Interview with Irish designer – David O’Malley












Beginning his studies in NCAD, the National College of Art and Design, O’Malley developed a unique aesthetic within the avant-garde tradition. He presented his graduate collection at the 2013 NCAD FASHION SHOW. Furthermore, he has collaborated with Peter Mark (Golden hair Project). He has worked alongside Irish designer Aideen Bodkin. O’Malley has had shows in the Royal Albert Hall, London and worked with presenters and performers for one off pieces.

As a member of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers (CIDF), O’Malley showcased his autumn/winter collection at the CIDF press day on Tuesday, October 7th.

I was delighted when he agreed to do an interview for Fashion Boss. See interview below!

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1. As a member of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers, you were one of the 15 designers to showcase your AW 2014 collection on Tuesday, October 7th at the CIFD Press Day. Tell us about your autumn/winter collection?

The collection consists of a lot of luxury materials from heavy cashmeres, matt and shiny leathers, pony hair and playing with contrasting weights in fabrics – for example a light cotton organza with a heavy leather. The collection consists of heavy cashmere jackets with leather features to Japanese napa leather dresses contrasted with pleated light fabrics.

2.  What inspires you when creating a new collection?

It can start off with a number of ways – from reading a book to looking at a film to even just getting inspired by texture and form of an object to exploiting materials and all of a sudden something clicks. I always have had an interest with film and history,  especially noir and neo noir films and the dark side of WW2 and looking back at references of the occult and paganism during the 16th century has always fascinated me.

3. You were involved in the 2013 Samsung Young Designer of the Year competition; you have participated in shows in the Royal Albert Hall, London and created one off bespoke pieces for a number of presenters and performers. Would you say that there are growing opportunities for creative people in Ireland?

Most definitely. Every year a new breed of Irish design and craft comes pouring out of every art and design college all over the country and people are always hungry for new talent. I think personally there are always people in Ireland who want their hands on new and exciting pieces. I found that if you stick to what you know and continue your work ethos after college you start to build a community of people that will follow your work and then word spreads. There are plenty of opportunities in Ireland and the UK – you just have to work consistently hard in order to achieve this.

4. Who inspires you and where do you hope to be in next five years?

The sad truth of it all is if you asked me this a few months ago I would say – no one and nowhere.  Unfortunately at times it has been a struggle and at points I did lose faith in what I was doing as it is difficult starting out. As a result connecting with a man or woman that inspired me was the furthest thing from my mind.  At that point I had doubt and felt like putting a halt to everything. It wasn’t until my grandmother passed away – I stopped into the graveyard and reflected on everything and something clicked. I had to keep going no matter what came my way. My grandmother faced many battles down to her final days. That’s why I would see her as a true heroin. It’s after this I realise no matter what happens – five years time i’ll still be doing what I love.

5. With your career to date, your work has gotten a lot of exposure. Do you have any advice for design graduates?

I would say keep going.  Keep going with what your doing and don’t take too long of a break. Its easy to lose track of time. With the amount of work that you did for your final year – can you do that mass amount of work from 9 – 4 every day? Pull all nighters still with endless amounts of coffee? College is only the beginning. The beautiful nightmare continues with lack of sleep. Collaboration is key! If you have a certain skill that you have worked on for years don’t be selfish – share your skills with other designers or artists to create something special. Getting to build up a creative team is definitely the best thing you can possibly do.

6. Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

I am currently in collaboration with the amazing Conor Mary Foy. It is great because we both share a similar aesthetic and are very like-minded when it comes to projects. For the CIFD show we worked the past few weeks solidly on collaboration for the pyramid headpiece and bag that we both developed for the show. Regarding future plans I have a trick or two up my sleeve but won’t be giving much away.

See more of David’s work here.

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Photography –  Jason Healy

Stylist –  Roxanne Parker

Hair – Paul Davey

Makeup – Ken Boylan

Model –  Teodora Sutra