I fell in love with Amanda’s tulle creations as soon as I laid eyes on them. Her handmade pieces are full of drama and the finished detail on her pieces are just stunning. They also have a sense of run and are extremely creative. I have never seen pieces like these before and I am delighted to be featuring her today on Floralesque.
Have you always been interested in fashion and design?
Yes! As a kid I was always making and building things, I had a big imagination so I always knew I wanted to do something creative when I grew up.
Do you remember when you decided to take it seriously as a career?
I started off selling a few of my clothes I had made during the FAS course in SeSi in Temple Bar, I wasn’t getting much for them but I wanted to see if they were sellable. I sold nearly everything and then one day I passed a girl in town wearing one of my coats, she looked amazing. I was so chuffed its such a lovely compliment to see somebody enjoying wearing your clothes and adding their own take on it.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and your time in Grafton Academy?
I started off studying Fine Art in DIT. While specialising in Sculpture I realised that Fashion was where I wanted to be and tried where possible to integrate it into my work. Although I loved Fine Art, I loved even more the idea of creating pieces of art that you can wear! Once I got my degree I did a FAS course called Fashion Cutting and Construction. It’s gone now unfortunately, but I’m so grateful I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do the year long course, it was amazing! It was very focused on industry standards and the business of Fashion, and the Art teacher was second to none.
I went on to complete the Grafton Academy diploma course after that and learned a completely different side to Fashion. The college is known for its amazing teachers and impeccable standards of finishing. Although you are expected to keep your tailoring and finishing standards very high you are also definitely encouraged to experiment and use your time there to find your own style. It’s made me a bit of a perfectionist with my sewing and pattern drafting but if someone is investing in a piece of your work its nice to know you’ve put in your best every time.
For other aspiring designers out there – do you think it is important to do some form of formal design education before creating a collection?
I think it depends on the person and what you want to achieve. There are some areas in Fashion like tailoring and pattern drafting that if you want to do it right and by the book then I think you’ve got to study. There are those lucky few who are just naturally really gifted though.
The best part about studying fashion is being around like-minded people, you learn a lot from your class mates. I think the business side of fashion is often overlooked and that’s one area in particular that every aspiring designer should study, its the last thing you think of as a designer, it may not be exciting or fun but if you want to succeed in fashion, learning how to finance, promote and brand yourself is essential.
The tulle on your pieces is just beautiful. What made you choose that fabric to work with?
Tulle is so great for creating volume and shapes without weighing down a garment. It’s a fabric I’ve always loved working with, I love how its both romantic and ethereal yet at the same time its got an edge to it because its so sheer! Its up to the wearer to choose which direction they want to take it.
Your work is truely showstopping – Where do you find your inspiration from?
Thank you! I take inspiration from all sorts of things. Music, Art… anything really that has an impression on me. I particularly like to look to my childhood for inspiration, what I was wearing and what I loved when I was a kid, I guess it’s really where my obsession with colour and pop culture began. Rainbow Brite (inspiration for the current collection) Diana Ross, Belinda Carlisle, Kylie Minogue 😉 were all big influences for me.
I love theatrics so performers like Karen O and Lady Gaga are also really inspiring, I’d love to see my pieces worn for the stage. I’m currently designing a new collection inspired by Giant Angora rabbits!
Do you think that you will continue to use Tulle as your main textile or do you have plans to move away from it? (I hope not!) 🙂
🙂 I love tulle so I think it will always appear somewhere in my collections! I will definitely be adding a few more elements and fabrics though, I’ve been experimenting with beading lately and I’m looking forward to using wool and fluffy fabrics again… as well as tulle!
Getting stocked in Atelier 27 must have been amazing news when you first found out. What has this meant to you and your brand?
Joining Atelier 27 was such a fantastic opportunity for me. Not only did it provide me with somewhere to stock my clothes but I have met so many incredible designers and people through the store. It’s very tough to keep motivated when you are working alone or when business is slow, but being surrounded by other designers and the “ Diva’s” (the girls working in OmDiva) helps put things in perspective and keeps you inspired and motivated. The Atelier has really helped me build my brand, you learn a lot about the business and what sells, as well as getting your brand out there for people to see.
Do you think that there is enough support in Ireland for emerging designers?
Unfortunately not, I think a lot more could be done for emerging designers. Ruth Ni Loinshigh (owner of OmDiva & 2nd Space) does an incredible job at championing new designers and provides them with a platform to showcase their designs in her stores. More boutiques and resources like this would really help new designers.
Most designers find they have to leave Ireland once they graduate to get experience and opportunities in the fashion industry. Ireland definitely needs more initiatives and opportunities for emerging designers to appreciate the talent we have here.
Who are your favourite designers of the moment?
Theres so many! Closer to home I love seeing all the new talent in Atelier 27 and 2nd Space, so many amazing ideas and designers. Alexander McQueen, Viktor and Rolf, Dolce and Gahanna and Miu Miu are always firm favourites. Guo Pei’s creations are so beautiful and otherworldly, and I will eternally love anything Meadham Kirchhoff have ever designed.
I have read that you view your pieces as season-less which I love as I like that you are not following the norm. Can you please tell us a bit more about this?
When I first started making collections I was constantly trying to keep up with the turnover speed of big labels and high street shops, which meant at least 2-3 collections a year. I design and sew everything myself so it became impossible to keep up with them, as well as just not being financially viable. It took all the fun and creativity out of designing for me.
After all I wasn’t creating clothes for the masses, I wanted each item I made to be individual, special, and of really high standard. Each piece is handmade by me. I realised that I can not and do not want to compete with the high street “ fast-fashion” and throw away philosophy. I don’t follow trends so it means I can create season-less and unique collections that are investment pieces, like pieces of art almost, so I hope people will keep and enjoy them for a long time.
Do you have a Dolly Delinquent brand bucket list – what does the future hold?
I’d like to build the brand more and be stocked internationally, I’d love to get Dolly Delinquent to Japan especially. Also top of the bucket list is to see Lady Gaga wearing a Dolly Delinquent dress 🙂
A massive thank you to Amanda for the interview – I loved learning more about the story behind Dolly Delinquent and it’s stunning pieces.
Amanda’s beautiful pieces are stocked exclusively in Atelier 27 in Dublin. You can also check out more of her piece’s on the Dolly Delinquent website as well as on Facebook and Instagram. This is one designer that I am really looking to seeing what happens in the future!
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 for use by Amanda and credited as requested.