Bláithín Ennis is an amazing Irish Jewellery Designer and one whose pieces I absolutely adore as they are both wearable and a statement. As she says herself; “A unique accessory can give a new lease of life to the very simple garment”. She makes pieces that are beautifully manipulated and that have contrasting hard materials with a soft finish. She makes all her pieces by hand and released her very first collection back in 2012. In my opinion, Bláithín is one of Ireland’s most exciting designers at the moment and I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed for Florlaesque. And without further delay, here is the exciting interview;
What is your first memory of fashion?
Play-Dough! My favourite Toy..Making Tiny things as far back as I can remember. Mum bought me fashion comic books with interchangeable clothes on them. I absolutely loved them.
What made you decide to take design as a serious career path? Has your relationship with fashion changed since you are now a designer?
When I left college I was looking for a job and was invited to take part in a local design fair at Springmount Garden Centre in Co.Wexford. (I had applied to Springmount originally looking for a job and although they had no vacancies at the time, they kindly offered me a space at their fair) It was my first experience showing to the public. On the first morning of the first day, all the pieces I had designed and made were sold out. I couldn’t believe it and it was here, the business seed was planted!
You studied at the The National College of Art and Design, do you think that this experience stands to you as a designer?
Definitely. It was a very full on, intensive four year course. We had excellent tutors who drove us hard. To be surrounded by so many talented people on a daily basis was incredibly inspirational and this experience certainly stands to me today.
Are there any designers that inspire you?
-DVF, Karl Lagerfeld and stylists Isabella Blow & Grace Coddington.
I imagine that day-to-day, your schedule differs hugely. Is there one particular element of your work or schedule that you enjoy most?
By far, my favourite part of the day is making my pieces.
Could you give a glimpse into the process of design? Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you decide on what materials to use?
I suppose I would say that I have a unique way of looking at things, which has always set me apart. Some people call it weird- I see it as my process and inspiration.
Personally I am an accessories girl and love the Spinnaker collection, what made you decide to firstly design jewellery before clothing?
I design the ‘whole’ look. I’ve always loved accessories and tiny things. My clothing is simple, elegant and easy to construct. It sits easily alongside my accessories.
I know that I love being able to see behind the scenes and images of designer’s work through social media like Instagram and I have found that some brands have embraced social media, others have yet to invest in the technology. For a fashion brand, is it an essential means of communication?
Absolutely in this day & age! Social media is our new visual language and ability to communicate with people all over the globe. I believe It has a phenomenal impact on the fashion industry.
I imagine it’s rather difficult to choose… considering you recently won the 2014 Jewellery designer of the year, have worked with Diane Von Furstenberg and have had many celebrities wearing your pieces (to name but a few highlights!) but is there a moment in your career which you’re most proud of?
I am so appreciative to all my loyal customers and retailers in Ireland who have supported my business and invested in my pieces. I would say I am really proud of that… But walking by the dazzling Christmas windows of Brown Thomas on Grafton Street and spotting my couture neckpiece draped on the mannequin with the most beautiful gowns from some of the most recognised fashion brands in the world was a real proud moment for me. It was a pinch myself kind of moment!
Victoria Beckham once said that ‘if you can get your head around your dream, it means your dream isn’t big enough’. Where do you see your brand in 5-10 years? Do you have a brand ‘bucket-list’?
I have always adored ‘quality’ and by quality, I mean something that has been made as ethically as possible, in a considered way. Something that enjoys longevity and has become respected over time. For my brand B/E to be on that list is my ultimate ‘brand’ dream.
Do you think that being an Irish designer is an advantage in the international fashion markets?
I have been very well received in the Irish Marketplace and am delighted with the response here. I have very little knowledge of the international markets to date, but that’s on my list for this year so we’ll see!
Is there any advice that you would give anyone who is thinking of being a fashion intern (something that they don’t warn you of!)?
Be prepared to sweep the floor and make the coffee etc etc. Keep your eyes wide open- you are learning all the time!!
And now some quick fire fun ones:
What is the one piece of make-up that you cannot live without? Lipstick
If you were to have a theme song – what would it be? Ages Obel- Aventine
Biggest fashion mistake? Baby blue padded ski trousers to an airport- Security had a field day!
Currently lusting after (fashion or beauty)? A Chanel suit- My dream! -Maybe one day!!
Favourite trend from last 50 years? The structured jacket
And finally – a VERY important Irish Tea question? Barrys or Lyons? And favourite dipping biscuit? 🙂 Barrys- McVities Rich Tea
Thank you so much to Bláithín for agreeing to be interviewed and you can view more of her work on her website or by checking out her Facebook Page. You can visit her shop here. She is a designer that I have no doubt will just continue to grow and I cannot wait to see where her designs take her.
All images kindly provided by Bláithín Ennis.