Accessories are something that everyone can wear and I think that is why I love them so much. Galway designer Niamh Daniels creates the most beautiful scarves and pocket squares. They add such a beautiful, vibrant element to any outfit and her colour combinations are stunningly creative. They are like wearing a piece of art and I am delighted to be featuring an interview with her today on Floralesque.
Have you always been interested in design and patterns?
I’ve always loved art: drawing, painting, and making things with my hands. My mum is an artist and growing up, she would encourage my siblings and me to make our Christmas presents, or doll houses and drawing, whatever it may be! So getting interested in design and patterns came quite naturally after that.
Can you please tell us a little about your path to becoming a designer?
I studied Fashion Design at Limerick School of Art and Design and while I was there, I did an internship with a London label who screen print their own fabric and I fell in love with the whole process. For me, I’ve always loved creating the fabric and print design more than designing the garments.
I also worked in New York for a year with a knitwear company, which was intense and I learned a lot. But I kept thinking I wanted to be more involved with print design; screen printing, digital printing, illustration, so I went back to university and I completed my Masters in Textile Print Design in 2016 in Birmingham.
Once I graduated, I thought it was now or never with starting my own label and decided to take the plunge! I also did a course on starting a creative business with DDCOI and the Galway Local Enterprise Office which was hugely beneficial.
The patterns on your scarves are simply stunning. Where do you find your inspiration from?
Thank you! Where we live here in the West of Ireland is a big inspiration for me. We get fantastic sunsets and sunrises here, the Burren, Connemara…I spent summers out in Ballyconneely growing up and it is a constant source of inspiration. There is always something to see in nature from flowers, leaves, pebbles…you name it!
What is your favourite part of the design and creation process?
That’s a hard question! Probably the initial stage where I use different printing techniques such as flower pounding, screen printing, dip-dying…as well as drawing and painting to create my designs. I love using multiple techniques to create one design and experimenting with colour to see what works.
The Irish Fashion Innovation Awards are so fantastic for offering Irish Designers a platform for showcasing their designs to a wider audience. It must be amazing to be up for Accessories Designer of the Year! What does this mean to you?
I am thrilled, to say the least! Like you said, it’s an amazing platform and event to show my work and reach a wider audience. It feels amazing to be nominated and to know that other people like what I’m creating! It’s going to be a great event and I am up against some tough competition. The other designers in my category are producing some really beautiful work.
I love that you also stock men’s silk pocket squares. They are such an amazing touch to a suit. I am always interested in the marketing side of a brand. Have you marketed these differently to your scarves?
Thanks, I love creating these and they have really come back in fashion in recent years. I’m marketing the men’s pocket squares the same way as the scarves as they are both luxury, limited edition pieces. I do every aspect of the business and the marketing/promoting side is something new to me! I’m learning every day when it comes to the business so my marketing strategy at the moment, will change the more I learn and experience.
Would you have any advice to aspiring designers?
Don’t be shy to ask for help. Don’t feel as if you should be an expert in everything before starting out. Reaching out to people about what you want to do and asking for advice…that is usually where a great networking or business opportunity will arise, and from somewhere you least expect.
Although I am sure hard to choose, what has been your proudest moment to date?
I’d have to say seeing my scarves for sale in the front window of Judy Greene’s shop in Galway city was a big moment! I really felt like I had become a proper business then.
What does the future hold for Niamh Daniels Scarves?
I have big dreams for the Niamh Daniels brand! The goal is to have an established business known (hopefully worldwide!) for unique Irish designed products that are meticulously crafted, with products in fashion, accessories and home interiors.
And finally – how can we purchase your beautiful scarves?
At the moment, I sell directly through my Facebook page: Niamh Daniels Scarves, just send me a message! My website is nearly ready and will be up and running in a few weeks time, niamhdaniels.com, where I will have a full online store. So keep a look out for that! I also have scarves for sale in Judy Greene’s in Galway, Marion Cuddy Irish Design Emporium in Powerscourt Dublin and the Handmade Design Studio in Mullingar.
A massive thank you to Niamh for doing the interview. I love her pieces and am really looking forward to seeing them on the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards catwalk. I am also really looking forward to seeing her new website – in the meantime, you should certainly check out her beautifully curated Instagram as well as Twitter and Facebook!
All images kindly provided by Niamh for use. Photographer credit for scarf photos: Gavin Hartigan at gavinhartigan.com