This month, we feature Natalie Coleman. Natalie has recently established her own fashion business and label NATALIEBCOLEMAN. She has also launched her first collection, entitled ‘Damaged Goods’.
Where did you go to school?
I went to the Louis Convent in Carrickmacross for my secondary education, my degree in Fashion and Design is from the Limerick School of Art and Design and I studied for my Ma at Central St.Martins in London.
What is your earliest memory of Carrickmacross and did it influence your career path?
Gosh, my earliest memory I think was cannoning in the lake down the convent lane at Camp Carrick, the summer camp, I think that was very exciting, I always loved a packed lunch! I don’t know if it influenced my career path but the art teachers from the Louis, Sister Enda and Miss Finnegan were always very encouraging and I always loved Mr. Agnew’s passion for English literature, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left school.
Who is your favourite top fashion designer & why?
I admire so many but if I had to pick a contemporary designer it would be Marc Jacobs for his humour in clothing, his modernity and his ability to mix completely different inspirations and styles, ugly and beautiful and make it work perfectly. I also loved Martin Margiela as his aesthetics and process were truly visionary. And for old masters it would be Coco Chanel for her inspiring rise and the liberation of women’ s legs!
How did you get involved in fashion design?
Most of my earlier jobs after school were working in vintage shops or boutiques then I met a graduate from Limerick Fashion School in Cork and we decided to join forces and set up a company called Lucky Bitches recycling and reconstructing vintage clothing and fabrics. It was my first time sewing and the very first thing I made I sold. I brought the piece into a shop in Cork and got an order, so we were in business! Soon we were selling in Dublin, Cork and Galway. It was then that I decided to go to study fashion properly. I went on to do internships with the Inis meain Knitwear factory on the Arann Islands, with Ragna Froda a textile designer in Iceland and then I went on to work for Three As Four in New York and Joanne Hynes in Ireland.
What are the inspirations for your designs?
My inspirations come usually from books, moods and people, I like for my clothes to tell a story. A huge point of reference for me has been the 1970s cult documentary Grey Gardens, which I find endlessly fascinating and charming. Right now I am been inspired by old found photographs from a second hand shop that show a family on holidays in Ireland in the 50s.
Does your work involve a lot of travel?
I have started to have to travel quite a lot, this summer I have showcased my first collection in Copenhagen during Fashion week and also in Berlin. From now on I will be showing twice a year at Copenhagen, London and Berlin and hopefully in Ireland, and will also have to travel for fabrics and Pr. I am just back from a photo shoot in London.
Where you nervous releasing your first collection, ‘Damaged Goods’?
Yes, I still am but I am also very naive which helps!
Where is your current collection available to buy from?
People can contact me directly on my website www.nataliebcoleman.com or check the list of stockists on there. I should have the Irish Boutiques that will stock the Spring/Summer 11 collection Damaged Goods up on the website in November.
Are you working on a new collection?
I am just starting work on the Autumn/Winter 11/12 collection now. It will have a whimsical romantic feel with a punk edge. I am using Donegal hand woven tweeds which I am very excited about as Donegal tweed has such amazing tradition and craftsmanship. I am also introducing knit to the collection as well as hand illustrated printing on silks.
It will be ready for the showroom for mid December 10.
Do you have any advice for budding fashion designers out there, or for those looking for fashion advice?
If I had to give any advice I think it would be to dance to your own tune!
Many thanks Natalie and continued success.
Web Master, Carrickmacross.ie