It is rare that someone can create the feeling of transforming you into Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly but Ciara Silke manages to do this with her stunningly elegant scarves. When the luxurious silk or cashmere is draped around you, you cannot help but feel elegant and decadent. The prints on her scarves are hand illustrated and the prints are both bold and feminine and I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed for Floralesque.
Ciara has some amazing experience behind her, she is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) with her qualification being in Textile Design. She then went on to work for three seasons with the international fashion powerhouse that is Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) for three seasons in New York and some of her prints were used on the dresses that went into production . She has also interned with the well known Irish designer Helen Cody and I believe that such experience has helped in her success as her pieces are finished to an amazing quality and are luxurious to the touch.
What is your first memory of fashion?
Playing in my Grandmothers closet. She has the most interesting collection of vintage dresses and fabrics. I remember being mesmerized by the bright colours and prints.
What made you decide to take design as a serious career path?
I’ve always loved to draw and paint. Art is my passion. Colour, texture, pattern. I realized the possibilities of art meeting fashion while in NCAD. The key moment to my mind was when I visited the Musée des Arts Décoratifs – a museum of the decorative arts and design in Paris where there was a Christian Lacroix exhibition. He had hand painted fabrics before constructing them into perfect works of art. The place was alive with brightly painted ball-gowns. It was hugely inspiring.
Has your relationship with fashion changed since you are now a designer?
Primarily I love the designing. Thankfully, I really enjoy the business aspect too; the marketing, the networking. I really enjoy meeting new people, travelling, and the constant need for change. My relationship with fashion hasn’t changed at all! I am still as passionate as ever about it.
The patterns on your pieces are just breathtaking, where do you draw your inspiration from?
I look to botanical sources, plants, animal prints, geometric patterns. General patterns in nature, colours in nature.
Although I am sure that it is hard to choose, what has been your proudest career moment to date?
My best work day so far was when I launched the second collection and my stockists immediately made orders for more scarves! It convinced me that I had a really great product that people wanted to wear. It proved to me that I wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Since that day things have gone from strength to strength with the brand.
What challenges as an entrepreneur have your faced?
The biggest challenge is convincing retailers to invest their money in the brand. That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. You have a beautiful product but you need a way to the market place and just getting it out there into the world where people can see it and try it on is the hardest part.
As a graduate of NCAD , do you think that people should go to college before they think about ‘being a designer’?
I learned so much in NCAD and would definitely recommend it for anyone hoping to pursue the design route. I think it is important to immerse yourself in art and design and to get a feel for whether this type of career is for you. Being a full time designer can be intense- often people want to keep it as a hobby.
What was the biggest thing that you learned while working for the powerhouse that is Diane Von Furstenburg?
Being flexible is so important. Working in various design disciplines. I worked in the print department, the embroidery department, and the accessories department. I learned that all the areas within design can overlap and compliment each other. Once you are a designer you can be involved in the design of anything really. This was really exciting and fresh for me to experience; it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve learned from working in the industry.
Would you have any advice for those thinking of going down the design path (something that they don’t tell you!)
Just enjoy every minute! And, grow a thick skin. Persistence is the key.
What are your aspirations for Ciara Silke Accessories in the future?
To continue to develop the brand; to work with new colours, new materials of construction, new styles – and generally keep trying new things so that the brand keeps it’s edge.
A massive thank you to Ciara for agreeing to be featured on Floralesque. Her scarves are just beautiful and would make the most amazing gift for someone (or yourself!). I would highly recommend that you take a look at her pieces. You can view her collections and see a listing of stockists as well as purchase via her website and Ciara is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If you enjoyed this interview in the ‘Floralesque Meets’ Series, then you can click here to read more exciting interviews with designers, creators, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs and more – enjoy meeting the makers!
All images kindly provided by Ciara from her website.