Aoibhinn and Company Sunday 6 October 2013
Aoibhinn and Company with designer Jen Kelly and lawyer Kathleen Garrett
Aoibhinn talks to fashion designer Jen Kelly and his client lawyer Kathleen Garrett, originator of the Arthus Cox Irish Fashion Showcase.
Kathleen explains how she moved to London four years ago and the response of people to her clothes designed by Irish designers prompted her to arrange a showcase of Irish fashion for women working in the City of London. The initiative has expanded to Dublin, Belfast and New York.
Jen and Kathleen explained how they first met when Kathleen's sister was looking for a wedding dress. Since then, Kathleen has bought a number of garments from Jen because it is important for her to have clothes that work well in her wardrobe. Jen describes the value of bespoke design but acknowledges the impact of the recession on his business.
Both describe the origins of their very different careers. Kathleen enjoyed her work experience as a 16 year old in a solicitor's office. She is now a partner in Arthur Cox and manages their London office. Jen grew up in Derry where his aunts worked in the shirt factories. He got his first experience paring the collars of shirts. Since then, he has developed a bespoke design service and as well as designing for leading figures in the fashion world, he also designed the costumes for the original production of Riverdance.
Both live in cities that are not their birthplace. While Jen considers Derry to be home, Kathleen's children have a more complicated view of life as they negotiate their Irish birthplace, their London home and their father's American identity.
Their choices of music were The Beatles Yellow Submarine; U2 Sarajevo; Boomtown Rats She's So Modern and Higher Love from Steve Winwood.