Meet Smart Casual podcast host Dominique McMullan

It's no secret that we're a big fan of podcasts here at IMAGE. From our biweekly wine chats with Sophie and Rhona on The Spill, to our monthly PodClubs, when podcasts are involved, we're all ears. We wanted to find a way to blend our love of podcasting with IMAGE's extensive history in style and fashion. And what we came up with was Smart Casual - IMAGE's first fashion podcast, in collaboration with Kildare Village, dealing with personal style in a way that speaks to you.

Ahead of launching IMAGE's first ever fashion podcast– hosted by Digital Editor Dominique McMullan, Fashion Director Marie Kelly and Digital Leader Niamh O'Donoghue – we want you to get to know the faces behind the voices. Our hosts each have their own unique perspectives and opinions on personal style, fashion movements and how fashion affects us. 

Today, it's Digital Editor Dominique McMullan.



What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion to me is about self-expression and fun. It’s about using clothes to aid me in however I want to feel that day. Sometimes all I want from my clothes is to feel comfortable; other days I want to feel powerful or sexy. Some days I might need a pick me up and throwing on a sequin skirt can really help. Other days the world’s most comfortable runners and a soft oversized jumper can be the icing on the cake for what I need.

I wasn’t always confident about my body and used to find dressing really challenging, and sometimes even upsetting. But as I have become older, I have learned to love my body a little more and with that, my love for fashion has grown. Now I wear clothes for me, and no one else.


What is your first fashion memory?

There was a Miss Selfridge t-shirt that my best friend Sarah-Grace Keane had when we were in primary school. We must have only been nine or 10-years-old. The t-shirt was navy with a rainbow pattern love heart in the centre and crimped edges. I have never wanted anything more. We did a Clueless-style photoshoot with Sarah-Grace wearing the t-shirt, shot by my mum. We stood back-to-back and held giant brick phones, I wore a red velvet dress, it was very serious. I remember feeling like we were the coolest pair of friends on earth. We still kind of are.

I also have a very vivid memory of my mum appearing in the living room one evening before heading off on an evening out and bursting into tears. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by how beautiful she looked in a floor-length (what I know now was Versace) gown. She very rarely dressed up like that and I couldn’t believe how lovely she was. I actually wore that very dress recently to an awards ceremony. No one burst into tears when I put it on unfortunately.



How would you describe your personal style?

That is a tough one. My personal style is changeable, and I have never really considered how to describe it before. Upon asking in IMAGE HQ, my colleagues all agreed upon feminine, but with an edge. And I’ll take that. I love girly dresses and prints but I am certainly always aware of balancing anything too feminine with something a little bit masculine, such as boots, a leather jacket, or even just a simple ponytail, rather than ‘done’ hair. There was also a ‘sexy’ thrown in from IMAGE staff and while I am not sure about that, I certainly embrace my curves and am not scared of a high heel or a bit of leopard print.


Who is your biggest Irish style icon?

God, these questions are getting harder! Honestly, I don’t really have a particular Irish style icon. I think I am more influenced by the people around me. Working in IMAGE HQ, and in the magazine industry generally, I am constantly surrounded by astonishingly cool people with their own particular sense of style. The digital team in IMAGE put together outfits that would blow you away, and often do it on a shoestring. If I was to name a few of them – Erin Lindsay wears a faux fur and a red lip like no one else; Sarah Murphy effortlessly pairs and clashes prints like it’s an art form; Rachael Gallivan naturally brings a vavavoom to every outfit; and of course my Smart Casual co-hosts Marie Kelly and Niamh O’Donoghue are some of the most individual and interesting dressers that I know.



What do you think is the biggest issue facing fashion today?

Sustainability and diversity are the biggest issues facing fashion today (I know I am cheating by naming two issues). Fashion is the second most polluting industry, just behind big oil. The trend-driven way we currently consume clothes cannot continue. We need, as consumers, to find ways to support and grow an industry that is socially responsible and has minimum impact on the environment. I am not sure if fashion, due to its very nature, will ever be a 100% sustainable industry, however, there is a lot more that we could be doing, that we currently are not.

Historically, fashion has only represented a tiny slice of people that buy clothes. This cannot continue, and happily, the tide seems to be beginning to change. This year, the September issues of the biggest fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Porter featured women of colour on their covers. For U.S Vogue, the September cover was also shot by a black photographer, for the first time in its 126 years.

2018 has been a global year of change for equality across genders, abilities, sexualities and ethnicities. These changes have been a long time coming, as we slowly but surely move towards a more equal society. I look forward to seeing that change reflected in publications across the globe, and indeed to contributing to Irish publications in getting there.


What are your top three AW18 must-haves? 

  • Whatever makes you feel fabulous
  • Whatever makes you feel fabulous
  • Not leopard print


What are your must-see collections in upcoming fashion weeks?

Richard Quinn, Richard Malone and Simone Rocha are must see’s at this year’s at London Fashion week and all happen to be Irish.

I would also recommend the Topshop Unique show, as any year I have been this show has been so much fun and such a spectacle, and the collection is pretty accessible too, but unfortunately, they have dropped off the schedule this year.


What are you most excited about in launching Smart Casual?

I am most excited about creating an Irish first. There is no other Irish fashion podcast out there doing what we are planning to do. I am looking forward to hearing from real Irish women about why they wear the clothes they wear, having the chats with them, and hopefully learning a little something along the way.



What can we expect from you as a host of Smart Casual?

I’ll probably be the one talking too much, and getting over excited at anything feathered, sequined or sparkly.

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