Fashion In Ireland Taking Off?

An insight into Ireland’s fashion scene with Late2N’s founder, Shane Fitzpatrick.

It was around 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, in Waterford City. And I had just gotten off the train at Waterford City train station. The minute I got off the train I was greeted by Shane Fitzpatrick, the founder of the fashion brand Late2N (Late Tonight). He was even friendlier even friendlier in person than I had imagined.

We walked to his studio that was situated right in the heart of the city. When I first set foot into the studio, I was astounded at how beautiful it was. The studio was filled with clothes, ranging from trousers, to bomber jackets, to beautiful coats.

It became clear that his influences in the fashion industry are Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen based off the décor and colours in the studio. The studio was just all white walls, with minimal wooden décor, all monochromatic. We both settled into the two tall red armchairs in the corner of the studio.

If you’re a native of Dublin city, it isn’t hard to notice that the popularity of fashion in men is growing. Now more than ever, both men and women are taking more pride in what they’re wearing, how they construct each outfit, and what brand each garment is from. When asking Shane about the fashion scene in Ireland, he agreed.

“It definitely is, 100%, and anybody who thinks otherwise is dillusional. In 5 or 10 years, Ireland is going to be in a much different position than it is now. It’s been stagnant for too long and it’s time for a fresh approach to change the history once and for all.”

It’s hard to tell in which direction Irish fashion is heading. Every day there are more and more street-wear brands popping up. Because of this makes it even much harder to predict what will be trendy, in terms of cuts, colours and patterns. As frustrating as that is, it’s also a really beautiful thing. The fact that out of nowhere, something as simple as vintage jumpers from the 60s or ugly Fresh Prince Of Bel Air inspired t-shirts from the 80s are suddenly on trend is truly fascinating.

Late2N is a fashion brand that appeals to fashion enthusiasts across the globe but specifically in France and Russia. Shane’s main inspirations are people who work around him, the real people. Such as builders, painters and local business owners. Because of this, he makes clothes specifically suited to real people. In his latest Spring/Summer 18 collection, it is clear that some of the pieces are tailored towards these real people, such as the high-vis outdoor jacket or the cropped construction work shirt.

When talking about the future, Shane is clear where he would like to see his career go. “I’ve always had plans of opening up a studio in Paris or Milan somewhere down the line. But over the past year, producing collections in Ireland has become integral to our brand.”

Because of Ireland’s growing popularity with fashion, it’s a lot more appealing for designers such as Shane to stay at home and not to move abroad. However, Ireland’s fashion boom is still in its first stages so for designers to decide to stay in Ireland could be a big risk.

Creating a collection when you’re first starting out takes a lot of money. In total, it took Shane roughly 5 months. Obviously as it was his first collection, he made some mistakes, like every artist does.

“It was all a learning process,” he explains. Of course if he were to do it now, it could create a collection in 2 or 3 weeks.

Between every season there’s roughly a 3 month gap to create a new collection, so Shane has plenty of time before he next has to release. “I find the whole process seamless now. But I wouldn’t do that, because I don’t want to drive myself mad. I get bored easily anyway so I can’t imagine myself trying to work on a piece for a long time.”

Social media is a massive tool, to fashion designers, any kind of brand, or even any person at all. It gives designers the tool to showcase their work online, without even having to move from wherever they are. With Late2N, Shane believes he “wouldn’t have much of a brand if it wasn’t for social media”.

The fact that people have the ability of being able to design a product, create a social media page and instantly get that product that might not have existed hours ago some gratification is amazing and something people have definitely taken that for granted way too often. The next time you post anything on Instagram or Twitter that is related to your chosen creative field whether fashion, sculpture or even a painting just take a second to realise the amount of reach you already have just through this single platform.

Your creation could be seen by thousands upon thousands of users just by maybe taking the moment to visit their page and click the follow button, or using a hashtag with millions of searches. Now obviously there is a lot of terrible, cheesy and bad excuses for brands that pop up on people’s newsfeeds everyday and demand that people be interested in what they’re doing. But this is the price we all have to pay for the ability to attain free marketing, when trying to get a brand off the ground.  

With fashion in the 21st century, everything is driven by what is in with the youth. The music, the movies and TV shows we watch and the clothes we wear.

“Young people can launch or kill a brand. If a group of influential young people on the internet decide that something’s cool, then everyone will hop onto it.”

Shane is lucky that his brand appeals to people between the ages of 14-21. By looking at social media, he can see the demographic of people wearing his clothes, so he knows how to appeal to his buyers. Really the high fashion world needs to be more accepting of young designers and artists.

In Shane’s opinion, “if it wasn’t for young people right now looking for the next thing to pop off, brands wouldn’t be half as relevent as they currently are”.

One final thing that will help fashion to grow in Ireland, is that fashion is very opinionated. The people that only wear high-end clothes will look down on the kids that wear expensive street-wear pieces and vice versa. This creates a toxic environment where both sides of the spectrum are trying to out do each other in terms of style, flair and creativity. Even though the fashion scene becomes toxic, it makes fashion enthusiasts think outside the box. It challenges them to be creative and to think individually, to not follow the crowd and to be unique.

When I asked Shane about this, he agreed with me. He believed that “the hostility of fashion enthusiasts adds a little fire to the scene”, that makes people become more individualistic.

In terms of individuality, Shane thought Late2N was a brand that was venturing away from the mainstream look of other Irish fashion brands. They were edging apart from normal hoodies and t shirts and were looking into creating military-esque jackets and cargo trousers. Not clothes that the average person would wear.

Shane also hoped that his new collection would “challenge” that off the person wearing the garment. So that they have to think for themselves and build their outfit around that specific garment. A true beauty about fashion, it really makes you think about yourself from a neutral stadnpoint.

Late2N has much to offer in terms of creativity, style and look. It will be hard to tell how their next upcoming collection will fare with the public as fashion is always changing, They’ve proved to the Irish fashion scene that they can stand on their two feet and make it look easy. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens when these new collections drop for the public to buy. Keep an eye on this brand, its one for the future.

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