In our new 'At-Home With' series', we chat to some of Ireland's most interesting and creative women - trailblazers in their own right - to see what life in lockdown looks like for them, and of course, ask them some burning questions like 'how to take the perfect Instagram picture' in between...
Aideen Feely, a creativity queen and stylist from Kerry who forged her career path in the tricky fashion world through hard work, passion and dedication.
All of which paid off with Aideen working for several Irish fashion magazines through the years and recently releasing her styling guide e-book Fashion Stylist Secrets, an asset to all aspiring stylists.
Having recently returned from living in Australia where she documented her dreamy, relaxed, island-girl lifestyle - much appreciated on Ireland’s dreary days -, Aideen has been enjoying her time back home in Ireland and continues to bless our Instagram feeds on the regular.
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With one of the most sought-after professions in the industry we caught up with Aideen about moving abroad, styling secrets and her ideal summer playlist.
How have you been doing during these unprecedented times?
It’s scary and unsettling to think about what is happening at the moment. I am trying to stay disciplined and keep my loved ones safe while also keeping an eye on my own health and mental wellbeing. I am currently living in the countryside, so I’ve been enjoying getting out for some fresh air and peaceful walks, it's what’s kept me chilled these past few weeks.
You recently lived in Australia, what advice would you give to those hoping to move abroad too?
Don’t listen to hearsay! I think everyone travelling to Australia has a different experience. Go over with an open mind, zero expectations and enjoy the sunshine. I do think finding a job, a place to live and a social life are easier than what people think. Getting a visa to stay in the country long-term is the hard part. So, if that is something you’re hoping for, get your visa for farm work sorted and then start living the high life.
What are the key elements in creating a perfect image?
It’s difficult to capture the perfect image, I never feel mine are perfect. I just love creating the ideas I envision. Having a clear vision of the outcome is the first thing. Good lighting is the second, find all the natural light spots in your house and use them to your advantage. Play with different backdrops and positions until you find the right one. Getting dressed up for Instagram has become the new normal. I love it!
What do you wear when you have ‘nothing to wear’?
For the moment wearing what makes you comfortable could not be more of an understatement. Beyond quarantine, the slip dress is my go-to. It’s super versatile and really brings out the stylist in me. With summer on the horizon, I cannot think of anything better to have in your wardrobe to play around with or to just throw on.
How have you been keeping yourself inspired during lockdown?
I've been taking an interest in art lately so painting and pinch pottery-making is what I’m spending most of my time doing these days. I’ve also been getting creative in the kitchen - with two men in the house who always seem to be hungry, I don’t think I have much of a choice.
What change would you like to see in the fashion industry when restrictions are lifted?
I really admire Australia’s fashion industry for pushing consumers to buy local and buy sustainable. It’s now a megatrend in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne. I would love to see more of that here from our fashion industry. Irish designers have been hit hard and it would be great to see a demand for quality and craftsmanship once the dust settles.
What are the three most played songs on your summer playlist?
‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ by The 1975 - if you don’t know it, you need to! ‘Jungle’ by Tash Sultana, who is a very cool Australian artist, and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ by Lauryn Hill. Honestly, just add them all to your playlist immediately.
The fashion world can be a tricky place, how do you stay resilient when the going gets tough?
I think growth is key. If you want to stay a part of an industry that is ever-changing you need to commit to being creative all the time, test out new ideas and constantly educate yourself on what’s new in the industry.
The best mood-booster is?
If ever I’m feeling down or have anxiety, I light some candles and throw on a bit of Yoga with Adriene. She gives free classes on YouTube and has the best mediation voice. I also spend some time with my son, I’ll ask him, “What are you up to?” and it’s always something fun like a Tik Tok dance.
Who is your favourite fashion icon?
Rihanna! Her bold outfit choices send waves of excitement through the fashion industry. She seems fearless when it comes to embracing fashion and creating new trends. She was right when she said, “She can beat me, but she cannot beat my outfit”.
Post-pandemic, what’s next for you?
I have surrendered to the uncertainty of what’s to come. For now, I’m working on small projects at home and staying optimistic about the future.
Is it true, does Australia really have the best coffee?
It is true! Although it takes a while to get used to smaller cups. Every cup is perfectly frothed - sorry not sorry.
Main image by @aideenfeely