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Image / Style / Sustainable Style

Afore After: The womenswear brand that’s so sustainable, it uses buttons made from Irish milk


By Sarah Finnan
28th Nov 2021

Danielle Martin / Instagram

Afore After: The womenswear brand that’s so sustainable, it uses buttons made from Irish milk

Afore After is the new sustainable womenswear brand that’s here to help make conscious shopping a breeze.

Shopping sustainably has become all the easier in recent years thanks to the arrival of new eco-conscious and ethical brands, with Afore After the latest in a long line of others. Designed on the Wild Atlantic Way down in Clare, it came to be amid a period of great global uncertainty and multiple lockdowns. 

The chef-d’oeuvre of Sandra Murphy – a fashion and textile designer and lecturer with over 20 years of experience and an unfaltering passion for sustainability – Afore After launched just this summer, and the resulting garments are a vintage lover’s delight. 

Afore After
Sandra Murphy, Afore After founder

As for the sustainability element? The trailblazing new womenswear brand has that more than looked after with a focus on ethical production and low-impact materials. Even the buttons are made from Irish milk!

“When I say that my collection is sustainable, I’m not just talking about the fabrics,” Sandra says. “Everything from the thread to the buttons to the labels has gone through rigorous certification processes.”

One of the first brands to adopt a circular approach, this means that the environmental and social impact are carefully considered at every stage of the design and manufacturing process. While all products are of course designed with the customer in mind, the process goes beyond that with Sandra also thinking about how her pieces can be reused and how their materials can be repurposed at the end of their life cycle. 

“I’m constantly asking, ‘What has the impact of this material been so far, and does it have a future beyond what I’m using it for now?’ There’s so much greenwashing in fashion at the moment, and Afore After is a response to that. I want every woman who wears one of my dresses to feel confident about its journey, and to feel that, in 2021, this is as sustainable as sustainability gets.”

Unlike other sustainable brands, Afore After forgoes the traditional, muted tones many of its competitors seem to favour… opting instead for bold colours and cutting-edge design. “I want to show people that building a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t mean sacrificing style,” Sandra continued. “It can still be colourful, it can still be exciting.”

Don’t believe her? One look at the Afore After stock will tell you she’s onto something. The brand’s first collection features 27 “versatile, infinitely wearable pieces” with those ranging from dresses to tops, skirts and the it-accessory of the moment; face coverings. 

Like many others, Sandra’s business was inevitably hit by the onset of the pandemic. Brought to a screeching halt in early 2020, suppliers and manufacturers shut down, and key elements of the process were unable to go ahead (visits to the manufacturer in Poland, organising a traditional photoshoot to showcase the collection etc.). Still, Sandra kept the faith and a few small tweaks here and there (fittings conducted over Whatsapp, recruiting former student Danielle Martin to conduct a one-person shoot during lockdown) meant that everything came together in the end

Already amassing a number of high-profile celebrity clientele, the ever-stylish Aoibhín Garrihy names herself amongst the brand’s fans. Available online you can shop the collection right here, but we’ve rounded up some of our favourites below. 

Afore After
Amaze Blouse Emerald, €138
Afore After
Darling Dress Violet, €228
Afore After
Hope Dress Fuschia, €238
Afore After
Joy Blouse Emerald, €118
Afore After
Joy Blouse Violet, €118
Afore After
Serene Skirt Fuschia, €118
Afore After
Thrive Face Covering Emerald, €18