Presented by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, the Design Ireland area at Showcase 2019 is a must-visit space where you’ll find the very best products designed and made in Ireland. Each brand in the Design Ireland area has been carefully chosen by an independent jury of retailers from Ireland and overseas resulting in an impressive edit of products from the very best designers and makers in the country.
Each of these designers and makers has spent years training and honing their crafts and months perfecting the design and manufacture of new products for 2019. But more than that, whether traditional or contemporary in feel, each and every item on display is replete with character and personality, offering a unique product to inspire and delight your customers. Below is just a snapshot of some of the brands you’ll find in the Design Ireland area at Showcase 2019.
The Ciara Silke brand was established in 2014 and each silk scarf is hand designed in founder Ciara Silke’s Galway studio. The accessories brand is renowned for its bold use of colour and unconventional colour schemes which make for vivid and compelling designs.
Ciara worked with the DVF brand before starting her eponymous label and has a degree in printed textile design from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Her work frequently appears in the Irish media, has appeared in Vogue, and, in 2015, one of her silk scarves was worn to the Oscars ceremony.
For Showcase 2019, Ciara will present scarves in her current range of sizes as well as introducing a new range of extra large silk squares which measure 140cm x 140cm. The designer will also introduce her new skinny twilly scarves measuring 8cm x 180cm in a range of striking prints, as well as her smaller 70cm x 70cm smaller neck scarves, which make for terrific gift items.
Husband and wife team, goldsmith Barry and gem specialist Addrianna, founded their business some 18 years ago and are located in the heart of Dublin’s creative quarter in the George’s Street Arcade. Each item of jewellery they design is handmade on site in their studio and hallmarked by the assay office in Dublin Castle. The couple work with a variety of precious metals including silver, gold, platinum and palladium and often incorporate gemstones into their work.
Their designs are inspired by Ireland's rich culture of myth and legend as well as the natural beauty of Ireland. All of their designs come with their own story card describing the inspiration for the design. They are currently stocked in over 40 states in the USA, in addition to stockists in Ireland and the UK, including the prestigious Grenville Room in the British Museum.
“Showcase is an important date in our calendar as it is an opportunity for us to show our full collection to current and potential buyers and to meet with international buyers. It’s also a great opportunity to get feedback on our range and to network with other vendors,” says Addrianna, who will bring up to five new ranges of jewellery to Showcase 2019.
The brilliantly named Bearded Man is a modern classic brand from Navan in Co. Meath which utilises traditional and contemporary techniques to make modern male grooming products and home accessories. Launched in 2016 by Conor Cogan, the Bearded Man range includes a walnut and beech-handled badger hair shaving brush, a wooden soap dish and shaving kit as well as a wooden pizza cutter and bottle opener.
Since launching, Bearded Man has been stocked in some leading retailers across Ireland and has worked with distilleries, breweries and heritage sites to create bespoke product offerings for clients. Certainly one to watch.
Co-founder of McKernan, Anke McKernan, says that she wants her products to make people smile. “I want to produce a product that makes people happy, that makes people smile. There has to be a reason why someone wants to buy one of our scarves,” she says, and after 18 years in business, it’s safe to say she’s figured out what that intrinsic quality is.
Anke, her husband Eugene and their 12 members of staff, produce items which are sold in some of the world’s most prestigious stores, museums and art galleries - places such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.
The company produces over 500 different iterations of its own designs every year, bringing out a new collection each spring, and also works with clients to produce bespoke woven and knitted items. They can also produce custom labelling for clients. Quality fibres are vital to this family-run business who utilise a wide variety of yarns including wool, alpaca, silk, linen and cashmere pure and blended yarns.
Due to the standard and variety of machinery at their facility in Co. Clare, McKernan can also produce a vast variety of textures and designs in their products. McKernan celebrate their materials, their methods, and their highly-skilled staff, to create beautiful, wearable items that can also be custom made to your brief.