Interview with Designer Triona O’Donnell from Modafix

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix FloralesqueModafix is a blog that I am sure that many people will be familiar with – it is one of the top Irish fashion blogs and Triona the editor has such a fantastic eye for detail and design. Recently she launched her first earring collection in Shells cafe which was a complete sell out and I am very excited to see what the future holds for her and Modafix!

Today we have a great interview with Triona where we go through the beginnings of Modafix and where she finds her inspiration from. She is certainly one to watch and I hope you enjoy reading more about her.

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix FloralesqueYou have a fantastic blog called Modafix. Can you please tell us a little about your blog and how it all started?

Thanks very much Amie. You have a fantastic blog yourself in Floralesque. ModaFix started thanks to people regularly asking about my outfits and where I shopped. It was a friend who suggested I start a fashion blog. I didn’t follow any blogs, so I didn’t know what a blog was or why I should share photos online!

I mainly share style and creative ideas that interest me as well as interviews with emerging Irish designers. From time to time I review cafés worth visiting or products I enjoy. It’s just a hobby really, which started when I’d very few teaching hours. I teach Spanish during the day and blog occasionally – whenever I feel like sharing something of interest.

You clearly have a great eye for fashion and what pieces work well together. How would you describe your own sense of style? Are there any designers that inspire your looks?

Thanks a million. I’ve always enjoyed the art of dressing. My style depends on how I’m feeling on a particular day, so I wouldn’t be one to plan an outfit the night before or weeks in advance of a special occasion. Most of the time I get ready in a last minute frenzy… the result is always what’s most true to my personal style. I don’t like matchy-matchy looks or following every trend. I only integrate certain aspects of trends that work with my style. I like a look to be simple and effortless with a little edge.

Having said that, every now and again I like to test the boundaries, have fun with fashion and wear something a little avant-garde. For me, classic monochromatic contrasts are always a winner or primary colours worn together make for an interesting combination. I can’t say any designer inspires my look; Style should be something individual and unique.

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix FloralesqueModafix has been a clear and vocal supporter of Irish Design and local craftspeople. Do you think it is important that we keep the focus on Irish Design?

If I write about a designer on my blog or in my magazine columns, it’s because I genuinely believe in them and want to acknowledge their work. I like to integrate some Irish design into my daily looks – be it an AE tote, a Natalie B Coleman T-shirt or jewellery from local  designers. It would be nice to see more people wearing Irish Design, but each to their own of course. I understand that it’s hard not to succumb to fast fashion when the price tags are so attractive. I’ve really tried to curb the habit though as I can’t stand clutter and garments hanging there unloved. This weekend I’ll be wearing all Irish Design from local boutiques for London Fashion Week.

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix FloralesqueI have previously attended one of your refashioning workshops as part of Sligo Design Week 2015 and you clearly have a keen eye for design. Have you always been so interested in design/craft/fashion?

Thanks again for joining; I was happy to be involved. Yes, always. As a child I had every craft set: candle making, jewellery making, card making, blow art, a fashion wheel, a potter’s wheel… you name it. I used to attend art classes outside school for years – both as a child and teenager. I always made my own beaded jewellery and reused old materials to create my own accessories. I was up-cycling long before I realised it was an actual term. I made wedding invitations and party invitations and practiced calligraphy.

I had my own jewellery stall at London’s Spitalfield markets one summer. I’ve done dressmaking, up-cycling and fabric manipulation workshops at St. Angela’s College with local designers. In the past I ran my own refashioning courses and now I run jewellery making parties for kids and teens, which are really enjoyable. I’ve always wanted my own line of something: jewellery, accessories or clothing.

I believe that you have done tuition with the amazing goldsmith Tiffany Budd – have you always wanted to create a jewellery line?

Yes, I loved it and would highly recommend a weekend course. I got to design and create my own pendant. Tiffany does everything by hand – no casting – it’s an amazing skill. I learned loads in a matter of hours and I’d love to do it all over again. I love learning new skills. As mentioned, I always wanted my own ‘something’ : an accessory or fashion item with my name on it, but was hindered by the fact that I thought I’d have to do a 4 year course to achieve that. I think you can do anything and be anything you want if you put your mind to it and not wait around for others’ approval!

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix Floralesque

Can you please tell us a little about the concept behind the new collection?

To be totally honest it started as a bit of fun. I made myself a pair of shell earrings, sourced from Sligo’s beaches and then due to the number of requests for pairs, I decided to make more and invest in some nice sustainable packaging made from recycled cardboard. I never set out to have my own ‘collection’ as such with this… but then again, you have to start somewhere and why not with this? I’ve had a lot of interest and excitement thanks to this mini ‘project’ let’s say. I’ve had orders from bridal parties, festival goers and the designers for LFW! Dream. My mini shell earrings are dainty, understated and very wearable; the larger shells look great on too as statement pieces.

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix Floralesque

What has been your inspiration behind the collection?

Well, I spend a lot of time by the sea. I find it so calming and never get fed up of our beautiful beach surroundings. There is so much beauty on our doorstep and so many natural treasures to be found. I thought that visitors to Sligo could take home a bit of that beauty in the form of my shell earrings and it’s something I thought people originally from Sligo, but living abroad would appreciate too – something to remind them of home. Afterall, ‘Sligeach’ means ‘abounding in shells’.

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix FloralesqueDo you think having your blog established has helped you promote and launch your earring collection?

100%. Absolutely. I would never have had the confidence to put my pieces into a busy shop like Little Shop at Shells Café, without my blog. ModaFix has been a platform for people to get to know me, my style and personality, my love and appreciation of Irish Design and what I stand for. I was able to spread the word quickly on my blog. I usually promote other people’s work, but over the past 3 short weeks, people have been very kind and supportive to me and my craft.

It must have been amazing to have your very first official collection stocked at the fabulous Shells Café.

It’s a dream. I’ve always secretly fantasised about having something of my own on their shelves. I was so nervous delivering my first batch of gems, but they sold out in a matter of days. They have since restocked if you want to pick up a pair, but you can contact me directly on modafixblog@gmail.com or via Facebook/Snapchat (@moda_fix) if you’re not in Sligo and you’d like to order a pair.

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix Floralesque

What are your future plans for Modafix – both blog and collection?

Who knows? I sometimes think about taking a step back from the blog, but when exciting events and experiences crop up out of the blue, it keeps me going. I’m a finalist for Best Fashion Blog in Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards and I’ve been invited to blog live at London Fashion Week this weekend, which is incredibly exciting. It’s a show in Mayfair with House of Ikons for emerging designers, which is right up my street. Designer Emma Curtis has even purchased a few of my earrings to accompany her designs for the show!

It’s also lovely when people tell me that they read my reviews and visited certain cafés etc, based on my recommendations.  I’m not online 24/7 and constantly on every social medium, which seems to be required if you want to take blogging seriously as a career. And it is a viable career. I enjoy my time out too much and life offline. I don’t document absolutely everything. I only blog occasionally, but blogging has opened so many doors and allowed me to explore avenues I never would have imagined possible without my online presence. I enjoy making so I think I’ll explore this further and expand my accessory line.

Watch this space!

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix Floralesque

Thank you so much to Triona for agreeing to be featured on Floralesque, it is fantastic to see her dreams of wanting to have her own collection start to come to life. I wish her so much luck at LFW and having your first collection being part of a show is just incredible.

You can follow Triona on her blog and she is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@moda_fix)!

Interview with Designer Triona O'Donnell from Modafix Floralesque

If you want to read more about her refashioning workshop – here is my post from when I attended last year and you can read more about the most adorable cafe – Shells here.

All images kindly provided by Triona from Modafix.

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