Fiona Heaney is an Award Winning Irish Designer whose pieces look simply beautiful and really elevate a feminine look to another level. I personally love the polished finish on her pieces that add an edge of luxury to them. Her Spring Summer 2017 collection has vibrant colours and it is the detail and clean lines on the dresses and separates that really makes them stand out.
Fiona initially studied at the National College of Art and Design Dublin, with a 1st class Honours in Fashion Design. And from there she learned the trade and then decided to launch her own collection ‘Fee G’ in 2003. Since the company’s launch, she has created a stunning brand which focuses on making women feel beautiful and through that has become one of Ireland’s leading designers. I am delighted to be featuring an interview with her today on Floralesque.
Have you always had an interest in design and fashion?
Yes from when I was 8 I was always making things & loved fabrics & colour. I was always asking relatives to show me how to knit (my grandfather), embroidery (my grandmother) and sew (my mother)!
What is your favourite part of the design process?
The beginning choosing new fabrics, going to shows in Paris & Milan every season. There I get to start fresh, choose fabrics, select colours for the season ahead. I love to put together fabrics into stories for styles for the new seasons.
Do you have a favourite textile or fabric that you like to work with?
I love to work with lots of fabrics. Different fabrics enable me to design different styles, so it changes all the time as the collection is about 80 pieces per season. I like prints- some designers hate them, but I’m not afraid of prints!
Are there any designers that you admire/look up to?
Tory Burch, I love the whole ethos of her company and what she stands for.
Fee G I believe is in its second decade – where do you find your motivation with the brand and to keep it fresh?
Every season I have to have to start again. It’s really important for both my customers and myself that the collection evolves. The collection needs newness each season to keep me interested and the customer returning to purchase.
Being in partnership with someone I am sure has both its fantastic positives and also some negatives. Do you and Don Gormley have different areas of the business that you look after?
Yes, I look after the creative side of the business and Don looks after the business side. We have different staff that report to each of us & so far it has worked!
Your SS17 collection is beautifully feminine and the use of florals adds such a stunning aspect to the collection. Where did the inspiration for this collection come from?
The inspiration for the SS17 collection came from a trip I had in the Californian coastline. Clean graphic lines & bright colours. The collection for SS17 has been received and is selling really well… but it’s always on to the next one, no rest!
I am sure that it is quite difficult to choose – but what has been your hardest brand moment to date?
Running your own business is a rollercoaster. There is always bumps along the way it how you handle them & recover from them is what matters.
You have a fantastic presence online and your Instagram is really well curated – bright and engaging. I think that being visible online is so important in this digital age, how important is it to your business to have that online space?
It is important to have an online presence & some visuals out there. We currently don’t sell online. Retail is changing so fast, who knows what the future will bring.
Do you have any advice to aspiring designers that are only starting out?
Make sure there is a market for your designs; just because you would like or wear something doesn’t mean anyone else will. Target certain stores that you would like to be in and show them some of your designs.
Make sure your quality is 110% as nothing less will do. To sell in fashion Ireland, means you compete against brands from all over the world.
Where do you hope to see Fee G in the next 10 years?
We are really focused on international growth. We aim to emulate our business in 2 other regions. We currently sell to The UK, Germany, Spain and have an account in the middle east. It is a niche product so it’s not right for all markets.
A massive thank you to Fiona for the interview, it was great to see how fashion has been in her life from the beginning and I also love how the brand is a partnership with her husband – a very successful, Irish family business that creates beautiful clothes for women to wear. I would highly recommend checking out her website and you can also follow her along on her journey on Facebook and Twitter. And if I might suggest – pop onto her Instagram and follow – her feed is colourful and I love seeing the behind the scenes.
Images kindly provided by Fiona for use – All image credits are to Fee G.