Meet the future stars of British fashion as chosen by the BFC’s NEWGEN initiative.
Danielle Romeril first started making clothes as a teenager. One of her early challenges was to make herself a coat that would - at the age of 15 - “get her into pubs”. Her usual denim jacket didn’t quite do the job.
She has always had a sense of realism and that is what gives her collections relevance. These are clothes made with interesting artisanal fabric, with added embellishment and crafty details. They have their own unique silhouette but are designed to be worn. Seeing her clothes being worn on the street is something that gives Romeril a real buzz.
She grew up in Dublin and studied fashion design at Limerick School of Art and Design. “It’s a small city on the west coast of Ireland,” she says. “Definitely not a fashion capital. I think it was an excellent place to study - it made you feel really ambitious. It put those houses you wanted to intern in on an even higher pedestal because they seemed so much more distant.” After her first year, she interned at Sharon Wauchob (another Irish designer who did some external examining at Limerick) in Paris and went on to intern at Sinha Stanic.
Romeril moved to London to do an MA at the RCA, which she initially found intimidating but was inspired by her tutors, including Julie Verhoeven, Tristan Webber and Erdem, as well as her fellow students. In 2010 she left and got a job in Milan with Alberta Ferretti. “I guess the experience softened my design hand; it taught me why femininity is an important aspect of clothing and to appreciate the female figure, it shouldn’t just be hidden,” she says.
Romeril launched her own label for spring/summer 2013 after realising she didn’t want to be a right hand woman to another designer - she wanted to be in control of her own vision.
Her S/S16 collection was called Paradise Lost and was inspired by the photography of Jackie Nickerson. “It was a series of photographs entitled ‘Farm’ shot in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa. They felt really fresh and vibrant. They are formal portraits of people working on farms - they create beautiful silhouettes,” Romeril says. The title was from a Viviane Sassen image, which gave her the colour palette for the collection.
Jackie Nickersen has led Romeril to her collection for A/W16 too. She was inspired partly by an exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland curated by Nickerson where she took paintings from their own collection and paired them with her own images. “I’ve added in a few different elements. It’s a bit of a magpie collection,” says the designer. Expect sleeves referencing those worn by 16th century courtiers, and football scarves. “I think as a designer you absorb what’s around you,” she says.
Interview by Tamsin Blanchard