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Image / Style / Irish Design

Irish Design Spotlight: Caroline Duffy


By Caroline Duffy
02nd Jul 2023
Irish Design Spotlight: Caroline Duffy

Passionate about surrounding everyday lives with colour and pattern (inspired by nature), Caroline Duffy set up her eponymous brand in 2020 – hoping to create pieces that make people smile, feel good and perhaps even think differently. Here she shares more about her inspiration and the achievements she’s most proud of to date.

Tell us about you and your brand
My name is Caroline Duffy and I’m an Irish artist and designer. Over the past few years, I’ve gone from designing fashion prints for big brands to launching my own label in 2020. Alongside my original art paintings and prints, I also produce a collection of luxury silk dresses, kimonos, scarves, throws and stationary. They combine my exquisite floral paintings with my signature feminine style.

Irish artist and designer Caroline Duffy

I imagine a world where every woman feels at ease, connected, beautiful and true to who they really are. My passion is to bring well-being to my customer by surrounding them with nature and flowers. Studies have shown that flowers can induce creative energy and positive vibes, ultimately making us feel better.

My silk collection is a curated selection of timeless luxury pieces which are made to be worn and loved for a lifetime. With a strong commitment to slow fashion, each piece in my collections is individually designed by myself, printed on fine 100% silk and hand sewn in Ireland to create beautiful wearable art. A luxurious garment to be cherished and worn all year round, year after year.

What is your mission?
I aim to redefine what it means to be a strong, free-spirited woman by surrounding her with the healing quality of luxury florals for mind, body and home.

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
I always knew I wanted to be an artist, from about five years old! The idea of being a designer came at a later stage when I was about 19 and in art college. I stumbled upon my chosen degree course in Printed Textiles after doing a taster week in 1st year. I was hooked! Using my art as a pattern on fabric intrigued me. This leads me to my first job in a design studio in New York, then onto Sydney and London designing for big brands.

Caroline Duffy Abundance Silk Scarf Dress, €630

What kind of items do you stock?
Art, art prints, woven throws, silk kimonos, dresses and scarves, stationary, cards and candles.

What new brands or items are on your radar?
I love Irish design. I adore my Landa bag and also Siadbh for her beautiful amulet jewellery. Ejay Griffin is another Irish fashion brand that I have on my wish list!

Was money/funding a concern when starting out?
It wasn’t really, I started slow and have built my brand organically, starting with original art and prints and then my collections have evolved into fashion, accessories and products for the home. Now is the time that I am leaning into growth, so there is a lot of new learning going on behind the scenes to realise this.

Print by Caroline Duffy

Best business advice you’ve gotten
‘Done is better than perfect’. Never wait until your idea is perfect, because it will never be 100%. Start it and learn and improve as you go.

Favourite fashion/design accounts you follow online
Roxanne Parker for sustainable fashion styling and Nicki Hoyne for her fabulous designs.

Other Irish brands you love
Peelo bags, FéRí, Lia Cowen, Niamh O’Neil, Heidi Higgins, Nicki Hoyne, Urban Aran, Siobhan Daly Designs, Laura Chambers, Pickled Pom Pom.

Most useful learning since setting up a business
When you make mistakes it’s not failure, it’s just a lesson. Analyse, improve and grow from it.

Proudest moment so far
Oh this is a hard one! I’m proud I took the leap from being a freelance print designer to launching my own brand Caroline Duffy Designs in 2020, stocking in Brown Thomas, expanding overseas, being a finalist in the Irish Made Awards 2022.

Caroline Duffy I am Freedom Scarf, €175

I want my brand to be remembered for… helping every woman feel at ease, connected, beautiful and true to who they really are. That I brought well-being to my community by surrounding them with nature, flowers and their own creativity.

If I could have anyone wear my designs it would be… Beyonce, Florence Welch and Rósín Murphy.

Imagery via Caroline Duffy