The phrase ‘one to watch’ couldn’t be more apt when it comes to 24-year-old Limerick-native Aoife McNamara.
Since launching her own slow-fashion luxury brand, AOIFE Ireland in 2019, the designer has gone on to achieve a level of success entrepreneurs could only dream of reaching in their first year of business.
What is her secret? Aside from the obvious charisma, beautiful designs and inspiring drive – see @aoifemcnamarax for all your motivation needs – AOIFE Ireland has sustainability, ethics and quality Irish craftsmanship at the heart of her business. With fashion’s skeletons forever being revealed, Aoife McNamara and her brand are integral voices for change in the reestablishment of this bruised industry. Take note!
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Continuing to spread positivity, Aoife recently announced the opening of her first AOIFE Ireland store this month at the dreamiest storybook cottage in Adare.
Always in need of some uplifting content, we recently caught up with the designer to learn more about her incredible journey, her thoughts on fashion and the highly anticipated AOIFE Ireland store.
Safe to say 2020 is finally looking up.
What is AOIFE Ireland’s brand manifesto?
"Let’s create beauty, not destroy it."
Your drive is so inspiring, what tips do you have for staying motivated?
"Exercise and books! I exercise/stretch first thing every morning and it honestly sets me up for the day. Even if I’m feeling a bit unmotivated during the day I will grab my headphones and go for a walk while listening to an audiobook - it never fails to give my head some space and breathing time.
"Having a planner is also huge for me – planning ahead every night before your day begins is very important!"
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about sustainable fashion?
"For me, it all starts with being a conscious consumer yourself," she says.
"I don’t think there is just one thing everyone should know about sustainable fashion as there is a lot more than just one thing but it definitely starts with educating yourself. I think plenty of people scare themselves away from the topic since it is very overwhelming at the start. However, getting just 1% better every day makes a huge difference."
‘The Paris Edit’ is truly a dream wardrobe, can you tell us a little bit about your latest collection?
"In my ‘Paris Edit’ I am taking you through my journey in Paris, ups and downs included. My journey taught me that life has a plan for each and every one of us, all we have to do is show up and never lose hope."
Describe your ideal staycation outfit?
"I am big into my mom jeans or high waisted denim shorts with one of my AOIFE blouses, converse and gold jewellery."
From design intern to entrepreneur and now opening your first store, what is your recipe for success?
"For me, it's all about having belief in your brand and the story you are telling. I truly believe I can make a difference in the fashion industry and educate my customers on making a difference as well.
"Success is an interesting word for me as I don’t measure my success on awards or status but instead, I measure it on how I have educated my customers and my team around me."
Your schedule must be jam-packed, how do you decompress after a busy day?
"As I mentioned earlier I am big into exercise, I love going for an open water swim or a long run after a busy day. There is no better way to clear the head! I also love switching off all tech and reading a book before bed, it really helps me decompress."
Who are your top three favourite designers and why?
- "Stella Mc Cartney: When she was told she wouldn’t be successful with a sustainable fashion brand she did it anyway and proved everyone wrong.
- Maggie Marlyn: She is the same age as me and has made huge waves in the global fashion industry with the environment at the forefront of her decisions.
- Eileen Fisher: For her endless innovation and pushing boundaries in sustainable design.
Why did you choose to open your first store in Adare?
"Having my own studio has always been a dream of mine, but since founding AOIFE Ireland in 2019 finding the time and the money to invest in my own store has always been put on the backburner - fearing I was making too big of a jump before I was ready.
"However, during lockdown, while everything that we knew was in a state of uncertainty and our whole lives were turned upside down, I realised that things can change in the blink of an eye and so I decided, why not do the one thing that terrifies me? Why not live outside of my comfort zone and learn the true extent of what I am capable of? Also, Adare has been a dream of mine since I was a very young girl!"
What are your thoughts on fashion week in a post-pandemic world?
"I think it’s definitely making brands think outside of the box and get innovative with tech. It's a very exciting time to explore online and how far we can push it."
Would you have done anything differently in regard to your time spent in Paris as a designer?
"No, I actually wouldn’t have. Even though I had a hard time in some of the jobs, I wouldn’t change a thing as I have never learned so much about myself as a person than when I was in Paris. The city definitely progressed me to become the woman I am today."
You are a big podcast fan, do you have any recommendations?
"Yes, too many!
- Gary Vee: All round motivation podcast. I have been a Gary Vee fan for years and if I am ever lacking in motivation I will just throw on one of his podcasts.
- Wardrobe Crisis with Clare Press: Sustainable fashion podcast.
- Detail Theory by Amy Landino: Great for entrepreneurs."
Main image by @aoife_ireland on Instagram