Irish fashion changes all the time. Maybe in what has been a time of political and cultural changes( i.e. those recessionary woes), it only makes sense that the way we think about style has altered accordingly.
We are an island, and although we might hate to admit it, we’re a small one and not totally independent from exemplars across the pond – which is also true of fashion trends. Much of the media transmitting of fashion is injected straight into the country from the States or from the UK, and what results is a divide in Irish dressing. Some people opt to follow the British lead, a formal and dramatic look, while others look to the States and a more playful, neutral impression taken straight from the West Coast.
Those who align themselves with Team Britain can find themselves strutting up Grafton Street in leather and fur, statement jewellery and a bright pink lip, all laced up with knee-high boots.
Every so often, you’ll spot a a wide-rimmed velvet hat and maybe a choker or two. Think copious amounts of black and you’re half way there.
Irish celebrities who naturally fall into this category include models Rosanna Davidson, Holly Carpenter and Saturdays singer Una Foden. These ladies are big fans of the bold looks, both with colour-confident makeup and dramatic day-to-night ensembles. Holly admits to her black craving for gym sessions; “Not that I need an excuse to wear anymore black than I already do.” These girls would be right at home in London, joining the legions of high-street shoppers in the fashion capital.
Unlike the British-inspired look which throws back to a more vintage 50’s style, the American profile exudes a a retro feel of the 70’s. Model Georgia Salpa and ‘Love/Hate’ actor Susan Loughnane each have a style more reminiscent of this all-American approach. In an attempt to create a relaxed, just off to play baseball/take a swim in the sea/spend the day in a coffee shop style, the pair have it down.
Georgia wears a lot of denim-on-denim, a current favourite with our friends in the U.S., ripped jeans and earthy-faded colours. Throw beachy waves and headscarves into the mix and you’re good to go. Susan does something similar, but achieving a heavier look with a nod to the ethereal and the bohemian. The actress favours loose white shirts and shift dresses and leaving her hair undone with natural makeup.
The pessimistic will argue that Irish style isn’t so Irish anymore, and cast it as a negative thing. It’s hard to imagine, if we were to regain a sense of individuality in the international style stakes that didn’t resemble a mixture of a leprechaun Irish dancer who keeps snakes for pets and wears Aran sweaters all through summer, what that would look like.
And so it seems we are content to simply borrow and not feel under pressure to ‘reinvent’. In many ways, the divide in style inspiration is creative in itself because it shows that we are taking what we can and interpreting it in a way that suits us personally. Who knows, maybe in a few years we’ll take to the French beret and never look back!