“I want to be more than a fashion brand”: Aoife McNamara shares inspiration behind latest collection

Pic: Katie Bonner

Aoife McNamara has always poured her heart and soul into her pieces. Each creation is always made with intention.

Her latest collection is no different.

When VIP Magazine caught up with her, we had to find out what the inspiration behind the tailored yet feminine pieces was.

The inspiration behind the full collection 

Pic: Aoife McNamara

Season eight is all inspired by The Burren in County Clare, which is the most magical place, I think. When you look at the Burren and it looks so empty. That’s what I thought of it as a kid, anyway. There’s nothing there, there’s just loads of rocks.

But once I educated myself and walked around it, I realised it was the most biodiverse ecosystem in Ireland. I was filled with inspiration and colours by all the different flowers and species that live inside there. They are only able to do that because it’s an untouched area, it’s allowed to live on its own. So the collection itself is split into three chapters.

Chapter One — The Burren Suit

Pic: Aoife McNamara

I designed the wool with a local woollen mill, John Hanly, I work with him every season. The first chapter showcases the wool that I designed myself. It’s inspired by the grass growing up through the cracks in the Burren, it actually resembles a pinstripe. So if you do take a look at the suit itself you’ll see it’s actually a light green. The grey in the pinstripe resembles the Burren rock.

Chapter Two — That Feeling

Pic: Aoife McNamara

Then we move onto the second chapter which is about being immersed in the beautiful colours of the Burren. The bright pink dress is called That Feeling and it’s inspired by the moment I walked into the Burren for the first time and was overwhelmed by, well, that feeling. There’s a beautiful woven material on the back which represents the colours and excitement and beauty of the area.

Chapter Three — Hope

Pic: Aoife McNamara

The last chapter is a gorgeous blue two-piece suit called Hope. A big thing that I try to do with all my collections is to talk about nature. It’s where all my inspiration comes from. I love to be out emersed in nature. But climate change is such a big part of what I do. I have a job to educate people, that’s a huge part of what I do.

So bringing in sustainable material as well as telling this story and being able to leave an amount of hope. The fashion industry is the second worst industry for the planet after oil. But I want to bring in this aspect of hope.

Going into The Burren was so hopeful, if you leave nature rewild it will flourish again. But we need to let it do that. Sometimes you can feel so hopeless about climate change and the planet but after leaving The Burren I was so hopeful. That’s why my last chapter is all about hope with the powerful blue suit which is tailored with shoulder pads. It’s all about putting on the suit and feeling like a changemaker. You feel like you can change the world.

Being a changemaker

Pic: Aoife McNamara

That’s a big part of my job, when people choose my clothes, I need to know that I made the right decisions with how I created them. I have a lot of different roles to play in my designs. I want to tell a story with my clothes and how I can tell it to my customers.

We have some community events and some wellness retreats. I was asked recently why I did ‘random wellness events’ and what does it have to do with fashion. And for other people it must look random, but for me that is such an important part of what I do.

I don’t just want to be a fashion brand. I want to be a brand that educates customers. Being mindful comes back to being a conscious consumer. You have to mindful within to be able to ask yourself all these questions about why you are buying products. Fashion design is one part of what I do but I want to be an educational brand. Next year, we have some educational retreats, so keep an eye out for those.

The Aoife Mc Namara pop-up store at Kildare Village is open until February 28th


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