– by Orla Onah
Fashion in Irish Society: A figment of our imagination or a prevalent part of our culture?
Growing up in Ireland to parents accustomed to Italian and French culture where fashion was the forefront of society, it was confusing to say the least that Ireland’s affair with the world’s major fashion houses was non-existent. However, times are changing and so is Irish culture. Gone, are the days where people are disengaged with clothes, fashion, art, and style.
Young Irish people are leaning towards a place where they can express themselves via clothing, whether it be vintage, old, new, or designer brands – there is a demand for this newfound outward expression that fashion provides us with. This week I interviewed DCU Style’s PYD coordinators about the presence of fashion in Irish youth culture and society. More specifically, I asked about what’s hot and what’s not and what trends outwardly reflect Irish society.
Mary-Kate Downes and Shauna Cronin, DCU Style’s Project Young Designer coordinators had a few things to say about fashion in Irish society.
First talk to me about the role fashion has played in your life.Mary: For me fashion is a creative outlet that I can use to express myself and my emotions. My style completely reflects my personality. I can go from one extreme to the other when it comes to trying out new styles and clothes. You can gauge what someone is like solely based on their style and how they dress themselves.
Shauna: I think fashion allows me to feel confident and forces me to get out there. For me, the way I
dress allows people to get to know me before they even have the chance to speak to me. It lets
them know a little bit about me which I like. Fashion speaks for me!
Do you think fashion has become a big part of Irish society?Mary: I think there’s always been people in Ireland that are obsessed with fashion and always wanted to showcase their style despite it being labelled as weird or eccentric, but I think in recent
years there is an increasing larger number of people are willing to show off different trends and different looks. People don’t care about what others perceive their style to be. Younger people are becoming more comfortable in how they look. In the 80’s and 90’s – what we call dressing alternatively would be labelled as goth and punk and you would have been looked at as ‘strange’ or a ‘freak’. Nowadays, I think as a society, we have stopped labelling different styles and attitudes. Young people don’t want to be boxed into a category. Especially, now that a lot of us are in college – we all feel comfortable wearing different things because we know that no one cares what you look like (As long as you look good!). Being in secondary school and having to wear a uniform is a major contributor as to why young people are becoming more and more stylish.
Shauna: Fashion is playing an increasingly big role in Irish society – especially in Dublin. I feel like London, the epicentre of style, has had a big influence on Irish fashion culture. I think social media has had a lot to play into this. People can go on Tiktok or Instagram and see what’s trending in other countries. Without social media I don’t think trends would be spreading as fast as they do now.
What fashion trends do you love and can’t live without?
Mary: I’m obsessed with the oversized black Nike tracksuit bottoms. I have like four pairs of the same bottoms! I literally can’t live without them. They are an essential part of my wardrobe. I also have this Nike grey crewneck that I’m obsessed with. I think they can be very versatile. Shauna: I love big colourful jumpers; they are my absolute favourite thing to wear especially when
Are there any trends that you hate?Mary: I don’t necessarily hate any fashion trends but if I was to choose it would be the boho chic vibe. I hate the tassels attached to the jackets and the weird hats – its all a bit too much to be
Shauna: I absolute hate the swirly, marble pattern that are on jeans and dresses. They just don’t look nice in my opinion.
What do you think is in store for the future of Irish Fashion?As PYD coordinators for DCU Style, we get to see many talented young designers from all over Ireland create clothing, make campaigns, and launch their brand for the first time. Its truly an
amazing experience to be a part of. We believe that in the future Irish brands will be globalised and recognised throughout the entire fashion world. We envision Dublin Fashion Week being just as big as Milan or Paris. The future is very bright for Irish fashion and creativity.