Ten Irish designers blazed a creative and successful trail through New York in May, wowing the Big Apple’s fashion influencers and buyers.

In May 2018, WearingIrish NYC 2018, supported by Bank of Ireland, brought ten of Ireland’s best fashion and accessories designers to New York for a showcase with influential buyers.

WearingIrish NYC is the brainchild of Margaret Molloy, a native of Offaly, and a graduate of the Harvard Business School who is now the New York-based global chief marketing officer at Siegel+Gale.

Meetings and sales

The idea was to showcase the talents of Ireland’s top designers over a three-day event in the ‘Big Apple’. The event was built around nine salons and industry panel discussions and resulted in strong networking, sales, client commissions and invitations to meetings with top retailers.

The ten designers who took part include Aine; Alison Conneely; Blaithin Ennis De Bruir; Inner Island; Jennifer Rothwell; Natalie B Coleman; Sands and Hall; The Tweed Project and Triona Design.

“Mentoring up-and-coming businesses and helping our customers grow is really important to us.”

Into America

Bank of Ireland’s teams in Ireland and the U.S. will now help the designers to enhance the connections made in New York and help them develop, grow and scale their businesses. The designers can also avail of desk and meeting spaces in the bank’s Workbench facilities in New York, Dublin, Limerick, Kilkenny, Galway and Cork.

“The talent and creativity among Irish designers are world class and we are thrilled to bring these designers to a U.S. audience. Mentoring up-and-coming businesses and helping our customers grow is really important to us,” says Francesca McDonagh, Group CEO at Bank of Ireland.

“All of the designers enjoyed a significant amount of sales through the week – much more than they expected.”

Partners

Partners supporting the event included the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through Ireland’s Consulate in New York; Tourism Ireland, Invest NI and CIE Tours.

“Lebanese ambassador to the UN purchased one of Triona’s coats and then wore it at a UN Security Council meeting.”

A giant market

There were immediate wins for the designers involved. All of the designers enjoyed a significant amount of sales through the week – much more than they expected. Below is a sample of what some of the designers also achieved as they networked in New York. 

Dublin designer Jennifer Rothwell made a meaningful impression on the visiting business women and diplomats, including Irish Ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne Nason.

Garvan de Bruir from Kildare has the prospect of one of his leather handbags featuring in an upcoming edition of ‘Oprah’ magazine.

Lebanese ambassador to the UN purchased one of Triona’s coats and then wore it at a UN Security Council meeting

Blaithin Ennis sold her most expensive item, which had been on sale in the Creator section of Brown Thomas.

The Irish ambassador to the UN purchased one of Jennifer Rothwell’s items and wore it publicly.

Aine will be commissioned by the Irish UN delegation to do the Irish ‘gift’ as part of the presidency in 2020.

“The U.S. market can be tricky and we are there to help the designers navigate their way through this giant market and open as many doors for them as possible while spreading the story of Irish design far and wide,” says Tony Dunne, US country manager at Bank of Ireland.

For more information visit WearingIrish.com. 

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