-fashion or fashion-driven trends, it’s about wearing clothes that feel great on you, look great and are the staple pieces in your wardrobe that you can always pull out, wear time and time again, and above all, look effortlessly stylish in.
What is your advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in fashion design and business?
Trust your instinct. I wanted to produce a cashmere collection, but I am not a designer. I work with a team of talented designers and together with my eye for colour and knowledge about who the customer is and what they want, we collaborate to produce the collections. I never once let the fact that I don’t do the technical part of the design process stop me from creating something I know there is a need and a love for.