Róisín Pierce is the Dublin-born designer who transforms darkness into light

With previous collections inspired by Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and the Repeal The Eighth campaign, Pierce sews stories of women’s resilience and strength into every garment she makes

A beautiful sense of lightness pervades each of Róisín Pierce’s sheer dresses and flowing, frothy blouses, it’s hard to understand that Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and the Repeal the Eighth campaign have served as a surprisingly powerful inspiration for previous collections. For Pierce, however, clothing serves to illuminate the issues afflicting women both in her home country and around the world, while deftly sewing stories of her resilience and strength into every beautiful garment.

After enrolling at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, the aspiring designer quickly found that she had an affinity for the manipulation and texture of fabrics – so much so that she soon decided to make her clothes out of white materials only . In a saturated industry full of bold, direct designs jostling up and down your Instagram feed for attention, Pierce has fought through the noise — her unique approach, attention to detail, and commitment to preserving traditional craftsmanship have set her apart Winner highlighted by Chanel’s opening ceremony Métiers d’Art Prize 2019.

Now, with an LVMH Awards nomination under her belt, Pierce is releasing a new series of images celebrating her latest collection. Two for joy. As the title suggests, this offering feels buoyant and revolves around nostalgic, ‘golden’ memories of childhood in Ireland. “When I look back and think of them, they’re accompanied by these beautiful, bright, glittering images,” she explains. “I had a strong desire to embed and evoke joy with the pieces and to capture that happiness in design and craftsmanship for others to experience.

As the Two for joy As pictures drop, Pierce talks about her early discovery of haute couture, her unique approach to fashion, and if she’ll ever introduce color into her collections (spoiler: she might, you know).

So first, tell me about the first moment you understood the power of clothing?

Roisin Pierce: I have always had a very close relationship with clothing and from a very young age used it to convey a message or a narrative. I used objects and clothes to express myself and to get out of my ordinary everyday life. And I’ve always been interested in the classic codes of femininity [and how they are expressed through clothes].

What made you want to pursue a career in the fashion industry?

Roisin Pierce: The love of creation. I loved the idea of ​​making things with my hands and seeing what magic could be created.

Were there any designers you looked up to or specific designers you loved?

Roisin Pierce: Growing up in Dublin, despite being surrounded by clothes and making textiles with my mother, I felt quite removed from the fashion world. In my early teens I fell in love with haute couture. I used to buy a magazine called Hi! haute couture, and it printed almost A4-sized images of the couture shows. My favorite thing was of course the fabrics. I loved that there was a whole mood to be created with the textiles – this whole world of beadwork and different fabric manipulations and different fabrications applied in different ways. I grew up admiring French luxury houses like Dior and Chanel, which I’ve always looked very closely at.

“In my early teens I fell in love with haute couture. I used to buy a magazine called Hi! haute couture, and it printed almost A4-sized images of the couture shows. My favorite part was the fabrics. I loved that there was a whole mood to be created with the textiles – this whole world of beadwork and different fabric manipulations and different fabrications applied in different ways” – Róisín Pierce

How does your Irish heritage play into your collections?

Roisin Pierce: In many ways! Of course inspiration for most of the collections has been inspired by our history and in particular by the difficult relationship between religion and femininity and femininity in Ireland. The techniques we focus on are a contemporary interpretation of traditional Irish craftsmanship. We don’t just want to take from the past, we want to bring new innovations to our heritage and history. I want to keep these crafts and skills alive through my work.

As you mentioned, you often take inspiration from women’s rights issues in Ireland in your collections – from the Magdalene Laundries to the Repeal the Eighth campaign a few years ago. What is important to you as a woman who creates for women?

Roisin Pierce: I want people to feel comfortable and bring joy through clothing. Although my collection themes can draw from strong political narratives, I’ve always wanted the finished product to feel light and otherworldly while conveying these messages of women’s rights and women’s roles. These are the stories that brought these pieces to life, but the clothes are ultimately created to bring joy. I want my clothes to be pieces that people like to wear when they get dressed.

Do you have a specific person in mind when designing?

Roisin Pierce: No, I don’t have one person in mind. I design for everyone who wants to wear something special.

You were one of the finalists in the race for this year’s LVMH award. How was this experience?

Roisin Pierce: It was a great honor – the wealth of talent in the competition, the creativity and dedication of all the designers. Hearing their stories and travels was truly inspiring. The whole experience was so inspiring – I just wanted to create more.

Let’s talk about your latest collection. Where did you get your inspiration for this season and also for the campaign?

Roisin Pierce: Two for joy playfully approaches artisanal techniques, craftsmanship and experimental zero-waste construction, exploring the endless possibilities of creation. It’s about exploring happy childhood memories, those nostalgic, golden-tinged moments of early creative discovery—when I look back and think of them, it’s those beautiful, bright, glittering images. I had a strong desire to embed and evoke joy in the pieces and to capture that happiness in design and craft for others to experience.

The campaign was a collaboration with Jackie Nickerson that we had been discussing for a while. We shot the collection for the very first time in my home country and it was my first time there too – and such a nice one at that. There is so much power in photos. I loved seeing the collection reinterpreted and it was so inspiring to work with Jackie.

“My inspiration usually comes naturally, in many forms. It can be a sentence someone said, or the way light hits something, as well as the process of exploration and sampling itself” – Róisín Pierce

How do you find inspiration in general – what’s the last thing that really inspired you?

Roisin Pierce: My inspiration usually comes organically, in many forms. It can be a phrase someone said, or the way light hits something, as well as exploring and sensing process itself. I may have a strong connection to it, or it may be something that made me feel or think differently. Lately I’ve been inspired by a new development in manufacturing that uses smocking and crocheting to create a texture that ends up looking like glittery jewellery. I’m really looking forward to developing it further!

You work in a palette of predominantly white. can you tell me why Do you find it liberating or limiting, and do you see your work evolving to introduce color?

Roisin Pierce: It’s a dichotomy – working all in white is both extremely limiting and liberating. It refers to Irish women’s crafts, such as B. Mountmellick embroidery where everything is made in all white so the focus is on the craft itself. For me it’s a brilliant way to work as it allows for a strong focus on the cut, silhouette and textures and for the viewer or wearer I think it allows you to focus on the little subtleties that would otherwise be lost if I it would do work in color or pattern. But actually, color is definitely hip – I’m just unsure about the timing and the designs.

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