We’re celebrating St Patrick’s today, so it's time to raise a glass (preferably of Guinness) to the Irish-born fashion designers making waves in the industry. From Simone Rocha and Róisín Pierce to relative newcomers, Robyn Lynch and Sinéad O’Dwyer these Irish designers who devote themselves to craft, heritage and impactful storytelling were talking points of the AW23 shows, and we’re here to shine an Emerald-tinted light on their sumptuous work.

Simone Rocha
By now, we all know Simone Rocha is synonymous with whimsical and modern femininity. Born in Dublin, Simone studied at the National College of Art and Design before moving to London to pursue her career in fashion. Her eponymous label, launched in 2010, has gained its reputation for its unique designs that blend traditional Irish textiles with larger-than-life silhouettes.

Simone's autumn winter 2023 best exemplified the blending of old and new, drawing inspiration from Irish folklore. The collection is a homage to the rich history and mythology of Ireland, focusing on the rituals surrounding Lughnasadh, the country’s festival of harvest.

A muted colour palette, with shades of ivory, cream, and black dominated the runway; while the fabrics and details were luxurious and tactile, with soft velvets, bow embellishments, delicate lace, intricate animal embroidery and (believe it or not) straw – which added volume, depth and texture to the designs. With ruffles and flounces in abundance, the collection also showcases Simone’s signature use of tulle, to create a dream-like quality that added to the mystical nature of the collection. By referencing Irish folklore, Simone created a collection that is both beautiful and meaningful, aptly celebrating the rich cultural heritage of her homeland.

Sinéad O’Dwyer
This season, we witnessed the shocking return of ultra-thin models, as castings of midsize and plus-size models apparently fell by almost a quarter compared to the season prior. But at Irish designer, Sinéad O’Dwyer’s show the casting was a refreshingly diverse range of models of all shapes, sizes and differences, all making an appearance on her runway.

The Dublin-born designer, who studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins before launching her eponymous label back in 2018, is now a part of the BFC’s NewGen cohort. Her work challenges traditional ideas of what fashion should be, capturing our imaginations with bold and experimental designs, often incorporating unusual materials like latex and silicone and toying with proportion and silhouette.

Sinéad’s autumn winter 2023, which explored memories of growing up in the countryside and how these overlapped with her grandma’s recollections, incorporated traditional Irish crochet and lacework, with intricate patterns and details that latticed up the model's legs, around their torsos and even decoratively framed a baby bump. With bold injections of deep green and burnt orange, the collection was an ode to Irish craftsmanship and its enduring relevance today.

Robyn Lynch
Young Irish designer Robyn Lynch chose to commemorate the Emerald Isle in all its green grandeur for autumn-winter 2023, with a solely green palette of forest, sage, teal, mint, khaki and neon. For her third standalone show on schedule since leaving Fashion East, Robyn harked back to her motherland and her archive, reimagining graphics from her previous collections.

Recently named a finalist in the International Woolmark Prize 2023, the designer gave merino wool an Irish twist with signature cable knits and Guinness harp motifs. Born in Dublin, Robyn studied fashion design at the University of Westminster before launching her eponymous label in 2018. Each season her designs are heavily inspired by Irish heritage and often incorporate traditional Irish textiles, and this season is no exception.

Blending heritage from and fabrication with a contemporary streetwear aesthetic, Robyn’s collection is both practical and desirable, much of it upcycled and with a focus on sustainable practices. With a focus on creating pieces that can be worn and enjoyed for years to come, you’ll look great whichever island you happen to land on.

Róisín Pierce

In a series of all-white looks showcased in a high-ceilinged church in Paris, Irish womenswear designer, Róisín Pierce explored notions of censorship and control within the government and the Catholic Church for her most recent collection. With past offerings drawing inspiration from Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and the Repeal The Eighth campaign, the designer has built a reputation by exploring the tradition of craftsmanship and its harmony with Irish women’s history.

Her autumn-winter 2023 collection featured traditional Irish crochet, embroideries of Irish wildflowers, such as the wild radish and snowberries, and lace made by three generations of Irish lacemakers who came together in Róisín’s studio to toil with the collection. Fun fact? Much of it is made with her mother.

Rooted in a dedication to zero-waste and artisanal design techniques, the designer turns darkness into lightness, with a poignant and powerful collection which tells the story of Irish women and their lived experiences in the most beautiful way.