Lou Brennan had an early love for fashion and had the privilege of graduating as the first ever MA student in Fashion and Textiles at NCAD, in Dublin, over 20 years ago. Having worked in numerous studios around the world from London, Dublin, where she was the textile manager for John Rocha, to New York and Lyon in France, she established her own studio in London in 1999, after acquiring Zandra Rhodes own print table
Whilst working as a freelance designer Lou was also a visiting lecturer at various colleges, namely the London College of Fashion and the University of Brighton. Lou has sold her designs to well known names such as Donna Karan, Alberta Ferretti, Giorgio Armani and Dolce Gabbana to name a few, as well as seeing her work on the pages of Vogue and many other international titles.
As well as winning many awards, such as for ‘Innovative Fabrics, with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Lou has also produced fabrics for both Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan that are now in the V&A archives.
Since returning to Ireland, Lou has continued to diversify and as well as printed textiles, she creates hand embroidered pieces for clients and from time to time runs workshops covering many textile disciplines. ‘Although everything is designed in Ireland, the digitally printed scarves are made in Italy. I hand finish the small scarves and pocket shares here as I hand roll them myself and also make limited edition embroidered scarves, again all by hand from my studio in Mayo’. They are luxury items with a relatively high price point. Lou targets designer boutiques, museums, department stores such as liberty’s in London. The scarf market is growing year on year especially on luxury shopping sites such as Matches.com and Net a Porter for example. In the Irish Times recently, the beauty editor wote ‘ I like the idea of dressing up ponytails also with grosgrain ribbons (try WM Trimmings in Capel Street) or a silk scarf for a dressier look (I’m obsessed with Lou Brennan’s exquisite Irish scarves at the moment).
‘The EMPOWER Programme has been of huge benefit to both me and my business. I’ve grown in confidence and knowledge nad have a great group of friends now from the group that are a fantastic support. The programme was very robost and thorough and I loved the element of bringing in past participants to tell us their stories and progression. They were always so inspiring and the honesty too of the struggles was helpful as it kept it real and showed that you just have to plough on through the inevitable obstacles. Hearing of their individual successes was so inspiring’.
The future plans for Lou Brennan Designs is to grow a small support team. ‘ I will keep designing and selling and doing exhibitions. I would love to do some in the UK, France and New York also’.
I would also love to create a fashion house in West of Ireland
Website: Lou Brennan Design
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Lou we love your designs. Keep up the wonderful work. Looking forward to seeing more.
This project is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.